1210-23 NY Times Crossword 10 Dec 23, Sunday

Constructed by: Zachary David Levy & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Political Pun-ditry

Themed answers are common phrases from the world of POLITICS, but reinterpreted in a “PUNNY” way:

  • 21A The club’s bouncer earned a living … : … ALONG PARTY LINES
  • 30A The fashion magazine’s editor focused on fasteners in her … : … HOT BUTTON ISSUES
  • 40A The veterinarian specialized in mending … : … LAME DUCK BILLS
  • 62A The sound engineer was obsessed with the … : … SPEAKERS OF THE HOUSE
  • 71A The groundskeeper spent years studying … : … GRASS ROOTS MOVEMENT
  • 94A The weary general sat in his … : … CAMPAIGN CHAIR
  • 105A The carpenter measured twice for the ideal … : … CABINET POSITION
  • 120A The paid escort was fined for … : … AN ACT OF CONGRESS

Bill’s time: 20m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Whiskered bottom-dweller : MUDCAT

Mudcats are types of catfish found in muddy rivers, particularly in the Mississippi valley.

7 Workout focus, informally : CARDIO

Aerobic exercise is moderate activity designed to be at a low enough intensity that very little anaerobic activity takes place. In other words, the exercise is at a level where oxygen is taken in to burn fat and carbohydrate and to create energy. Anaerobic exercise is more intense and uses carbohydrate (glycogen) in the muscle to provide energy, without the need for oxygen. Aerobics are also called “cardio” as the exercises strengthen the cardiovascular system.

13 Tube traveler? : OVUM

The Fallopian tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals in the uterus. The tubes are named for the 16th-century Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio, who was the first to describe them.

17 BOGO or YOLO : ACRONYM

Strictly speaking, words formed from the first letters or other words are known as “initialisms”. Examples would be FBI and NBC, where the initials are spoken by sounding out each letter. Certain initialisms are pronounced as words in their own right, such as NATO and AWOL, and are called “acronyms”. So, acronyms are a subset of initialisms. As I say, that’s “strictly speaking”, so please don’t write in …

Buy one, get one (BOGO) or buy one, get one free (BOGOF).

You only live once (YOLO)

19 Ten-spot : SAWBUCK

“Sawbuck” is slang for “10-dollar bill”. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the reverse) resembles the end of a sawhorse.

20 Like Jabba the Hutt : OBESE

Jabba the Hutt is the big blob of an alien that appears in the “Star Wars” movie “The Return of the Jedi”. Jabba’s claim to fame is that he enslaved Princess Leia and kitted her out in that celebrated metal bikini.

25 Org. overseeing workers’ well-being : OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

27 Insurance giant acquired by CVS in 2018 : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

39 Leader of a flock : PASTOR

A pastor is a minister or priest in some Christian traditions. “Pastor” is the Latin word for “shepherd”.

40 The veterinarian specialized in mending … : … LAME DUCK BILLS

The original usage of the term “lame duck” was on the London Stock Exchange where it referred to a broker who could not honor his debts. The idea was that a lame duck could not keep up with the rest of the flock and so was a target for predators. A lame duck in the world of politics is an incumbent who is nearing the end of his or her term, and who is deemed to have reduced influence as a result.

54 Japanese maker of watches and mobile phones : CASIO

Casio is a Japanese manufacturer of mainly electronic products, including calculators, watches and electronic keyboards. It was Casio that produced the first portable and compact all-electric calculator, way back in 1957.

58 Online command denoted by an arrow inside a cloud : UPLOAD

In the world of computing, when one operates “in the cloud”, one’s files and key applications are not stored on one’s own computer, but rather are residing “in the cloud”, on a computer somewhere out on the Internet. I do 90% of my computing in the cloud. That way I don’t have to worry about backing up files, and I can operate from any computer if I have to …

61 “___ Day Will Come” (1963 #1 hit) : OUR

“Our Day Will Come” was a number-one hit in 1963 for Ruby & The Romantics. This was the band’s only big seller, so I guess they get filed away as “one-hit wonders”.

67 Big name in filters : BRITA

Brita is a German company that specializes in water filtration products. Brita products do a great job of filtering tap water, but they don’t “purify” it as they don’t remove microbes. That job is usually done by a municipality before the water gets to the faucet.

