1231-23 NY Times Crossword 31 Dec 23, Sunday

Constructed by: Matt Linzer & Rafael Musa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: It’s Going Down

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! I hope that you all have fun with friends and family as we roll into 2024.
We have five BALL answers DROPPING in the down-direction in today’s grid. Themed clues that reference BEFORE MIDNIGHT ignore those BALLS. Those that reference AFTER MIDNIGHT have answers that DROP down through a BALL and continue on a line below:

  • 86D End-of-December tradition depicted five times in this puzzle : BALL DROP
  • 119A Where to see the 86-Down : TIMES SQUARE
  • 23A Before midnight: Sloth, e.g. : HERBIVORE
  • 24D Event for Cinderella : BALL
  • 36A After midnight: Ointments infused with cottonwood or calendula, e.g. : HERBAL LOTIONS
  • 25A Before midnight: One with major influence : POWER BROKER
  • 26D Foot part : BALL
  • 40A After midnight: Journey’s “Open Arms” and Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain,” e.g. : POWER BALLADS
  • 62A Before midnight: Devices with warm water and massaging rollers : FOOTBATHS
  • 63D Great time : BALL
  • 77A After midnight: Event for Cowboys or Broncos : FOOTBALL GAME
  • 68A Before midnight: Some household expenses : WATER BILLS
  • 69D Wad (up) : BALL
  • 85A After midnight: Synchronized swimming : WATER BALLET
  • 87A Before midnight: Surpass : GO BEYOND
  • 88D Umpire’s call : BALL!
  • 109A After midnight: Totally lose it : GO BALLISTIC

Bill’s time: 25m 08s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • KATSU (tatsu)
  • SEA OAK (sea oat)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Soccer kickoff? : ESS

We kick off the word “soccer” with a letter S (ess).

11 Cheese used in spanakopita : FETA

Spanakopita is a savory pastry from Greece. The term “spanakopita” translates from Greek as “spinach pie”. The pie’s filling includes feta cheese, onions and egg, along with the spinach.

15 Antidiscrimination measure of 1990, in brief : ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

21 Sonicare competitor : ORAL-B

The Oral-B toothbrush was introduced to the world in 1950, designed by a California periodontist. The first “model” was the Oral-B 60, a name given to reflect the 60 tufts in the brush. In 1969, the Oral-B was the first toothbrush to get to the moon as it was the toothbrush of choice for the crew of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Sonicare is a brand of electric toothbrush made by Dutch electronics giant Philips. I’ve been using my Sonicare for years now, which earns me a pat on the back from my dentist every time I visit her …

23 Before midnight: Sloth, e.g. : HERBIVORE

All four of the extant species of three-toed sloths are native to South and Central America. Cousins of the three-toed sloths are the two-toed sloths, of which there are two species still living.

27 Like about 60% of the world’s population : ASIAN

Most of the world’s population lives in Asia (60%), and Asia is the largest continent in terms of landmass (30% of the world). Asia also has the highest population density (246 people per square mile), and the most populous city on the continent is Shanghai, China.

28 Sloth, e.g. : SIN

“Sloth”, meaning “indolence, sluggishness”, comes from the Middle English word “slowe”, which is also the root of our contemporary word “slow”. The animal, the sloth, is so named as it exhibits slow-moving behavior.

30 Blanche’s sister in “A Streetcar Named Desire” : STELLA

“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a Tennessee Williams play that was first performed in 1947, on Broadway. The original cast included Jessica Tandy as Blanche Dubois, Karl Malden as Mitch Mitchell, and Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski. Malden and Brando reprised their stage roles in the celebrated 1951 big screen adaptation. Vivienne Leigh played Blanche Dubois in the movie, having performed the part in the London production of the play.

32 Reality star Theresa of “Long Island Medium” : CAPUTO

“Long Island Medium” is a reality TV show starring Theresa Caputo, someone who claims to be able to communicate with the dead. “Reality” show …?

34 Blonde or brown quaff : ALE

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One “quaffs” (takes a hearty drink) of a “quaff” (a hearty drink).

35 ___ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is the flag carrier airline of Ireland. It was founded in 1936 by the Irish government to provide air service between Ireland and the United Kingdom. The airline’s name means “air fleet” in Irish. In the 1950s, Aer Lingus became the first airline in the world to introduce a duty-free shopping service on board its flights.

