This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 38m 16s
THEME: FIX-A-TION ... all the theme answers are well-known terms or phrases, with -TION tacked on the end e.g. MIXED MEDIA(TION), SHOWER CAP(TION), SOAP OPERA(TION)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
TODAY'S WIKI-EST, AMAZONIAN GOOGLIES
14. Bengay targets : ACHES
Bengay is sold as a painkilling heat rub, to relieve aching muscles. It was developed in France by a Dr. Jules Bengue (hence the name) and was first sold in America way back in 1898.
23. Following the rules? : CONTRAVIOLA-TION
A contra viola is a particular organ pipe, 16 feet long!
26. 2009 "Survivor" locale : SAMOA
"Survivor: Samoa" was the nineteenth series of the reality TV show (19, can you believe it?). It was won by Natalie White.
28. R.S.V.P. component : S'IL
RSVP stands for "Répondez s'il vous plaît", which is French for "please, answer".
31. Unbending : OBDURATE
Obdurate is just that, unbending, but usually in a bad way. Persistently wicked or stubborn.
34. Astringent : ACERB
Acerb is a variant of acerbic: sour or bitter tasting, acidic, similar to astringent.
35. St. ___ (malt liquor brand named after an Irish nun) : IDES
St Ides is made by Pabst, a beer with a high alcohol content (8.2%). St. Ides is better known as St. Ita. She was an Irish nun and teacher who lived most of her life in County Limerick, in the west of Ireland. She is reputed to have taught the more famous St. Brendan. I'm not sure how much beer she drank ...
36. Variety of arbitrating techniques? : MIXED MEDIA-TION
46. Universal Human Rights Mo. : DEC
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.
47. Sault ___ Marie : STE
Sault Ste. Marie is both a city in Ontario, Canada, and a city in Michigan. The two are divided by the Saint Mary's River, along with the US-Canada border runs.
53. Title under a photo of rain? : SHOWER CAP-TION
57. Whole tone, e.g. : STEP
A whole tone in music is considered a step, the interval between two notes in a major scale (C-D, A-B, for example).
63. Subject of paintings by Corot and Manet : SEINE
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was a French landscape painter, working just before the Impressionist movement developed. One of his works was "The Nymph of the Seine". Edouard Manet's work transitioned into the Impressionist movement. He painted "The Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil".
64. Montgomery of "The Young Lions" : CLIFT
The 1958 film "The Young Lions" is based on a novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw. It tells the story of three soldiers during WWII. Marlon Brando plays a disillusioned German officer, Dean Martin plays a coward trying to avoid the fighting, and Montgomery Clift play a Jewish soldier surviving among bigoted army comrades. Recommended viewing/reading ...
65. Peru's ___ Trail : INCA
Machu Piccho was probably a luxurious estate built for Incan emperor Pachacuti. It is way off the the beaten track high up n the Andes, and is accessed by trekking for 3-4 days along what's called the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu.
68. Skipjack and albacore : TUNAS
Skipjack tuna would be called medium sized, growing to about three feet long. Albacore tuna is a little larger.
69. Montemezzi's "L'Amore ___ Tre Re" : DEI
Italo Montemezzi was an Italian composer who wrote his most famous work in 1913, the opera "L'amore dei tre re" (The Love of Three Kings). The opera was an early success for Montemezzi, enabling him to give up teaching and devote most of his life to composition.
70. Restaurateur Toots : SHOR
Toots Shor ran his Toot's Shor's Restaurant in Manhattan during the forties and fifties. The establishment served relatively plain American cuisine, but was a famous hangout for New York celebrities. Shor's personality brought in the rich and famous, like Jackie Gleason, Charlie Chaplin, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Louis B. Mayer.
73. Detergent factory, e.g.? : SOAP OPERA-TION
76. Rock Island and Reading: Abbr. : RRS
The full name of the Rock Island line was the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Rock Island is the largest island in the Mississippi River, and is now called Arsenal Island. it gave its name to the Illinois city nearby, and the railroad. The Reading Railroad is more correctly called the Philadelphia and Reading Railway. The Reading Railway has a square for itself on the original game of Monopoly.
77. Depression at the mouth of a volcano : CALDERA
A caldera is similar to the mouth of a volcano, but is actually a depression or an exposed cauldron that is exposed due to the collapse of land near a volcano following an eruption. The Spanish word "caldera" means "cooking pot", aptly enough.
