1205-21 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 21, Sunday

Constructed by: Chase Dittrich & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme Come Again?

Themed answers are common phrases reflecting the twice iterated word in the clue:

  • 24A … FLOOR FLOOR FLOOR … : NEVERENDING STORY
  • 32A … GRIZZLY GRIZZLY GRIZZLY … : BEARS REPEATING
  • 45A… PROPOSAL PROPOSAL PROPOSAL … : PERPETUAL MOTION
  • 72A … COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL … : AD INFINITUM
  • 97A … AMBITION AMBITION AMBITION … : RECURRING DREAMS
  • 106A … STAIRS STAIRS STAIRS … : NONSTOP FLIGHTS
  • 115A … CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION … : CONTINUITY OF CARE

Bill’s time: 27m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15 Yukon automaker : GMC

The GMC Yukon is basically the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Tahoe.

20 With 116-Down, artificial intelligence system that mimics the human brain : NEURAL …
(116D See 20-Across : … NET)

It used to be that “neural network” was just the name given to a network of nerve cells in an organism. In the modern world, the term “neural net” (short for “neural network”) also applies to virtual or electronic devices designed to mimic the function of the human brain, and in particular learning from past experiences.

21 Who is “too small to make a difference,” per a Greta Thunberg book title : NO ONE

Greta Thunberg is an environmental activist from Sweden who came to national attention in her homeland when she was just 15 years old. In 2018, she went on strike from school and paraded with placards in front of the Swedish parliament to pressure the government to take stronger action to address climate change. She then took part in demonstrations across Europe, and became a regular speaker at such events. She addressed the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit at the UN headquarters, opting to sail to New York from Sweden, rather than fly. When she was named “Time” Person of the Year in 2019 at 16 years old, Thunberg was the youngest person ever to be so honored.

22 Propel, as a shell : OAR

A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”. And, a scull is also an oar mounted on the stern of a small boat. It’s all very confusing …

23 “… and to ___ good night!” : ALL A

Here are the closing lines to the Christmas poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

29 Home to the Burj Khalifa, for short : UAE

Burj Khalifa is a spectacular skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest man-made structure in the world, and has been so since the completion of its exterior in 2009. The space in the building came onto the market at a really bad time, during the global financial crisis. The building was part of a US$20 billion development of downtown Dubai that was backed by the city government which had to go looking for a bailout from the neighboring city of Abu Dhabi. The tower was given the name Burj Khalifa at the last minute, apparently as a nod to UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who helped to broker the bailout.

31 Stark who was crowned Queen of the North on “Game of Thrones” : SANSA

“A Game of Thrones” is the first novel in the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin titled “A Song of Ice and Fire”. That first novel’s title gives its name to “Game of Thrones”, the incredibly popular HBO television series that uses the storyline from the whole series of books.

32 … GRIZZLY GRIZZLY GRIZZLY … : BEARS REPEATING

The North American brown bear is usually referred to as the grizzly bear. The name “grizzly” was given to the bear by Lewis and Clark. The term “grizzly” might mean “with grey-tipped hair”, or “fear-inspiring”. Both definitions seem to be apt …

39 First responder, for short : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

40 Percussion instrument of African origin : MARIMBA

A marimba is a musical instrument that is somewhat like a large xylophone. The marimba originated in Mexico.

43 What some kings and queens dress in : DRAG

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

49 Kind of milk : SOY

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

50 Rapper with more than 20 Grammys : KANYE WEST

Kanye West is a rap singer who was born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. He also spent some time in Nanjing, China as a child, where his mother was teaching as part of an exchange program. West is married to reality star Kim Kardashian.

52 Click ___ (artificial increasers of website hits) : FARMS

Clickbait is trickery used by website designers to entice a reader to click on a particular link. That link may be a disguised ad, so that the website owner gets some income from the advertiser.

53 Goddess of the dawn : EOS

In Greek mythology, Eos was the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos was Aurora. Rather delightfully, Homer referred to Eos as “rosy-fingered dawn” in both “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.

