0725-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Jul 21, Sunday

Constructed by: Chandi Deitmer
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme Star Search

We have a rebus puzzle today, with a star-shape (*) in some squares. Those stars are interpreted as the letter X in one direction, and as the letter I in the other. Also, the stars in the southwest of the grid together give the shape of the constellation URSA MAJOR (the Big DIPPER), and the stars in the northwest together give the shape of URSA MINOR (the Little DIPPER). Clever …

  • 68A Guiding light : POLARIS
  • 61A Alpha and Beta Ursae ___ (pointers to 68-Across) : MAJORIS
  • 115A Ones committing a party foul … or the images depicted in this puzzle’s grid? : DOUBLE-DIPPERS
  • 9D Celestial figure depicted in this puzzle’s grid, in Roman folklore : SEVEN OXEN
  • 19D Celestial figure depicted in this puzzle’s grid, in African American folklore : DRINKING GOURD
  • 22D Celestial figure depicted in this puzzle’s grid, in Babylonian folklore : WAGON OF HEAVEN

Bill’s time: 18m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

7 They have springs in the middle : OASES

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

12 ___ Perez, former Democratic National Committee chair : TOM

Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017, after having served as Secretary of Labor for four years in the Obama administration.

15 Nutritional fig. : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

18 Apple tablet option : IPAD PRO

The iPad Pro tablet computer, when it was released in November 2015, featured a larger screen than all prior iPad models. The iPad Pro also came with some interesting accessories, including an attachable keyboard and the Apple Pencil.

20 Popular analgesic : ALEVE

“Aleve” is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

Our word “analgesic”, meaning “painkiller”comes from “analgesia”, a Greek word meaning “painlessness”.

21 Belgian city that hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics : ANTWERP

The port city of Antwerp is the second most populous urban area in Belgium after the capital Brussels. To most of the French-speaking population of the country, Antwerp is known as Anvers. The city’s economy is driven by the volume of traffic through the port, as well as trade in diamonds.

23 One of the rooms in Clue : LIBRARY

Clue is a board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

24 N.B.A. superstar Durant : KEVIN

Kevin Durant is a professional basketball player who started his career in the NBA with the Seattle Supersonics, and relocated with the team to Oklahoma City where they became the Thunder. You might come across Durant on the big screen as well, as he starred in the children’s film “Thunderstruck” in 2012.

26 Gilbert and ___ Islands (former colonial names of Kiribati and Tuvalu) : ELLICE

Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation that was formerly called the Ellice Islands. It lies midway between Hawaii and Australia. Tuvalu is the third least populous sovereign state in the world with under 11,000 inhabitants, ahead of Vatican City and Nauru.

28 Levy of “Schitt’s Creek” : EUGENE

Eugene Levy is a Canadian actor. He is the only actor to have appeared in all of the “American Pie” movies. Levy plays the clueless, but loving, Dad.

29 When the Lascaux caves were painted : STONE AGE

The cave paintings in a cave complex near the village of Lascaux in southwestern France are perhaps the best-known examples in the world of Upper Paleolithic art. The paintings are about 17,300 years old, are about 2,000 in number and mainly depict large animals and human figures. The cave complex was discovered in 1940 by an 18-year-old man, and was opened to the public in 1948. However, public access has created many problems with damage to the paintings caused by carbon dioxide and by fungus and mold. Right now, human access to the caves is extremely limited.

33 Much of Goya’s output : FRIJOLES

Goya Foods is a supplier of food products headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company was founded in 1936 by two immigrants from Spain.

35 Japanese beer brand : KIRIN

Kirin lager is the oldest brand of beer in Japan. The “Kirin” name comes from the Japanese word for a mythical Chinese creature.

36 San Francisco’s ___ Valley : NOE

Noe Valley is a neighborhood in San Francisco. The area is named after José de Jesús Noé who was the last Mexican mayor of Yerba Buena, which is what San Francisco was called when it was part of Mexico.

38 Seaweed used to wrap sushi : NORI

Nori is an edible seaweed that we used to know as “laver” when we were living in Wales. Nori is usually dried into thin sheets. Here in the US, we are most familiar with nori as the seaweed used as a wrap for sushi.

41 Descriptor of almost a million and a half Californians : SAN DIEGAN

The name of the California city of San Diego dates back to 1602, when Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno named the area after the Catholic Saint Didacus. Saint Didacus was more commonly referred to as San Diego de Alcalá.