49 Actress Lindsay : LOHAN

I think that actress Lindsay Lohan’s big break came with the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap” in 1998. I’ve really only enjoyed one of Lohan’s films though, “Freaky Friday” from 2003 in which she stars alongside the fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis.

52 Chai, for one : SPICE TEA

Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

55 Cedar Rapids college : COE

Coe College is a private school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that was founded in 1851. Coe is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It was founded in 1851 as the School for Prophets. A farmer named Daniel Coe made a donation of $1,500 towards a campus in Cedar Rapid, but added the requirement that it be a co-educational institution. The school opened as the Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute, and was renamed as Coe College Institute in 1875 in recognition of the original donation.

56 “Despicable Me” supervillain : GRU

The main protagonist in the “Despicable Me” movies is the supervillain Felonius Gru, usually referred to simply as “Gru”. Gru is voiced by Steve Carell.

59 Big acronym in purifying filters : HEPA

Air filters can be specified as “HEPA”, with the acronym standing for “high-efficiency particulate absorption”. To be given the name “HEPA”, the filter must remove 99.7% of particles with a size of 0.3 microns or larger.

60 “What hath ___ to do with sleep?”: Milton : NIGHT

English poet John Milton is best known for his epic poem “Paradise Lost”. Milton also wrote several sonnets, the most famous of which is probably “On His Blindness”. The poet developed glaucoma which rendered him completely blind so he had to dictate a lot of his work, including the whole of “Paradise Lost”.

64 Kind of rock … or where to see it : ARENA

Arena rock (also “stadium rock” and “dad rock”) is rock music played in large arenas. It is a phenomenon that dates back to the British Invasion when successful bands like the Beatles played to large audiences in places such as Shea Stadium in New York.

66 Bygone Palm smartphone : TREO

The Treo is a smartphone that was originally developed by a company called Handspring. Handspring was bought by Palm Inc. Subsequently, the Treo was phased out and replaced by the Palm Pre.

67 Saint ___ (Caribbean nation) : LUCIA

The Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia has a population of less than 200,000. Remarkably, Saint Lucia has produced two Nobel Laureates: economist Arthur Lewis and poet Derek Walcott.

75 Journalist Couric : KATIE

Katie Couric left NBC’s “The Today Show” in 2006 and took over as news anchor for “CBS Evening News”. In doing so, she became the first solo female anchor of a broadcast network evening news program. Couric also has the honor of being the only person to guest-host on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. In fact she “swapped jobs” on that particular day, and Leno filled in for Couric on “The Today Show”.

76 Wagering sites that closed in N.Y.C. in 2010, in brief : OTBS

Off-track betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.

83 Clarified butter variety : GHEE

Ghee is clarified butter used in South Asian cuisines. “Ghee” comes from Sanskrit, and translates as “sprinkled”.

84 Fourth ingredient in a classic three-ingredient sandwich : MAYO

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

92 Mexican shawls : SERAPES

“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

97 ___ Spring (2010s protests) : ARAB

The term “Arab Spring” has been applied to the wave of protests, riots and civil wars that impacted the Arab world from 2010 to 2012. The uprisings were sparked by the Tunisian Revolution at the end of 2010 that led to the ouster of the longtime president and the institution of democratic elections. The period of instability that followed in some Arab League countries has been dubbed the “Arab Winter”

99 Drag queen and TV personality Bianca ___ Rio : DEL

“Bianca Del Rio” is the stage name of drag queen and comedian Roy Haylock. Del Rio won the sixth season of the reality competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.

100 Potter’s pal at Hogwarts : WEASLEY

Former child actor Rupert Grint is famous for playing Ron Weasley, one of the three lead characters in the “Harry Potter” series of films. Grint is the oldest of the trio of “Harry Potter” leads, and was 11 years old when he was cast in the role. I really enjoyed the 2017 black-comedy series “Sick Note” in which Grint starred with Nick Frost.

107 Eddie Bauer competitor : LL BEAN

L.L.Bean (note the lack of spaces in the company name) was founded back in 1912 in Freeport, Maine as a company selling its own line of waterproof boots. The founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, gave his name to the enterprise. Right from the start, L.L.Bean focused on mail-order and sold from a circular he distributed and then from a catalog. Defects in the initial design led to 90% of the first boots sold being returned, and the company made good on its guarantee to replace them or give back the money paid.