55 Pet lovers’ org. : ASPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

60 James who sang “I Sing the Blues” : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

65 Roy Lichtenstein’s genre : POP ART

An artistic work in the pop art style includes images taken from popular culture, perhaps from the news or an advertisement. The pop art movement started in the mid-fifties in Britain and emerged in the late-fifties in the US. One of the more famous pop artists was American Andy Warhol.

Roy Lichtenstein was a pop artist from New York City, and a contemporary of Andy Warhol. He was famous for his “cartoon-strip” paintings, especially works called “Whaam!” and “Drowning Girl”. If you saw the Ben Stiller film “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, you might remember Lichtenstein’s painting “Crying Girl” coming to life as part of the plot.

74 Steve with eight N.B.A. championship rings : KERR

Steve Kerr is a retired NBA basketball player who moved into team management. Kerr was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of an American academic who specialized in Middle East studies. Kerr’s father was assassinated by militant nationalists in Beirut when Steve was 19 years old.

78 Philosopher who wrote “A Treatise of Human Nature” : HUME

David Hume was a philosopher and historian from Scotland. One of his greatest works is the massive “The History of England”, which was published in six volumes from 1754 to 1762. The massive tome covers the nation’s history from the Roman conquest of Britain led by Julius Caesar in 55 BCE, up to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that removed King James II from the throne and replaced him with William III and Mary II.

83 They’re explained by Newton’s law of universal gravitation : TIDES

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

According to Newton’s law of universal gravitation, a particle of matter is attracted to every other particle in the universe. This attractive gravitational force increases with the mass of the attracting particles, and decreases with the distance between them.

101 Actor Spall of “Prometheus” : RAFE

Rafe Spall is an actor from London, England who is perhaps best known for playing Yann Martel in the “Life of Pi”. In that role, Spall actually replaced Tobey Maguire in post-production.

102 Literally, “I bow to you” : NAMASTE

In the Hindu tradition, “namaste” is a respectful greeting meaning “I bow to the divine in you”. The greeting usually includes a slight bow made with the palms of the hand pressed together, pointing upwards in front of the body.

103 Op. ___ (footnote abbr.) : CIT

“Op. cit.” is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to ibid, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.

106 … STAIRS STAIRS STAIRS … : NONSTOP FLIGHTS

A landing is the area at the top and bottom of a staircase. Apparently, we called the steps between the landings a “flight” of stairs, because one “flies” between landings! Can that be true?

109 ___ di Pietro, artist better known as Fra Angelico : GUIDO

Fra Angelico was an Italian Renaissance artist. The name we use for him in English translates as “Angelic friar”. His birth name was Guido di Pietro.

111 Ta-ta : CIAO

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

113 “Let’s Stay Together” singer, 1971 : AL GREEN

Al Green is a gospel and soul music singer. Green was born in Arkansas, where he started out as a gospel singer and moved into R&B. In 1974, he was assaulted by a girlfriend who burned him badly on much of his body by pouring boiling grits over him (and then she committed suicide). The incident changed Green’s life and he turned to the church, becoming a pastor in Memphis in 1976. He continued to record music, but never really enjoyed the same success that he had in the early seventies with hits like “Let’s Stay Together” and “I’m Still In Love With You”.

123 Pablo Neruda work : ODE

“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.

125 Many an informant employed by Sherlock Holmes : URCHIN

Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1887 novel, “A Study in Scarlet“. Amazingly, Conan Doyle wrote the novel in under three weeks, while working as a 27-year-old doctor. Mind you, he only got paid 25 pounds for all the rights to the story. I suppose it’s a good job that he only devoted a few weeks to it.