48 Real surname for the authors Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell : BRONTE

The first work that any of the three Brontë sisters had in print was an 1846 collection of poetry that they published jointly. This first work was titled “Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell”, each using a male pen name. Charlotte Brontë published her novel “Jane Eyre” under the name Currer Bell. Emily Brontë followed soon after with “Wuthering Heights” published under the name Ellis Bell. The youngest sister, Anne Brontë, published “Agnes Grey” using the name Acton Bell.

54 Onetime material for tennis racket strings : CATGUT

Catgut is indeed made from the fibers found in the intestine of animals. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, and sometimes other animals, but never cats. It may be that catgut is an abbreviation of “cattlegut”. Ugh!

56 Symbol of Mexico : DAHLIA

The dahlia is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America. It was named the national flower of Mexico relatively recently, in 1963. The plant was given the name dahlia in 1791, in honor of Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.

61 Alpha and Beta Ursae ___ (pointers to 68-Across) : MAJORIS

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

Ursa Minor (Latin for “Smaller Bear”) sits right beside the constellation Draco (Latin for “Dragon”). Ursa Minor used to be considered the wing of Draco, and was once called “Dragon’s Wing”. The tail of the “Smaller Bear” might also be considered as the handle of a ladle, and so the constellation is often referred to as the Little Dipper.

64 Noodle soup : RAMEN

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

68 Guiding light : POLARIS

Because the orientation of the Earth’s axis shifts, albeit very slowly, the position of north relative to the stars changes over time. The bright star that is closest to true north is Polaris, and so we call Polaris the “North Star” or “Pole Star”. 14,000 years ago, the nearest bright star to true north was Vega, and it will be so again in about 12,000 years time.

72 Gentille figure of a French folk song : ALOUETTE

The French-Canadian children’s song starts with, “Alouette, gentille alouette …” “Alouette” is the French word for a bird, the “lark”. The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it was used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists’ penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark that he/she will pluck off one-by-one the lark’s head, nose, eyes, wings and tail.

77 Executive producer of HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” : ISSA RAE

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

81 “___ Lang Syne” : AULD

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

82 Pesky insect : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

88 Horace’s “Hymn to Mercury,” for one : ODE

One of ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus or “Horace”, as we tend to know him. Horace’s most famous work is probably his collection of Latin lyric poems titled “Carmina” (the Latin for “Odes”).

89 New York political family : CUOMOS

Mario Cuomo was Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994. I well remember Mario Cuomo’s keynote address to the 1984 Democratic National Convention soon after I moved to America. For a new immigrant it was an interesting glimpse into American politics. Here’s a little bit of trivia about Mario Cuomo: he was the first ever guest for Larry King on his CNN talk show “Larry King Live”, back in 1985. Cuomo passed away in January 2015 at the age of 82.

Andrew Cuomo won the gubernatorial election for the State of New York (NYS) in 2010. Andrew is the son of former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo. Andrew was also married for 13 years to Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.

91 Fifth-century conqueror defeated in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains : ATTILA

In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains of 451 CE was fought between the Huns and a coalition of Romans and Visigoths. There are many aspects of the battle that are disputed today, including the conclusiveness of the outcome, and the location of the Catalaunian Plains. It is generally agreed that the battle took place in the northeast of modern France, near the city of Troyes. Whether or not the Huns emerged victorious on the day of the battle, it is clear that the Huns returned the following year to invade modern-day Italy and trigger the decline of the Western Roman Empire.

93 Rap’s Lil ___ X : NAS

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

95 Glazer of “Broad City” : ILANA

Ilana Glazer is a comedian from Long Island, New York. Glazer is the co-creator of the Comedy Central sitcom “Broad City” along with comedian Abbi Jacobson.

97 Online source for film facts, in brief : IMDB

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering questions one has about movies and actors.

99 Repugnance : ODIUM

Odium is a strong dislike or aversion. The term “odium” is Latin in origin and relates to the Latin word “odi” meaning “I hate”.

105 Author ___ Carol Oates : JOYCE

Joyce Carol Oates is a remarkable writer, not just for the quality of her work (her 1969 novel “them” won a National Book Award, for example) but also for how prolific her output is. She published her first book in 1963 and since then has published over fifty novels as well as many other written works.

118 Camping gear brand : REI

REI is a sporting goods store, with the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the first American to climb Mount Everest.