116 Middle name for musician Sean Lennon : ONO

Sean Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and godson of Elton John. Sean is a musician and composer, and has a band called the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

119 Where to see the 86-Down : TIMES SQUARE
[86D End-of-December tradition depicted five times in this puzzle : BALL DROP]

Times Square in New York City isn’t a square at all, but rather a triangle. When the New York Times newspaper opened new headquarters in the area in 1904, the city agreed to the name “Times Square”, changing it from Longacre Square.

123 Toledan title : SENOR

Toledo is a city in central Spain that is located just over 40 miles south of the capital Madrid. Toledo is sometimes called the “City of Three Cultures”, due to the historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions.

124 Japanese crispy cutlet : KATSU

“Katsuretsu” (also just “katsu”) is a dish from Japanese cuisine that resembles a Wiener schnitzel from Viennese cuisine. Katsu is a breaded meat cutlet.

127 Pranks with rolls, informally : TPS

TP’ing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota, that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.

Down

2 Latin expression that’s almost always abbreviated : ID EST

“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

3 Condo-organizing Kondo : MARIE

Marie Kondo runs a very successful organizing consulting business that she founded when she was 19 years old, and while a student at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. She wrote an extremely successful book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” that was first published in 2011. I’ve read it, and acted on at least some of the advice given therein …

7 Physicist Fermi : ENRICO

Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. He moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. Fermi traveled from Rome to Stockholm in 1938 to receive that year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. Instead of returning to Italy, Fermi and his family traveled on to New York City, where they applied for permanent residency. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

8 College athletics channel : ESPNU

ESPNU (short for “ESPN Universities”) is a sports channel focused on college athletics.

9 Device placed under a tongue : SHOE TREE

A shoe tree (or boot tree) is an adjustable, foot-shaped device that is placed inside a shoe to preserve its shape. Shoe trees are often constructed from solid wood that absorb odor and wick away moisture from the shoe’s leather.

14 Aspirin alternative : ALEVE

“Aleve” is a brand name used for the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

20 BART part : AREA

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a commuter rail system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.

22 ___ Rabbit : BR’ER

Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The “Uncle Remus” stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.

24 Event for Cinderella : BALL

The folktale usually known as “Cinderella” was first published by French author Charles Perrault in 1697, although it was later included by the Brothers Grimm in their famous 1812 collection. The storyline of the tale may date back as far as the days of ancient Greece. A common alternative title to the story is “The Little Glass Slipper”.

33 Title roles for Norman Bates and Patrick Bateman : PSYCHOS

The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho” released in 1960 is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. When “Psycho” was making its initial run in theaters, latecomers were not granted admission, abiding by a policy instigated by Hitchcock himself. He felt that anyone missing the opening scenes would not enjoy the film.

“American Psycho” is a comedy horror film released in 2000 that is based on a 1991 novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. I don’t do horror, comedic or not …

37 Phishing targets : IDENTITIES

Phishing is the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PINs, etc.”

39 Evacuation survival pack : BUG-OUT BAG

A bug-out bag (also “go bag”) is a portable collection of items that one would grab when evacuating from a disaster. One well-accepted guideline is that a bug-out bag contains all that would be needed to survive for 72 hours. A related kit is a get-home bag that might be kept in one’s car or place of work. A get-home bag contains the items needed to get back home in the absence of public transportation. My wife and I put together bug-out bags recently, having moved into an area that is at high risk for wildfires …

41 Qatar’s capital : DOHA

Doha is the capital city of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

42 “Balderdash!” : PSHAW!

“Balderdash” means “senseless jumble of words”. The original balderdash (back before the late 1600s) was a jumbled mix of liquids like maybe beer and wine, or even beer and milk!

44 Lab tube with a bulb : PIPET

A pipette (also “pipet”) is a tool used in a lab to transport an accurately measured volume of liquid. Back in my day, we would suck up the liquid into the pipette by applying our mouths to the top of the instrument. This could be quite dangerous, as one ends up with a mouthful of something unsavory if one lifts the top of the pipette out of the liquid too soon. Nowadays, things are much safer.

