This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: Didn't finish
ANSWERS I MISSED: Lots! ... missed quite a few in the bottom half .. I found this one to be tough!
1. Inspiration for Björn Again : ABBA
"Bjorn Again" is satirical imitation of the phenomenal band ABBA. Bjorn Again is more than just a tribute band. It is a franchised operation, with ABBA "lookalikes" using the name "Bjorn Again" and performing all over the world. The act started in Australia in 1988, and as it is still going today, it has actually been going longer than the original ABBA.
5. Bob of stand-up comedy : SAGET
Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.
15. Art center since 1819 : PRADO
The Museo del Prado is in Madrid, the capital of Spain, and has one of the finest collections in the world. The galleries most famous work is "Las Meninas" By Velazquez.
16. Risky thing to try in figure skating : QUAD
The quadruple jump was first performed in competition By Kurt Browning, in 1988. Miko Ando was the first woman to land a quad in competition, in 2002.
17. Risky thing to try for on "Jeopardy!" : TRUE DAILY DOUBLE
"Jeopardy" first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it tool the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.
20. Novel whose title comes from Ecclesiastes : THE SUN ALSO RISES
"The Sun Also Rises" is the Ernest Hemingway's first major novel, published in 1926. Hemingway originally titled the work "Fiesta", and indeed it was first published under this title outside of America. At the recommendation of the publisher, Scribner's, the title was changed to "The Sun Also Rises", taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5 "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose."
21. "Doo ___ (That Thing)" (#1 hit for Lauryn Hill) : WOP
"Doo Wop (That Thing)" not hit the number one spot, it as Lauryn Hills first single ... quite a debut. Lauryn Hill started out her musical career with the Fugees, launching her solo career in 1998.
23. Heat unit? : LAP
One a competition, say of swimming, the heats are contested by completing laps.
24. Player of Sethe in "Beloved" : OPRAH
"Beloved" the movie is based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by Toni Morrison. Oprah, who produced the film, stars opposite Danny Glover.
29. Campaign crunch time: Abbr. : OCT
Campaign crunch time is October, the last full month before say, the US presidential election, which takes place on the Tuesday between the 2nd and 8th of November.
32. Opposite of schadenfreude : PITY
Our word schadenfreude of course comes from German. "Schaden" means harm or adveristy, and "Freude" means joy. So, schedenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Quite the opposite of pity.
39. Subject of a Sophocles tragedy : ANTIGONE
"Antigone" is a tragedy written by Sophocles and first performed in 442 BC. Antigone is the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes, born out of the incestuous relationship with his mother, Jocasta.
42. Midgets of the 1960s-'70s, e.g. : MGS
My neighbor used to keep his MG Midget in my garage (away from his kids!) back in Ireland many moons ago. The Midget was produced by MG division of the British Motor Corporation from 1961 to 1979.
47. Image on Connecticut's state quarter : OAK
The oak depicted on the Connecticut quarter is the Charter Oak. The tree earned its name from the legend that the original Royal Charter for the colony was hidden in a cavity of the tree for a while. The tree no longer exists, as it went down in a storm in the early 1800s.
50. Main role on "My Big Fat Greek Life" : NIA
"My Big Fat Greek Life" was a sitcom spin-off of the brilliant 2002 movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Nia Vardalos was very much behind the film and the TV show, and played Nia Portokalos on TV. The TV show didn't go down well though, and only ran for a few episodes.
51. Justice League member : THE GREEN LANTERN
The Green Lantern was a comic book superhero who had a number of alter egos through the life of the character. The Green Lantern was a member of the Justice League of America superhero team. Other members of the League included Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
57. Diamond deception : HIDDEN BALL TRICK
The hidden ball trick has been used over 300 times with success in the Major Leagues.
59. Gifted individual? : DONEE
Nice clue ...
60. Fashionista's read, maybe : ELLE
"Elle" magazine was founded in 1945, and today has the biggest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. "Elle" is the French word for "she".
61. Like some bets and patients : SEEN
"I'll see you", says the doctor, and "I'll see you", says the person playing poker with you.
63. Red, e.g., for short : NLER
A Cincinnati Red is an NLer, playing in the National League.
1. Drama center, often : ACT TWO
Another deceptive clue ... nice ...
2. Lush travel plan? : BAR HOPPING
A lush, slang term for a heavy drinker.
5. "Apollo 13" actor Joe : SPANO
Joe Spano's most famous role was perhaps that of Lt. Henry Goldblume on "Hill Street Blues". In "Apollo 13" he played an unnamed NASA director.
6. 1906 Massenet opera : ARIANE
"Ariane" was not the most successful work by Jules Massenet, that's for sure. It has rarely been performed since its opening in 1906 in Paris. A few years after the debut of "Ariane", Massenet introduced most of the same characters in another opera named "Bacchus". "Bacchus" doesn't get performed either ...
8. Brand with the flavor Fudge Tracks : EDY'S
Dreyer's ice cream sells it's products under the name Dreyers in Western United States, and Edy's in the Eastern states.
11. Litter lying around a den : CUBS
Clever wording ...
13. Pablo Neruda's "Elemental ___" : ODES
Pablo Neruda was initially a pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose the name as a homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.
18. Brunswick, e.g., once : DUCHY
The Duchy of Brunswick was an independent state within the territory of Germany, from 1815-1918.
25. Tours "yours" : A TOI"
"A toi" is the French for yours, and is used when addressing someone with whom one is familiar.
29. Debutante who dated J. D. Salinger and Orson Welles : OONA O'NEILL
Oona O'Neill may have dated Salinger and Welles (in her teens), but she married Charlie Chaplin. She was pretty young too when she married Chaplin, much to the dismay of her famous father, the playwright Eugene O'Neill. After the marriage, Eugene disowned his daughter, pretty upset that 54-year-old Chaplin could marry his 18-year-old daughter.
30. Crushed corn creation : CROP CIRCLE
Very clever wording ...
And don't believe what you hear ... they're fake ...
34. Martinez of the diamond : TINO
Tino Martinez has retired from Major League Baseball, but played first base for a number of teams including the Mariners, Yankees and Cardinals and Devil Rays. Martinez was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and worked as a boy in his father's cigar factory.
36. Title holders : BOOKENDS
Such clever wording in the clues today ...
37. Disney doe : ENA
Ena was Bambi's aunt in the 1942 Disney film of the same name. The movie is based on the Austrian novel "Bambi, A Life in the Woods" written by an author, Felix Salten, and published in 1923.
44. Bear, say : SELLER
On Wall Street, the bears tend to sell, and bulls tend to buy.
47. Setting of Hill Air Force Base : OGDEN
Hill AFB, located just outside Ogden, Utah, was named in honor of Major Ployer Peter Hill who died in 1935 on a test flight of a prototype that would eventually be christened the B-17 Flying Fortress.
49. Lara's son, in DC Comics : KAL-EL
Lara Lor-Van is the biological mother of Kal-El, and wife of scientist Jor-El. Kal-El is sent to Earth, where we would know him better as Superman.
54. Like death's dart, in Shakespeare : EBON
The reference is to lines in William Shakespeare's poem "Venus and Adonis" ...
"Love's golden arrow at him shoull have fled,
And not Death's ebon dart, to strike him dead."
56. Tampico track transport : TREN
Tampico is a city in Mexico, and "tren" is the Spanish for train.