Theme: "Holiday Doings" - A Christmas tree is formed by a series of black squares. On the very top, the circled letters spell out STAR.
24A. His personal Canadian postal code is H0 H0 H0 : SANTA CLAUS. Also 22. Bagfuls for 24-Across : LETTERS. Also 85A. Team for 24-Across : REINDEER
26A. With 71-Across, holiday classic : A CHRISTMAS. And 71. See 26-Across : CAROL
55A. Seasonal hangings : ORNAMENTS
89A. Things to open : PRESENTS. This is symmetrical partner of REINDEER.
108A. Sets on tracks : MODEL TRAINS. Nicely placed at the bottom of the tree.
3D. Classic 71-Across : O TANNENBAUM
13D. Attend to a holiday symbol : TRIM THE TREE. There is a note in Across Lit. It says "Certain squares in this puzzle can't be viewed properly in Across Lite format. Those squares outline an appropriate image, which can be seen at http://games.latimes.com/games/daily-crossword/. If you prefer to figure it out for yourself, use the hints provided by the circled squares, 55-Across, and 108-Across." Rich couldn't mention the specific image as he had both CHRISTMAS or TREE in the grid.
49D. Holiday mailing : GREETING CARD. Each of the four Down theme entries intersects another Across theme entry. Just brilliant. This is why Rich is still the 4th most published NYT constructor despite the fact that he has not sent any puzzle there since 2008.
53D. Title annual holiday character since 1965 : CHARLIE BROWN
Nora Pearlstone is the alias name of our editor Rich Norris. It's an anagram of "Not a Real Person". You can see Rich's full alias names here. Rich normally uses Nora for Sunday puzzles or tricky Thursday/Friday puzzles. He uses Lila Cherry ("Really Rich") for early week puzzles.
Notice the R puzzle that forms STAR is unchecked, e.g., it's the only one-letter fill in this puzzle. The grid also has a left to right symmetry, which is a lot trickier than a normal grid.
|Rich in the Middle|
1. WWII investment : E BOND
6. Sri Lankan language : TAMIL. Also the official language of Singapore.
11. It may be seen to the left of venous : INTRA. I did not know the meaning of "venous".
16. Quashed : VETOED
18. Psyched : FIRED UP
20. Frightened : SCARED. And 21. Frightens : ALARMS. Rich is very good at clue echoes.
23. Poet Levertov : DENISE. Unknown figure to me.
28. Kiss and caress, in Kent : SNOG
29. Cousin of the Vulcan mind meld : ESP
31. It's bonded in bales : HAY. Also 92. __ bonding : MALE
32. Etta of old comics : KETT
33. Word before and after "is" : ENOUGH
35. Concert shirt : TEE
37. Indiana county or its seat : WABASH. This stumped me last time.
39. L.A.'s __ Center : AON
41. Shine, in ads : GLO
42. Do-it-yourself mover : U-HAUL
44. Columnist Hentoff : NAT
45. UV index monitor : EPA
48. Prepared with mixed vegetables, in Chinese cooking : SUBGUM. I never heard of the term until I came to the US.
50. Ivy support : TRELLIS
52. Parish leader : RECTOR
54. Wide-eyed look : STARE
58. Hot-and-cold fits : AGUE
59. Cartoon shopkeeper : APU. "The Simpsons".
60. Old map abbr. : SSR
61. Monthly payment that's often more than the prin. : INT. Like new mortgage.
63. Sleek, in car talk : AERO
64. Capitol feature : DOME
65. Meat department buy : BEEF
67. Song from Carmen : ARIA
68. Last ones to deal with : REST. Oh, like the rest.
69. Impact sound : THUD
75. Longtime rival of Tiger : PHIL(Mickelson). Phil is such a gentleman.
77. Longhorn rivals : AGGIES. Rival clue echo.
80. Climber's target : CLIFF
81. Futile : OTIOSE. Not a word I use.
88. Sharable PC file : PDF
91. Fort near Fayetteville : BRAGG. Boomer went to Fort Campbell. How about you, D-Otto/TTP? Argyle probably went to Camp Pendleton.
94. Tan relative : ECRU
96. Descriptively named support : H BEAM
97. From that time : SINCE
98. They often include ages : BIOs
99. Maneuverability : ROOM
100. Speak : ORATE
101. Embellishes : ADORNS
103. UPS carton phrase : SHIP TO
105. "Bearing gifts, we traverse __" : AFAR
112. Prettify with paper : WRAP. Bonus fill.
116. Sweet-scented flower : GARDENIA. My grandma's name is Lan Xiang, literally "blue and fragrant flower". Lots of girls in her generation had flower names.