69 Unagi or anago : EEL

“Unagi” is the Japanese term for” freshwater eel”, and “anago” is the term for “saltwater eel”.

70 Family on TV’s “Smallville” : KENTS

“Smallville” is a superhero TV show set in the fictional Kansas town of Smallville, where Clark Kent grew up before becoming Superman. The show originally ran from 2001 to 2011, and starred Tom Welling as Clark Kent, and Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang.

78 Besson who directed “The Fifth Element” : LUC

Luc Besson is a French film director and producer. One of the movies that he wrote and directed is “Nikita”, released in 1990. The actress who plays the title role in “Nikita” is Anne Parillaud, Besson’s wife.

“The Fifth Element” is a 1997 French film, with an English screenplay that was co-written by director Luc Besson. Besson wrote the storyline for “The Fifth Element” when he was still in his teens, and ended up directing Bruce Willis in the lead role in 1997.

80 Ex-Giant Manning : ELI

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

81 Extreme lethargy : SOPOR

“Sopor” is a Latin word that we’ve absorbed into English. “Sopor” translates as “deep sleep” or “lethargy”.

85 Inner self, in Jungian philosophy : ANIMA

The concepts of anima and animus are found in the Carl Jung school of analytical psychology. The idea is that within each male there resides a feminine inner personality called the anima, and within each female there is a male inner personality known as the animus.

89 Instrument heard at the conclusion of “Bohemian Rhapsody” : GONG

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a marvelously unique song in the pop repertoire. It has a very appealing structure, with no chorus but three distinct parts and with three distinct “sounds”. The opening is truly a slow ballad, which morphs into an operatic middle section, ending with a really heavy, rock-guitar conclusion. The song monopolized the number one slot in the UK charts for weeks in 1975/76, and made a comeback in 1996 when it appeared in the movie “Wayne’s World”. Great stuff …

91 Courtroom affirmation : I DO

Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)?

103 Item of clothing patented by Mary Phelps Jacob in 1914 : BRA

The first modern bra was invented by a New York socialite named Mary Phelps Jacob in 1913. Jacob was looking for a more comfortable and fashionable alternative to the corsets that were then commonly worn, and she fashioned a bra using two handkerchiefs and some ribbon. She later patented her invention, which she called the “Backless Brassiere.”

105 The carpenter measured twice for the ideal … : … CABINET POSITION

In the Westminster system, the Cabinet is a group of sitting politicians chosen by the Prime Minister to head up government departments and also to participate collectively in major governmental decisions in all areas. In the US system, the Cabinet is made up not of sitting politicians, but rather of non-legislative individuals who are considered to have expertise in a particular area. The Cabinet members in the US system tend to have more of an advisory role outside of their own departments.

111 Emmy winner Aduba : UZO

Uzo Aduba is an actress best known for playing prison inmate Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix TV show “Orange Is the New Black”.

113 Salted ___ (margarita option) : RIM

No one seems to know for sure who first created the margarita cocktail. The most plausible and oft-quoted is that it was invented in 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico. The barman mixed the drink for an important visitor, the daughter of the German ambassador. The daughter’s name was Margarita Henkel, and she lent her name to the new drink. The basic recipe for a margarita is a mixture of tequila, orange-flavored liqueur (like Cointreau) and lime juice.

116 Green region on a Risk board : ASIA

Risk is a fabulous board game that was introduced in France in 1957. It was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

125 Stave off : AVERT

The word “stave” was originally the plural of “staff”, a word describing a wooden rod. To “stave off” originated with the concept of holding off with a staff. In the world of barrel-making, a stave is a narrow strip of wood that forms part of a barrel’s side.

128 What a haggler hopes to pay : LESS

Our verb “to haggle”, meaning “to argue about the price”, originally meant “to cut unevenly”. The suggestion is that haggling is chopping away at the price.

Down

2 Where Carol Burnett studied theater arts, for short : UCLA

Comedian and actress Carol Burnett is perhaps best known for “The Carol Burnett Show” which ran on television for over ten years from 1967 to 1978. My favorite of Burnett’s performances is in the 1981 film “The Four Seasons”. The Golden Globe’s Carol Burnett Award for career achievement in television was inaugurated in 2019, with Burnett being the first recipient.

