1224-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 24 Dec 2017, Sunday

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Constructed by: Mary Lou Guizzo & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Making a Fast Buck

Merry Christmas (almost), everyone! By joining the circled letters in the grid, moving from A through Z, we draw a picture of RUDOLPH, THE MOST FAMOUS REINDEER OF ALL. There’s a rebus square containing the word RED, which is positioned right where Rudolph’s nose is:

  • 123A. Who’s depicted in this puzzle when the circled letters are connected from A to Z and back to A : RUDOLPH
  • 44D. Singer with a #1 hit about 123-Across : GENE AUTRY
  • 45D. Feature depicted in the upper left of this puzzle : SHINY NOSE
  • 51D. With 53-Down, 123-Across, in song : THE MOST FAMOUS …
  • 53D. See 51-Down : … REINDEER OF ALL

Bill’s time: 22m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Speedway brand : STP

STP is a brand name for automotive lubricants and additives. The name STP comes from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

4. West Indies native : CARIB

The Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies. While most of the Carib population live on islands such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, there are several Carib communities on the mainland of Central and South America in countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname and Belize. The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Carib people.

20. Symbol of the National Audubon Society : EGRET

The National Audubon Society is an environmental organization that was formed in 1905. The society is named for John James Audubon, an ornithologist who compiled his famous book “Birds of America” between 1827 and 1838.

21. Colorado tributary : GILA

The Gila River is a tributary of the Colorado and flows through New Mexico and Arizona. From 1848 to 1853, the Gila marked part of the border between the US and Mexico.

22. Plot device in “The Shining” that has significance when spelled backward : RED RUM

“Red rum” is the word “murder” written backwards.

23. Restaurant chain founded by the Raffel brothers (hence the name) : ARBY’S

The Arby’s chain of fast food restaurants was founded in 1964 by two brothers, Forrest and Leroy Raffel. The name “Arby’s” is a homonym of “RB’s”, standing for “Raffel Brothers”.

25. Turns briefly? : REVS

Revolution (rev)

26. Some Carnaval performances : SAMBAS

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival known as Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

28. Called from the cote : BLEATED

The Old English word “cote” was used for a small house. Our modern word “cottage” comes from “cote”. We now use “cote” to mean a small shelter on a farm for sheep or birds.

32. Ancient Greek : HELLENE

Someone from Greece can be called a Hellene. “Ellas” is the Greek word for “Greece”, the name of the country. Greece is also known as the “Hellenic” Republic.

34. Male that might be in a rut? : ELK

The elk (also known as “wapiti”) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

35. Stymies : IMPEDES

The word “stymie” comes from golf, and is a situation in which one’s approach to the hole is blocked by an opponent’s ball. We use the term more broadly for a distressing situation.

37. Relative of a birch : ALDER

Alder trees are deciduous (i.e. not evergreen), and the fruit of the tree is called a “catkin”. The tree carries both male and female catkins that look very similar to each other, but the male catkin is longer than the female. Alders are pollinated by wind usually, although bees can play a role.

38. College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa : COE

Coe College is a private school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that was founded in 1851. Coe is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

39. Country singer Crystal : GAYLE

Country singer Crystal Gayle is perhaps best known for her 1977 hit song “Don’t It Make My Brown eyes Blue”. She is also well known for the length of hair, which almost reaches the ground as she is standing. Another claim to fame for Ms. Gayle is that she is the younger sister of fellow singer Loretta Lynn.

43. Pitch : EIGHTY-SIX

To eighty-six something is to eject it, to throw it out. The origin of the term is unclear. One story is that it originated in the days of prohibition in the West Village of Lower Manhattan, New York City. Whenever there was a scheduled raid on the establishment called Chumley’s, an informant would call ahead and tell the bartender to “86” his customers i.e. to send them out the door on 86 Bedford Street. The cops would then turn up at the entrance on Pamela Court.

50. Wine: Prefix : OENO-

In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oeno-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.

51. Christmas ___ : TREE

The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

55. Base supporting a statue : PLINTH

A plinth is a block on which something is placed, especially a column. The Greek word “plinthos” means “squared stone”.

