1224-23 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 23, Sunday

Constructed by: Drew Schmenner
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Wrap Stars

We have a Christmas puzzle today, with several of SANTA’S LITTLE HELPERS hanging out in five individual squares as rebus entries:

  • 100A Workers seen in five squares in this puzzle? : SANTA’S LITTLE HELPERS
  • 26A One who’s not afraid to brag : SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTER
  • 34A Sympathize with : FEEL FOR
  • 54A Quantity of beer … or monkeys? : BARRELFUL
  • 72A Skateboard tricks started by kicking with the back foot : HEELFLIPS
  • 117A Locale of the final scene in “Vertigo” : BELFRY
  • 3D Sweet custardy concoction : CARAMEL FLAN
  • 9D What awaits a tragic hero : CRUEL FATE
  • 36D Record kept on an employee : PERSONNEL FILE
  • 39D Spongy dessert : ANGEL FOOD CAKE
  • 75D Not custom, as merchandise : OFF THE SHELF

Bill’s time: 20m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Using the bow, in music : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

18 “La ___ de los Espiritus,” debut novel for Isabel Allende : CASA

Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer, and the world’s most widely-read, Spanish-language author. Isabel is related to Salvador Allende, the ex-President of Chile.

19 Littlest sucklings : RUNTS

Back around 1500, a runt was an old or decayed tree stump, and by the early 1600s “runt” was being used to describe animals that were similarly old and decayed. Ultimately “runt” came to mean the smallest and often sickest in a litter.

22 Ancient landmark whose name translates to “high city” : ACROPOLIS

The term “acropolis” translates from Greek as “high city” or “city on the extremity”. In English we use the term “citadel” to mean the same thing. The most famous citadel bearing the name is the Acropolis of Athens. This Acropolis is a large, flat-topped rock in the city of Athens that rises almost 500 feet above sea level. The most recognizable building that stands on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, also known as the Temple of Athena.

24 Shadow : UMBRA

A shadow usually has three distinct parts called the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, with the terms most often used with reference to the shadows cast by celestial bodies. The terms can also be used to describe the levels of darkness in sunspots. The umbra (Latin for “shadow”) is the innermost, darkest part of a shadow. The penumbra (“almost shadow”, from Latin) is a lighter part of a shadow, where part of the light source “leaks” around the body casting the shadow. The antumbra phenomenon is experienced when the object casting the shadow is sufficiently far away from the viewer so that it appears smaller than the light source, with an annular ring around it. When the eye is in the shadow cast by an object that has light passing around it, the eye is in the antumbra.

29 Fermented honey concoction : MEAD

Mead is a lovely drink that’s made from fermented honey and water.

31 Bygone Seattle hoopsters : SONICS

The Seattle SuperSonics were the professional basketball team based in Seattle from 1967 to 2008, at which time the franchise moved to Oklahoma City (and became the Oklahoma City Thunder).

42 Lover of Hero, in Greek myth : LEANDER

The Greek myth of Hero and Leander gave rise to a couple of operas (one by Giovanni Bottesini and another by Arrigo Boito) and a more famous cantata from George Frideric Handel, all called “Ero e Leandro”.

47 “Ithaca is ___” (punny slogan) : GORGES

The city of Ithaca sits right at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake in New York State. Named for the Greek island, Ithaca is famous as home to Cornell University, which is located just south of the city.

48 Actress Diana of “The Avengers” : RIGG

Diana Rigg was a marvelous actress from England who was best known for playing Emma Peel on the hit sixties show “The Avengers”. Rigg also won an Emmy for her performance in a 1997 television adaptation of “Rebecca”. In my humble opinion, she was also the best-ever “Bond girl” (opposite George Lazenby, the worst-ever Bond guy), in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” …

“The Avengers” was must-see television when I was growing up. It is a sixties comedy spy series set in England during the days of the Cold War. The hero was John Steed, played ably by Patrick Macnee. Steed had various female partners as the series progressed, the first of which was Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman (who also played Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”). Following Ms. Gale was Emma Peel, played by the wonderful Diana Rigg. Finally there was Tara King, played by Linda Thorson.