5 Director Lee : ANG

Ang Lee made history at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002 when he won the Best Director award for “Brokeback Mountain.” He became the first Asian person to win the award and the first non-white person to win in the category.

10 Kirsten of 1995’s “Jumanji” : DUNST

Kirsten Dunst is a Hollywood actress from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She is perhaps best known for playing the love interest and female lead in the “Spider-Man” series of movies opposite Tobey Maguire. Personally, my favorite Dunst films are “Wimbledon” and “Marie Antoinette”. Dunst is a dual citizen of the US and Germany, as her father is from Hamburg.

“Jumanji” is a 1995 film about four people who are trapped in a supernatural board game called Jumanji. Those four characters are played by Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce. Quite a quartet …

11 Summer cooler : ICE POP

The term “ice pop” has largely been supplanted in the US by “popsicle”, as the Popsicle brand of ice pop became so popular. We still use “ice pop” in Ireland, and in the UK the same thing is called an “ice lolly”, and in Australia it’s an “ice block”.

12 ___ Baiul, Olympic figure-skating gold medalist : OKSANA

Oksana Baiul is a Ukrainian figure skater, and the 1994 Olympic champion. Baiul had a rough start to her life as her father deserted her and her mother when she was just two years old, and then her mother died when she was thirteen. Her grandparents had died earlier so she was left as an orphan, sleeping on a cot in her hometown ice rink.

13 Musical feature in “Swan Lake” and “Peter and the Wolf” : OBOE SOLO

“Swan Lake” is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette’s “evil twin”. Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina. Odette’s love interest is Prince Siegfried, the only character in the ballet to appear in all four acts.

As is the case for many I am sure, Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” was my introduction to the world of classical music, as it was played for us at school many, many moons ago. Prokofiev wrote the piece as a commissioned work for the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow, in 1936. He loved the idea of the project, and wrote the story and music in just four days!

15 Hwy. that runs from Key West to Maine : US-ONE

US Route 1 runs from Fort Kent in Maine right down to Key West in Florida.

18 Whiskey ingredient : MASH

In brewing and distilling, the mash is the mixture of grain and water that is heated so that enzymes break down starch into sugars. The sugary liquor extracted from the mash is called the wort. Yeast is added to the wort, resulting in the sugars being converted to alcohol.

22 P, to Plato : RHO

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle. Plato wrote a series of about 30 Socratic dialogues, prose works that feature Socrates as the main character.

31 Beverage brand with antioxidants : BAI

Bai Brands is a beverage company that specializes in low-cal soft drinks that include antioxidants.

34 AOL, e.g. : ISP

AOL was a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the 1980s and 1990s. The company does still provide dial-up access to the Internet for some subscribers, but most users now access AOL using faster, non-AOL ISPs.

35 ___ Stic (pen brand) : CLIC

Clic Stic is a model of pen made by Bic.

43 Relative of Camembert : BRIE

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.

Camembert cheese is named after the place it was first produced, the commune of Camembert in Normandy in the north of France.

46 Dr. who wrote “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells” : SEUSS

“Dr. Seuss” was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel first used the pen name while studying at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford. Back then, he pronounced “Seuss” as it would be in German, i.e. rhyming with “voice”. After his books found success in the US, he went with the pronunciation being used widely by the public, quite happy to have a name that rhymes with “Mother Goose”.

51 Customer service “assistant,” at times : BOT

A bot is a computer program designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

55 Goddess depicted at the foot of King Tut’s coffin : ISIS

Isis was the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility, as well as the protector of the dead and the goddess of children. She was the personification of the pharaoh’s power. The name “Isis” translates as “throne”, and she is usually depicted with a headdress shaped like a throne.

“King Tut” is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamun’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

59 Game divided into periods called chukkers : POLO

A game of polo is divided into periods of play called chukkers (sometimes “chukkas”). The game usually lasts for two hours, plus the time between the chukkers that is used to change horses.

63 Virgil at the O.K. Corral : EARP

The famous Earp brothers of the Wild West were Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan. All three brothers participated in what has to be the most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Strangely enough, the fight didn’t happen at the O.K. Corral, but took place six doors down the street in a vacant lot next to a photography studio.