78. "Galaxy Quest" characters, in brief : ETS
"Galaxy Quest" is a 1999 sci-fi comedy starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. It's cute enough, worth a rental. It's a clever "Star Trek" parody.
79. Arrangement provider : FTD
Back in 1910, fifteen florists from around America agreed to fulfill each others orders using the telegraph system, and so set up what they called the Florists' Telegraph Delivery. The concept grew so large that in 1965 the group started offering international service, and changed its name to Florists' Transworld Delivery.
89. Units in physics : ERGS
An erg is a unit of energy, or mechanical work. It comes from the Greek word "ergon", meaning "work".
90. "$100 per dozen plus shipping," e.g.? : SALES QUOTA-TION
94. ___ Lang of Smallville : LANA
Lana Lang was a friend of Clark Kent (Superman) when he was a lad in Smallville. There was a romantic connection there ...
96. Hoopster Gilmore : ARTIS
Artis Gilmore is a former basketball player, who played in both the ABA and NBA. He is nicknamed "The A-Train".
101. Fr. firm : CIE
Cie is an abbreviation used in French (not an acronym). It is short for "compagnie", the French word for "company", and is used as we would use "Co."
105. Mobile homes? : CRIBS
I think the idea here is that some baby cribs are small and portable, but I could be wrong!
UPDATE: I am wrong ... an email correspondent kindly pointed out that a crib is a mobile home because a "mobile" may be placed over the crib to entertain the baby! I guess it has been such a long time since the kids were that age, I had forgotten!
106. Enthronement of a metalworker? : SMITH CORONA-TION
Smith Corona is US manufacturer of calculators and typewriters. The company's roots go back to 1886, when the original company created the first typewriter to use both upper and lowercase letters. During WWII, the company switched production over to small arms to help the war effort, manufacturing the Springfield Rifle as well as other models. As you would imagine, sales are way down in recent years as computers devastate the market for calculators and typewriters.
112. ___ Reader (bimonthly magazine) : UTNE
The "Utne Reader" is known for aggregation and republication of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other alternative sources of media. It was founded in 1984, with "Utne" being the family name of the couple that started publication.
115. E-6 officers in the U.S.A.F. : TSGTS
A TSGT is a Technical Sergeant.
7. Grp. with the old slogan "A deadline every minute" : UPI
United Press International was one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. It ran foul of the change in media formats at the end of the last century, and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands of people, still exists but with only a handful of employees.
16. Being forced into a smaller house, say? : HOME DEMO-TION
24. Australian P.M. Kevin : RUDD
Kevin Rudd is the current Prime Minister of Australia, the leader of the center-left Australian Labor Party. He took over after the 2007 election, from John Howard.
44. Amsterdam in New York : AVENUE
Amsterdam avenue in New York City is also known as Tenth Avenue. Tenth Avenue has existed from 1816, and in 1890 the name was changed by the landowners nearby in order to help give the Upper West Side an old-world feeling, and help boost property prices.
51. ___ Nevada : SIERRA
The American Sierra Nevada range lies in California and Nevada. The Spanish Sierra Nevada is in Anadalusia, with the name meaning "snowy range" in Spanish.
54. Party of nine : ENNEAD
In the context of Egyptian mythology, a group of deities was called a Pesedjet. When the Greeks came to occupy Egypt, the word they used as a translation for Pesedjet was ENNEAD, Greek for "the nine". This was despite the fact that Egyptian mythology at various times describes between seven and ten deities as part of the Pesedjet/ENNEAD. Them Greeks never were any good with numbers …
57. Brougham, e.g. : SEDAN
A Brougham was a light four-wheeled carriage used in the 19th century. It got took its name from Henry Brougham, a Scottish jurist and one-time Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. Brougham is usually pronounced "broom".
60. Passing reference in the "I Have a Dream" speech? : KINGSMEN-TION
71. Classic Parker Brothers card game : PIT
"Pit" is a card game introduced by Parker Brothers in 1904. It's a game based on the trading of commodities in an exchange.
92. 19th-century Swedish writer Esaias ___ : TEGNER
Esaias Tegner wrote in the early 1800s, and is regarded as the father of modern poetry in Sweden.
107. Lunar New Year : TET
In the East there is a tendency to celebrate the New Year at the arrival of spring, based on the Lunar calendar. The full name for the new year holiday in Vietnam is Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning "Feast of the First Morning". Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.