51 Arthur Ashe Courage Award, for one : ESPY

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award has been presented annually since 1993 as part of the ESPY Awards. Named for tennis great Arthur Ashe, the Courage Award is presented to individuals whose contributions “transcend sports”. The list of recipients includes Howard Cosell (1995), Muhammad Ali (1997), Billie Jean King (1999), Nelson Mandela (2009), Caitlyn Jenner (2015) and Eunice Kennedy Shriver (2017).

52 Number of lords a-leaping : TEN

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

54 Quantity of beer … or monkeys? : BARRELFUL

To have more fun than a barrel of monkeys is to have a great time, lots of fun. Apparently, the expression dates back at least to 1840, when it took the form “cage of monkeys”. There was a “wagonload of monkeys” by the end of the 19th century, and somehow a subsequent relocation into a “barrel”.

58 Name of Lincoln’s favorite dog : FIDO

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

60 ___ buco : OSSO

Osso buco is a traditional Italian dish that is typically made with veal shanks that are braised with vegetables and herbs. The name “osso buco” means “bone with a hole” in Italian, which refers to the marrow-filled bone in the center of the veal shank. The marrow is considered a delicacy and is often scooped out and served with the dish.

67 Fourth word in “Jingle Bells” : SNOW

The traditional Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was first published in 1857, penned by James Lord Pierpont. We associate the song with Christmas, although in fact Pierpont wrote it as a celebration of Thanksgiving.

Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

71 “Illmatic” rapper : 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.

80 Actress Skye : IONE

Ione Skye is an American actress born in London, England. She is best known for portraying the character Diane Court in the 1989 high school romance movie “Say Anything…”, starring opposite John Cusack. Skye is the daughter of the Scottish folk singer Donovan.

82 Mr. Potter vis-à-vis George Bailey, in “It’s a Wonderful Life” : FOE

The Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” was released in 1946, and is a Frank Capra movie starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. The film’s screenplay was adapted from a short story called “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern. Remember the famous swimming pool scene? That was shot in the Beverly High School gym, and the pool is still in use today.

83 “King Lear” daughter : GONERIL

In William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”, the title character is betrayed by two of three daughters. He refers to this betrayal, by Goneril in particular, with the words:

If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatur’d torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,
Turn all her mother’s pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt, that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

88 Olympic gymnast Korbut : OLGA

Olga Korbut is from modern-day Belarus, but was born during the days of the Soviet Union. Korbut competed for the USSR team in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. She was 17 when she appeared in the 1972 Munich Games, and had been training in a sports school since she was 8-years-old. The world fell in love with her as she was a very emotional young lady, readily expressing joy and disappointment, something that we weren’t used to seeing in athletes from behind the Iron Curtain. Korbut immigrated to the US in 1991 and settled in Scottsdale, Arizona.

92 Kim’s ex, in tabloids : KANYE

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 used to be married to reality star Kim Kardashian.

97 Actress Wen of “The Mandalorian” : MINGNA

“The Mandalorian” is a TV series in the “Star Wars” universe that is set five years after the events in the 1983 film “Return of the Jedi”. The show was created by actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau, and has been well received. The title character is Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal), a bounty hunter with a ward named Grogu. Grogu is an infant of the same species as Yoda, and so is referred to by viewers as “Baby Yoda”.

108 End of turn? : -STILE

A stile is a structure allowing people to pass over or through a fence, while at the same time preventing livestock from escaping. The derivative term “turnstile” describes a revolving structure in a wall or fence that allows the controlled passage of people.

110 Speedy Northeast train : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, as it gets up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

112 “___ Misbehavin'” : AIN’T

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a song written in 1929 by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks, with lyrics by Andy Razaf. Waller was the first to record the song, quickly followed by six other artists that same year. The song also provided the title for a successful stage musical that premiered in 1978.

113 Relative of a cassowary : RHEA

The rhea is a flightless bird that is native to South America. It takes its name from the Greek Titan Rhea. That’s an apt name for a flightless bird as “rhea” comes from the Greek word meaning “ground”.