119 Letters before an alias : AKA

Also known as (aka)

123 Female mallard : HEN

The mallard is perhaps the most recognizable of all ducks and is also known as the wild duck. The name “mallard” has the same Latin root as our word “male”, probably reflecting how flamboyant the coloring is of the male of the species relative to the female.

126 Kind of protein in tempeh : SOY

Tempeh is a soy product that originated in Indonesia. It is made from soybeans that have been partly cooked and fermented. I’ve had quite a bit of tempeh used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. It doesn’t have an appealing texture to me, so I’m not a fan …

Down

3 Poet Neruda : PABLO

“Pablo Neruda” was the pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Basoalto chose the name as an homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.

4 Company that makes recoverable and reusable rocket boosters : SPACEX

SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is a space transportation company that was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, veteran of PayPal and Tesla Motors. In 2012, SpaceX became the first private concern to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), and in 2020, the first to send humans to the ISS. Apparently, SpaceX is the lowest-price player in the game.

7 Like many chardonnays : OAKY

The chardonnay grape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of France. Now it’s grown “everywhere”. Drinkers of California “chards” seem to be particularly fond of oak flavor, so most chardonnay wines are aged in oak barrels or with oak chips.

8 Last czarina of Russia : ALEXANDRA

Alexandra Feodorovna was the wife of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of the Russian Empire. Famously, Alexandra was murdered by Bolsheviks with the rest of her family in 1918. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the UK. Alexandra and her grandmother were both carriers of the gene causing haemophilia in European royalty in the 19th and 20th centuries. She was also known for her friendship with Grigori Rasputin, the Russian mystic whose influence over the imperial family is said by many to have helped hasten their downfall.

14 Subject of Hokusai’s “Thirty-Six Views” : MT FUJI

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest and most famous mountain. Located just west of Tokyo, Mount Fuji is an active volcano, although its last eruption took place in 1707/1708.

17 Avant’s opposite : APRES

In French, “avant” (before) comes ahead of “après” (after).

30 Joe and co., e.g. : GIS

G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.

33 Excoriated : FLAYED

To excoriate is to abrade or chafe. “Excoriate” also means “to strongly denounce something or someone”.

34 Akira Kurosawa film : RAN

“Ran” is a 1985 Japanese-French film directed by Akira Kurosawa that is in part based on William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. The movie tells of an aging warlord who steps down in favor of his three sons. The title translates from Japanese “Chaos” or “Rebellion”.

38 Peacock streaming inits. : NBC

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has had a number of different logos in its history, including the famous peacock with which we are familiar today. The first peacock logo was introduced in the early days of color television and was designed to illustrate how wonderful color television would be, so go buy one! (NBC was owned by RCA, and so had a vested interest in sales of color television sets).

39 Italian time unit : ORA

In Italian, an “ora” (hour) is 1/24 of “un giorno” (a day).

45 Rose of rock : AXL

Axl Rose is the lead vocalist of the American rock band Guns N’ Roses.

47 Spanish title: Abbr. : SRA

The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).

49 Tower topper : TURRET

A turret is a small tower, with the word “turret” coming to us from Latin via French. The French word is “tourette” meaning “small tower” (small “tour”).

52 Buffoon : IDIOT

A buffoon is a clown or jester, although the word “buffoon” tends to be used more figuratively to describe someone foolish and ridiculous. The term comes from the Italian “buffa” meaning “joke”.

58 Is at the Forum? : EST

The Latin “forum” (plural “fora”) translates as “marketplace, town square”. “The Roman Forum” is the most famous example of such a space. The Forum at the heart of the city of Rome is surrounded by the ruins of several ancient government buildings, and has been referred to as the most celebrated meeting place in the world.

61 ___ Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China : MACAO

Macau (also “Macao”) is an autonomous territory of China located on the Pearl River estuary about 40 miles west of Hong Kong. Macau was a Portuguese colony from the mid-1500s until 1999. It was in fact the first European colony in China, and the last, having been handed back to the Chinese in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was returned by the British. Macau’s economy is driven by tourism and gambling. The territory’s gaming revenue is the highest for any gambling center in the world.

63 Unit in thermodynamics : JOULE

James Joule was an English physicist who spent much of his life working in the family brewing business. Joule used his work in the brewery to study the relationship between heat and mechanical work. In honor of his achievements, his name is used for the unit of energy in the International System of Units (i.e. the joule).

