0207-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Feb 21, Sunday

Constructed by: Katie Hale & Christina Iverson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Toddler Talk

Themed answers are common phrases written as a toddler might say them, with a W-sound replacing an R-sound:

  • 24A Accept payment from Batman? : TAKE A WAYNE CHECK (from “take a rain check”)
  • 31A Cause for celebration at a pachyderm sanctuary? : AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB (from “an elephant in the room”)
  • 49A Finish scooping out a big stir-fry? : HIT WOK BOTTOM (from “hit rock bottom”)
  • 65A Puritan’s goal in 17th-century Salem? : GET WITCH QUICK (from “get rich quick”)
  • 86A Something a Parmesan vendor might offer? : THE WHEEL DEAL (from “the real deal”)
  • 100A What a stoner actor smoked during rehearsal? : WEED BETWEEN THE LINES (from “read between the lines”)
  • 111A Domain for Jameson and Maker’s Mark? : WHISKEY BUSINESS (from “risky business”)

Bill’s time: 17m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

18 The “O” of OWN : OPRAH

Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

20 Portrayer of Captain Davies in “Roots” : ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

Not only did Alex Haley author the magnificent novel “Roots”, he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and he claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who was kidnapped in the Gambia in 1767. If you remember the original television adaptation of “Roots”, you might recall that Kunta Kinte was played by LeVar Burton, who later went on to play another famous role, Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: the Next Generation”.

22 Abacus column : TENS

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

24 Accept payment from Batman? : TAKE A WAYNE CHECK (from “take a rain check”)

Bruce Wayne is the secret identity of Batman in the comic series created by DC Comics. The first name of Bruce was chosen as a homage to the Scottish king and heroic figure, Robert the Bruce. The family name was a nod to “Mad Anthony” Wayne, the US Army general and statesman who rose to prominence in the Revolutionary War.

27 Eponymous Irish city : LIMERICK

Limerick is the fourth-most populous city in Ireland, after Dublin, Belfast and Cork. It is located on the Shannon Estuary, in the west of the country.

No one knows for sure how the limerick got its name, although there does seem to be agreement the name does indeed come from the city or county of Limerick in Ireland. Try this one for size:

There was a young lady named Bright
who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day
in a relative way,
and came back the previous night.

30 Counterparts of faunas : FLORAS

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

31 Cause for celebration at a pachyderm sanctuary? : AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB (from “an elephant in the room”)

A pachyderm is a large mammal noted for having very thick skin and hooves, or nails resembling hooves. In terms of taxonomy, animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses used to be classified in the order Pachydermata (from the Greek for “thick” and “skin”). That order is now obsolete, as it has been shown that the aforementioned “pachyderms” do not in fact share a common ancestor. Despite the reclassification, “pachyderm” persists in common, non-scientific usage.

36 ___ lecithin (chocolate additive) : SOY

Lecithins are a whole group of yellow-brown fatty compounds found in many different animal and plant tissues. It is widely used, in everything from pharmacological products to food to paint. Much of the processed lecithin comes from soya beans.

38 Jane portrayer in 1981’s “Tarzan, the Ape Man” : BO DEREK

Bo Derek’s most famous role was in the comedy film from 1979 titled “10”, in which she starred opposite Dudley Moore. Born Mary Cathleen Collins in Long Beach, California, she started a romantic relationship when she was 16 with actor and director John Derek, who was thirty years her senior. The couple moved to Germany in order to avoid the statutory rape laws in California, eventually returning to the US to marry in 1976, when Cathleen was 20. Around the same time, she changed her name to Bo Derek.

45 Flip (out) : WIG

The idea behind the expression “to wig out”, meaning “to go crazy”, is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might “lift your hair/wig”.

46 Rock band that you might think would always be an opening act, with “the”? : … DOORS

The Doors formed in 1965 in Los Angeles. The band chose their name from a book by Aldous Huxley called “The Doors of Perception”.

48 Ex-Giants QB Manning : ELI

Eli Manning is a retired footballer who played quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning retired from football as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2015. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback. Eli, Peyton and Archie co-authored a book for children titled “Family Huddle” in 2009. It describes the Mannings playing football together as young boys.