The cassowary is a large, flightless bird found mainly in New Guinea. One species of cassowary is the third tallest bird on the planet, second only to the ostrich and the emu.

114 Midnight Mass leader : POPE

Midnight Mass is a liturgy celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve in many Christian churches around the world, especially in the West. The ceremony is held to honor the birth of Jesus.

115 Hurdle for a prospective J.D. : LSAT

The law degree that is abbreviated to “J.D.” stands for “Juris Doctor” or “Doctor of Jurisprudence”.

116 Some cats, chameleons and chinchillas : PETS

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”.

A chinchilla is a rodent found in the Andes in South America. It is a little larger than a squirrel, and has velvet-like fur. It takes its name from the local Chincha people who made clothing out of the fur. Chinchillas are quite rare in the wild now as they have been hunted almost out of existence, but there are plenty of farm-raised chinchillas around supporting the fur industry, sad to say …

117 Locale of the final scene in “Vertigo” : BELFRY

“Vertigo” is a 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film that’s based on a 1954 novel “D’entre les morts” (“From Among the Dead”) by Boileau-Narcejac. Jimmy Stewart stars as a retired San Francisco police detective who has developed an extreme fear of heights. Stewart’s character is hired to trail someone’ wife, played by Kim Novak.

Down

2 Like Ebenezer Scrooge : RICH

Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in the novella “A Christmas Carol” By Charles Dickens. Through the course of the story, Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who show him the consequences of his miserly behavior. His name “Scrooge” has become a part of the English language as a term to describe someone who is stingy and mean with money.

4 Start of a well-known address in Verona : O ROMEO …

In William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”, the lovers discuss the sad fact that they have been born into two feuding families in the famous balcony scene. Juliet says:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

A little later she utters the famous lines:

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

6 “The Winter’s ___” : TALE

“The Winter’s Tale” is a 1623 play by William Shakespeare. It is often categorized as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” in that it does not readily fall into the category of drama or romance. The first three acts are quite dramatic, while the last two acts are very humorous and provide us with a happy ending.

8 Iconic features of “Under Pressure” and “Come Together” : BASSLINES

“Come Together” is the first track on the 1969 album “Abbey Road”, by the Beatles. John Lennon basically wrote the song at the request of writer Timothy Leary, who wanted a song for his campaign to replace Ronald Reagan as Governor of California. The song lost its sponsor when Leary was imprisoned for possession of marijuana.

10 Bactrian pair : HUMPS

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of a camel is the large deposit of fatty tissue on its back. The dromedary is the most common camel, and has one hump of fatty tissue on its back. The Bactrian camel has two humps, and makes up just 6% of the world’s camel population. Those fatty humps are useful if no food or water is available, as fat can be broken down into water and energy.

15 Uncle ___ (“Seinfeld” character) : LEO

On the sitcom “Seinfeld”, Jerry’s eccentric maternal uncle is Leo, played by actor Len Lesser. Lesser acted in movies and television for many years, alongside some of the greats of stage and screen. He was fond of telling a marvelous story about acting in the 1973 film “Papillon” starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. In his role as a prison guard, Lesser was required to shove McQueen, but McQueen didn’t think that Lesser was pushing him roughly enough. He turned to Lesser and told him “Don’t think of me as a movie star. Think of me as a character in a show”, encouraging him to be more aggressive. When McQueen walked away, Hoffman was left standing there beside Lesser. He paused and quietly said to Lesser, “Think of me as a movie star …”

16 Madrid’s home, in the Olympics : ESP

In Spanish, “España” (Spain) is a country on “el Mediterráneo” (the Mediterranean).

20 Uncle ___ : SAM

The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the code word “Samland” for “America” in intelligence communiques.

23 Tree in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” : PEAR

The fabulous Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas” dates back at least to 1780 when it was first published in England, though it may be French in origin. The concept of twelve days of Christmas comes from the tradition that the three kings came to visit the Christ Child twelve days after he was born. This same tradition is the origin of the title to Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”.

28 Capital just below the 60th parallel : OSLO

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiania. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiania.