63. They might be thrown around in a rodeo : LASSOES

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

68. “___ God” (psalm words) : O MY

The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”. In the Jewish and Western Christian traditions, the Book of Psalms contains 150 individual psalms, divided into five sections.

70. Skin art, informally : INK

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are also sometimes referred to as “ink”.

71. Descartes’s conclusion : … I AM

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”.

73. Yule sound? : LONG U

The second letter of the word “yule” is a long letter U.

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

75. ___ guerre : NOM DE

“Nom de guerre” is a French term meaning “name of war”. It describes the practice of adopting a pseudonym when in a conflict, perhaps to protect family or to symbolize a separation between one’s life in the military and as a civilian. The term originates with the French Foreign Legion, in which recruits routinely adopted noms de guerre as they broke with their past lives and started afresh.

77. Range grp. : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

78. With 80-Across, one of TV’s Property Brothers : DREW …
80. See 78-Across : … SCOTT

“Property Brothers” is a reality show in which twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott try to help home buyers purchase and renovate fixer-uppers.

84. Nicholas, e.g. : SAINT

Saint Nicholas of Myra is the inspiration for Santa Claus. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now in modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century AD, and was known for being generous to the poor. Centuries after he died, his remains were desecrated by Italian sailors and moved to Bari in Italy. One legend has it that the relics were moved again centuries later and reburied in the grounds of Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland, where you can visit the grave today. I choose to believe that Santa Claus’s relics are indeed buried in Ireland …

88. Hallmark.com suggestion : E-CARD

Hallmark produces more greeting cards in the US than any other company. The company was started by Joyce Clyde Hall in 1910, and by 1915 was known as Hall Brothers after his brother Rollie joined the enterprise. Rollie invented what we know today as “wrapping paper”, displacing the traditional use of colored tissue paper for wrapping gifts. The company took on the name “Hallmark” in 1928, taking the term for the symbol used by goldsmiths in London in the 1500s.

90. Divan : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

Divans are essentially couches without backs or arms. The design originated in the Middle East, where the couches were commonly found lining the walls of an office that was known as a “divan” or “diwan”, meaning “government office”.

93. Cow poke? : PROD

“Cowpoke” is a term used nowadays for any cowboy, but it was originally limited to the cowboys who prodded cattle onto railroad cars using long poles.

94. Avoid a bogey, barely : SAVE PAR

The term “bogey” originated at the Great Yarmouth Golf Club in England in 1890, and was used to indicate a total round that was one-over-par (and not one-over-par on a particular hole, as it is today). The name “bogey” came from a music hall song of the time “Here Comes the Bogeyman”. In the following years it became popular for players trying to stay at par to be “playing against Colonel Bogey”. Then, during WWI, the marching tune “Colonel Bogey” was written and named after the golfing term. If you don’t recognize the name of the tune, it’s the one that’s whistled by the soldiers marching in the great movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.

97. Neighbor of a bishop: Abbr. : KNT

It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

  • Infantry (now “pawns”)
  • Cavalry (now “knights”)
  • Elephants (now “bishops”)
  • Chariots (now “rooks”)

98. Souped-up cars : HOT RODS

A hot rod is an American car that has been modified for speed by installing a larger than normal engine. A street rod is generally a more comfortable type of hot rod, with the emphasis less on the engine and more on custom paint jobs and interiors. By definition, a street rod must be based on an automobile design that originated prior to 1949

To soup up an engine is to increase its horsepower. The verb probably derives from the older slang term “soup”, which was a narcotic illegally injected into racehorses to make them run faster.

103. One of the record industry’s former Big Four : EMI

The Big Four recording labels were (until EMI was broken up in 2012 and absorbed by what became “the Big Three”):

  1. Universal Music Group
  2. Sony Music Entertainment
  3. Warner Music Group
  4. EMI

109. Sanctuary : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

113. Mobile home: Abbr. : ALA

Mobile, Alabama was the first capital of French Colonial Louisiana, founded in 1702. The city takes its name from the Mobilian tribe of Native Americans who lived in that area.

