This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 14m 22s
THEME: MY SPACE ... many of the squares in the grid contain the letters MY instead of a single letter
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 ... MONISM (MYONISM), EDOM (EDOMY)
1. With 69-Across, 1930s-'50s bandleader : SAMMY
Sammy Kaye's tag-line was, "Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye". He was very famous during the Big Band Era of the thirties and forties, selling lots of records and commanding a large audience on the radio. One of his most poignant compositions was written after his radio show was interrupted to bring the news that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. He wrote the music, and Don Reid the words, to Remember Pearl Harbor, which he recorded in December of 1942.
5. Brand name in the kitchen : AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa.
14. Bellicose deity : ARES
The Greek god Ares is indeed bellicose. He is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of blood-lust and slaughter.
19. Sleek, in car talk : AERO
Aero ... short for aerodynamic, having very little wind resistance.
20. 1966 Mary Martin musical : IDO IDO
"I Do! I Do!" is a musical based on a play by Jan de Hartog called "The Fourposter". The whole story, from 1895 to 1945, takes place in the bedroom of characters Agnes and Michael Snow, with a fourposter bed at center stage. Mary Martin played Agnes, and Robert Preston played Michael, when it opened on Broadway in 1966. Sounds fun ...
23. Ex-lib, maybe : NEOCON
By definition, a neoconservative supports the use of American power and military to bring democracy, liberty, equality and human rights to other countries.
25. Views that reality is a unitary whole : MONISMS
Monism is the philosophy that many apparent disparate objects and views, can in fact be unified. For example, Although the universe appears to made of so may stars and planets, a monist would point out it is just one universe. A monist may argue in the field of religion that there really is only one God, and that the deities worshiped in various religions are just manifestations of that one God.
29. ___ Martin (cognac brand) : REMY
Remy Martin: my favorite cognac (remember that when it's my birthday!). In China, the name Remy Martin is not used, but rather the more colorful "man-headed horse", describing the centaur logo on the bottle.
32. Ancient Greek sculptor of athletes : MYRON
Myron was a Greek sculptor working in the middle of the fifth century BC. His most famous works are bronzes, of very fit, able-bodied athletes.
37. Hogwash : TRIPE
Tripe and hogwash are both words used informally meaning rubbish, of little value. Tripe is actually the rubbery lining of say a cow, that's traditionally eaten with onions in the UK.
41. Place for une île : MER
The French would find "une ile" (an island) in "la mer" (the sea).
42. Brickyard 400 entrant : RACER
The Brickyard 400 is a NASCAR race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the same place that the Indy 500 has been run since 1911. The inaugural Brickyard 400 was run in 1994, and is now NASCAR's most attended event.
46. Makes a cat's-paw of : USES
There's an old tale dating back to the 16th century about a monkey that persuaded a cat to pull chestnuts out the fire for him, so that the monkey could avoid burning his own paws. Since then, a cat's-paw has been a term used for a dupe, someone used by another.
48. "Baby Baby" singer, 1991 : AMY GRANT
Amy Grant is known as "The Queen of Christian Pop" and her most famous songs are Gospel and Contemporary Christian works. "Baby Baby" is one such song, released in 1991, a number-one hit for her.
58. Carbon 14 and uranium 235 : ISOTOPES
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon that is found in nature in small amounts, and is used to in the technique known as radiocarbon dating, a relatively accurate way of determining the age of something up about 60,000 years old. Uranium-235 is also found in nature, again in tiny amounts. When uranium is "enriched" it is processed so that the concentration of uranium-235 is increased from trace levels to perhaps over 50%, making what is called "weapons grade" uranium, that can be used in nuclear weapons.
62. Subtitle of 1978's "Damien" : OMEN II
The original film "The Omen" was released in 1976. "Damien: Omen II" hit the screens in 1978. We were regaled with "Omen III: The Final Conflict" in 1981, and there was even a TV movie "Omen IV: The Awakening" in 1991. I haven't seen any of them, and have no interest in doing so (despite the excellent cast).
63. Shark on some menus : MAKO
The shortfin mako shark does indeed appear on menus, and as a result the species is dying out in some parts of the world. The mako gets its own back sometimes though, and attacks on humans are not unknown. And the shark in Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea", that's a mako.
64. 1976 Eric Carmen hit : ALL BY MYSELF
In his hit "All By Myself", Eric Carmen used some of the second movement of Rachmaninoff's famous Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. Carmen thought that the concerto was in the public domain, and probably got a bit of a shock when he discovered that in fact it was not, after his record had been released. As a result, Carmen had to come to a financial agreement with the Rachmaninoff estate.