126 Org. involved in the Scopes Monkey Trial : ACLU

In 1925, Tennessee passed the Butler Act which made it unlawful for a public school teacher to teach the theory of evolution over the Biblical account of the origin of man. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought to challenge this law and found a test case of a Tennessee high school teacher named John Scopes, who was charged with violating the law by presenting to his students ideas put forth by Charles Darwin. Celebrity lawyers descended on the small town of Dayton, Tennessee to argue the case. Three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan prosecuted the case, and famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow spoke for John Scopes. At the end of a high-profile trial, Scopes was found guilty as charged and was ordered to pay a fine.

127 R.S.V.P. option : YES

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

129 Pocketful in ring-around-the-rosy : POSIES

“Ring a Ring o’ Roses” is a nursery rhyme that I well remember from my childhood.

Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.

The lyrics tend to be a little different over here in North America:

Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.

There’s an urban legend that the rhyme refers to the Great Plague that struck England in 1665. The inference is that “ring o’roses” is a rosy rash, and that “posies” of herbs were carried to ward off the disease. Victims would sneeze “a-tishoo” and “all fall down” dead.

130 Syracuse-to-Albany dir. : ESE

Syracuse is a large city in Central New York. The settlement that eventually became Syracuse was given its name in 1825, in honor of the city of Syracuse in Sicily. It just so happens that the US company that employed me in Ireland transferred me to Syracuse, New York, way back in 1983. As a result, I have fond memories of the city, and visit as often as I can …

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany. It became the capital of New York State in 1797.

Down

2 Christmas fir : BALSAM

The Balsam fir is an evergreen tree that is native to eastern and central North America. The Balsam is commonly used as a Christmas tree, especially in the northeastern US.

5 One gifted with the “inner eye” : SEER

The “third eye” is also known as the “inner eye”. The term refers to the concept of an invisible eye that allows one to perceive beyond ordinary sight, to gain insight.

6 Word on a candy heart : LUV

The forerunner to Sweethearts candy was introduced in 1866, with the famous sayings written on the candy tailored for use at weddings. One of the original expressions was, “Married in pink, he will take a drink”. The original candy was a lot bigger, to fit all those words! The smaller, heart-shaped candy hit the shelves in 1901. We’ve been able to buy Sweethearts with the words “Text me” since 2010.

9 ___ cavity (where the lungs are located) : PLEURAL

The pleurae (singular “pleura”) are the membranes that surround the lungs. The condition in which the pleurae become inflamed is known as pleurisy.

11 Hawaiian taro dish : POI

I am a big fan of starch (being an Irishman I love potatoes). That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

14 Vehicle company with a market value over $1 trillion : TESLA

Tesla Motors shortened its name to just “Tesla” in early 2017.

15 Adventurous kids in a 1985 film : GOONIES

“The Goonies” is a 1985 movie based on a story written by Steven Spielberg. It is an adventure film, with the title characters being a group of young treasure hunters from the fictional Goon Docks neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon (hence the movie’s title). I haven’t seen this one …

19 Some diaper changers : DADS

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term “diaper” was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, “diaper” was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

25 Rapper dissed by Jay-Z in “Takeover” : NAS

Rapper Nas used to go by an earlier stage name “Nasty Nas”, and before that by his real name “Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones”. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001.

28 Popular Toyotas : CAMRYS

The Toyota Camry takes its name from the Japanese word for “crown”. Toyota management likes the idea of naming their cars after the word “crown”, as they did with the Toyota Crown, followed by the Toyota Corona (Latin for “crown”) and the Toyota Corolla (Latin for “small crown”).

32 How a zombie might spread the infection : BITE

A zombie is a corpse that has been brought back to life by some mystical means. Our modern use of the term largely stems from the undead creatures featured in the 1968 horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. Now that film I haven’t seen, and probably never will …

33 Ostrich relatives : EMUS

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

34 Peter out : ABATE

The verb phrase “to peter out”, meaning “to fizzle out”, originated in the 1840s in the American mining industry. While the exact etymology isn’t clear, it probably derives from the term “saltpetre”, a constituent of gunpowder.