118. Cry of revelation : AHA
119. Resonant barbershop sound : BASS NOTE. Also 56. Barbershop sound : SNIP
121. __ out a living : EKE
122. Bank deposit : SILT. Nailed it.
123. Type of garden : ZEN. Nice and quiet.
124. __-bitty : ITTY
125. Trouble : WOE
126. Narc's employer : DEA. And 127. Narc's assignment : CASE
128. To this time : YET
129. Julia's "Ocean's Twelve" role : TESS
130. Rev (up) : AMP
1. Spacewalks, briefly : EVAS. EVA = Extravehicular Activity. Rich avoided plural [Longoria and Mendes] style clue because he had BELAS (2. Lugosi and Karolyi) next to it.
4. Popular virus remedy : NORTON. Ah, I was thinking of flu.
5. Rabble-rouser : DEMAGOGUE. What a great entry.
6. Jam on the road : TIE UP
7. Dance and drama : ARTS
8. Got together : MET
9. Concept : IDEA
10. Sudden move : LURCH
11. Winter pastime gear : ICE SKATES. The snow continues to melt in our neighborhood.
12. City on the Loire : NANTES. Birthplace of Jules Verne.
14. Found a new table for : RESAT
15. Picnic drinks : ADES
17. U.S. Army medal : DSC. My Dad was in the Chinese Army for a long time. I don't remember any medals. Just lots lots of Mao's stuff. He remembered every word in this red book.
18. Instant : FLASH
19. "Nonsense!" : PSHAW
20. Star Wars initials : SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative)
25. Small construction piece : LEGO
27. NFL coach Rex : RYAN
30. Bailiwicks : REALMS
34. German university city : ULM. Know as Einstein's birthplace.
35. A.L. West team, familiarly : THE A's
36. "Elements of Algebra" author : EULER
38. Prevent : BAR
39. Syrian leader : ASSAD
40. Expenses : OUTGO
42. Caterer's vessel : URN
43. Author Yutang : LIN. Same character as the Lim in our constructor Julian Lim, who's from Singapore. In Hong Kong, it's spelled as Lam.
46. Really comes down : POURS
47. One may end in "ese" : ARGOT. Like legalese.
50. Indisputable : TRUE
51. Slowly emerge from sleep : STIR
55. Slanted page? : OP-ED
59. Mistreatment : ABUSE
62. Sierra Nevada vacation mecca : TAHOE
66. TV monitor : FCC
67. E.T. from Melmac : ALF
70. Equivocated : HEDGED
72. Suisse peaks : ALPES
73. Relieved : RID
74. Bid : OFFER
76. "Whew!" : IT'S HOT
77. Some Wall St. traders : ARBs (Arbitragers)
78. English singer Halliwell : GERI. I was more into Cantopop in those days when Spice Girls were popular.
79. Composer __ Carlo Menotti : GIAN
82. Draft category : ONE A. We also have ROW A (113. Where no one can sit in front of you).
83. "Right now!" : STAT
84. Salinger title choir singer : ESME
86. Gets mixed up in : EMBROILS
87. Outdoor event contingency : RAIN DATE. Nice pair of stacked 8's in this area.
89. Outlaw : PROHIBIT
90. Ponder : RUMINATE
93. Drop in the stadium : LOSE. Got via crosses. Tricky clue.
95. Toledo thing : COSA. Spanish or Italian for "thing".
102. __ vincit amor : OMNIA
104. Classroom exchanges : PSSTs
105. Allowed to ripen, as cheddar : AGED
106. Art expert's discovery : FAKE. I was once very good at IDing fake luxury bags. IP investigation was risky but fun.
107. Bailiwick : AREA
109. Likely to loaf : LAZY
110. What you once were? : THEE
111. Carry on : RANT
114. Tiny bit : ATOM
115. Single animal-shaped candy? : PEEP
117. PC backup key : ESC
120. Mac OS part: Abbr. : SYS
1) Happy Birthday to dear Kathy (Yellowrocks), whose positive attitude and fighting spirit continue to inspire me. I'm so happy that you're here for us, Kathy!
|Yellowrocks and son David, Sept 2016|
2) Happy Birthday also to Lorraine (Fermatprime), who's been with the blog for a long time. Lorraine is an accomplished math professor and does more puzzles every day than most of us.