This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 19m 55s
THEME: BETWEEN THE LINES ... The fifth and eleventh columns of the grid have the words DOUBLE SPACED hidden in them, and can be seen by reading every second square
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
1. Israeli tourist attraction on the Dead Sea : MASADA
The name Masada comes from the Hebrew word for fortress, and is a plateau in the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is home to the ruins of ancient palaces and fortifications, that date back to the days of Herod the Great, father of Herod who figured in the lives of Jesus of Nazareth and John the Baptist. After the Romans invaded Jerusalem, Jewish extremists settled on the mountaintop using it as a base to harass the invaders. Eventually Romans mounted an invasion of the elevated fortress, building an elaborate wall and rampart to get to the encampment with some cover. After months of preparation, the Romans breached the walls only to discover the inner buildings all ablaze, and the 1,000 rebels and their families dead after a mass suicide.
6. "Fawlty Towers" airer : BBC
"Fawlty Towers" might be the world's greatest sitcom, popular on both sides of the Atlantic. It was written by, and starred John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth. There were two series, one broadcast in 1975, and the other in 1979. There have been three attempts to remake the series in the US, one of which starred John Larroquette as Basil Fawlty, but none of the remakes worked at all.
17. Japanimation character with a line of school supplies : HELLO KITTY
The Hello Kitty character sounds almost like a virus, incubating on a simple vinyl coin purse back in 1974. And now, she appears on an Eva Air airbus, and even has two theme parks inspired by her character. Hello Kitty is white Japanese bobtail cat.
18. An ellipse has two : FOCI
One way to envision the two foci of an ellipse is to imagine two nails sticking up out of a board, placed a small distance apart. A loop of string is placed on the board, with the nails in the middle. A pen is then placed inside the loop, and moved as far away from the nails as possible, confined by the string. The pen is then run around the nails, stretching out the string so that it is taut. The pen will draw and ellipse, and the point where the nails are, they are the two foci of the ellipse.
19. ___ Darya (river to the Aral Sea) : AMU
The Amu Darya is a major river in Central Asia, also called the Oxus or Amu River.
21. Winged Greek god : EROS
As always seem to be the case, the Greek gods Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, but Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male.
26. Tinkertoy alternative : K'NEX
The construction toy with the name K'Nex is the phonetic spelling of the word "connects". The toy was invented by Joel Glickman, who came up with the idea while playing with straws as he sat at a table after a wedding. He launched K'Nex in 1993, and it is still going strong apparently.
29. 1927 Upton Sinclair novel : OIL
Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil" was published in 1927. You might have seen the screen adaptation that was released in 2007, under the title "There Will Be Blood" starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
30. "Ghosts" playwright : IBSEN
Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote "Ghosts" in 1881, although he disputed the popular English translation of his original title. His title of "Gengangere" really means, "The Ones Who Return", or "Again Walkers".
33. "The Giving Tree" author Silverstein : SHEL
Author Shel Silverstein had a varied career, and did more than write books. He was a poet, composer, cartoonist and screenwriter among other things. "The Giving Tree" is a children's book that he wrote, and was published in 1964. It tells of a young boy who has a special relationship with a tree in a forest. The message of the book seems to be that the tree provides the little boy with everything he needs.
41. Part of N.C.A.A.: Abbr. : ATH
The National Collegiate Athletic Association dates back to the Presidency of President Theodore Roosevelt. When President Roosevelt's son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States in 1906 with the remit of regulating college sports. The IAUSS evolved into the NCAA in 1910.
51. Bar mitzvah party staple : HORA
The hora is circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings.
52. Virgil contemporary : OVID
Ovid and Virgil were poets who lived in Ancient Rome about the same time, although they apparently met only a few times.
54. ___ dye : AZO
Azo compounds have very vivid colors, and so are used to make dyes, especially with the colors, red, orange and yellow.
56. Where cabs wait? : WINE CELLAR
You'd probably find some Cabernet Sauvignon in a wine cellar, although probably not in mine. Clever clue ...
60. Shangri-las : EDENS
Shangri-La is the earthly paradise in the mountains of Tibet described by James Hilton in his novel "Lost Horizon". It is "Edenic" (perfect, like the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis). Frank Capra directed a wonderful screen adaptation in 1937 starring Ronald Colman, a real delight.
61. Reynolds of "Boogie Nights" : BURT
"Boogie Nights" was released in 1997, and deals with the pornographic movie business. Burt Reynolds plays a director in the industry. Not a great subject matter, but the movie does have an impressive cast (including Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and Philip Seymour Hoffman).
62. Asian holidays : TETS
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.
1. Sighting at a punk rock concert, maybe : MOHAWK
Here is another example of a difference in terminology on either side of the Atlantic. The Mohawk hairstyle here is known as a "Mohican" over there. The Mohawk hairstyle is named after the Mohawk nation, who wore their hair in the same fashion. The Mohawk style however, has been around for a long time. There was a well-preserved male body found in a bog near Dublin in Ireland in 2003. The body is about 2,000 years old, and had the Mohawk cut.