114. Actress Audrey of “Amélie” : TAUTOU

“Amélie” is a 2001 French film, a romantic comedy about a shy waitress in Montmartre, Paris played by Audrey Tautou (who also played the female lead in “The Da Vinci Code”). The movie was originally released under the French title, “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain” (“The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain”).

117. Animal on Scotland’s coat of arms : UNICORN

A unicorn is a mythical creature that resembles a horse with horn projecting from its forehead. The term “unicorn” comes from the Latin “uni-” (one) and “cornus” (horn).

122. Written history : ANNALS

“Annal” is a rarely used word, and is the singular of the more common “annals”. An annal would be the recorded events of one year, with annals being the chronological record of events in successive years. The term “annal” comes from the Latin “annus” meaning “year”.

123. Who’s depicted in this puzzle when the circled letters are connected from A to Z and back to A : RUDOLPH

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

124. Games of chance : LOTTOS

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

Down

1. Tears to smithereens : SHREDS

“Smithereens” is such a lovely word and I am proud to say that it comes from Irish. The Irish word “smiodar” means fragment. We add the suffix “-in” (anglicized as “-een”) to words to indicate the diminutive form. So, “little fragment” is “smidirin”, anglicized as “smithereens”.

2. It’s read from a scroll : TORAH

The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching”, I am told.

7. Description of rustic life : IDYL

An “idyll” (also “idyl”) is a short poem with a pastoral theme, usually depicting the scene in romantic and idealized terms. The word comes from the Greek “eidyllion”, which literally translates to “little picture” but was a word describing a short, poem with a rustic theme.

9. It moves a cursor back : LEFT KEY

The cursor on a computer screen is named for the cursor on a slide rule, which is the part that slides on the device. In turn, a slide rule cursor was named for an even earlier cursor, which was a running messenger, from the Latin “cursor” meaning “runner, errand boy”.

12. Want ad abbr. : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

14. W.W. II ordeal at Leningrad : SIEGE

St. Petersburg in Russia is an absolutely beautiful city to visit. The city was renamed to Petrograd in 1914, Leningrad in 1924 and back to St. Petersburg in 1991.

16. Mama of song : CASS

Cass Elliot was one of the four singers in the Mamas and the Papas, a sensational group from the sixties. “Mama Cass” was performing sold-out concerts in London in 1974 when she was found dead one morning, having had a heart attack. She was only 32 years old. Eerily, Elliot died in the same flat (on loan from Harry Nilsson) in which the Who’s drummer Keith Moon would die just four years later.

18. Decorates brilliantly : EMBLAZONS

Our terms “blazon” and “emblazon” both mean to decorate in a showy way. “To blazon” can also mean to adorn with a coat of arms. In the world of heraldry, a “blazon” is in fact a coat of arms, probably coming from the old French word “blason” meaning “shield”.

21. One of a dozen good things? : GRADE-A EGG

Chicken eggs are graded according to the size of the air cell within the shell at the large end of the egg. The size of the air cell is measured by viewing the egg in front of a bright light in a process known as candling. The smallest air cell receives a grade of AA. A slightly larger air cell is grade A, and the largest is grade B.

29. Oodles : A LOT

It’s thought that the term “oodles”, meaning “a lot”, comes from “kit and caboodle”.

In the idiomatic expression “the whole kit and caboodle”, caboodle (sometimes spelled “kaboodle”) is an informal term for a bunch of people, or sometimes the “the whole lot”.

31. Vulcan mind ___ : MELD

Mr. Spock was the first to show us the Vulcan mind meld, on the original “Star Trek” series. Vulcans have the ability to meld with the minds of other Vulcans, and indeed humans, in order to see what what’s “going on” in the other individual’s mind.

40. “Fanfare for the Common Man” composer : COPLAND

Aaron Copland was the most American of all classical composers, I think. Perhaps his most famous work is the “Fanfare for the Common Man”. The piece was written in 1942 and was intended to be uplifting in the gloomy years leading up to WWII. “Fanfare” is recognized not just for performances of the original, but also for the progressive rock version that was recorded by Emerson, Lake & Palmer in 1977.