49 Finish scooping out a big stir-fry? : HIT WOK BOTTOM (from “hit rock bottom”)

“Wok” is a Cantonese word, and is the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

55 Inexplicably missing, say : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

56 Brontë who wrote “Agnes Grey” : ANNE

Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne’s two novels do have a following. “Agnes Grey” is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë’s writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

57 Target of permethrin cream : LOUSE

Lice (singular “louse”) are small wingless insects, of which there are thousands of species. There are three species of lice affecting humans, i.e. head lice, body lice and pubic lice. Most lice feed on dead skin found on the body of the host animal, although some feed on blood. Ick …

61 Rare race outcome : DEAD HEAT

A race ending in a dead heat ends in a tie. A heat is one of a series of races, and it might be described as “dead” if there is no decisive outcome, if there is a tie.

65 Puritan’s goal in 17th-century Salem? : GET WITCH QUICK (from “get rich quick”)

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings held in 1692 and 1693 in colonial Massachusetts, most famously in Salem. As a result of mass hysteria, twenty people were convicted of practicing witchcraft and were executed. The events were deemed to be a terrible injustice almost immediately. As early as 1696, there was a legal ruling by the Massachusetts General Court that referred to the outcome of the trials as a tragedy. In 2001, the Massachusetts legislature officially exonerated all of those convicted.

“Puritan” was a pejorative term used in the 1560s to describe a Protestant extremist who was not satisfied with the extent of the reformation of the Church of England. The Puritans advocated further reforms, believing that the Church of England still harbored a lot of corruption. Facing staunch resistance to their ideals in Britain, many of the Puritans emigrated, the first wave to the Netherlands, with later emigrants moving to New England.

74 The Rose Bowl, e.g. : NCAA GAME

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

The oldest of all the bowl games is the Rose Bowl and so has the nickname “The Granddaddy of Them All”. The first Rose Bowl game was played in 1902.

79 Czar who co-ruled with Peter I : IVAN V

Peter I and Ivan V were half-brothers who served as joint Tsars of Russia between the years 1682 and 1696. Peter was the most influential of the duo by far, and after Ivan died Peter went on to bring Russia into a new age earning himself the moniker Peter the Great.

81 Indiana athlete : PACER

The Indiana Pacers are the professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, who play in the NBA. The name was chosen when the team was formed in 1967. “Pacers” is a homage to harness racing pacers (famed in Indiana) and the pace car used in the Indianapolis 500.

83 Sunburn soother : ALOE

Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. ancient Egyptians knew it as the plant of immortality, and Native Americans called it the wand of heaven.

84 Specialist publication, for short : ZINE

A zine is a magazine. The term “zine” is often reserved for noncommercial publications, including those issued online.

86 Something a Parmesan vendor might offer? : THE WHEEL DEAL (from “the real deal”)

Genuine Parmesan cheese is made in and around the province of Parma in northern Italy, which province gives the cheese its name.

89 Unflappable state of mind : ZEN

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

90 Baron Cohen of film : SACHA

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m wasn’t a fan, but I must admit that I really enjoyed 2020’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”.

96 A dance and a dip : SALSA

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

98 Cartoondom’s Olive ___ : OYL

“Thimble Theater” was the precursor comic strip to the famous “Popeye” drawn by E. C. Segar. Before Popeye came into the story, the brother and sister characters Castor Oyl and Olive Oyl were the protagonists. And then along comes a sailor …

100 What a stoner actor smoked during rehearsal? : WEED BETWEEN THE LINES (from “read between the lines”)

We’ve been using the term “weed” to mean “marijuana” since the 1920s. Centuries prior to that, we started using “weed” for “tobacco”.

107 Beginning and end of “America” : SCHWAS

A schwa is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.

109 “Ha-ha!” : LOL!

Laugh out loud (LOL)

110 Noise heard during the London Blitz : AIR ALERT

“Blitz”, as it is used in English, means a fast-moving and overwhelming attack. It is a shortened version of the German word “blitzkrieg”. The blitzkrieg was a tactic used by Germany running up to and during WWII. In the original German blitzkrieg, the army and air-force threw everything into a rapid penetration of enemy lines without stopping to reinforce its flanks. The word “blitz” means “lightning” (and “krieg” means “war”).

