1226-21 NY Times Crossword 26 Dec 21, Sunday

Constructed by: Christina Iverson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Pest Control

Themed clues need some PEST CONTROL to read properly. We delete a BUG from the clue to make sense of it:

  • 113A Gradually fix something … or what to do to understand this puzzle’s italicized clues? : WORK OUT THE BUGS
  • 21A Malice, more formally : MOTHER (“Ma, more formally”)
  • 32A Antarctic coordinate : NORTH POLE (“Arctic coordinate”)
  • 51A Blouse and broach, perhaps : PUBLIC HOUSE (“B and B, perhaps”)
  • 65A It has many beet and beef options : TRUE/FALSE TEST (“It has many T and F options”)
  • 84A Tickled : SPEARHEADED (“Led”)
  • 96A Pop fly : SOFT DRINK (“Pop”)
  • 37D Antelope, say : GET HITCHED (“Elope”)
  • 47D Approach for directions : GOOGLE MAPS (“App for directions”)

Bill’s time: 25m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 People of the Southwest : APACHE

The Apache are a group of Native American peoples originally from the Southwest US. The Navajo are a separate but related people, through culture and language, and are often described as “Apachean”.

20 Entertainment with a private audience? : USO TOUR

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

22 One wearing chapstick, perhaps : HORSEBACK RIDER (“One wearing chaps, perhaps”)

Chaps are leather leggings that are worn when riding a horse. The purpose of the garment is to provide protection for the legs when riding through bushy terrain, perhaps a heavy thicket. The name “chaps” comes from the Spanish name for the leggings, which is “chaparejos” or “chaparreras”. The Spanish term comes from chaparro, a Spanish word that can be used for a low-growing thicket.

25 Poker variety similar to Texas hold ’em : OMAHA

Omaha is a poker card game similar to Texas hold ‘em. The two games differ in that there are four initial hole cards per player in Omaha, as opposed to just two in Texas hold ’em. And in Omaha, each player’s hand is made up of exactly three cards from the board and exactly two of the player’s own cards.

27 Saves for later, in a way : TIVOS

TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful digital video recorder (DVR).

32 Antarctic coordinate : NORTH POLE (“Arctic coordinate”)

The geographic North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, although there is almost always a covering of sea ice at that location. The geographic South Pole is located on land, on the continent of Antarctica.

35 “A man has cause for ___ only when he sows and no one reaps”: Charles Goodyear : REGRET

The Goodyear tire company was founded in 1898. The company was named for Charles Goodyear, the man who invented vulcanized rubber in 1839. Despite the Goodyear name, Charles Goodyear himself had no connection with the company. Sadly, he never really reaped a financial reward for his inventions.

43 New York City transport stopping at Kennedy Airport : A TRAIN

The A Train in the New York City Subway system runs from 207th Street, through Manhattan and over to Far Rockaway in Queens. The service lends its name to a jazz standard “Take the ‘A’ Train”, the signature tune of Duke Ellington and a song much sung by Ella Fitzgerald. One version of the lyrics are:

You must take the A Train
To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem
If you miss the A Train
You’ll find you’ve missed the quickest way to Harlem
Hurry, get on, now, it’s coming
Listen to those rails a-thrumming (All Aboard!)
Get on the A Train
Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.

The Idlewild Golf Course was taken over by the city of New York in 1943 and construction started on a new airport to serve the metropolis and relieve congestion at LaGuardia. The Idlewild name still persists, even though the airport was named after Major General Alexander E. Anderson from the first days of the project. When the facility started operating in 1948 it was known as New York International Airport, Anderson Field. It was renamed to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 1963, one month after the President was assassinated.

51 Blouse and broach, perhaps : PUBLIC HOUSE (“B and B, perhaps”)

In the US, an intimate inn is a bed & breakfast (B&B). Traditionally, a bed & breakfast back in Ireland is more basic accommodation, and used to be much cheaper than a comparable hotel room.

54 Wet bar? : SOAP

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

55 Form of nepotism, symbolically : SCHOOL TIES

Nepotism is the practice of giving relatives preferential treatment. The term originated during the Middle Ages with favoritism shown by Roman Catholic bishops and popes. The ministers of the church had taken vows of chastity, and some gave prefered positions to their nephews, as they didn’t have sons of their own to favor. The term “nepotism” derives from the Latin “nepos” meaning “nephew”.