42. Licorice-flavored brew : ANISE TEA

Liquorice (also “licorice”) and aniseed have similar flavors, but they come from unrelated plants. The liquorice plant is a legume like a bean, and the sweet flavor is an extract from the roots. The flavor mainly comes from an ether compound called anethole, the same substance that gives the distinctive flavor to anise. The seedpods of the anise plant are what we know as “aniseed”. The anise seeds themselves are usually ground to release the flavor.

44. Singer with a #1 hit about 123-Across : GENE AUTRY

Gene Autry was a so-called singing cowboy who had an incredibly successful career on radio, television and in films starting in the thirties. Autry’s signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again”, and his biggest hit was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. He also had a hit with his own Christmas song called “Here Comes Santa Claus”. There’s even a town in Oklahoma called Gene Autry, named in his honor. Famously, Autry owned the Los Angeles Angels baseball team for many years, from 1961 to 1997.

47. Hatmaker : MILLINER

A milliner is someone who makes, designs or sells hats. Back in the 1500s, the term described someone who sold hats made in Milan, Italy, hence the name “milliner”.

48. Like van Gogh, in later life : ONE-EARED

Vincent van Gogh was visited by fellow-artist Paul Gauguin in Arles in 1888. At one point the two argued quite violently, with van Gogh eventually threatening his friend with a razor blade. In a panic, van Gogh fled the house and made his way to a local brothel. Famously, that night he cut off his own left ear.

49. Les ___, “WKRP in Cincinnati” news director : NESSMAN

Les Nessman is a character in the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinatti”. Nessman is the shy balding guy who always wears a bow tie.

56. One of many in a Swiss Army knife : TOOL

Swiss Army knives are multi-tools made by the Swiss company Victorinox. The device was first produced in 1891 when Victorinox’s predecessor company was awarded the contract to supply the knife to the Swiss Army. The name “Swiss Army knife” was actually an American invention as it was the term used by American GIs during and after WWII as an alternative to pronouncing the more difficult German “Schweizer Offiziersmesser” (Swiss Officer Knife).

58. Letters on some Navy carriers : USS

The abbreviation “USS” stands for “United States Ship”. The practice of naming US Navy vessels in a standard format didn’t start until 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order that addressed the issue.

60. Alternative to J.F.K. : LGA

The three big airports serving New York City (NYC) are John F. Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).

66. First name at Woodstock : JIMI

Many of his contemporaries regarded Jimi Hendrix as the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was from Seattle and didn’t really have a really stellar start to his working life. He failed to finish high school and fell foul of the law by getting caught in stolen cars, twice. The courts gave him the option of the army or two years in prison. Hendrix chose the former and soon found himself in the famous 101st Airborne. In the army, his less-than-disciplined ways helped him (as he would have seen it) because his superiors successfully petitioned to get him discharged after serving only one year of his two-year requirement, just to get him out of their hair.

74. Political org. since 1854 : GOP

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

79. Three ___ Men : WISE

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

82. Starting point for an annual flight : NORTH POLE

The North American Defense Command (NORAD) isn’t just a US operation but is a cooperative arrangement between Canada and the United States. The two countries entered into an agreement to establish NORAD in 1958, mainly due to the concern that there would be little or no warning of a missile attack from the Soviet Union that came over the North Pole. NORAD also tracks Santa Claus coming from the North Pole every Christmas, and these days publishes Santa’s location on Christmas Eve on its website. The tracking of Santa started into 1955 when a local Sears store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper with a phone number that could be used to call Santa Claus. The newspaper accidentally printed the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (a precursor to NORAD). The officer on duty instructed his staff to give all children who called a “current location” for Santa. Today, NORAD gets about 120,000 phone queries about Santa’s location every year, and website gets about 20 million visitors.

83. ___ City (Baghdad suburb) : SADR

Sadr City is a suburb of Baghdad that has oft been in the news in recent years. Sadr City is named after the deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr.

87. Result of a sack on third and long, maybe : PUNT

That would be football.

91. “Brava!” elicitor : ARIA

To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer by using “bravi!”

