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This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: N/A (Watching "Mad Men" on DVD ... great stuff!)
THEME: Something AND something that rhymes i.e. TOWN AND GOWN, STARS AND BARS, GLOOM AND DOOM, WEAR AND TEAR
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
15. ___-Detoo of "Star Wars" : ARTOO
Artoo's proper name is R2-D2, the smaller of the two famous droids from "Star Wars". British actor, Kenny Baker,who stands just 3 ft 8 ins tall, has been the man inside the R2-D2 droid for all six of the "Star Wars" movies.
21. Composer Stravinsky : IGOR
Igor Stravinsky's most famous works perhaps were completed relatively early in his career, and brought him under the spotlight. The three ballets "The Firebird", "Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring" were published in 1910-1913, when Stravinsky was in his early thirties.
24. Majority Muslim in Iran : SHI'ITE
The largest denomination in the Muslim faith is Sunni Islam, with the second being Shia Islam.
27. Confederate flag : STARS AND BARS
During the life of the Confederate States of America from 1861-1865, there were three successive national flags. The first was called "the Stars and Bars", the second "the Stainless Banner", and the third "the Blood Stained Banner".
37. John Lennon's lady : YOKO ONO
Yoko Ono was born into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the Emperors of Japan. Her father moved around the world for work, so she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, then moved onto New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII. Yoko was in Tokyo during the great fire-bombing of 1945. Immediately after the war, the family was far from prosperous. While her father was in a concentration camp in Vietnam, Yoko's mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. But, when her father returned, life started to return to normal. Yoko got to attend university, the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin Univeristy.
43. Daisy ___ of "Li'l Abner" : MAE
Daisy Mae Scragg was the vampish woman who chased Li'l Abner trying to goad him into marriage. This went on for 15 years in the cartoon strip until creator Andy Capp succumbed to public pressure, and married the couple at the end of March 1952. The marriage was such a big event, that it made the cover of "Life" magazine.
52. Tater Tots maker : ORE-IDA
Ore-Ida founders came up with the idea for Tater Tots when they were deciding what to do with leftover cuts of potato. They chopped up the leftovers, added flour and seasoning, extruded the mix through a large whole making a sausage which they cut into small cylinders. American eat 70 million pounds of this extruded potato every year.
56. ___ bene : NOTA
Nota bene is the Latin for "note well"
60. Lincoln, the Rail-Splitter : ABE
Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, his political campaign used the nick-name "the Rail-Splitter" to emphasize his humble upbringing. Lincoln has worked at splitting fence rails in his youth.
64. ___ de France : ILE
Ile de France (literally "Island of France") isn't an island at all. It is the name given to the most populous of France's 26 administrative regions, and is roughly equivalent to the Paris metropolitan area.
68. Triangular road sign : YIELD
When something is different in America than it is in the UK, the Irish way tends to be the same as the British way (spelling, driving, rules of the road etc.). But in Ireland we have Yield signs, just like in America, whereas in the UK such signs say "Give Way". Just a little bit of trivia ...
69. 1950s Ford flop : EDSEL
It was Henry Ford's son, Edsel Ford, who gave his name to the Edsel make of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with "failure".
1. Resort near Snowbird : ALTA
Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The nearby ski resort of Snowbird has been in operation since 1971.
3. Boast of some shampoos : LOW PH
Apparently shampoo needs to have a slightly low pH (be slightly acidic), because a basic environment chemically attacks the keratin in the hair, weakening the strands. Maybe that's why I am almost completely bald?
5. PBS funder : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and funding for artistic projects. It was created by an Act of Congress in 1965.
7. As a result : ERGO
Ergo is the Latin word for "therefore".
18. Old-time actress Talbot or Naldi : NITA
Nita Talbot is an American actress, whose most famous roles were the "White Russian spy" in "Hogans Heroes" and Sheila Fine on the sitcom "Soap". Nita Naldi was an American silent film actress, who usually played a "femme fatale" type of role.
31. Perform on "American Idol," e.g. : SING
"American Idol" is a spin-off show, created after the amazing success of the British television show "Pop Idol". I hate the show ...
38. Muscat's land : OMAN
Oman is lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The city of Muscat, with its strategic location, has a history of invasion and occupation. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody invasion. The Portuguese held the city for much of the next century until finally ousted by local Omani forces in 1648.
48. Chicago alternative to O'Hare : MIDWAY
Midway started of with just one cinder runway in 1923, and was called Chicago Air Park. By 1927 the airport had expanded and earned the name Chicago Municipal Airport. In 1932, Midway was the world's busiest airport, a title it held for thirty years. In 1949, in honor of the WWII Battle of Midway, the airport was renamed again to Chicago Midway Airport. Then in 1955, along came Chicago International Airport, and all the major airlines started moving their operations over to the newer facility. Today Midway is a major hub for just one airline, Southwest.
49. Senile sort : DOTARD
A dotard is a person who is in his or her dotage, someone who has become senile.
50. Algerian port : ORAN
Oran is famous for being the port where the French Navy was largely destroyed by the British Navy during WWII in to avoid the vessels falling into the hands of Nazi Germany after the French surrender. This decisive and unexpected action by the British sent a very strong message around the world that Britain was willing to fight on alone against the axis powers if necessary.
56. ___ the Great of children's literature : NATE
The Nate the Great series of children's novels was written (mainly) by Marjorie Sharmat. Nate is like a young Sherlock Holmes, with a dog for a sidekick called Sludge. Some of the books have been adated for television.
59. Asia's shrunken ___ Sea : ARAL
The Aral Sea is another great example of how man can have a devastating effect on the environment. In early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad ...
62. "The Book of ___" (2010 film) : ELI
"The Book of Eli" was released in January of this year and stars Denzel Washington in the title role. It is one of those post-apocalyptic movies, so I skipped it.
63. Ike's monogram : DDE
There doesn't seem to be any good reason why President Eisenhower was called "Ike". It is known however, that it goes back to his childhood, because that's what his parents called him.