62 Person helping with a delivery : OB/GYN

Obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn)

63 Word before film and after clip : ART

Clip art is a collection of ready-made images that can be cut and pasted as perhaps an illustration. The original clip art was “clipped”, i.e. cut, from existing printed works for use in some other published works.

65 It has many beet and beef options : TRUE/FALSE TEST (“It has many T and F options”)

An answer (ans.) might be true (T) or false (F).

70 “___ Trois Petits Cochons” (French fable) : LES

In French, one famous fairy tale is “Les Trois Petits Cochons” (The Three Little Pigs).

The fairy tale about “The Three Little Pigs” has been around for centuries, although it first appeared in print in the 1840s. One little pig built a house using straw and another built one using wood. The cleverest little pig built its house using bricks.

71 Sport at the Special Olympics : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of bocce (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

Eunice Kennedy was the sister of President John F. Kennedy. Eunice married Sargent Shriver, the running mate of George McGovern in the 1972 presidential race (which was won by the incumbent President Nixon). Shriver founded Camp Shriver in 1962, a day camp for children with intellectual disabilities. Camp Shriver became an annual event and was extended to communities across the country with funding from the Kennedy Foundation. A 1968 Chicago derivative of Camp Shriver developed the first “Olympics-style” competition, and at this competition Shriver announced the formation of the Special Olympics Games that we know so well today.

73 G.I. ___ : TRACT

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a tube by which humans and other animals deliver food to the digestive organs, and dispose of solid wastes.

78 War and peace, in “War and Peace” : MAIN THEMES

I have to confess that I have tried to read Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” twice in my life, and failed both times (it is l-o-n-g; 1,225 pages in the first published edition). Even though the 1956 movie adaptation runs for 3 1/2 hours, it’s still the easy way out! The film version stars Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostova and Henry Fonda as Count Pierre Bezukhov.

87 Focus of modern mining : DATA

The process of data mining is used to extract information from a database and present it in a form that facilitates further use.

90 Surround, as with light : ENHALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

91 Considerations for N.C.A.A. eligibility : GPAS

Grade point average (GPA)

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.

92 ___ Wintour, longtime Vogue editor in chief : ANNA

Anna Wintour is fashion editor in Britain, and is also the editor-in-chief of American “Vogue”. Lauren Weisberger wrote the book “The Devil Wears Prada” with the tyrannical main character apparently based on Wintour.

103 Sarge’s boss : LOOIE

A “looie” (lieutenant) has a higher rank than a “noncom” (noncommissioned officer) such as a “sarge” (sergeant).

106 The Venetian way? : CANAL

The city of Venice (“Venezia” in Italian) in northeast Italy is built in a saltwater lagoon on the Adriatic Coast, on 117 small islands. The classic transportation along the waterways is the gondola, but this is really only used for tourists these days, as well as on ceremonial occasions. The locals rely on motorized water-buses.

110 Alternative to Dropbox : ICLOUD

iCloud is an Apple service that features cloud storage and cloud computing.

Dropbox is a big name in the world of cloud data storage.

113 Gradually fix something … or what to do to understand this puzzle’s italicized clues? : WORK OUT THE BUGS

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

116 Briefly, e.g. : CHEESE (“Brie, e.g.”)

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert. Brie is often served baked in puff pastry with fig jam.

117 What’s used to catch some waves : ANTENNA

An antenna’s job is to convert electrical power into radio waves, and radio waves into an electrical signal. The first antennas were built by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1888.

118 Supreme Egyptian god : AMEN-RA

Amun-Ra (also “Amon, Amen”) was a god in Egyptian mythology. Amun lends his name to our word “ammonia”. This is because the Romans called the ammonium chloride that they collected near the Temple of Jupiter Amun, “sal ammoniacus” (salt of Amun).

120 Famous cryptid, familiarly : NESSIE

The monster that is reputed to inhabit the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland is often referred affectionately as “Nessie”.

The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

Down

1 Number of sides on a sign reading “ALTO” : OCHO

In Spanish, an “alto” (stop) sign has “ocho” (eight) sides.

In the US, a stop sign is red and octagonal.

3 ___ mater (brain cover) : DURA

The three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord are referred to as the meninges. From the inside to the outside, these membranes are known as:

  • the pia mater (“tender mother” in Latin)
  • the arachnoid mater (“spider-like mother”)
  • the dura mater (“tough mother”)

4 Politico-turned-TV host : AL SHARPTON

The Reverend Al Sharpton is a high-profile Baptist minister and civil rights activist whose voice is commonly heard on radio and television. Sharpton preached his first sermon when he was only 4-years-old.