93. Punxsutawney prognosticator : PHIL

Punxsutawney is a borough in Pennsylvania that is located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Punxsutawney Phil is the famous groundhog that lives in the area. Phil comes out of his hole on February 2 each year and if he sees his shadow he goes back into his hole predicting six more weeks of winter weather. February 2 is known as Groundhog Day.

95. Capital whose name ends in its state’s postal code : ALBANY

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany. It became the capital of New York State in 1797.

96. Cousin of an alpaca : VICUNA

The vicuña is a South American camelid that lives in the Andes. The vicuña produces very little wool, and that wool can only be collected every three years. So, vicuña wool is very expensive due to the shortage of supply. And, the vicuña us the national animal of Peru.

104. Boy in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” : LINUS

In Charles Schulz’s fabulous comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown is friends with at least three members of the van Pelt family. Most famously there is Lucy van Pelt, who bosses everyone around, particularly Charlie. Then there is Linus, Lucy’s younger brother, the character who always has his security blanket at hand. Lastly there is an even younger brother, Rerun van Pelt. Rerun is constantly hiding under his bed, trying to avoid going to school.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a TV cartoon special that first aired in 1965, and has been broadcast during the holidays every year since. As of 2013, there has been a stage version of the show that is performed largely in schools, churches and community theaters. The storyline in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” isn’t kind to the aluminum Christmas tree that was popular back in the early sixties. The TV special has been given the bulk of the credit for the demise of the metallic monstrosity, said he judgmentally …

105. Tombstone marshals : EARPS

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.

110. California’s Big ___ : SUR

Big Sur is a lovely part of the California Coast located south of Monterey and Carmel. The name “Big Sur” comes from the original Spanish description of the area as “el sur grande” meaning “the big south”.

112. Durham sch. : UNH

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is the largest university in the state. UNH was founded as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts in 1866 in Hanover. The college was moved to Durham in the early 1890s, which is where UNH’s main campus is located to this day.

118. Crew member : COX

The coxswain of a boat is one in charge, particularly of its steering and navigation. The name is shortened to “cox”, particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.

120. Games org. : IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894, and has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Speedway brand : STP
4. West Indies native : CARIB
9. Bounds along : LOPES
14. “Just a ___!” : SEC
17. Drain opening : HOLE
19. Chip away at : ERODE
20. Symbol of the National Audubon Society : EGRET
21. Colorado tributary : GILA
22. Plot device in “The Shining” that has significance when spelled backward : RED RUM
23. Restaurant chain founded by the Raffel brothers (hence the name) : ARBY’S
24. Elevator choice : FLOOR
25. Turns briefly? : REVS
26. Some Carnaval performances : SAMBAS
28. Called from the cote : BLEATED
30. Telephotos, e.g. : IMAGES
32. Ancient Greek : HELLENE
34. Male that might be in a rut? : ELK
35. Stymies : IMPEDES
37. Relative of a birch : ALDER
38. College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa : COE
39. Country singer Crystal : GAYLE
40. Screwy : CRAZY
43. Pitch : EIGHTY-SIX
46. One of the Wayans brothers : DAMON
50. Wine: Prefix : OENO-
51. Christmas ___ : TREE
52. Prince, e.g. : HEIR
54. A, in Austria : EINE
55. Base supporting a statue : PLINTH
57. Branded baby carriers : SNUGLIS
61. Symbols on 10 state flags : EAGLES
63. They might be thrown around in a rodeo : LASSOES
65. Digitally endorse : E-SIGN
66. Sleigh bell sounds : JINGLES
67. Terminate : AXE
68. “___ God” (psalm words) : O MY
69. Chemistry exam? : ASSAY
70. Skin art, informally : INK
71. Descartes’s conclusion : … I AM
72. Clear : NET
73. Yule sound? : LONG U
75. ___ guerre : NOM DE
77. Range grp. : NRA
78. With 80-Across, one of TV’s Property Brothers : DREW
80. See 78-Across : SCOTT
82. “Really!” : NO LIE!
83. Spotted : SEEN
84. Nicholas, e.g. : SAINT
86. Give a ring? : PROPOSE
88. Hallmark.com suggestion : E-CARD
90. Divan : SOFA
92. “___ welcome!” : YOU’RE
93. Cow poke? : PROD
94. Avoid a bogey, barely : SAVE PAR
97. Neighbor of a bishop: Abbr. : KNT
98. Souped-up cars : HOT RODS
102. Mahershala ___, Oscar winner for “Moonlight” : ALI
103. One of the record industry’s former Big Four : EMI
104. Carpenter’s aid : LATHE
106. Hypotheticals : IFS
107. “Just kidding!” : NOT!
108. Airer of “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” : NBC
109. Sanctuary : OASIS
111. “Hey ___” (1963 #1 hit) : PAULA
113. Mobile home: Abbr. : ALA
114. Actress Audrey of “Amélie” : TAUTOU
117. Animal on Scotland’s coat of arms : UNICORN
119. Kind of cabinet : LIQUOR
122. Written history : ANNALS
123. Who’s depicted in this puzzle when the circled letters are connected from A to Z and back to A : RUDOLPH
124. Games of chance : LOTTOS
125. Prison part : YARD
126. Sorts, as chicks : SEXES
127. Downsize? : CROP