111 Domain for Jameson and Maker’s Mark? : WHISKEY BUSINESS (from “risky business”)

Jameson is a brand of Irish whiskey from Dublin, and is the best selling Irish whiskey in the world. It’s not my favorite though, with that “honor” going to Bushmills.

116 Curl target, informally : BICEP

The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

118 Soul singer Bridges : LEON

Leon Bridges is an R&B singer from Fort Worth, Texas who is best known for his 2015 hit “Coming Home”.

119 Bank investment? : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

120 Spanish dagger or Adam’s needle is a variety of it : YUCCA

Yuccas are a genus of shrubs and trees that live in hot and dry areas of North and South America. One of the more famous species of Yucca is the Joshua tree. Yuccas has a unique pollination system, with moths transferring pollen from plant to plant. New Mexico adopted the yucca as its state flower in 1927.

121 New York football team, informally : G-MEN

The New York Giants (NYG) football team plays home games in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a stadium shared with the New York Jets (NYJ). The Giants are the only team remaining from a group of five that joined the league in 1925. For many years, the Giants shared team names with the New York Giants MLB team, before the baseball franchise moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season.

124 Lucretia ___, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate : MOTT

Lucretia Coffin Mott (what a name!) was an American Quaker, and an advocate for women’s rights. Mott has been called the first American “feminist”. Her first job was teaching in the Quaker school in which she was educated. There she learned that her salary was to be one third of that paid to the males with the same job (she married one of the male teachers!). That injustice initiated her interest in women’s rights.

Down

1 Childbirth assistant : DOULA

A doula is a person who provides non-medical support for women and their families during childbirth as well as in the period immediately following the arrival. The term “doula” comes from the Ancient Greek word “doule” which means “female slave”. Given such a negative association, “doula” is often dropped in favor of “labor companion” or “birthworker”.

3 Concern for Superman : CRIME

4 Superman’s birth name : KAL-EL

Superman was sent to Earth in a rocket as a child by his parents, who remained on the doomed planet of Krypton. On Earth, the child was discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent, farmers who lived near the fictional town of Smallville. The Kents raised the infant as their own, giving him the name Clark, which was Ma Kent’s maiden name.

6 First Asian tennis player to be ranked #1 in singles : OSAKA

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese-born tennis professional who became the first Asian player to be ranked number-one in singles.

8 Bishop’s jurisdiction : SEE

In the Roman Catholic Church, an episcopal see is the official seat of a bishop, and is usually described by the town or city where the bishop presides and has his cathedral. The most famous see in the church is called the Holy See, the episcopal see of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.

12 I.R.S. ID : SSN

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

16 Andean empire member : INCA

The Inca people emerged as a tribe around the 12th century, in what today is southern Peru. The Incas developed a vast empire over the next 300 years, extending along most of the western side of South America. The Empire fell to the Spanish, finally dissolving in 1572 with the execution of Túpac Amaru, the last Incan Emperor.

19 Slice of toast? : HERE’S TO …

The tradition of toasting someone probably dates back to the reign of Charles II, when the practice was to drink a glass of wine to the health of a beautiful or favored woman. In those days, spiced toast was added to beverages to add flavor, so the use of the word “toast” was an indicator that the lady’s beauty would enhance the wine. Very charming, I must say …

28 Market launch, for short : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

32 Amphibians that may have toxic skin : NEWTS

Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

33 Clichéd : TRITE

“Cliché” is a word that comes from the world of printing. In the days when type was added as individual letters into a printing plate, for efficiency some oft-used phrases and words were created as one single slug of metal. The word “cliché” was used for such a grouping of letters. It’s easy to see how the same word would become a term to describe any overused phrase. Supposedly, “cliché” comes from French, from the verb “clicher” meaning “to click”. The idea is that when a matrix of letters was dropped in molten metal to make a cliché, it made a clicking sound.

34 Shakespeare villain with more lines than the title character : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

35 Kindle download : E-BOOK

Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD several years ago. I started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device …

40 They’re found around Scots : KILTS

The Scottish skirt called a “kilt” takes its name from the Middle English word “kilten” meaning “to tuck up”. The idea is that the kilt can be tucked up around the body to give freedom to the legs.