8 ___ favor : POR

“Por favor” is Spanish for “please”.

10 Java activity : CODING

Java is a programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it didn’t fit the needs at the time. Back then, the language was called Oak, named after an oak tree that stood outside the designer’s office. Later it was called Green, and finally named Java, which was simply picked out of a list of random words.

11 Product from un ave : HUEVO

In Spanish, a “huevo” (egg) comes from “un ave” (a bird).

13 Texter’s qualifier : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

15 Geek Squad members, e.g. : IT PROS

Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.

16 “I can thrill you more than any ___ could ever dare try” (“Thriller” lyric) : GHOUL

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the best-selling album of all time.

17 “The Glass Bead Game” author, 1943 : HESSE

Hermann Hesse was not only a novelist, but also a poet and a painter. His best known work is probably his 1927 novel “Steppenwolf”. Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.

18 Pecan or peach : TREE

The pecan is the state nut of Alabama, Arkansas and California. Also, the pecan is the state tree of Texas.

There are two broad categories of peaches: freestones and clingstones. Clingstones (also “cling peaches”) have flesh that clings tightly to the pit. Freestones are easier to consume as the flesh separates easily from the pit.

20 Sch. where a live bear used to take the field during football games : UCLA

The UCLA Bruins’ mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.

28 Pimple lookalikes : STYES

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

31 It usually works in corners : STAPLER

In an office, a stapler is used to pin papers together at the corner of the page.

34 Baker’s Joy alternative : PAM

PAM cooking spray was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin and Arthur Meyerhoff. The name “PAM” is an acronym … standing for “Product of Arthur Meyerhoff”. Who’d a thunk it …?

35 Record speeds, for short : RPMS

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

39 Devices with Nunchuks : WIIS

The martial arts weapons known as “nunchaku” are often called “nunchucks” in English. Nunchaku originated in Okinawa, Japan. They were popularized in the West when used by Bruce Lee in some of his martial arts films.

40 Business news magazine : INC

“Inc.” is a business magazine that specializes in articles about growing companies. “Inc.” publishes a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country each year, calling it the “Inc. 500”. The “Inc. 5000” is an expanded list also published by the magazine.

45 Slugging stat : RBI

Run batted in (RBI)

47 Approach for directions : GOOGLE MAPS (“App for directions”)

Google Maps was developed as a web mapping service for desktops. The (wonderful!) Google Maps mobile app was released in 2008, and is now the most popular smartphone app in the world.

48 Onetime collaborator with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre : EAZY-E

“Eazy-E” was the stage name of rapper Eric Lynn Wright. Eazy-E had a pretty liberal lifestyle, fathering seven children with six different women. In 1995, he died due to complications from AIDS when he was only 32 years old.

60 Relative of a club, for short : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

61 Place for boarding : KENNEL

Our word “kennel” meaning “doghouse” comes from the Vulgar Latin word “canile” meaning the same thing. A sheep (“ovus”) was kept in an “ovile”, a horse (“equus”) in an “equile”, and a dog (“canis”) in a “canile”.

63 You can count on them : ABACI

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.

64 Member of the modern work force : ROBOT

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1921 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

66 Great Lakes natives : ERIES

The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie, in parts of the modern-day US states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.

67 Kind of bean : FAVA

The fava bean is also known as the broad bean. “Broad bean” is used “broadly” (pun!) in the UK, whereas “fava bean” is common in the US. “Fava” is the Italian name for the broad bean.

68 Taiwanese electronics giant : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

72 Haddock relative : COD

In Britain and Ireland, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

78 Suvari of “American Beauty” : MENA

Mena Suvari’s most famous role to date is probably “the beauty” in the 1999 movie “American Beauty”. She played the teenage girl with whom the Kevin Spacey character becomes infatuated. Suvari also plays Heather in the “American Pie” films.

While I found the film “American Beauty” to be an enjoyable and interesting film (loved Annette Bening in it), I also found it very depressing. If you haven’t seen it, the main story is about a man having a midlife crisis (played by Kevin Spacey) and developing an infatuation for his teenage daughter’s flirtatious friend (played by Mena Suvari, and whom I guess is the “American Beauty”). The movie is definitely worth watching, and received huge accolades when released in 1999.

81 Nouveau-Mexique, e.g. : ETAT

In French, “le Nouveau-Mexique” (New Mexico) is a US “état” (state).

85 One hanging around Queen Elizabeth? : PEARL

Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her; that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is the longest in the history of the UK.