35 “Symphony in Black” artist : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. “Erté” is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

37 The “grand slam” of showbiz awards, in brief : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards. Also known as the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam”, there are relatively few individuals who have been so honored. The first five to do so were:

  1. Richard Rodgers in 1962
  2. Helen Hayes in 1977
  3. Rita Moreno in 1977
  4. John Gielgud in 1991
  5. Audrey Hepburn in 1994 (posthumously)

38 Like some apparel, in song : GAY

“Don we now our gay apparel” is a line from the Christmas carol “Deck the Halls”.

42 Opposite of FF : REW

We might fast-forward (FF) or rewind (REW) a recorded movie.

46 Together : EN MASSE

“En masse” is a French term, one that best translates as “as a group”

47 Kind of jar : MASON

Mason jars were invented in 1858 in Philadelphia, by a tinsmith named John Landis Mason.

48 Org. that hires cryptanalysts : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) runs an annual Codebreaker Challenge that is aimed mainly at the student population. As best I can tell, the focus of the challenge is reverse software engineering. Checking out the Codebreaker Challenge website suggests that the NSA runs this program in order to identify and attract potential new employees.

50 Samurai’s sword : KATANA

A katana is a curved sword worn by the samurai of Japan. A katana is sometimes referred to as a “samurai sword”.

56 Religion that emphasizes seva, or “selfless service” : SIKHISM

Sikhism is a religion that was founded in the Punjab region, which straddles the India-Pakistan border. Even though Sikhism was established relatively recently, it is now the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Sikhism was founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak.

58 Sandiego not usually found in San Diego : CARMEN

The “Carmen Sandiego” franchise is a remarkably clever and helpful series of computer games and other media that is designed to educate users (primarily children). The applications were originally designed to use an exciting espionage motif in order to expose young people to geography and history, and even math, English and other subjects.

59 Lew ___, portrayer of Dr. Kildare : AYRES

Hollywood actor Lew Ayres got his big break in “All Quiet On the Western Front”. Famously, he also played Dr. Kildare in several movies. Ayres’ private life wasn’t too dull. He was married three times, Lola Lane and Ginger Rogers being wives one and two. Ayres was also the man for whom actress Jane Wyman left her husband Ronald Reagan, although the Ayres-Wyman relationship didn’t last very long.

Dr. Kildare started out as the main character in a series of films in the thirties and forties. He then became the central persona in a fifties radio show, and a very successful sixties television drama starring Richard Chamberlain in the title role.

61 Badger : NAG

To badger is to harass. The verb “to badger” comes from the cruel practice of badger-baiting, which dates back to medieval times. Badger-baiting is a blood sport in which a dog is used as bait for a badger in its den, to draw it out into the open. The den is an artificial structure built to resemble a natural badgers’ den, complete with a tunnel entrance. The dog is sent down the tunnel causing the badger and dog to lock their jaws on each other. The badger and dog are then removed from the den by pulling on the dog’s tail. Horrible …

62 Brouhaha : ADO

“Brouhaha”, meaning “ado, stir”, was a French word that back in the 1550s meant “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy” . Wow!

63 When doubled, boring result in the Premier League : NIL

The best soccer teams in England and Wales play in the Premier League. The league was founded in 1992 as the FA Premier League to take advantage of a generous television deal. Today, the Premier League is the most-watched soccer league in the world.

64 Word commonly following the Oxford comma : … AND

Also called an Oxford comma and Harvard comma, a serial comma is the comma in a list of terms before the word “and”, as in “clues, answers, and crosswords”. The use of the Oxford comma is controversial, accepted more on this side of the Atlantic than the other. Personally, I use the Oxford comma when it seems appropriate verbally, when a pause adds to the sentence. But then, my English teacher really didn’t approve of any of my opinions …

67 What seven did to nine, in a joke : ATE

Why is six afraid of seven?

Because seven ate nine!

69 Celebrity gossip site : TMZ

TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip website launched in 2005 by producer Harvey Levin. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard.