67 Singer Mars : BRUNO

Bruno Mars is a singer-songwriter from Honolulu who has been active in the music business since 2006. “Bruno Mars” is a stage name, as Mars was born “Peter Hernandez”.

68 Velodrome vehicles : RACING BIKES

An arena used for competitive track cycling is known as a velodrome. “Vélo” is the familiar term used as an abbreviation for “vélocipède” (“velocipede” in English). A velocipede is a human-powered, wheeled vehicle. Tricycles, bicycles and unicycles are all velocipedes.

71 ___ rock, genre for T. Rex : GLAM

I remember the days of glam rock so well, as it was a hugely popular genre of music in Britain and Ireland during the early seventies. Artistes wore the wildest of clothes, big hair, shiny outfits and really high platform boots. Names associated with glam rock are T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music and the infamous Gary Glitter.

The English rock band T. Rex started up in 1967, led by guitarist Marc Bolan, using the name Tyrannosaurus Rex. After a few years, Bolan simplified the group’s name, and soon after released the great song “Get It On” (released as “Bang a Gong” in the US.

75 Fifth-brightest star in the night sky : VEGA

Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. Vega (along with Altair and Deneb from other constellations) is also part of the group of three stars that is called the Summer Triangle. Vega is the star at the right-angle of said triangle.

76 Race in H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine” : ELOI

In the 1895 novella by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounters in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a domineering race living underground who use the Eloi as food.

77 Chinese dynasty : MING

The Ming dynasty lasted in China from 1368 to 1644. It was a time of tremendous innovation in so many areas, including the manufacture of ceramics. In the late Ming period, a shift towards a market economy in China led to the export of porcelain on an unprecedented scale, perhaps explaining why we tend to hear more about Ming vases than we do about porcelain from any other Chinese dynasty.

83 So-called “All-Father” of myth : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin’s wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term “Friday” (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin’s son was Thor, whose name gave us the term “Thursday”. Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday” from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

84 Golf champ McIlroy : RORY

Rory McIlroy is a very successful golfer from Northern Ireland. McIlroy is a relatively young man and a former world number one on the circuit, so folks can’t help but compare him to Tiger Woods. He was the first European to win three different majors. Along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, McIlroy is one of only three people to win three majors before the age of 25.

90 The Vitamin Shoppe competitor : GNC

General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

96 Reason to remove metal accessories : MRI

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

98 Grand finale? : … CRU

“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below.

101 Company acquired by Morgan Stanley in 2020 : E-TRADE

E-Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E-Trade used to produce those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.

102 Having needles, as a cactus : SPINED

Areoles are bumps on the side of cacti from which grow clusters of spines. These areoles are one of the features of cacti that distinguish them from other succulent plants.

105 Secret clique : CABAL

A cabal is a small group of plotters acting in secret, perhaps scheming against a government or an individual. The use of “cabal” in this way dates back to the mid-1600s. It is suggested that the term gained some popularity, particularly in a sinister sense, during the reign of Charles II in the 1670s. At that time, it was applied as an acronym standing for “Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale”, a group of ministers known for their plots and schemes.

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”.

107 Muscat native : OMANI

Muscat is the capital of Oman. The city lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

110 Neophyte, informally : NOOB

“Noob” (sometimes “newb”) is a not-so-nice, slang term for a “newbie”, and often refers to someone who is new to an online community.