89 “Snowpiercer” airer : TNT

“TNT” stands for Turner Network Television. The TNT cable channel made a big splash in the eighties when it started to broadcast old MGM movies that had been “colorized”, not something that was a big hit with the public. In recent years, the TNT programming lineup is touted with the tagline “We Know Drama”.

“Snowpiercer” is a TV show about a giant train (the Snowpiercer) that circles a frozen planet Earth after the human race has all but died out. The remaining population lives aboard the train in carriages that are separated by social class. The TV series is an adaptation of a 2013 film of the same name, which in turn came from a 1982 graphic novel “Le Transperceneige”.

95 Tortoise’s challenge to the hare : RACE ME

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

98 John Wayne, by birth : IOWAN

John Wayne was named Marion Mitchell Morrison at birth, after his grandfather who was a Civil War veteran. When young Marion was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him “Little Duke” because he was always seen walking with his large dog called “Duke”. Marion liked the name “Duke” and so he called himself Duke Morrison for the rest of his life. That said, Duke Morrison also used John Wayne as a stage name.

99 Who ran against George Washington for president : NO ONE

After George Washington was inaugurated as president in 1789, he lived in the Samuel Osgood House and then the Alexander Macomb House in New York City. When the capital moved to Philadelphia, President Washington occupied the Market Street Mansion, as did his successor John Adams. President Adams moved to the White House in the nation’s new capital in 1800.

107 Letters on dreidels : NUNS

A dreidel is a spinning top with four sides that is often associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each of the four sides on a dreidel bears a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (nun, gimel, hei and shin). The four letters are the initials of the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” meaning “a great miracle happened there”. According to tradition, children would be taught Torah while hiding in caves away from the Greeks. When Greek soldiers approached, the children would hide their torah scrolls and play with their dreidels instead.

108 Taj Mahal’s home : AGRA

The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.

109 Exam that once required fingerprint identification, for short : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Appoint : ORDAIN
7 People of the Southwest : APACHE
13 Wishy-washy response : I MIGHT
19 Had the opportunity to, casually : COULDA
20 Entertainment with a private audience? : USO TOUR
21 Malice, more formally : MOTHER (“Ma, more formally”)
22 One wearing chapstick, perhaps : HORSEBACK RIDER (“One wearing chaps, perhaps”)
24 Be up against : OPPOSE
25 Poker variety similar to Texas hold ’em : OMAHA
26 Counterpart of “Thx” : PLS
27 Saves for later, in a way : TIVOS
29 Ploy : RUSE
30 Lost : AT SEA
32 Antarctic coordinate : NORTH POLE (“Arctic coordinate”)
35 “A man has cause for ___ only when he sows and no one reaps”: Charles Goodyear : REGRET
38 Bit of tinder : TWIG
41 First side to vote : YEAS
42 ___ course : PREP
43 New York City transport stopping at Kennedy Airport : A TRAIN
46 Beginning stage : GERM
47 Prefix with thermal : GEO-
50 There might be a catch with this : MITT
51 Blouse and broach, perhaps : PUBLIC HOUSE (“B and B, perhaps”)
54 Wet bar? : SOAP
55 Form of nepotism, symbolically : SCHOOL TIES
57 Herd member : EWE
58 Sauce : BOOZE
59 Place, as ceramic tiles : INSET
60 Like autumn air : BRISK
62 Person helping with a delivery : OB/GYN
63 Word before film and after clip : ART
65 It has many beet and beef options : TRUE/FALSE TEST (“It has many T and F options”)
70 “___ Trois Petits Cochons” (French fable) : LES
71 Sport at the Special Olympics : BOCCE
73 G.I. ___ : TRACT
74 Calling : NICHE
76 Not be able to stand : ABHOR
77 Ending with invent : -IVE
78 War and peace, in “War and Peace” : MAIN THEMES
83 Like most dorms nowadays : COED
84 Tickled : SPEARHEADED (“Led”)
87 Focus of modern mining : DATA
88 “___ be an honor!” : IT’D
89 They can be graphic : TEES
90 Surround, as with light : ENHALO
91 Considerations for N.C.A.A. eligibility : GPAS
92 ___ Wintour, longtime Vogue editor in chief : ANNA
93 Spring locales : SPAS
94 Takes by force : WRESTS
96 Pop fly : SOFT DRINK (“Pop”)
100 Some family babysitters : NANAS
102 Match : PAIR
103 Sarge’s boss : LOOIE
105 A-number-one : TOP
106 The Venetian way? : CANAL
110 Alternative to Dropbox : ICLOUD
113 Gradually fix something … or what to do to understand this puzzle’s italicized clues? : WORK OUT THE BUGS
116 Briefly, e.g. : CHEESE (“Brie, e.g.”)
117 What’s used to catch some waves : ANTENNA
118 Supreme Egyptian god : AMEN-RA
119 Bum out : SADDEN
120 Famous cryptid, familiarly : NESSIE
121 Intimates : GETS AT

