1229-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Dec 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Simon Marotte & Victor Fleming
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Homemade Meals

Themed answers sound like a string of LETTERS:

  • 17A Lettered awards show host? : EMMY EMCEE (M-E-M-C)
  • 30A Lettered adversary in a battle of wits? : CAGEY ENEMY (K-G-N-M-E)
  • 49A Lettered home on the range when no one’s home? : EMPTY TEPEE (M-T-T-P)
  • 65A Lettered school paper that’s a snap to write? : EASY ESSAY (E-Z-S-A)

Bill’s time: 9m 54s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Kind of bread : PITA

Pita is a lovely bread from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a “pocket” in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.

17 Lettered awards show host? : EMMY EMCEE (M-E-M-C)

The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars from the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras. The Emmy statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus in 1948, and depicts a woman holding up an atom. McManus used his wife as a model for the woman.

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

20 Celebrity dog trainer Millan : CESAR

“Cesar Millan” is the real name of television’s “Dog Whisperer”. Millan has been working with overly aggressive dogs on his show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan” since 2004. Millan was an illegal immigrant from Mexico in the US back in 1990, became legal in 2000 and then became a US citizen in 2009.

23 Buster : NARC

Back in the 1800s, “to nark” was “to act as a police informer”. The spelling of the term has started to evolve into “to narc”, due to the influence of the noun “narc”, slang for a narcotics officer. The ”nark” spelling is still used on the other side of the Atlantic.

26 Bonobo, for one : APE

The bonobo used to be called the pygmy chimpanzee, and is a cousin of the common chimpanzee. The bonobo is an endangered species that is now found in the wild only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest species to humans genetically.

38 Pulitzer winner Harper : LEE

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world. In my humble opinion, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a great ambassador for American literature.

39 The end : OMEGA

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet and is the one that looks like a horseshoe when in uppercase. The lowercase omega looks like a Latin W. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron, meaning “little O” (O-micron).

41 ___-eared : LOP

A creature that is lop-eared has bent or drooping ears, like a rabbit or many breeds of dog.

44 Bega who sang “Mambo No. 5” : LOU

“Mambo No. 5” was originally recorded by the song’s composer Pérez Prado, back in 1949. German musician Lou Bega released an insanely successful cover version of “Mambo No. 5” in 1999.

48 Confirmation or quinceañera : RITE

“Quinceañera” is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday, and is an event common in many parts of Latin America.

49 Lettered home on the range when no one’s home? : EMPTY TEPEE (M-T-T-P)

A tepee (also written as “tipi” and “teepee”) is a cone-shaped tent traditionally made from animal hides that is used by the Great Plains Native Americans. A wigwam is a completely different structure and is often a misnomer for a tepee. A wigwam is a domed structure built by Native Americans in the West and Southwest, intended to be a more permanent dwelling. The wigwam can also be covered with hides but more often was covered with grass, reeds, brush or cloth.

52 ___ milk : OAT

Oat milk is one of the alternatives to cow’s milk, and is lactose free. I’m a big fan …

55 Sure thing : SLAM DUNK

In basketball, a player makes a slam dunk by jumping up and powering the ball downward into the basket with his or her hands over the rim. The term “slam dunk” was coined by Chick Hearn, an announcer for the L.A. Lakers. The NBA even holds an annual Slam Dunk Contest.

64 Around, for a date : CIRCA

“Circa” is a Latin word meaning “around, near, about the time of”. We use “circa” directly in English to mean “about the time of”, as well as in derivative words such as “circle” and “circus”.

68 First-stringers : A-TEAM

We’ve been using the phrases “first string” and “second string” in athletics since the mid-19th century. The expressions come from archery, in which a competitor would carry a second bowstring in case the first broke.

72 Ding-y thingy? : TEXT

I guess the idea is that a text message might cause a “ding” notification on arrival?

Down

1 International grp. founded in Baghdad in 1960 : OPEC

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrest control of oil prices from the oil companies and put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.

2 Fog-induced frost : RIME

Rime is the beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.

3 NCR devices : ATMS

NCR is an American company that has been in business since 1884 and was originally called the National Cash Register Company. The company has done well in a market where new technologies seem to be constantly disrupting the status quo. NCR is a leading supplier of automated teller machines (ATMs) and barcode scanners.