73 Like New Jerseyans vis-à-vis New Yorkers : FEWER

I say avoid any express checkout lane in a market that is labeled “10 items or less”. It should be “10 items or fewer”. I know, I know … I should calm down … and get a life …

82 Someone’s in the kitchen with her, in song : DINAH

“Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah” is a line from the American folk song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”. The section with this line is actually “lifted” from an older song published as, “Old Joe, or Somebody in the House with Dinah”.

83 Savory Chinese snack : TEA EGG

The tea egg is a dish from Chinese cuisine made by boiling an egg in water, cracking the shell, and then reboiling the egg in tea or a spiced sauce. Often sold as a snack food, the tea egg is also called a marble egg, referring to the marbled appearance of the cracked shell after boiling in a colored liquid.

85 Grinder : HERO

A hero is a submarine sandwich. The hero originated in New York City in the 1800s among Italian immigrants who wanted an Italian sandwich that reminded them of home. The name “hero” was coined in the 1930s, supposedly by a food critic in the “New York Herald Tribune” when he wrote that “one had to be a hero” to finish the gigantic sandwich. Hero is a prevalent term to this day in New York City, reserved for a submarine sandwich with an Italian flavor.

The etymology of “grinder”, as a name for a sandwich, is unknown. That said, it is known that the term dates back to 1954. It is speculated that eating the large sandwich requires a lot of chewing, and hence the name “grinder”.

87 Dennis the Menace’s appropriately named dog : RUFF

“Dennis the Menace” is a comic strip that first appeared in 1951, and was originally drawn by Hank Ketcham. The strip made the jump over the years from the newspaper to television and the silver screen. Dennis’s full name is Dennis Mitchell, and his parents are Henry and Alice (Johnson) Mitchell. Dennis’s nemesis is his neighbor, Mister George Everett Wilson. Hank Ketcham drew his inspiration for the story from his real life. When he introduced the strip he had a 4-year-old son called Dennis, and a wife named Alice.

88 Bishops, e.g. : PRELATES

A prelate is a high-ranking clergy member. “Prelate” comes from the Latin “praelatus” meaning “to set above”, so a prelate is one who is set above others.

90 Execs: Abbr. : MGMT

Management (mgmt.)

91 Smartphone predecessors, for short : PDAS

Personal digital assistant (PDA)

94 Prefix with binary : NON-

The non-binary spectrum of gender identities covers those that do not qualify as exclusively masculine or feminine.

95 Male etiquette, as described by Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother” : BRO CODE

“How I Met Your Mother” is a sitcom that CBS has been airing since 2005. The main character is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor. Mosby is also the narrator for the show looking back from the year 2030 (the live action is set in the present). As narrator, the older Mosby character is voiced by Bob Saget.

96 Eyeteeth : CANINES

The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The prefix “eye-” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.

98 Clique : IN-GROUP

A clique is a small, exclusive group of people. The term “clique” comes to us from France, where it has the same meaning. In French, it somehow evolved in meaning from the original “clique” meaning a sharp noise, or as we would say today, “click”.

100 Exam with a 35-minute timed essay, in brief : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

105 Notable chameleon feature : TONGUE

Chameleons are a family of Old World lizards, many of which have the ability to change their skin coloration and pattern. The term “chameleon” is simplified Latin, and is ultimately derived from the Greek for “lion of the ground”.

110 ___ Minor : URSA

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.

113 Singer India.___ : ARIE

India.Arie is an American soul and R&B singer who was born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado.

114 Part of the eye : LENS

The lens in the eye can change shape, and in so doing change its focal length. This change allows the eye to focus on objects at different distances. The shape of the lens alters due to the action of the eye’s ciliary muscles.

117 Pac-12 athlete : UTE

The Utah Utes are the athletic teams of the University of Utah.

118 Rapscallion : IMP

We might call a little imp a “rapscallion”, an evolution from “rascallion” that in turn comes from “rascal”.