47 Mary Jane : POT

“Potiguaya” is the Mexican-Spanish word for “marijuana leaves”. The slang name “pot” comes from “potiguaya”.

51 Duck Hunt console, in brief : NES

“Duck Hunt” is a video game. Not for me though …

53 Sugar source : CANE

When sugarcane is processed to extract sugar, it is crushed and mashed to produce a juice. The juice is boiled to make a sugary concentrate called cane syrup, from which sugar crystals are extracted. A second boiling of the leftover syrup produces second molasses, from which more sugar crystals can be extracted. A third boiling results in what is called blackstrap molasses.

61 Cosmetic goop : GELEE

Gelee is a hair styling product, apparently. I wouldn’t know …

62 Bike ride mishaps : FLATS

Here’s another example of terms that change as we cross the Atlantic Ocean. When talking about tires (“tyres” in Britain and Ireland), a defect can cause a “flat” (“puncture” in Britain and Ireland).

65 Holy chambers in Judaism : ARKS

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which the Torah scrolls are stored. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”. The Torah ark is referred to as the “Aron Kodesh” in Hebrew, meaning “Holy Ark”.

71 With 42-Across, “Lust for Life” singer : IGGY …
[42A See 71-Down : … POP]

Iggy Pop is a punk rock performer from Muskegon, Michigan. When he was in high school, he was a drummer for a local band called the Iguanas, and so was given the nickname “Iggy”. He was the vocalist for a band called the Stooges, and is often referred to as the Godfather of Punk.

72 Chevy S.U.V. : TAHOE

The Chevrolet Tahoe SUV was introduced in 1994. It is based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, and it shares many of its components. The Tahoe is sold under the Silverado badge in Mexico.

73 Make edits to : EMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

74 Like some dives or jams : SEEDY

We use the word “seedy” to mean “shabby”. The usage probably arose from the appearance of a flowering plant that has gone to seed.

We’ve been using the word “dive” in American English for a run-down bar since the latter half of the 19th century. The term comes from the fact that disreputable taverns were usually located in basements, so one had to figuratively dive into them. I’m a big fan …

Jelly is made using strained juice from crushed fruit. Jam is similar, but the whole crushed fruit is used, and often includes seeds.

78 “I didn’t need to know all that!” : TMI

Too much information (TMI)

79 Largest ethnic group of China : HAN

The Han Chinese people are the largest ethnic group in the world, and comprise 18% of the planet’s population. The 1.3 billion Han also make up 92% of China’s population. The group takes its name from the Han dynasty that ruled much of modern day China from roughly 200 BCE to 220 CE.

80 Bart Simpson catchphrase : AY CARAMBA!

Bart Simpson apparently uses the expression “Ay, caramba!” when he is positively surprised about something, often something related to a female I am told …

82 A mushroom’s is called a pileus : CAP

A mushroom isn’t a complete living organism per se but rather is one part of a fungus, and is the fruiting body that is responsible for distributing reproductive spores. The mushroom generally has three main components: the stipe (or “stem”), the pileus (or “cap”) and the lamellae (or “gills”) under the cap which distribute the spores.

86 End-of-December tradition depicted five times in this puzzle : BALL DROP

The famous New Year’s Eve (NYE) ball-dropping tradition in Times Square started on January 1st 1908. The original ball was lit with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs and was dropped at one second after midnight. A fifth version of the ball was introduced in 2008 for the centennial anniversary of the ceremony. The 2008 ball was built by Waterford Crystal and was lit by 9,567 LED bulbs that consumed the same amount of power as ten electric toasters. The current ball was used for the first time in 2009, and is double the size of the 2008 ball at 12 feet in diameter. The ball now sits atop Times Square year round, so you can go see it next time you are in town.

88 Umpire’s call : BALL!

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

91 Subjects to a tirade : RANTS AT

The term “tirade” describes a long and vehement speech, and is a word that came into English from French. “Tirade” can have the same meaning in French, but is also the word for “volley”. So, a tirade is a “volley” of words.

94 Form of algae also known as rockweed : SEA OAK

What’s commonly known as sea oak in North America, we usually refer to as bladderwrack back in Ireland. It is a seaweed, one that was the original source of iodine and was used to treat goiter.