66. Pulitzer-winning author Robert ___ Butler : OLEN
Robert Olen Butler is an American writer of fiction. He won a Pulitzer in 1995 for his collection of short stories called "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain". Each of the stories in the book tells of a different Vietnamese immigrant living in Louisiana.
67. Homeric sorceress : CIRCE
Circe is a minor goddess in Greek mythology, the goddess of magic. She was fond of transforming those who did not please her into animals by using magical potions.
1. Oral vaccine developer : SABIN
Albert Sabin developed the oral polio vaccine. Sabin's vaccine was a "live", controlled vaccine. The equally famous Salk vaccine was a "killed" vaccine.
4. Old Connecticut whaling town : MYSTIC
Mystic, Connecticut sits on the Mystic River. Mystic River isn't actually a river, but rather an estuary. Mystic is home to the largest maritime museum in the world, the Museum of America and the Sea.
6. See 50-Down : MOE
Tommy Moe was the first American male skier to win two medals in a single Winter Olympics in 1994 at Lillehammer in Norway. It was considered a surprise result, as Moe had at that point not won a single World Cup race.
7. Wintour of fashion : ANNA
Anna Wintour is fashion editor in Britain, and is also the editor-in-chief of American "Vogue". Lauren Weisberger wrote the book "The Devil Wears Prada", with the tyrannical main character apparently based on Wintour.
9. One with yellow ribbons, maybe : ARMY MOM
A yellow ribbon is symbolically worn by people awaiting the return of a loved one, usually from military service overseas, but also from behind bars. The song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" tells the tale of a convict returning home to his loved one who ties a whole load of yellow ribbons around the old oak tree for him.
10. Game maker since 1972 : ATARI
The kids today probably don't realize that we had a video game console back in the seventies, but it wasn't a Nintendo nor a PlayStation. The Atari 2600 game system introduced the idea of separating out computing hardware (the console) from the game code (a cartridge). The same concept persists to this day, although cartridges have been displaced by discs.
12. Sandwich man? : EARL
Meats placed between slices of bread was first called a sandwich in the 18th century, named after the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. The Earl was fond of eating "sandwiches" while playing cards at his club.
13. Fourth book of the Book of Mormon : ENOS
Enos, as the son of Seth, was the grandson of Adam.
26. Chinese menu notation : NO MSG
Monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt of a naturally occurring (and non-essential) amino acid, glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. My vote is yes ... it's not good for you. something that comes out of test tube shouldn't be in food.
28. Ancient city that lent its name to a fig : SMYRNA
Smyrna was the name of the Turkish city now called Izmir (since 1930), and the third largest city in the country. Smyrna fig trees were imported into California in the late 1880s, and are considered the most desirable of all figs cultivated today.
31. Actor Mike : MYERS
Mike Myers does do a great British accent, witness his performance in the madcap "Austin Powers" movies. He has an advantage though, as both his parents are British, living in Canada.
33. Explorer John and actress Charlotte : RAES
John Rae was a Scottish explorer, who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae created much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.
Charlotte Rae is an American actress, best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties, "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life".
34. Snowy peak of song : OLD SMOKEY
No one seems to be certain if the Old Smokey is actually a real place. It features, of course, in the old folk song "On Top of Old Smoky" (note the spelling of Smoky!). The best odds seem to be with Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains, the highest point in Tennessee. Clingman's Dome used to be called "Smoky Dome" by local Scots-Irish folk.
38. Former German president Johannes : RAU
Johannes Rau was President of Germany from 1999 till 2004. In Germany, the office of President is largely ceremonial, as the Chancellor is the head of government.
49. Popular social networking site, and this puzzle's theme : MY SPACE
My Space used to be the most popular of the so-called social networking sites, until it was overtaken in terms of membership by FaceBook, in 2008. Still, there are over 100 million My Space members out there. I am not one of them ...
52. Thing to do on Yom Kippur : ATONE
Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement.
57. Thomas Hardy's "___ Little Ironies" : LIFE'S
"Life's Little Ironies" is a collection of tales by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1894.
59. Part of una casa : SALA
A room (sala) in a house (casa) in Spanish.
60. London Magazine essayist : ELIA
The "Essays of Elia" began appearing in the "London Magazine" in 1820, and were immediate hits. Elia was actually a clerk, and a co-worker of Charles Lamb. Lamb was the author.
61. Some cameras, for short : SLRS
SLR: Single Lens Reflex. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.
65. Pre-A.D. : BCE
BCE can stand for:
- Before the Common Era
- Before the Christian Era
- Before the Current Era