119 ___-yo : FRO

Frozen yogurt (“froyo” or “fro-yo”)

120 They’re found below the “To” field : CC’S

I wonder if 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.

121 Tuna, on a sushi menu : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “Bull” airer : CBS
4 Out : ASLEEP
10 Win for a 10-Down : UPSET
15 Yukon automaker : GMC
18 Set down : LAID
20 With 116-Down, artificial intelligence system that mimics the human brain : NEURAL …
21 Who is “too small to make a difference,” per a Greta Thunberg book title : NO ONE
22 Propel, as a shell : OAR
23 “… and to ___ good night!” : ALL A
24 … FLOOR FLOOR FLOOR … : NEVERENDING STORY
27 It’s got some miles on it : USED CAR
29 Home to the Burj Khalifa, for short : UAE
30 Singular : LONE
31 Stark who was crowned Queen of the North on “Game of Thrones” : SANSA
32 … GRIZZLY GRIZZLY GRIZZLY … : BEARS REPEATING
39 First responder, for short : EMT
40 Percussion instrument of African origin : MARIMBA
43 What some kings and queens dress in : DRAG
44 Maker of the classic video game Frogger : SEGA
45 … PROPOSAL PROPOSAL PROPOSAL … : PERPETUAL MOTION
49 Kind of milk : SOY
50 Rapper with more than 20 Grammys : KANYE WEST
51 Reps : AGENTS
52 Click ___ (artificial increasers of website hits) : FARMS
53 Goddess of the dawn : EOS
55 Pet lovers’ org. : ASPCA
60 James who sang “I Sing the Blues” : ETTA
61 Grandma, affectionately : NANA
65 Roy Lichtenstein’s genre : POP ART
70 Brit’s “How shocking!” : I SAY!
71 What many lifeguards have : TANS
72 … COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL … : AD INFINITUM
74 Steve with eight N.B.A. championship rings : KERR
75 Chemical suffixes : -INES
76 Like the color of honey : GOLDEN
77 “Give me a break, would you?!” : GEEZ!
78 Philosopher who wrote “A Treatise of Human Nature” : HUME
79 Lead-in to ask or suggest : DARE I …
81 Get hitched : WED
83 They’re explained by Newton’s law of universal gravitation : TIDES
84 N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer Shannon : SHARPE
89 Inconveniences : IMPOSES ON
94 Company with a Page Program : NBC
97 … AMBITION AMBITION AMBITION … : RECURRING DREAMS
99 Word-of-mouth : ORAL
101 Actor Spall of “Prometheus” : RAFE
102 Literally, “I bow to you” : NAMASTE
103 Op. ___ (footnote abbr.) : CIT
106 … STAIRS STAIRS STAIRS … : NONSTOP FLIGHTS
109 ___ di Pietro, artist better known as Fra Angelico : GUIDO
111 Ta-ta : CIAO
112 Opposite of down: Abbr. : ACR
113 “Let’s Stay Together” singer, 1971 : AL GREEN
115 … CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION … : CONTINUITY OF CARE
122 Slight problem : SNAG
123 Pablo Neruda work : ODE
124 “Please, I can handle this” : LET ME
125 Many an informant employed by Sherlock Holmes : URCHIN
126 Org. involved in the Scopes Monkey Trial : ACLU
127 R.S.V.P. option : YES
128 Way up or way down : STEPS
129 Pocketful in ring-around-the-rosy : POSIES
130 Syracuse-to-Albany dir. : ESE