Down

1 Number of sides on a sign reading “ALTO” : OCHO
2 Space : ROOM
3 ___ mater (brain cover) : DURA
4 Politico-turned-TV host : AL SHARPTON
5 Form thoughts : IDEATE
6 Catch : NAB
7 Seeks a favor, say : ASKS
8 ___ favor : POR
9 Working hard : AT IT
10 Java activity : CODING
11 Product from un ave : HUEVO
12 Boo-boo : ERROR
13 Texter’s qualifier : IMO
14 One might be put through the wringer : MOP
15 Geek Squad members, e.g. : IT PROS
16 “I can thrill you more than any ___ could ever dare try” (“Thriller” lyric) : GHOUL
17 “The Glass Bead Game” author, 1943 : HESSE
18 Pecan or peach : TREE
20 Sch. where a live bear used to take the field during football games : UCLA
23 Echo, perhaps : APE
28 Pimple lookalikes : STYES
31 It usually works in corners : STAPLER
33 “Catch!” : HERE!
34 Baker’s Joy alternative : PAM
35 Record speeds, for short : RPMS
36 Adams of New York City politics : ERIC
37 Antelope, say : GET HITCHED (“Elope”)
38 Parable or allegory : TALE
39 Devices with Nunchuks : WIIS
40 Business news magazine : INC
44 “For shame!” : TUT TUT!
45 Slugging stat : RBI
46 Member of the inn crowd? : GUEST
47 Approach for directions : GOOGLE MAPS (“App for directions”)
48 Onetime collaborator with Ice Cube and Dr. Dre : EAZY-E
49 Some sports tournaments : OPENS
52 Big name in women’s hair and skin care : HERS
53 Boo-boo : OWIE
54 Word with story or sister : SOB …
56 Economist/author Emily : OSTER
58 Screw up : BOTCH
60 Relative of a club, for short : BLT
61 Place for boarding : KENNEL
63 You can count on them : ABACI
64 Member of the modern work force : ROBOT
66 Great Lakes natives : ERIES
67 Kind of bean : FAVA
68 Taiwanese electronics giant : ACER
69 “I’m about to tell you something shocking” : SIT DOWN
72 Haddock relative : COD
75 Doesn’t put it all on one pony : HEDGES A BET
78 Suvari of “American Beauty” : MENA
79 Sounds heard in 93-Across : AAHS
80 Destructive 2021 hurricane : IDA
81 Nouveau-Mexique, e.g. : ETAT
82 Lip or cheek : SASS
84 Put over the moon : SEND
85 One hanging around Queen Elizabeth? : PEARL
86 With it, in old slang : HEP
89 “Snowpiercer” airer : TNT
92 Sporting a certain natural style : AFROED
93 Avoids : SKIRTS
95 Tortoise’s challenge to the hare : RACE ME
96 Nickname for the French Alexandre : SACHA
97 No longer squeaky (one hopes!) : OILED
98 John Wayne, by birth : IOWAN
99 Who ran against George Washington for president : NO ONE
100 “___ chance!” : NOT A
101 Letters that complete this word: _P_ROPRIA_E : APT
102 Snaps : PICS
104 Squeezes (out) : EKES
105 Good thing to be in : TUNE
107 Letters on dreidels : NUNS
108 Taj Mahal’s home : AGRA
109 Exam that once required fingerprint identification, for short : LSAT
111 Exercise : USE
112 Animal house : DEN
114 Demon of Japanese folklore : ONI
115 Folklore villain : HAG

32 thoughts on “1226-21 NY Times Crossword 26 Dec 21, Sunday”

  1. 22:42. Took me a while to figure out what they were doing here. I probably should have scanned down to see if there was a revealer. I also thought the cluing was pretty difficult. Nice challenge.

  2. 32:54, no errors, an enjoyably pestiferous puzzle, indeed … 😜.

    Sorry for mistyping your name, Tom. As far as I can see, the only good thing about getting old is that it gives me an excuse for all the stupid mistakes I make … 😜.