41 Bony fish with prized eggs : SHAD

The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

42 “Bottled poetry,” according to Robert Louis Stevenson : WINE

Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson used the phrase “… and the wine is bottled poetry” in his 1883 travel memoir “The Silverado Squatters”. The book recounts his two-month honeymoon spent in Napa Valley with his new wife Fanny Vandegrift. The people of Napa have embraced the phrase “bottled poetry”, and visitors will see it used all over the valley. The only problem is, Stevenson used the words in reference to French wine …

43 Active Sicilian volcano : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

50 “Ad Parnassum” and “Fish Magic,” for two : KLEES

Artist Paul Klee was born in Switzerland, but studied art in Munich in Germany. We can see many of Klee’s works in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. If you get to Bern in Switzerland, even more of them can be seen at the Zentrum Paul Klee that was opened in 2005. Klee’s most celebrated work is his pointillist painting from 1932 called “Ad Parnassum”, which is owned by the Kunstmuseum, also located in Bern.

51 Metaphor for a shared experience : BOAT

We’re all stuck solving this crossword; we’re in the same boat, the same difficult situation.

59 Legal title: Abbr. : ESQ

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank, say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

60 He wrote lyrics to “My Way” for Sinatra : ANKA

The song “My Way” has lyrics that were written by Paul Anka in 1969, but the tune itself was composed two years earlier by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. The song had been released with completely different lyrics in France as “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”). When Anka heard the song on television in Paris he sought out and obtained the rights to use it himself, for free. Supposedly, “Comme d’habitude” has been recorded in more languages, by more artists than any other song in the contemporary repertoire.

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

62 Channel with a lot of house renovation shows : HGTV

HGTV first went on air in 1994 as the “Home, Lawn and Garden Channel”. The name was shortened soon after (the lawn was “cut”!). Nowadays, it’s referred to as HGTV.

63 Keeps in the loop, in a way : CCS

I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

66 Prez with a rhyming campaign slogan : IKE

“I Like Ike” was a political slogan that originated with the grassroots movement to get Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) to run for president in the 1952 presidential election.

68 Cause of some brain freeze : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

69 It comes in California and New York styles : PIZZA

Pizza was invented in Naples, where it has a long tradition that goes back to ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today, on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …

71 Celebrity who holds the Guinness world record for “Most Frequent Clapper” : VANNA WHITE

Vanna White is the lady who turns the letters on the “Wheel of Fortune” game show. White is big into knitting and crochet, and has her own line of yarns called “Vanna’s Choice”.

75 Gallivants : GADS

To gad about is to move around with little purpose. The word “gad” comes from the Middle English “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.

“Gallivant” is such a lovely word, and is probably a derivative of “gallant”. To gallivant is to gad about, to flirt, wander in search of pleasure or amusement. My mother was always accusing me of gallivanting when I was a youth …

76 On the safe side : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

77 Ancient kingdom in modern-day Jordan : MOAB

In the Bible, Moab was the first son of Lot, and the founder of the Kingdom of Moab. Moab was located on a plateau above the Dead Sea.

The nation that we know as Jordan takes its name from the River Jordan that forms part of the country’s border with Israel and Palestine to the west. Jordan achieved independence in 1946 after the UN approved the end of the British Transjordan Mandate. The Kingdom of Transjordan changed its name to Jordan in 1948.

81 In itself: Lat. : PER SE

“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

87 Physically fit : HALE

“Hale” is an adjective meaning “healthy”. Both the words “hale” and “healthy” derive from the Old English “hal” that has the same meaning.

88 Rock song? : LULLABY

A lullaby is a soothing song, one usually used to quiet children. The term “lullaby” has its roots in Middle English and is related to our contemporary word verb “to lull”, as in “to lull to sleep”.

99 “___ So Bad” (Tom Petty song) : YER

Singer-songwriter Tom Petty first became interested in rock and roll music when he met Elvis Presley at ten-years-old. Later Petty was inspired to get into a band when he saw the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. He became the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and later co-founded the supergroup called the Traveling Wilburys.

102 Shocks, in a way : TASES

To tase is to use a taser, a stun gun.

103 Hip bone : ILIUM

The ilium (plural “ilia”) is the upper portion of the hipbone.

104 Classic brand of wafers : NECCO

Necco Wafers were the best-known product line of the candy manufacturer called the New England Confectionery Company. The firm’s name was abbreviated to “NECCO”, an acronym that became synonymous with the wafers.