Down

1 Part of a contract : CLAUSE
2 Christmas fir : BALSAM
3 Investor behind the scenes : SILENT PARTNER
4 Palindromic feminine name : ANNA
5 One gifted with the “inner eye” : SEER
6 Word on a candy heart : LUV
7 Before, poetically : ERE
8 Piercing spot : EAR
9 ___ cavity (where the lungs are located) : PLEURAL
10 Likely loser : UNDERDOG
11 Hawaiian taro dish : POI
12 Family member inaptly found in “ladies only” : SON
13 High school subj. : ENG
14 Vehicle company with a market value over $1 trillion : TESLA
15 Adventurous kids in a 1985 film : GOONIES
16 Napoleon’s famed war horse : MARENGO
17 Shout : CRY
19 Some diaper changers : DADS
25 Rapper dissed by Jay-Z in “Takeover” : NAS
26 Young ‘uns : TOTS
28 Popular Toyotas : CAMRYS
32 How a zombie might spread the infection : BITE
33 Ostrich relatives : EMUS
34 Peter out : ABATE
35 “Symphony in Black” artist : ERTE
36 Something necessary for gain, they say : PAIN
37 The “grand slam” of showbiz awards, in brief : EGOT
38 Like some apparel, in song : GAY
41 Mimic : APE
42 Opposite of FF : REW
46 Together : EN MASSE
47 Kind of jar : MASON
48 Org. that hires cryptanalysts : NSA
50 Samurai’s sword : KATANA
52 Awful-smelling : FETID
54 Give one’s take : OPINE
56 Religion that emphasizes seva, or “selfless service” : SIKHISM
57 Astrology or palmistry : PSEUDOSCIENCE
58 Sandiego not usually found in San Diego : CARMEN
59 Lew ___, portrayer of Dr. Kildare : AYRES
61 Badger : NAG
62 Brouhaha : ADO
63 When doubled, boring result in the Premier League : NIL
64 Word commonly following the Oxford comma : … AND
66 Messy sort : PIG
67 What seven did to nine, in a joke : ATE
68 Lament : RUE
69 Celebrity gossip site : TMZ
73 Like New Jerseyans vis-à-vis New Yorkers : FEWER
80 Destination for Birthright trips: Abbr. : ISR
82 Someone’s in the kitchen with her, in song : DINAH
83 Savory Chinese snack : TEA EGG
85 Grinder : HERO
86 Put ___ on (limit) : A CAP
87 Dennis the Menace’s appropriately named dog : RUFF
88 Bishops, e.g. : PRELATES
90 Execs: Abbr. : MGMT
91 Smartphone predecessors, for short : PDAS
92 Choice words : ORS
93 Card-matching game : SET
94 Prefix with binary : NON-
95 Male etiquette, as described by Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother” : BRO CODE
96 Eyeteeth : CANINES
98 Clique : IN-GROUP
100 Exam with a 35-minute timed essay, in brief : LSAT
104 What 10s represent : IDEALS
105 Notable chameleon feature : TONGUE
107 Grinds away : TOILS
108 Not friendly : ICY
110 ___ Minor : URSA
113 Singer India.___ : ARIE
114 Part of the eye : LENS
115 Demure : COY
116 See 20-Across : … NET
117 Pac-12 athlete : UTE
118 Rapscallion : IMP
119 ___-yo : FRO
120 They’re found below the “To” field : CC’S
121 Tuna, on a sushi menu : AHI

14 thoughts on “1205-21 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 21, Sunday”

  1. 35:04. A few chuckles in today’s answers. AD INFINITUM and BEARS REPEATING to name two. When I first looked at the grid, I thought there was a face or some image in it. Guess it was just a Rorschach (yes – I had to look up the spelling) test.

    Great clue for ALL A as well. I think we could all use a little holiday cheer about now.

    Best –

  2. 31:31 on a Jeff Chen puzzle? I’ll take it. The bottom right slowed me down as I was at 11 minutes when I got the halfway through notice.

  3. 32:06 No particular problem areas, but it didn’t flow too quickly for me either. I kept reading 89A as a noun rather than a verb and unfamiliar with 58D, so that area was the last to be completed.

  4. One dumb error resulting from a failure to properly check my answers.
    I thought this isn’t a Jeff Chen puzzle because I was doing too well but that changed half way down the grid.
    Stay safe😀

  5. Couple of errors.. but sorry, … not a crossword for… too many “whaaaaattsup with that?” and “huh”?

    Good luck.

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