6 “The Lord of the Rings” brute : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

7 ___-deucy : ACEY

Acey-deucey is a fast-played variant of backgammon. Apparently, the game has been a favorite with members of the armed forces since the days of WWI.

8 Van Gogh’s art dealer brother : THEO

Theo van Gogh was the younger brother of painter Vincent van Gogh, and a successful art dealer. Theo provided financial support for his brother throughout his life, allowing Vincent to pursue his passion for creating art. Vincent and Theo died about six months apart. The former committed suicide and the later died from the effects of syphilis.

9 1980s fad items advertised as “the gift that grows” : CHIA PETS

Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family. Chia seeds are an excellent food source and are often added to breakfast cereals and energy bars. There is also the famous Chia Pet, an invention of a San Francisco company. Chia Pets are terra-cotta figurines to which moistened chia seeds are applied. The seeds sprout and the seedlings become the “fur” of the Chia Pet.

10 Ice pack? : HITMEN

To ice is to kill, to put away.

11 Lohengrin’s love : ELSA

“Lohengrin” is a very popular opera by Richard Wagner that was first performed in 1850. Many arias from “Lohengrin” are staples in “Opera’s Greatest Hits” collections. We’ve often heard the “Bridal Chorus” from “Lohengrin”. It’s the tune to “Here comes the bride …”, which is played regularly at the start of wedding ceremonies as the bride walks down the aisle. In the opera, the “Bridal Chorus” is sung not at the start of the ceremony but afterwards, by the women of the wedding party as they accompany newlywed Elsa to the bridal chamber.

12 Parking meter opening : SLOT

An early patent for a parking meter, dated 1928, was for a device that required the driver of the parked car to connect the battery of his or her car to the meter in order for it to operate!

22 Singer known as the “Prince of Motown” : GAYE

Marvin Gaye was a singer-songwriter from Washington, D.C. who came to be known as “Prince of Soul” and “Prince of Motown”. Some of Gaye’s biggest hits are “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968), “What’s Going On?” (1971), “Let’s Get It On” (1973) and “Sexual Healing” (1982). Famously, Gaye was shot dead by his father while Marvin was sitting on his mother’s bed just talking to her. Marvin had given the gun to his father as a Christmas gift.

24 Magnavox rival : RCA

RCA was founded in 1919 as the Radio Corporation of America, and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric (GE). GE divested RCA in 1932, and then reacquired the company in 1986. Today, RCA is just a brand name.

27 Muscled, slangily : SWOLE

“Swole” is an informal term meaning “very muscular”. Yeah, I hear that word all the time …

33 Ewing matriarch on “Dallas” : ELLIE

Miss Ellie is the matriarch of the famed Ewing family, around which the TV series “Dallas” was written. For most of the series, Miss Ellie was played by Barbara Bel Geddes, and once in a TV movie of Dallas by Molly Hagan. Barbara Bel Geddes left the show in 1984 and was replaced by the celebrated actress Donna Reed. When Bel Geddes decided to return to the show the following year, Reed was fired. This was much to Reed’s chagrin, and so a lawsuit ensued.

35 Some R.S.V.P.s : YESES

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

40 Leading star in Disney’s “Enchanted” : AMY ADAMS

Amy Adams is an American actress, although she was actually born in Vicenza, Italy while her father was a US serviceman stationed on an Italian base. My favorite Amy Adams film so far is the outstanding “Julie & Julia” in which she acted alongside Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this truly delightful movie.

“Enchanted” is quite an entertaining 2007 Disney film. It tells the story of Princess Giselle, who is forced from her animated world to live in the real world of New York City.

46 Ides of March reproach : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

In Act I of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, a soothsayer warns the doomed leader to “beware the ides of March”. Caesar ignores the prophecy and is subsequently killed on the steps of the Capitol by a group of conspirators on that fateful day.

50 Garfield, for one : TOMCAT

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, and the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

59 Cabbage kin : KALE

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, bread, scratch, cheddar, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.