106 The Apostle of Ireland, familiarly : ST PAT

There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

107 It might come in a branded tote bag : SWAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

114 Formerly called : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, and Melania Trump née Knavs.

115 Perón of politics : EVA

Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” is also the title of a tremendously successful musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that is based on the life of Eva Perón.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Unloading point : DOCK
5 Trait for a ballerina : POISE
10 “Wanna hear a secret?” preceder : PSST!
14 Not much : A BIT
18 The “O” of OWN : OPRAH
20 Portrayer of Captain Davies in “Roots” : ASNER
21 Bind with rope : LASH
22 Abacus column : TENS
23 Helpful : UTILE
24 Accept payment from Batman? : TAKE A WAYNE CHECK (from “take a rain check”)
27 Eponymous Irish city : LIMERICK
29 ___ pickle : IN A
30 Counterparts of faunas : FLORAS
31 Cause for celebration at a pachyderm sanctuary? : AN ELEPHANT IN THE WOMB (from “an elephant in the room”)
36 ___ lecithin (chocolate additive) : SOY
37 What most pens can’t do : ERASE
38 Jane portrayer in 1981’s “Tarzan, the Ape Man” : BO DEREK
41 Worry about, informally : SWEAT
45 Flip (out) : WIG
46 Rock band that you might think would always be an opening act, with “the”? : … DOORS
48 Ex-Giants QB Manning : ELI
49 Finish scooping out a big stir-fry? : HIT WOK BOTTOM (from “hit rock bottom”)
54 Signal approval : NOD
55 Inexplicably missing, say : AWOL
56 Brontë who wrote “Agnes Grey” : ANNE
57 Target of permethrin cream : LOUSE
58 Not very convincing : WEAK
60 Highly skilled : ADEPT
61 Rare race outcome : DEAD HEAT
63 Unimaginative birthday gift : CASH
64 Is stertorous : SNORES
65 Puritan’s goal in 17th-century Salem? : GET WITCH QUICK (from “get rich quick”)
69 Changes topics in a debate, perhaps : PIVOTS
73 Scrapes (out) : EKES
74 The Rose Bowl, e.g. : NCAA GAME
79 Czar who co-ruled with Peter I : IVAN V
80 Goes head-to-head : VIES
81 Indiana athlete : PACER
83 Sunburn soother : ALOE
84 Specialist publication, for short : ZINE
85 Monopolize : HOG
86 Something a Parmesan vendor might offer? : THE WHEEL DEAL (from “the real deal”)
89 Unflappable state of mind : ZEN
90 Baron Cohen of film : SACHA
92 One of all fours? : ARM
93 Container words : USE BY
94 2019 film whose title means “to the stars” : AD ASTRA
96 A dance and a dip : SALSA
98 Cartoondom’s Olive ___ : OYL
100 What a stoner actor smoked during rehearsal? : WEED BETWEEN THE LINES (from “read between the lines”)
107 Beginning and end of “America” : SCHWAS
109 “Ha-ha!” : LOL!
110 Noise heard during the London Blitz : AIR ALERT
111 Domain for Jameson and Maker’s Mark? : WHISKEY BUSINESS (from “risky business”)
116 Curl target, informally : BICEP
117 Manual alternative : AUTO
118 Soul singer Bridges : LEON
119 Bank investment? : LEVEE
120 Spanish dagger or Adam’s needle is a variety of it : YUCCA
121 New York football team, informally : G-MEN
122 Apt rhyme for “crude” and “rude” : LEWD
123 It may need to be broken to move : LEASE
124 Lucretia ___, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate : MOTT