32 Musical style associated with Harry Belafonte : CALYPSO

The musical style known as calypso originated in Trinidad and Tobago, but there seems to be some debate about which influences were most important as the genre developed. It is generally agreed that the music was imported by African slaves from their homeland, but others emphasize influences of the medieval French troubadours. To me it sounds more African in nature. Calypso reached the masses when it was first recorded in 1912, and it spread around the world in the thirties and forties. It reached its pinnacle with the release of the famous “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte.

Singer and actor Harry Belafonte was of Caribbean descent, from Jamaica through his mother’s heritage and from Martinique through his father. Born in New York City, Belafonte came to be known as the “King of Calypso”. His most famous recording is 1956’s “The Banana Boat Song”, and I suspect that his most famous movie performance is in Otto Preminger’s “Carmen Jones”.

34 Order : FIAT

A fiat is an arbitrary rule that is imposed, and is the Latin for “let it be done”.

37 What transforms Bruce Banner into the Hulk : RAGE

In the seventies and eighties TV show “The Incredible Hulk”, Lou Ferrigno played Hulk. Hulk’s alter ego in the comics was Bruce Banner, but in the show he was called David Banner, and played by Bill Bixby.

39 Spongy dessert : ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Angel food cake is an American creation, with the name being a reference to the sponge’s lightness, as if it is “food of angels”. The chocolate butter cake called Devil’s food cake came along later, and is considered to be a counterpart to the more angelic variety.

49 Goddess of the rainbow : IRIS

In Greek mythology, the goddess Iris was viewed as the link between the gods and humanity, a messenger. She was also the goddess of the rainbow. In Virgil’s “Aeneid”, Iris takes the form of a Trojan woman and incites other Trojan mothers to set fire to Aeneas’ ships, preventing them from leaving Sicily.

57 “The Bells” poet : POE

Celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe (EAP) was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

60 “God bless us, every ___!” : ONE

“Tiny Tim” is the nickname of Timothy Cratchit, a character in the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”. Tiny Tim is the son of Ebenezer Scrooge’s underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit, and is a sickly child. Famously, the child utters the words “God bless us, every one!” at Christmas dinner, which words are repeated by the author at the end of the story.

61 1040 fig. : SSN

Form 1040, issued by the IRS, is the “US Individual Income Tax Return”. It was originally created just for tax returns from 1913, 1914 and 1915, but it’s a form that just keeps on giving, or should I say “taking” …?

66 Aphrodite’s frequent companion : EROS

As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male. The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite was Venus, and the equivalent of Eros was Cupid.

69 “Hustlers” star, familiarly : J LO

Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez (aka “J. Lo”) has two children with her third husband, singer Marc Anthony. The twins Maximilian and Emme were born in 2008. Reportedly, “People” magazine paid Lopez and Anthony $6 million to introduce the children to the public, making the images taken by the magazine the most expensive celebrity photographs of all time.

73 Fictional band fronted by David St. Hubbins : SPINAL TAP

“This Is Spın̈al Tap” is a rock musical mockumentary about the fictional band Spinal Tap, directed by the great Rob Reiner. I love Rob Reiner’s work, but this movie … not so much …

74 Start of a playground rhyme : EENY …

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

76 ___ gras : FOIE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

83 Word added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 : GOD

The Pledge of Allegiance of the US was composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and was adopted by Congress in 1942. The actual words used in the pledge have changed over time. Here is the original 1892 version shown in comparison to the current version that was adopted in 1954:

1892: I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

1954: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

86 Heart diagnostic, in brief : EKG TEST

An EKG measures the electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred, as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

90 Heineken brand : AMSTEL

Amstel is a Dutch beer and brewery that was founded in 1870 in Amsterdam. The brewery takes its name from the Amstel river that runs through the city.

91 Floral symbols of purity : LILIES

There are many plants with the word “lily” in their common name, but few belong to the genus “Lilium”, the so-called “true” lilies. So, water lilies, calla lilies, lilies of the valley, etc.; they aren’t lilies at all.

96 Mononymous Irish singer : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

98 Wafer brand : NILLA

As one might expect, “Nilla” is a shortened form of “vanilla”. However, you won’t find any vanilla in Nilla brand cookies or wafers. They have always been flavored with vanillin, which is synthetic vanilla. Is nothing sacred …?