61 Acronym of urgency : ASAP!

As soon as possible (ASAP)

66 Fenway squad, in brief : SOX

The Fens is a picturesque parkland in Boston. Once a saltwater marshland, urban development since the late 1800s has turned the area into what is essentially a freshwater lagoon. The Fens (sometimes “Back Bay Fens”) gave its name to the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, and ultimately to the famous Fenway Park baseball stadium.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Like court arguments : ORAL
5 What travels on sound waves? : BOAT
9 Heart’s home : CHEST
14 Kind of bread : PITA
15 Part of the foot : ARCH
16 Saddlebacks, tumps, knolls and the like : HILLS
17 Lettered awards show host? : EMMY EMCEE (M-E-M-C)
19 “Not a problem” : IT’S OK
20 Celebrity dog trainer Millan : CESAR
21 Articles of exercise equipment : YOGA MATS
23 Buster : NARC
26 Bonobo, for one : APE
27 It’s a little longer than a foot : SHOE
30 Lettered adversary in a battle of wits? : CAGEY ENEMY (K-G-N-M-E)
36 Bit of bar food : WING
37 “You ready?” : ALL SET?
38 Pulitzer winner Harper : LEE
39 The end : OMEGA
41 ___-eared : LOP
42 Retail figure : SALES
44 Bega who sang “Mambo No. 5” : LOU
45 Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land,” e.g. : MEMOIR
48 Confirmation or quinceañera : RITE
49 Lettered home on the range when no one’s home? : EMPTY TEPEE (M-T-T-P)
51 Pickle : MESS
52 ___ milk : OAT
53 Rigging support : SPAR
55 Sure thing : SLAM DUNK
60 Stereotypical lumberjack feature : BEARD
64 Around, for a date : CIRCA
65 Lettered school paper that’s a snap to write? : EASY ESSAY (E-Z-S-A)
68 First-stringers : A-TEAM
69 Ingredient in traditional medicine : ALOE
70 Film shot : TAKE
71 Prevails over : BEATS
72 Ding-y thingy? : TEXT
73 Hastened : SPED

Down

1 International grp. founded in Baghdad in 1960 : OPEC
2 Fog-induced frost : RIME
3 NCR devices : ATMS
4 Fail miserably, unless you’re a chicken : LAY AN EGG
5 [Kapow!] : [BAM!]
6 “The Lord of the Rings” brute : ORC
7 ___-deucy : ACEY
8 Van Gogh’s art dealer brother : THEO
9 1980s fad items advertised as “the gift that grows” : CHIA PETS
10 Ice pack? : HITMEN
11 Lohengrin’s love : ELSA
12 Parking meter opening : SLOT
13 Clicks that chide : TSKS
18 Historically significant period : ERA
22 Singer known as the “Prince of Motown” : GAYE
24 Magnavox rival : RCA
25 “You have my number!” : CALL ME!
27 Muscled, slangily : SWOLE
28 Shout-out from the stands : HI, MOM!
29 A stroke ahead, in golf : ONE UP
31 Thick, liquidy clump : GLOOP
32 Notices : ESPIES
33 Ewing matriarch on “Dallas” : ELLIE
34 Pool competitions : MEETS
35 Some R.S.V.P.s : YESES
40 Leading star in Disney’s “Enchanted” : AMY ADAMS
43 Where elbows may collide : ARMRESTS
46 Ides of March reproach : ET TU?
47 Agent, briefly : REP
50 Garfield, for one : TOMCAT
54 First prez to have a 60-Across : ABE
55 Healing indicator : SCAB
56 Low-calorie, in beer names : LITE
57 Field of expertise : AREA
58 Well-kept : NEAT
59 Cabbage kin : KALE
61 Acronym of urgency : ASAP!
62 Leave no leaves, say : RAKE
63 Like pink or purple hair : DYED
66 Fenway squad, in brief : SOX
67 “The best is ___ to come” : YET

10 thoughts on “1229-21 NY Times Crossword 29 Dec 21, Wednesday”

  1. 18:22, no errors, but I bogged down on “K-G-N-M-E”. For some reason, for the longest time, the word “cagey” would not come to me: instead, I kept trying to find a way to end up with “K-G-B-N-M-E” (“KGB enemy”). Maybe a result of growing up in the Cold War era? Or yet another sign of the onset of senility? In any case, as the minutes stretched on, a light finally came on upstairs. D’oh … 🤪.

  2. 13:59, no errors. Pretty interesting use of letter sounds. I got EMMYEMCEE early which set the stage for a fun solve. For once I didn’t get slowed down by the small entries. I enjoyed it.

  3. 13:14. I got the theme early and leaned on it a lot. Took me a minute as for some reason I thought YOGA MATS was a theme answer at first.

    Still have to do yesterday’s puzzle as this has been a bit of a crazy week.

    Best –

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