66 Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA

Missing in action (MIA)

70 Singer Aguilera’s alter ego : XTINA

Christina Aguilera is a singer who got her start on television’s “Star Search”. From there she took a role on Disney’s “The Mickey Mouse Club”. Like several singers today it seems, Aguilera developed a more provocative alter ego for herself. She had a few body piercings, dyed her hair black and adopted the name “Xtina”.

78 Like Vulcans, typically : STOIC

Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). We get our adjective “stoic”, meaning “indifferent to pleasure or pain”, from the same root.

Vulcans are an alien race in the “Star Trek” franchise. The most famous (half-) Vulcan is Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Spock’s father is a Vulcan, and his mother is human.

79 Central Asia’s ___ Mountains : ALTAI

The Altai Mountains are a range in Asia, located where the countries of Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan meet. “Altai” is Turkic for “Golden Mountain”.

85 1969-74, politically : NIXON ERA

Future US president Richard Nixon might have claimed exemption from the draft during WWII as he was a Quaker from birth. Instead, he sought a commission in the US Navy and was made a lieutenant junior grade in the Naval Reserve in 1942. After a year-long stint in Iowa, Lieutenant Nixon requested sea duty and was assigned to the South Pacific Theater. Nixon was in charge of several logistic operations supporting combat while stationed at Guadalcanal and Green Island in Papua New Guinea.

90 Like the three-toed sloth, among all animals : SLOWEST

All four of the extant species of three-toed sloths are native to South and Central America. Cousins of the three-toed sloths are the two-toed sloths, of which there are two species still living.

94 Clear, as crystal : BUS

A busboy is a person who assists a waiter, mainly by clearing tables. The verb “to bus” arose in the early 1900s and is probably a reference to the wheeled cart that was used to carry dishes.

96 Like Parmesan, but not mozzarella : AGED

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

99 Noted book club leader : OPRAH

“Oprah’s Book Club” was a segment that started in 1996 on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Each book reviewed was a personal recommendation by Winfrey herself. The first book reviewed was “The Deep End of the Ocean” by Jacquelyn Mitchard. The original book club ended in 2011, but there’s now a reboot known as “Oprah’s Book Club 2.0” that focuses on digital media now that “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is no more.

100 Male mallard : DRAKE

The mallard is perhaps the most recognizable of all ducks and is also known as the wild duck. The name “mallard” has the same Latin root as our word “male”, probably reflecting how flamboyant the coloring is of the male of the species relative to the female.

101 Certain caucus voter : IOWAN

The Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event in the nominating process for US presidential candidates since 1972.

A caucus is a meeting of supporters of a particular political group. It is believed that the term was first used in the original North American colonies.

103 1938 prize for Pearl S. Buck : NOBEL

Pearl S. Buck’s novel “The Good Earth” won a Pulitzer in 1932, and helped Buck win the Nobel Prize for literature a few years later. The novel tells of life in a Chinese village and follows the fortunes of Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan. Although “The Good Earth” has been around for decades, it hit the bestseller list again in 2004 when it was a pick for Oprah’s Book Club.

104 Big name in trading cards : TOPPS

Topps was a relaunch of an older company called American Leaf Tobacco, with the Topps name used from 1938. The earlier company was in trouble because it could not get supplies of its Turkish tobacco, so it moved into another chewy industry, making bubblegum. Nowadays, Topps is known for including (mainly) sports-themed trading cards in the packs of gum.

106 W.W. I Belgian battle locale : YPRES

Ypres is a Belgian city located close to the French border. In WWI, Ypres was the scene of three devastating battles that resulted in almost a million casualties, including many who suffered in gas attacks.

107 Green with the 2010 hit “Forget You” : CEELO

“CeeLo Green” is the stage name of rapper Thomas DeCarlo Callaway. Apparently Green is one of the coaches for the contestants on the singing TV show “The Voice”. That’s all I need to know …

108 Enlighten : EDIFY

To edify is to provide instruction in order to improve spiritually, morally or intellectually. The intent is to “build up” someone’s faith or morality, and so “edify” comes from the Latin “aedificare” meaning “to build, construct”. This Latin root also gives us our word “edifice”, meaning “massive building”.

110 Roger’s cousin? : COPY

The term “roger”, meaning “yes” or “acknowledged”, comes from the world of radiotelephony. The British military used a phonetic alphabet in the fifties that included “Roger” to represent the letter “R”. As such, it became customary to say “Roger” when acknowledging a message, with R (Roger) standing for “received”.