102 Belgian river in a W.W. I battle : YSER

The Yser is a river that originates in northern France and flows through Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser is often associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium and across France in a “race to the sea”. But the Belgians, with the help of their Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful and the front was “stabilized”. As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

110 “The father of American literature,” per Faulkner : TWAIN

“Samuel Langhorne Clemens” was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.

William Faulkner was a writer from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner had been publishing works for thirty years and was largely unknown before he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. He came to despise the fame that came with the award. Even his 17-year-old daughter wasn’t told about his winning the Nobel Prize, and she had to learn about it at school.

111 Geek Squad specialist, informally : IT PRO

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.

114 Brand owned by Hasbro : NERF

Nerf is a soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

The Hasbro toy company was founded in 1923, to sell textile remnants. The founders were Herman, Hillel and Henry Hassenfeld, three brothers and hence the name “Hasbro”. The company diversified into toys in the early forties, with the first real market success being Mr. Potato Head.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “That guy?” : HIM?
4 Not in gear : IDLE
8 Soccer kickoff? : ESS
11 Cheese used in spanakopita : FETA
15 Antidiscrimination measure of 1990, in brief : ADA
16 Signified : MEANT
18 “Hang loose” hand sign : SHAKA
21 Sonicare competitor : ORAL-B
23 Before midnight: Sloth, e.g. : HERBIVORE
25 Before midnight: One with major influence : POWER BROKER
27 Like about 60% of the world’s population : ASIAN
28 Sloth, e.g. : SIN
29 When to see the 86-Down : NEW YEAR’S EVE
30 Blanche’s sister in “A Streetcar Named Desire” : STELLA
32 Reality star Theresa of “Long Island Medium” : CAPUTO
34 Blonde or brown quaff : ALE
35 ___ Lingus : AER
36 After midnight: Ointments infused with cottonwood or calendula, e.g. : HERBAL LOTIONS
38 Fleece : ROB
40 After midnight: Journey’s “Open Arms” and Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain,” e.g. : POWER BALLADS
42 See 71-Down : … POP
45 TikTok post, informally : VID
46 Prepared, as a report : TYPED UP
49 Actress Lindsay : LOHAN
52 Chai, for one : SPICE TEA
55 Cedar Rapids college : COE
56 “Despicable Me” supervillain : GRU
58 Hookup that might get kinky? : HOSE
59 Big acronym in purifying filters : HEPA
60 “What hath ___ to do with sleep?”: Milton : NIGHT
62 Before midnight: Devices with warm water and massaging rollers : FOOTBATHS
64 Kind of rock … or where to see it : ARENA
66 Bygone Palm smartphone : TREO
67 Saint ___ (Caribbean nation) : LUCIA
68 Before midnight: Some household expenses : WATER BILLS
70 Branch offices, e.g. : SATELLITES
75 Journalist Couric : KATIE
76 Wagering sites that closed in N.Y.C. in 2010, in brief : OTBS
77 After midnight: Event for Cowboys or Broncos : FOOTBALL GAME
78 “Can’t win ’em all” : THAT’S LIFE
82 Some adobe abodes : CASAS
83 Clarified butter variety : GHEE
84 Fourth ingredient in a classic three-ingredient sandwich : MAYO
85 After midnight: Synchronized swimming : WATER BALLET
86 Forbid : BAR
87 Before midnight: Surpass : GO BEYOND
90 Run up, as debts : INCUR
92 Mexican shawls : SERAPES
95 Beam : RAY
96 Ice cream name : EDY
97 ___ Spring (2010s protests) : ARAB
99 Drag queen and TV personality Bianca ___ Rio : DEL
100 Potter’s pal at Hogwarts : WEASLEY
103 ESE or NNW : DIR
105 Conjunction used in logic : NOR
107 Eddie Bauer competitor : LL BEAN
109 After midnight: Totally lose it : GO BALLISTIC
113 “Ack! All these options sound great!” : I CAN’T DECIDE!
116 Middle name for musician Sean Lennon : ONO
118 Unacquainted with : NEW TO
119 Where to see the 86-Down : TIMES SQUARE
120 Star sign? : AUTOGRAPH
122 Final image in a preschooler’s book, maybe : ZEBRA
123 Toledan title : SENOR
124 Japanese crispy cutlet : KATSU
125 Vexation : IRE
126 Rapid transit? : RAFT
127 Pranks with rolls, informally : TPS
128 Bring (in) : LOOP
129 Start to make fiction fact? : NON-