Down

1 Childbirth assistant : DOULA
2 Choose to participate : OPT IN
3 Concern for Superman : CRIME
4 Superman’s birth name : KAL-EL
5 Like many a teenage boy’s facial hair : PATCHY
6 First Asian tennis player to be ranked #1 in singles : OSAKA
7 Press : INK
8 Bishop’s jurisdiction : SEE
9 Long period : ERA
10 Like some evidence and bulbs : PLANTED
11 Doctor’s order : SAY “AH”
12 I.R.S. ID : SSN
13 Live broadcast no-no : THE F-WORD
14 In : AT HOME
15 One creating draft after draft? : BEER BREWER
16 Andean empire member : INCA
17 Some clicks of the tongue : TSKS
19 Slice of toast? : HERE’S TO …
25 Comes out ahead : WINS
26 Dolts : CLODS
28 Market launch, for short : IPO
32 Amphibians that may have toxic skin : NEWTS
33 Clichéd : TRITE
34 Shakespeare villain with more lines than the title character : IAGO
35 Kindle download : E-BOOK
39 Skip the big ceremony, say : ELOPE
40 They’re found around Scots : KILTS
41 Bony fish with prized eggs : SHAD
42 “Bottled poetry,” according to Robert Louis Stevenson : WINE
43 Active Sicilian volcano : ETNA
44 Filled with wonder : AWED
47 Without concrete evidence : ON A HUNCH
50 “Ad Parnassum” and “Fish Magic,” for two : KLEES
51 Metaphor for a shared experience : BOAT
52 Be more important than : OUTWEIGH
53 Exaggerated kiss sound : MWAH!
55 Fuss : ADO
59 Legal title: Abbr. : ESQ
60 He wrote lyrics to “My Way” for Sinatra : ANKA
62 Channel with a lot of house renovation shows : HGTV
63 Keeps in the loop, in a way : CCS
64 Give a start : SCARE
66 Prez with a rhyming campaign slogan : IKE
67 Lab work : TEST
68 Cause of some brain freeze : ICEE
69 It comes in California and New York styles : PIZZA
70 Covered in vines : IVIED
71 Celebrity who holds the Guinness world record for “Most Frequent Clapper” : VANNA WHITE
72 Half and half? : ONE
75 Gallivants : GADS
76 On the safe side : ALEE
77 Ancient kingdom in modern-day Jordan : MOAB
78 Elusive, in a way : EELY
80 Words to learn, briefly : VOCAB
81 In itself: Lat. : PER SE
82 “Oh, come on!” : AW, MAN!
85 Aggressive pitch : HARD SELL
87 Physically fit : HALE
88 Rock song? : LULLABY
90 Big cut of tuna : STEAK
91 Fill with wonder : ASTOUND
95 Attaches, as a button : SEWS ON
97 Some shop tools : AWLS
98 “Now it makes sense!” : OH, I SEE!
99 “___ So Bad” (Tom Petty song) : YER
101 Flying ___ drop (pro wrestling move) : ELBOW
102 Shocks, in a way : TASES
103 Hip bone : ILIUM
104 Classic brand of wafers : NECCO
105 Upright : ERECT
106 The Apostle of Ireland, familiarly : ST PAT
107 It might come in a branded tote bag : SWAG
108 Buddy : CHUM
112 “___-haw!” : YEE
113 Laid up : ILL
114 Formerly called : NEE
115 Perón of politics : EVA

10 thoughts on “0207-21 NY Times Crossword 7 Feb 21, Sunday”

  1. 28:21 I had a “wheel challenge” in the SW for a bit since I had HARDBALL (pitch) and SCHWAB vs. SCHWAS. I have been doing taxes this week and keep waiting for Charles Schwab tax statement to be available so it’s still in mind. Thought I was “wheely cwuisin” because I had the 1/2 way signal in under 10 minutes, but a few fat fingers and the aforementioned SW took a bit to unravel.

  2. 12:46, my fastest Sunday time. Fairly uninspiring theme. Can’t say I’m a fan of baby talk in real life much less in a crossword puzzle.

  3. 26:36. Theme was a bit silly, but I can live with that I suppose.

    Since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, I’ll add this tidbit someone told me a few days ago: When Ed ASNER did his first episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, he was younger than Tom Brady is today.

    Best –

  4. I got 107 across by getting all the down answers, but I still don’t understand it. I don’t see how SCHWAS is the solution to Beginning and end of “America.” It must be obvious, because it is not “explained” on any of the pages I searched, but I don’t get it . Can anyone help?

  5. 28:31, no errors. As I progressed through the puzzle, I realized the theme answers were funnier than I originally thought them to be.
    @Bill: you might want to update your archives for Social Security Numbers. ” In 1988, the threshold was lowered to two years old, and in 1990, the threshold was lowered yet again to one year old. Today, an SSN is required regardless of the child’s age to receive an exemption. Since then, parents have often applied for Social Security numbers for their children soon after birth; today, it can be done on the application for a birth certificate.” (Wikipedia)

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