113 Ireland, poetically : ERIN

“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. The related “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

116 Smartphone network std. : LTE

In the world of telecommunications, the initialism LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution, and is wireless broadband communication standard. In general terms, LTE improves broadband speeds. As I understand it, LTE technology allows a 3G network to perform almost as well as a true 4G network, and so LTE is sometimes marketed as 4G LTE, even though it’s really “3G plus”.

117 Home to the Nittany Lions, for short : PSU

The athletic teams of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) are called the Nittany Lions, or in the case of the female teams, the Lady Lions. The Nittany Lion was introduced as a mascot way back in 1904 and is modeled after mountain lions that used to roam Mount Nittany located near the school’s campus.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Symbol of royalty in ancient Egypt : ASP
4 Wouldn’t stand for it? : SAT
7 They have springs in the middle : OASES
12 ___ Perez, former Democratic National Committee chair : TOM
15 Nutritional fig. : RDA
18 Apple tablet option : IPAD PRO
20 Popular analgesic : ALEVE
21 Belgian city that hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics : ANTWERP
23 One of the rooms in Clue : LIBRARY
24 N.B.A. superstar Durant : KEVIN
25 Voting “aye” : IN FAVOR
26 Gilbert and ___ Islands (former colonial names of Kiribati and Tuvalu) : ELLICE
27 Give way : YIELD
28 Levy of “Schitt’s Creek” : EUGENE
29 When the Lascaux caves were painted : STONE AGE
32 Furthermore : AND
33 Much of Goya’s output : FRIJOLES
35 Japanese beer brand : KIRIN
36 San Francisco’s ___ Valley : NOE
37 In which “Stella” means “star” : LATIN
38 Seaweed used to wrap sushi : NORI
41 Descriptor of almost a million and a half Californians : SAN DIEGAN
44 Porridge, essentially : OATS
48 Real surname for the authors Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell : BRONTE
51 With a yawn, say : TIREDLY
52 Less certain : IFFIER
54 Onetime material for tennis racket strings : CATGUT
55 “That much is clear” : I CAN SEE
56 Symbol of Mexico : DAHLIA
57 Country with roughly 6,000 islands : GREECE
59 Where a pop-up leads : AD SITE
61 Alpha and Beta Ursae ___ (pointers to 68-Across) : MAJORIS
64 Noodle soup : RAMEN
68 Guiding light : POLARIS
72 Gentille figure of a French folk song : ALOUETTE
74 Lord’s title : SIR
75 Originally from : NATIVE TO
76 Place to take a suit : COURT
77 Executive producer of HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” : ISSA RAE
80 Risk : PERIL
81 “___ Lang Syne” : AULD
82 Pesky insect : GNAT
84 Something to notice in passing? : LANE
87 It’s between micro- and pico- : NANO-
88 Horace’s “Hymn to Mercury,” for one : ODE
89 New York political family : CUOMOS
91 Fifth-century conqueror defeated in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains : ATTILA
93 Rap’s Lil ___ X : NAS
94 Reliable supporters : BASE
95 Glazer of “Broad City” : ILANA
97 Online source for film facts, in brief : IMDB
99 Repugnance : ODIUM
102 Disguised : INCOGNITO
105 Author ___ Carol Oates : JOYCE
109 Wine that may be made spumante or frizzante : PROSECCO
111 Little : WEE
112 Bested : ONE-UPPED
114 Gritty, in a sense : RAW
115 Ones committing a party foul … or the images depicted in this puzzle’s grid? : DOUBLE-DIPPERS
118 Camping gear brand : REI
119 Letters before an alias : AKA
120 Surprising wins : UPSETS
121 Jeu d’___ (witticism) : ESPRIT
122 Little one : ELF
123 Female mallard : HEN
124 Grommet : EYELET
125 Black-eyed ___ (flowers) : SUSANS
126 Kind of protein in tempeh : SOY