    On Friday, I laboriously worked out the answer to a certain metapuzzle and submitted my answer, including a sentence that began with the words “Each of the five theme entries in this puzzle includes a word that …” and ended with a list of the six (!) words that I wished to describe. One of these days, I’m going to need a note, pinned to my sleeve, saying, “If found wandering the streets, please return to …”

  3. And, @DuncanR …

    I was not aware of the electric locomotives in Mason City. If I ever get back there, I’ll have to check that out. I was aware of the railroad tracks that passed within a couple of hundred feet of the house I lived in (at 713 No. Jackson!) until I was five years old. According to my mother, there was a freight train that came through every morning at about 4:15 and woke everybody up … except the baby (me). Occasionally, the train was delayed for some reason, and … you guessed it … that’s when I would wake up! (My mother might have embellished this story a bit, but I have to admit that it’s in keeping with my somewhat contrary nature … 😜.)

    1. I think you have not understood the theme (ably described by Bill, above). The trick is to remove that pesky “fly” from the clue, leaving “Brie, e.g.”. “Brie” is, indeed, a kind of CHEESE.

    2. JK – Look at the theme above and you’ll understand. Brie is a CHEESE and fly is the insect you “work out” = brie fly

  4. 44:52. Took me slightly longer than forever to figure out what was going on with this theme. I was doing it backwards. When I saw MOTHER, I thought I was supposed to take out MOTH and it would make sense. It never did until much later when I saw I was doing the themes backwards.

    After getting the theme, I leaned heavily on it.

    Humbling puzzle.

    Best –

  5. You’re probably getting tired of hearing this, but the title of “American Beauty” refers to the variety of rose that Bening’s character cultivates in various scenes, and petals of which (LOTS of them) feature in Spacey’s fantasies of Suvari’s character.

  6. Hope I’m not posting this twice. But I don’t see it after posting it the first time. But my comment was:
    “You’re probably getting tired of hearing this, but the title of “American Beauty” refers to the variety of rose that Bening’s character cultivates in various scenes, and petals of which (LOTS of them) feature in Spacey’s fantasies of Suvari’s character.”

  7. To my knowledge, “Ghoul” is incorrect as a lyric in “thriller” – it is really “ghost” – frustrating when a puzzle has errors – will shortz am I wrong?

    1. @Mant …

      I’m not familiar with “Thriller”, but the following site has what it claims to be the lyrics, and I see the word “ghoul” in two places in them:

      https://genius.com/Michael-jackson-thriller-lyrics

      (And I don’t see the word “ghost”.)

      Maybe the site has it wrong? Perhaps I’ll actually have to watch a video of “Thriller” … 😳.

  8. This was a horrible puzzle! Answers make no sense. I read how others solved some of the tricky clues and still give it a huge HUMBUG! Please, no more from this person. ☹️

  9. Well folks, particularly those who solve this in 5 weeks…1:49:38 And this was over the span of 9 days. Took me what seemed like forever to figure out the theme, even then it took a long time to complete. No complaints, just me being my usual slow self. : – )

  10. I found this puzzle markedly more difficult than usual, not just theme but the general clues. I had almost the whole thing filled before my AHA moment. I like when that happens.
    Delightful!

  11. Could someone please explain 65 Across? if one removes T from “beet” and F from “beef”, one is left with “bee”. How is “bee” a bug? Bees are not bugs, they are highly beneficial insects that pollinate essential plants.

    Also, 39 Down, what are Wiis?

  12. 10 errors in one of the biggest wastes of time I can remember.
    It’s too bad we are not all geniuses but I really don’t want to see another puzzle by this egotist

  13. Letters on a dreidel for ‘nuns’…? Seriously? Have never even seen a dreidel. And ‘works in corners’ for stapler…? I get that the clues were supposed to be hard, but really. Nice theme, though, and as someone said, humbling. In my newspaper (Vancouver Sun) the ‘italic’ clues looked like this . That was another perhaps unnecessary speed bump.

  14. 41:12, no errors. Amused by the negative comments blaming the puzzle. Puzzles are, by design, intended to be challenging, with varying levels of difficulty.

    1. The Sunday NYT puzzles of the past, pre-Shortz era, were much more difficult IMO. More classical references, obscure foreign terms and esoteric science but, thankfully, NO rap, hip-hop or reality TV. I find the occasional Sunday puzzles that include clever gimmicks or a rebus theme a welcome struggle. To each…..

  15. Was very difficult, but satisfying in the end.
    If these puzzles were always easy would anyone truly enjoy them?

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