102 Member of a wet quintet : ERIE

Lake Erie is the fourth-largest of the five Great Lakes by area (Lake Ontario is the smallest). The lake takes its name from the Erie tribe of Native Americans that used to live along its southern shore. Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest, something for which nearby residents must be quite grateful. Being relatively shallow, much of Erie freezes over part way through most winters putting an end to most of the lake-effect snow that falls in the snow belt extending from the lake’s edge.

105 Neuter : SPAY

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal), comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

106 Hiatus : GAP

A hiatus is a break or opening in a material object, or an interruption in time. “Hiatus” is Latin for “opening”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Using the bow, in music : ARCO
5 Guesstimate : STAB
9 XXX : CHIS
13 Private retreat, of a sort : ISLE
17 Charged exclamation during a court trial : LIAR!
18 “La ___ de los Espiritus,” debut novel for Isabel Allende : CASA
19 Littlest sucklings : RUNTS
21 Contents of a pot : ANTES
22 Ancient landmark whose name translates to “high city” : ACROPOLIS
24 Shadow : UMBRA
25 Reporter’s coup : SCOOP
26 One who’s not afraid to brag : SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTER
29 Fermented honey concoction : MEAD
30 Let : LEASED
31 Bygone Seattle hoopsters : SONICS
34 Sympathize with : FEEL FOR
36 Computer command : PRINT
38 What you might get when you purchase Christmas ornaments on December 26 : DEAL
40 Part of a sleigh : SEAT
41 Contraction that’s a homophone of 13-Across : I’LL
42 Lover of Hero, in Greek myth : LEANDER
44 With significance : NOTEDLY
46 In the manner of : A LA
47 “Ithaca is ___” (punny slogan) : GORGES
48 Actress Diana of “The Avengers” : RIGG
51 Arthur Ashe Courage Award, for one : ESPY
52 Number of lords a-leaping : TEN
53 Surprise birthday parties often involve them : RUSES
54 Quantity of beer … or monkeys? : BARRELFUL
56 Max or X : APP
58 Name of Lincoln’s favorite dog : FIDO
59 Branding need : HOT IRON
60 ___ buco : OSSO
61 End of autumn? : SILENT N
64 Highly prized collectibles, in lingo : RARES
65 Bad design feature for a Christmas stocking? : OPEN TOE
67 Fourth word in “Jingle Bells” : SNOW
68 Hurt : INJURED
70 Take a risk : DARE
71 “Illmatic” rapper : NAS
72 Skateboard tricks started by kicking with the back foot : HEELFLIPS
73 Dry, as Italian wine : SECCO
75 O’er and o’er : OFT
78 Bring on board : HIRE
80 Actress Skye : IONE
81 Barks, perhaps : SPEAKS
82 Mr. Potter vis-à-vis George Bailey, in “It’s a Wonderful Life” : FOE
83 “King Lear” daughter : GONERIL
85 Fixes, as broken 93-Down : RELINKS
87 Scary sight at the beach : FIN
88 Olympic gymnast Korbut : OLGA
89 Sign of approval : SEAL
92 Kim’s ex, in tabloids : KANYE
93 Formal “you,” in Spain : USTED
95 Muffle : DEADEN
97 Actress Wen of “The Mandalorian” : MINGNA
99 Dude, in modern slang : BRUH
100 Workers seen in five squares in this puzzle? : SANTA’S LITTLE HELPERS
106 Make ends meet : GET BY
108 End of turn? : -STILE
109 Binds tightly : TRUSSES UP
110 Speedy Northeast train : ACELA
111 Topples (over) : KEELS
112 “___ Misbehavin'” : AIN’T
113 Relative of a cassowary : RHEA
114 Midnight Mass leader : POPE
115 Hurdle for a prospective J.D. : LSAT
116 Some cats, chameleons and chinchillas : PETS
117 Locale of the final scene in “Vertigo” : BELFRY