Down

1. Tears to smithereens : SHREDS
2. It’s read from a scroll : TORAH
3. Large column of smoke : PLUME
4. Terminated : CEASED
5. Opposite of dep. : ARR
6. Heists : ROBBERIES
7. Description of rustic life : IDYL
8. Importune : BESEECH
9. It moves a cursor back : LEFT KEY
10. Body check? : OGLE
11. Whiz kids : PRODIGIES
12. Want ad abbr. : EEO
13. Having streaks : STRIPY
14. W.W. II ordeal at Leningrad : SIEGE
15. Notably nonunionized workers : ELVES
16. Mama of song : CASS
18. Decorates brilliantly : EMBLAZONS
21. One of a dozen good things? : GRADE-A EGG
27. Friend : ALLY
29. Oodles : A LOT
31. Vulcan mind ___ : MELD
33. Beginning to do well? : NE’ER
36. Kind of skirt : MAXI
40. “Fanfare for the Common Man” composer : COPLAND
41. Hair straighteners : RELAXERS
42. Licorice-flavored brew : ANISE TEA
44. Singer with a #1 hit about 123-Across : GENE AUTRY
45. Feature depicted in the upper left of this puzzle : SHINY NOSE
47. Hatmaker : MILLINER
48. Like van Gogh, in later life : ONE-EARED
49. Les ___, “WKRP in Cincinnati” news director : NESSMAN
51. With 53-Down, 123-Across, in song : THE MOST FAMOUS …
53. See 51-Down : … REINDEER OF ALL
56. One of many in a Swiss Army knife : TOOL
58. Letters on some Navy carriers : USS
59. Infantry members, briefly : GIS
60. Alternative to J.F.K. : LGA
62. 1990s tennis great Huber : ANKE
64. Align : SYNC
66. First name at Woodstock : JIMI
74. Political org. since 1854 : GOP
76. Shout of approval : OLE!
79. Three ___ Men : WISE
81. Didn’t hedge one’s bets : TOOK A SIDE
82. Starting point for an annual flight : NORTH POLE
83. ___ City (Baghdad suburb) : SADR
85. “In your dreams!” : NOPE!
87. Result of a sack on third and long, maybe : PUNT
89. Bunks in barracks : COTS
91. “Brava!” elicitor : ARIA
93. Punxsutawney prognosticator : PHIL
94. Deliverer of Christmas packages : SANTA
95. Capital whose name ends in its state’s postal code : ALBANY
96. Cousin of an alpaca : VICUNA
99. Functioning robotically : ON AUTO
100. Repetitive bit of computer code : DO-LOOP
101. A-listers : STARS
104. Boy in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” : LINUS
105. Tombstone marshals : EARPS
110. California’s Big ___ : SUR
112. Durham sch. : UNH
115. Roofing material : TAR
116. ___ Father Christmas : OLD
118. Crew member : COX
120. Games org. : IOC
121. Fiscal year part: Abbr. : QTR