This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 34m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
14. Lid : CHAPEAU
Chapeau is the French word for hat, and lid is slang for a hat.
15. The "thee" in "Get thee to a nunnery" : OPHELIA
In Shakespeare's "Hamlet", Ophelia is courted by Hamlet. In Act III, Hamlet is pretty depressed and upset, and addresses Ophelia with the famous line "Get thee to a nunn'ry, why woulds't thou be a breeder of sinners?" In this scene, Hamlet is denying that he ever loved Ophelia, and exorts her to "become a nun", so that she may never have to give birth to someone as pitiful and sinful as he himself is.
17. Bad setting : GERMANY
Bad is the German word for "bath", and is found in the names of may spa towns such as Bad Ems, Bad Nauheim and Baden-Baden.
18. 1040 subjs. : IRAS
On the income tax form 1040, one must report contributions to one's Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
19. Room in Clue : STUDY
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland, as outside the US Clue is marketed as "Cluedo". Cluedo was introduced in 1949 by th4e famous British board game manufacturer, Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), the weapons are a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it's a fabulous game, a must during the holidays.
25. "Meet Me at the ___" : COPA
"Meet Me at the Copa" is a song recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1950. The Copa in the song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Barry Manilow song "Copacabana"). The Copa opened in 1940, and is still going today although with difficulty. It had to move due to impending construction and is now "sharing" a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.
26. Govt. org. associated with auctions : HUD
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)can at times provide loans to individuals for purchase of a home. If necessary, HUD may foreclose and take possession of the home. As a result, HUD holds periodic auctions, in which foreclosed homes are sold to the highest bidder.
28. Culmination's opposite : NADIR
The culmination is the high point, and the nadir the low point.
29. Blanche DuBois's "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," e.g. : EXIT LINE
Blanche DuBois is of course a character in "A Streetcar Named Desire", a play by Tennessee Williams. The role of Blanche was first played by Jessica Tandy when the play opened on Broadway, and in the 1951 screen adaptation she was played by Vivien Leigh. An exit line is spoken by a character just as they exit the stage during a play.
31. Founder of experimental physiology : GALEN
Galen of Pergamum was a physician of Ancient Rome. He mainly worked on monkeys, dissecting their bodies to learn about physiology as it was not permitted to dissect human bodies in his day.
32. Bad marks gotten in high school? : ACNE
My kind of clue
33. Lizard Fuel beverage maker : SOBE
Lizard Fuel is fuel alright ... lots of sugar ...
36. Giant in fashion : HUGO BOSS
Hugo Boss started a clothing company in a small town just south of Stuttgart in Germany in 1924. He joined the Nazi party before the war, and made a lot of money as an official supplier of uniforms to the likes of the SS and Hitler Youth. He paid the price of collaboration after the war (a fine), but his business survived. Boss the boss died in 1948, but the Hugo Boss company is still going strong today.
40. Cardio option : TAE BO
Tae Bo isn't an ancient martial art, but was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s. It was introduced by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks, who gave it the name tae bo, a melding of taekwondo and boxing.
41. Palate stimulus : SAPOR
Sapor is another word for flavor, a quality that can be detected by the sense of taste.
42. HVAC measure : BTU
In the world of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units. This dated unit of energy is basically the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water's temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.
45. Syllables sung by Figaro : LAS
Figaro is the central character in at least two operas: , "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini, and "The Marriage of Figaro" by Mozart. The two story-lines are based on plays by Pierre Beaumarchais, with one basically being a sequel to the other.
46. "Non ___ andrai" (Figaro aria) : PIU
"Non piu andrai" is an aria from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro". It is sung by Figaro to Cherubino just before he is dispatched to join the army. Figaro is giving the young man advice "Non piu andrai" (No more gallivanting).
49. 1886 Alcott sequel : JO'S BOYS
The full title to Louisa May Alcott's sequel to "Little Men" (in turn a sequel to "Little Women") is 'Jo's Boys, and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to "Little Men"'. It is the final book in the trilogy.
51. Favorite card game of Winston Churchill : BEZIQUE
Bezique is a French card game, almost identical to pinochle. Winston Churchill learned to play Bezique while working as a war correspondent during the Boer War. He did like his card games. In 1946 he lost quite bit of money President Harry Truman playing poker.
55. Musical with the song "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" : AVENUE Q
"Avenue Q" is a musical inspired by "Sesame Street", with puppets being used for all the characters on the stage. It's an adult-oriented show, but a parody on the children's show. Some of the characters are clearly knock-offs of "Sesame Street" favorites e.g. Rod and Nicky (Bert and Ernie) and Trekkie Monster (Cookie Monster).