Down

1 Laughs : HA-HAS
2 Latin expression that’s almost always abbreviated : ID EST
3 Condo-organizing Kondo : MARIE
4 Romantic profession : I’M IN LOVE
5 App coder, for short : DEV
6 Home to the Wat Xieng Thong temple : LAOS
7 Physicist Fermi : ENRICO
8 College athletics channel : ESPNU
9 Device placed under a tongue : SHOE TREE
10 Snore, idiomatically : SAW WOOD
11 “Seriously?” : FOR REAL?
12 Greek god whose name is an anagram of a flower : EROS
13 Try : TAKE A SHOT
14 Aspirin alternative : ALEVE
17 Sublet offerer : TENANT
19 It’s got all the answers : KEY
20 BART part : AREA
22 ___ Rabbit : BR’ER
24 Event for Cinderella : BALL
26 Foot part : BALL
31 Fighting : AT IT
33 Title roles for Norman Bates and Patrick Bateman : PSYCHOS
37 Phishing targets : IDENTITIES
39 Evacuation survival pack : BUG-OUT BAG
41 Qatar’s capital : DOHA
42 “Balderdash!” : PSHAW!
43 Word with space or rock : OPERA
44 Lab tube with a bulb : PIPET
47 Mary Jane : POT
48 Computer circuitry components : PROCESSORS
50 Wildfire debris : ASH
51 Duck Hunt console, in brief : NES
53 Sugar source : CANE
54 Transported, as some emergency goods : AIRLIFTED
57 Gas, e.g.: Abbr. : UTIL
61 Cosmetic goop : GELEE
62 Bike ride mishaps : FLATS
63 Great time : BALL
65 Holy chambers in Judaism : ARKS
69 Wad (up) : BALL
70 “Same for us!” : SO ARE WE!
71 With 42-Across, “Lust for Life” singer : IGGY …
72 Chevy S.U.V. : TAHOE
73 Make edits to : EMEND
74 Like some dives or jams : SEEDY
78 “I didn’t need to know all that!” : TMI
79 Largest ethnic group of China : HAN
80 Bart Simpson catchphrase : AY CARAMBA!
81 Go all over : TOUR
82 A mushroom’s is called a pileus : CAP
86 End-of-December tradition depicted five times in this puzzle : BALL DROP
88 Umpire’s call : BALL!
89 Giving a once-over : EYEING UP
91 Subjects to a tirade : RANTS AT
93 Hinging (on) : RELIANT
94 Form of algae also known as rockweed : SEA OAK
98 Physiques, for short : BODS
101 Like most award shows : ANNUAL
102 Belgian river in a W.W. I battle : YSER
103 Spacey sort : DITZ
104 Less welcoming : ICIER
106 Nonelective courses: Abbr. : REQS
108 Brewskis : BEERS
110 “The father of American literature,” per Faulkner : TWAIN
111 Geek Squad specialist, informally : IT PRO
112 TV and radio host Andy : COHEN
114 Brand owned by Hasbro : NERF
115 Pool accessory : CUE
117 Mathematician Neugebauer : OTTO
121 Spanish bear : OSO

5 thoughts on “1231-23 NY Times Crossword 31 Dec 23, Sunday”

  1. 46:44, no errors. A lot of head scratching today. Started off on the wrong foot; entering CLOVE TEA before SPICE TEA and went downhill from there.

  2. 37:33, no errors. Lots of head scratching. At the end, before filling the final square, I spent an extra couple of minutes checking to make sure that all of my on-the-fly corrections had been entered properly and was a bit surprised when it all worked correctly.

  3. 1:08:50, starting in 2023 and finishing in 2024. I got the ball “dropping” gimmick, but even after reading Bill’s write up I’m still perplexed by the “before midnight” answers and tie in. But I exist to be perplexed….

  4. I too was perplexed by the BEFORE MIDNIGHT… except that it alerted me something was.

    I enjoyed the new years eve theme.

    Some of those crosses were head scratches.

    I guessed right on SEA OAK and KATSU. Like many other crosses, never heard of either one.

    Never heard anyone SAW WOOD but I have heard SAWING LOGS?? maybe it’s regional.

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