A neophyte is a recent convert to a particular doctrine or practice.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Whiskered bottom-dweller : MUDCAT
7 Workout focus, informally : CARDIO
13 Tube traveler? : OVUM
17 BOGO or YOLO : ACRONYM
19 Ten-spot : SAWBUCK
20 Like Jabba the Hutt : OBESE
21 The club’s bouncer earned a living … : … ALONG PARTY LINES
23 Subjects of some cautionary tales : NO-NOS
24 Things with keys : MAPS
25 Org. overseeing workers’ well-being : OSHA
26 Treatment site : SPA
27 Insurance giant acquired by CVS in 2018 : AETNA
28 Bump on a log, say : NUB
30 The fashion magazine’s editor focused on fasteners in her … : … HOT BUTTON ISSUES
35 Hubbub : CLAMOR
38 The Coyotes, on N.H.L. scoreboards : ARI
39 Leader of a flock : PASTOR
40 The veterinarian specialized in mending … : … LAME DUCK BILLS
45 Most wan : PALEST
48 Wrath : IRE
49 Obnoxious sort : BOOR
50 Seaside retreat? : EBB
53 Event that might have “mutton busting” : RODEO
54 Japanese maker of watches and mobile phones : CASIO
57 “Little ol’ me?” : MOI?
58 Online command denoted by an arrow inside a cloud : UPLOAD
61 “___ Day Will Come” (1963 #1 hit) : OUR
62 The sound engineer was obsessed with the … : … SPEAKERS OF THE HOUSE
67 Big name in filters : BRITA
69 Unagi or anago : EEL
70 Family on TV’s “Smallville” : KENTS
71 The groundskeeper spent years studying … : … GRASS ROOTS MOVEMENT
78 Besson who directed “The Fifth Element” : LUC
79 Food critic’s asset : PALATE
80 Ex-Giant Manning : ELI
81 Extreme lethargy : SOPOR
85 Inner self, in Jungian philosophy : ANIMA
88 Business card abbr. : TEL
89 Instrument heard at the conclusion of “Bohemian Rhapsody” : GONG
91 Courtroom affirmation : I DO
92 French term of endearment : MON AMI
94 The weary general sat in his … : … CAMPAIGN CHAIR
100 Orange sources : GROVES
103 Item of clothing patented by Mary Phelps Jacob in 1914 : BRA
104 Niche : CRANNY
105 The carpenter measured twice for the ideal … : … CABINET POSITION
111 Emmy winner Aduba : UZO
112 It’s done in barrels : AGING
113 Salted ___ (margarita option) : RIM
114 Natural hairstyles, informally : ‘FROS
116 Green region on a Risk board : ASIA
119 Swelters : BAKES
120 The paid escort was fined for … : … AN ACT OF CONGRESS
125 Stave off : AVERT
126 How subway cars are packed during rush hour : DENSELY
127 Place of birth, education, work history, etc. : BIO DATA
128 What a haggler hopes to pay : LESS
129 Exchanged words? : EDITED
130 Like some rehab : POST-OP

Down

1 Polite term of address : MA’AM
2 Where Carol Burnett studied theater arts, for short : UCLA
3 “Just happen to” mention some famous people : DROP NAMES
4 Eat : CONSUME
5 Director Lee : ANG
6 An eye for an aye, say? : TYPO
7 Low island : CAY
8 Hole puncher : AWL
9 19-Down for a cleanup hitter : RBI
10 Kirsten of 1995’s “Jumanji” : DUNST
11 Summer cooler : ICE POP
12 ___ Baiul, Olympic figure-skating gold medalist : OKSANA
13 Musical feature in “Swan Lake” and “Peter and the Wolf” : OBOE SOLO
14 Went trekking, say : VENTURED OUT
15 Hwy. that runs from Key West to Maine : US-ONE
16 Flat earth? : MESAS
18 Whiskey ingredient : MASH
19 See 9-Down : STAT
20 One way to wish : ON A STAR
22 P, to Plato : RHO
29 Physique, slangily : BOD
31 Beverage brand with antioxidants : BAI
32 Something with a preview in a social media post : URL
33 Up to : ‘TIL
34 AOL, e.g. : ISP
35 ___ Stic (pen brand) : CLIC
36 Name hidden in “I smell a rat” : LARA
37 Coat for a cookout : RUB
41 Plot device for many a soap opera : COMA
42 Eccentric : KOOK
43 Relative of Camembert : BRIE
44 Lead-in to service or sacrifice : SELF-
46 Dr. who wrote “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells” : SEUSS
47 Rent : TORE
51 Customer service “assistant,” at times : BOT
52 Cry of frustration : BAH!
55 Goddess depicted at the foot of King Tut’s coffin : ISIS
56 Goes (for) : OPTS
58 “I’m at your disposal” : USE ME
59 Game divided into periods called chukkers : POLO
60 Hockey fake : DEKE
63 Virgil at the O.K. Corral : EARP
64 Kick back : REST
65 Brooding bunch : HENS
66 Strongly suspecting : ONTO
67 Singer Mars : BRUNO
68 Velodrome vehicles : RACING BIKES
71 ___ rock, genre for T. Rex : GLAM
72 Kind of milk : OAT
73 Encouraging shout : OLE!
74 Soft powder : TALC
75 Fifth-brightest star in the night sky : VEGA
76 Race in H. G. Wells’s “The Time Machine” : ELOI
77 Chinese dynasty : MING
82 Where one might store sheet music : PIANO SEAT
83 So-called “All-Father” of myth : ODIN
84 Golf champ McIlroy : RORY
86 Salts : MARINERS
87 In and between : AMONGST
90 The Vitamin Shoppe competitor : GNC
93 “___ had it!” : I’VE
95 Obliques, e.g. : ABS
96 Reason to remove metal accessories : MRI
97 Butter bit : PAT
98 Grand finale? : … CRU
99 Things indicated by yellow signage : HAZARDS
101 Company acquired by Morgan Stanley in 2020 : E-TRADE
102 Having needles, as a cactus : SPINED
105 Secret clique : CABAL
106 Southwestern syrup source : AGAVE
107 Muscat native : OMANI
108 Dicey : IFFY
109 Foe in the Elder Scrolls video games : ORC
110 Neophyte, informally : NOOB
115 Small cut : SNIP
117 Analogy words : IS TO
118 “Pronto!” : ASAP!
121 Winter hrs. in Chi-Town : CST
122 Undershirt, maybe : TEE
123 Tired : OLD
124 Melted mess : GOO