2. So-called missing link : APE MAN
The scientific community doesn't really embrace the traditional concept of a "missing link" anymore. The idea that the there is or was an "ape man" that links the human species with "lower animals" has fallen by the wayside.
3. Name on many a hospital : ST LUKE
In the Roman Catholic Church, St. Luke is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons, and a frequent choice for the name of hospitals. St. Luke is also the patron saint of students, butchers and artists.
4. Communication system for the gorilla Koko: Abbr. : ASL
Koko is a female Lowland Gorilla that lives in Woodside, California. The researcher Penny Patterson, taught Koko to speak a modified form of American Sign Language (ASL) that she called Gorilla Sign Language. Koko can apparently use over a thousand signs.
6. Where to look for hidden words in this puzzle's fifth and eleventh columns? : BETWEEN THE LINES
7. 1942 Philippines fighting locale : BATAAN
Bataan is a peninsula in the Philippines, on the opposite side of Manila Bay to the capital city. In WWII, Bataan was where American and Filipino forces made their last stand before the Japanese took control of the country. The battle of Bataan lasted three months, at the end of which 75,000 captured prisoners were forced to march from Bataan to various prison camps. It is thought that between 6,000 and 11,000 men died on the march, many from physical abuse above and beyond the rigors of the 5-6 day march without food or water. For obvious reasons, 5-6 day trek is referred to as the Bataan Death March.
8. Remains here? : CRYPT
Another clever clue ...
11. Food that usually comes in red or black : LICORICE
Licorice candy is flavored with a sweet extract from the licorice plant, and is what we call black licorice in the US. Red licorice isn't really licorice at all, as it is flavored with other plant extracts, including cherry, strawberry or cinnamon.
12. The New Testament has 21 : EPISTLES
By definition, an epistle is a writing sent by one person to a group of people, with the name "epistle" coming from the Greek word for "a letter". The 21 epistles of the New Testament are letters from various of the Apostles to groups of Christians, with most of them being written by Paul.
23. 52-Across, e.g., in his later years : EXILE
It's not really clear why Ovid was exiled, but it happened at a time when Caesar Augustus was actively promoting monogamy, while Ovid was writing poetry that openly discussed adultery.
31. Caramel-coconut Girl Scout cookie : SAMOA
Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookie, the name can vary. Little Brownie Bakers makes the Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel Delites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name of "Samoa" because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa.
35. Modern means of connecting : ETHERNET
Ethernet is the name given to a standardized configuration of local area networks (LANs). An ethernet cable is that one that has a connector on the end that looks like a regular telephone connector, but is about twice as wide. Ethernet dates back to the mid seventies, when it was developed by the Xerox Corporation.
37. Mojito component : RUM
A Mojito is a Cuban cocktail, although the exact origins appear to be unclear, as does the derivation of the name. Want one? Add 4 mint leaves to a glass, and add the juice of half a lime, and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Muddle the ingredients (smash them together with a muddler or a spoon). Add some crushed ice, two ounces of white rum and stir. Top with a couple of ounces of club soda, and garnish with a sprig of mint. Cheers!
42. Undergo mitosis : DIVIDE
Mitosis is the process by which the chromosomes in a cell nucleus replicates and then divides into two identical sets of chromosomes. Mitosis is followed by division of the cell itself, resulting in two identical cells.
44. Oldish means of connecting : DIAL-UP
I hope none of you is having to deal with dial-up access these days. I used to be a road warrior and could get dial-up Internet access from almost anywhere in the world, and carried all sort of adaptors and devices to help me battle with the different configurations used by various phone companies around the world. Dial-up access involves the computer using a telephone modem to a specific number over a telephone line, and connecting to the Internet via another modem at the other end of the line.
45. "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" composer : MOZART
Mozart's Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, is better known as "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", which translates into "a little serenade". Often the more literal English translation of "a little night music" is used. It is a delightful piece in four, very recognizable movements, although there is much debate about a "lost" fifth movement.
49. There's one at the end of this clue : VOWEL
Yet another clever clue ...
57. Jefferson Davis's org. : CSA
The Confederate States of America set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. The CSA conceded defeat on November 6, 1865. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation, and retained the post for the life of the government. After the Civil War he spent two years in prison before being released on bail. He wrote a well-received book, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" that was well received, particularly in the South. He passed away in 1889 in New Orleans, at the ripe old age of 81 years.
58. Certain corp. takeover : LBO
A Leveraged Buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which an investor acquires a controlling volume of stock in a company, but buys that stock with borrowed funds. Often the assets of the acquired company are used as collateral for the borrowed money. There is a special form of LBO known as a Management buyout, in which the company's own management purchases the controlling interest.