Down

1 “Regrettably …” : ALAS …
2 Like Ebenezer Scrooge : RICH
3 Sweet custardy concoction : CARAMEL FLAN
4 Start of a well-known address in Verona : O ROMEO …
5 Dress down : SCOLD
6 “The Winter’s ___” : TALE
7 Clearance sale warning : AS IS
8 Iconic features of “Under Pressure” and “Come Together” : BASSLINES
9 What awaits a tragic hero : CRUEL FATE
10 Bactrian pair : HUMPS
11 Hereditary : INBRED
12 Walked assuredly : STRODE
13 Brings to a boil : INCENSES
14 Colorful background : STORIED PAST
15 Uncle ___ (“Seinfeld” character) : LEO
16 Madrid’s home, in the Olympics : ESP
20 Uncle ___ : SAM
21 Regarding : AS TO
23 Tree in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” : PEAR
27 Dispatches : SENDS
28 Capital just below the 60th parallel : OSLO
32 Musical style associated with Harry Belafonte : CALYPSO
33 What a filthy mess! : STY
34 Order : FIAT
35 Magazine based in Paris : ELLE
36 Record kept on an employee : PERSONNEL FILE
37 What transforms Bruce Banner into the Hulk : RAGE
39 Spongy dessert : ANGEL FOOD CAKE
42 Article of clothing that might be decorated with candy canes : LOUD TIE
43 Full of sex or profanity, maybe : R-RATED
45 Business card no. : TEL
47 Beam : GRIN
49 Goddess of the rainbow : IRIS
50 [I’ve had enough!] : [GRR!]
54 Puts to sleep, say : BORES
55 Analyzes, as a metaphor : UNPACKS
57 “The Bells” poet : POE
58 Two or three : FEW
59 Big name in book publishing since 1817 : HARPER
60 “God bless us, every ___!” : ONE
61 1040 fig. : SSN
62 Down, at the casino : IN A HOLE
63 No longer at the top of one’s game : LOSING A STEP
64 Destruction : RUIN
66 Aphrodite’s frequent companion : EROS
69 “Hustlers” star, familiarly : J LO
72 She/___ : HER
73 Fictional band fronted by David St. Hubbins : SPINAL TAP
74 Start of a playground rhyme : EENY …
75 Not custom, as merchandise : OFF THE SHELF
76 ___ gras : FOIE
77 Incline : TEND
79 Breezy, as a book : READABLE
81 Incline : SLANT
83 Word added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 : GOD
84 “___ everyone?” : ISN’T
86 Heart diagnostic, in brief : EKG TEST
90 Heineken brand : AMSTEL
91 Floral symbols of purity : LILIES
93 See 85-Across : URLS
94 First-class : SUPERB
96 Mononymous Irish singer : ENYA
98 Wafer brand : NILLA
99 Tops : BESTS
101 Pose : ASK
102 Member of a wet quintet : ERIE
103 Word with witch or treasure : … HUNT
104 Repentant sort : RUER
105 Neuter : SPAY
106 Hiatus : GAP
107 Prefix with friendly : ECO-

6 thoughts on “1224-23 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 23, Sunday”

  1. 26:04, no errors. Saw the gimmick early on and quickly learned how many elves to expect. Finished in the lower right and therefore spent some time wondering when the final elf was going to show up. Cute, nevertheless … 🙂.

  2. 41:59, couldn’t find the one single square I had wrong. Plus, I kept looking for a “shelf” to put the 5 ELFs on.

  3. 39:06, no errors. I, too, had to go back and find where a gremlin changed my entry BASS LINE to BASE LINE.

    Merry Christmas Eve to everyone.

  4. 52:49, figured out the gimmick, but took more than a little while to figure out which square to put the “elf” in to make it work. Nobody ever said I was particularly bright, including me…

    Hope you’re all enjoying Christmas Eve in some way.

  5. I had FOOD TIE for LOUD TIE😥
    Anyone who uses clues like 85A and 93D should be banned from crosswords forever IMO👎👎
    Stay safe😀

  6. No errors.

    Never heard of CARAMEL FLAN.

    Luckily, it was the last word to fall after I filled in. FE(elf) FOR.

    no idea what X or MAX is for an APP.

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