Down

1 They get the wheels turning : AXLES
2 Like proverbial milk : SPILT
3 Poet Neruda : PABLO
4 Company that makes recoverable and reusable rocket boosters : SPACEX
5 Overdue amount : ARREAR
6 Content of a Kinder Egg : TOY
7 Like many chardonnays : OAKY
8 Last czarina of Russia : ALEXANDRA
9 Celestial figure depicted in this puzzle’s grid, in Roman folklore : SEVEN OXEN
10 Unforgivable acts, say : EVIL DEEDS
11 iPhone button with an up arrow on it : SEND
12 Duty : TAX
13 About to enter the stage, say : ON NEXT
14 Subject of Hokusai’s “Thirty-Six Views” : MT FUJI
15 Delight (in) : REVEL
16 Go on and on : DRONE
17 Avant’s opposite : APRES
19 Celestial figure depicted in this puzzle’s grid, in African American folklore : DRINKING GOURD
22 Celestial figure depicted in this puzzle’s grid, in Babylonian folklore : WAGON OF HEAVEN
30 Joe and co., e.g. : GIS
31 Sharing maternal lines : ENATIC
33 Excoriated : FLAYED
34 Akira Kurosawa film : RAN
38 Peacock streaming inits. : NBC
39 Italian time unit : ORA
40 Utter nonsense : ROT
42 Like five-star hotels vis-à-vis three-star ones : NICER
43 Gather : GLEAN
45 Rose of rock : AXL
46 Nickname on a ranch : TEX
47 Spanish title: Abbr. : SRA
49 Tower topper : TURRET
50 Digital writing : E-TEXT
52 Buffoon : IDIOT
53 Brawler’s memento : FAT LIP
58 Is at the Forum? : EST
60 Steamy place : SPA
61 ___ Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China : MACAO
62 For all to hear : ALOUD
63 Unit in thermodynamics : JOULE
65 Chump : ASS
66 Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA
67 Fumble : ERR
69 Went into syndication, e.g. : RERAN
70 Singer Aguilera’s alter ego : XTINA
71 Star performances, maybe : SOLOS
73 This is a test : EXAM
75 “Gee, that’s swell!” : NEAT!
78 Like Vulcans, typically : STOIC
79 Central Asia’s ___ Mountains : ALTAI
82 “Gloomy” guy : GUS
83 “That’s just unacceptable” : NO EXCUSE
85 1969-74, politically : NIXON ERA
86 Tree that lends its name to a programming language : ELM
89 Matured, in a way : CAME DUE
90 Like the three-toed sloth, among all animals : SLOWEST
91 New wings : ANNEXES
92 Tweaks : ADJUSTS
94 Clear, as crystal : BUS
96 Like Parmesan, but not mozzarella : AGED
98 Bouncy jazz genre : BOP
99 Noted book club leader : OPRAH
100 Male mallard : DRAKE
101 Certain caucus voter : IOWAN
103 1938 prize for Pearl S. Buck : NOBEL
104 Big name in trading cards : TOPPS
106 W.W. I Belgian battle locale : YPRES
107 Green with the 2010 hit “Forget You” : CEELO
108 Enlighten : EDIFY
110 Roger’s cousin? : COPY
113 Ireland, poetically : ERIN
116 Smartphone network std. : LTE
117 Home to the Nittany Lions, for short : PSU

11 thoughts on “0725-21 NY Times Crossword 25 Jul 21, Sunday”

  1. 20:33. The theme is pretty clever but I think loses something in the online puzzle, where the X and I can’t be overlaid.

    A couple sections slowed me down a bit; ELLICE and ALTAI in particular.

  2. 34:49, no errors. A marvelous construction! I did it on my iPad and wasted a certain amount of time on the “rebus” squares before deciding to just go with an “X” in each of them. At the end, I printed a paper copy to enshrine in my personal “Hall of Fame Crosswords” file. A work of art in more ways than one!

  3. 28:39 Filling the circles confused me at first (confusion – a state I am often in) since I wasn’t thinking Rebus for a Sunday. So I had a lot of early miscues. Once I figured that out I didn’t bother to go back and put an I/X in the circles, tho I was still wondering if they represented roman numerals for 9 or 11. The astronomical theme didn’t really help me. But at the end the online app drew the big and little dippers for me. Clever construction. See writeup in more detail on Wordplay discussion.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/24/crosswords/daily-puzzle-2021-07-25.html

  4. After my timer ran out in two hours I gave it 30 more minutes and still had the SW corner only half finished…I am glad you found this puzzle so interesting but I am writing the setters name down so if I ever see another puzzle by him I will know not to waste my time👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎
    Stay safe🙄

  5. I went to the links provided b y others above.. this was her debut puzzle! I saw the dippers but the astronomy references were definitely out of my wheelhouse. But congrats to her. It looked complicated.

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