12 thoughts on “1210-23 NY Times Crossword 10 Dec 23, Sunday”

  1. 35:09, no errors. Good Sunday morning exercise. 13A: so tempting to enter BRIT instead of OVUM for ‘Tube traveler’.
    I have long given up on trying to understand our highway numbering system. US ONE is on the East Coast, Hwy 1 is on the West Coast.

    1. 109D: I’m a fan of the Elder Scrolls series (Oblivion, Skyrim). I don’t recall ORCs as ‘foes’. You can select the ORC race for the character you create to play the game, but I haven’t seen them as foes. Can anyone enlighten me?

  2. cru crossing uzo? great, just great. never heard of aduba uzo, or grand CRU, so finished all of puzzle but one letter. Nice cluing

  3. Never heard of ICE POP or BAI. crossword builders love them though.

    Also never heard MUD CAT used before. I’m familiar with catfish. Good eating.

    Pretty quick run today.

  4. A bit over an hour solve time and I got MUDCAT wrong at 1 across plus a couple of clumsy typos/type-overs.

    The rest of the comments that follow may be TMI but the term MUDCAT peaked my interest so I looked up some stuff.

    My immediate thought for 1 Across was CATFISH. Never heard of a MUDCAT, MUD CATFISH or MUD FISH. Bill says, “Mudcats are types of catfish found in muddy rivers, particularly in the Mississippi valley.”

    Although apparently the MUDFISH is in fact a different species from a CATFISH, from what I can gather, in Canada at least, maybe most of the U.S. as well (?), the term seems be just another name for CATFISH. From reading online, apparently the MUDFISH is mostly referred to as a BOWFIN in North America, or at least in Canada.

    However just to add a twist to that, I got a hit for a town in Southwestern, Ontario, Dunnville, about a 1.5 hour drive from where I live, which claims to have the world’s largest statue of what it refers to as a MUDCAT. I saw a pic on wikipedia and the thing is huge. But, to me it looks like a CATFISH, with whiskers and flathead. MUDFISH lack whiskers.

    So it cannot be said MUDCAT is an unheard of term up here, but it seems to just be another name for CATFISH. It’s possible I got this all wrong. I have caught CATFISH myself, by accident, and released them back in the water, but I’ve never actually seen a MUDFISH or BOWFIN.

    1. Correction, appears the MUDFISH is in fact a different breed of fish from the BOWFIN though they have a lot of similarities and are often confused. The MUDFISH’s habitat is the southeastern U.S. as Bill mentioned, and are more abundant in shallow marshy areas while the BOWFIN’s is the eastern Canada and the U.S. Another difference is the MUDFISH can tolerate very low oxygen levels.

      1. Footnote: I think I got it now.
        The fish commonly referred to as a MUDCAT esp. in the American South, is a FLATHEAD CATFISH and belongs to the order of CATFISH.
        The BOWFIN belongs to the order of BOWFINS not the order of CATFISH.
        The MUDFISH belongs to a different order from CATFISH or BOWFINS.

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