56. Spinner with numbers : ROLODEX
The name Rolodex is is short for "rolling index", and was invented back in 1956. Even in today's world that is run by computers, Rolodexes are still popular.
57. Boston and Charleston : DANCES
The Boston was the original name of the American Waltz. The Charleston developed as a dance in African-American communities, but is more closely associated with the flappers of the 1920s.
1. "The Great Railway Bazaar" travel writer : THEROUX
"The Great Railway Bazaar" is probably the best known work of American travel writer Paul Theroux. He also writes novels, most notably "The Mosquito Coast" which was made into a movie of the same name in 1986 starring Harrison Ford.
2. Owner of Martini & Rossi, Dewar's and Grey Goose : BACARDI
The Bacardi company is still family owned and operated, based in Hamilton, Bermuda. The company was originally based in Santiago de Cuba, and became successful by selling a refined refined form of rum, something new to a market that was used to a crude, dark rum. The Bacardi family opposed the Castro regime as it came to power, so the company was relocated to Bermuda.
4. It separates two names : NEE
Nee it the French word for "born".
8. Pundit pieces : OP-EDS
Op-ed is an abbreviation of "opposite the editorial page". Op-eds started in "The New York Evening World" in 1921. The page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent from the editorial board.
9. Pulitzer winner for "Driving Miss Daisy" : UHRY
The 1989 "Driving Miss Daisy" movie is based on the 1987 play by Alfred Uhry. Not only did Uhry win the Pulitzer for the play, he also won an Academy Award for the screenplay for the movie.
10. Nocturnal cycle occurrence : REM
REM is an acronym standing for Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours, and is the period associated with one's most vivid dreams.
11. Having gotten the scoop? : A LA MODE
In French, a la mode simply means "fashionable". In America it has come to describe a way of serving pie, usually with ice cream, or as I recall when I lived in Upstate New York, with cheese.
13. Sense of orientation : GAYDAR
Here we have another portemanteau word, a melding of "gay" and "radar". Gaydar is a supposed ability to assess someone's sexual orientation.
14. Chestnut : CLICHE
A chestnut is frequently repeated tale, story or perhaps joke ... a cliche.
23. Org. with a handshake in its logo : AFL-CIO
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is the biggest "union of unions".
28. He played an attendant at Wally's Filling Station in 1960s TV : NABORS
Jim Nabors was discovered by Andy Griffth and brought onto "The Andy Griffith Show" as Gomer Pyle, the gas station attendant. Of course, Nabors then got his own show, "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."
31. "Our Lips Are Sealed" band : GO-GOS
The Go-gos are an all-female rock band dating back to 1978. "Our Lips Are Sealed" if the first track on their 1981 album "Beauty and the Beat".
33. 2007 hit comedy with a character who dubbed himself McLovin : SUPERBAD
In the movie "Superbad", the character Fogell uses a fake ID in the name of McLovin. Fogell is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
34. One who might be seen in the offing? : MAFIOSO
Offing someone is a slang term for murder, something that might be carried out by a mafioso, a member of the Mafia.
39. Final track on the Rolling Stones' "12 X 5" : SUSIE Q
Susie Q was written by, and originally released by Dale Hawkins in 1957. It was covered By Creedence Clearwater Revival, who had the most successful recording, in 1968. The Rolling Stones version on "12 X 5" dates back to 1964.
41. Area where the hoax Piltdown man was found : SUSSEX
The Piltdown Man hoax is the most famous deception in the world of paleontology. The hoax was played out in 1912, when a Charles Dawson announced that he had a skull fragment that was discovered at a gravel pit near the village of Piltdown in East Sussex in England. Most of the scientific community believed this was the fossilized remains of a form of man unknown up to that point. It was forty years later that the skull fragment was in fact a composite of a medieval human skull, a 500-year old orangutan and some fossilized chimpanzee teeth. No one is really sure who pulled of the hoax, but I believe the police are looking at the usual suspects ...
44. Creator of Professor Challenger : DOYLE
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is most closely associated with his wonderful character Sherlock Holmes. He also wrote a series of science fiction stories featuring the character Professor Challenger. The first book in which Challenger appears is the famous "The Lost World", a story about prehistoric creatures that are found living in the modern age on an isolated plateau in South America.
48. Calamine component : ZINC
Calamine is mainly zinc oxide, with a small percentage of iron (III) oxide. Calamine is incorporated into a lotion that is used for many things, including treatment of sunburn and itching.
50. Dawg : BRO
52. 2006 Bond girl ___ Green : EVA
Despite the English sounding name, Eva Green is a French actress. She played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in the 2006 movie "Casino Royale", opposite Daniel Craig.
53. Road to enlightenment, for some : ZEN
Zen is one of the Buddhist schools, that became it's own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD.