This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: N/A (watching the BBC drama "Grand Hotel" on DVD)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 SIL (SAL), AMALIE (AMALAE)
1. Red guards? : BEEFEATERS
Beefeater is the popular name for a Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London. The official responsibility of a beefeater is to guard any prisoners in the Tower, and looking after the crown jewels. But, the cadre of beefeaters actually spend their day guiding tours around the magnificent castle. No one really knows where the origin of the name "beefeater". Any time you are in London, be sure to check out the Tower. As you leave the Tower, turn left and walk down to the river. There you can catch a water taxi to Westminster which will take you by St. Paul's and drop you off at the Houses of Parliament, just around the corner from Westminster Abbey. A great day out ...
15. Corporate giant based in Irving, Tex. : EXXONMOBIL
The Exxon Corporation was a descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company. Exxon merged with Mobil (yet another descendant of Standard Oil) in 1999, forming ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil is headquartered in Irving, Texas, which is located within the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
17. Much-thanked group : THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization gives the annual Academy Awards, also known as the "Oscars". The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929, with an audience of just 29 people. It's a slightly bigger event these days ...
18. "That's ___" : LIFE
"That's Life" is a song recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1966, and the title of the album on which it was included.
19. Sitcom character who said "Not many people know this, but I happen to be famous" : SAM MALONE
On the sitcom "Cheers", barman Sam Malone was played by Ted Danson. Malone was a relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and a recovering alcoholic. Great show ...
20. Promising site : ALTAR
Clever clue! One promises "I do", at the altar.
21. Aid, to Eliza Doolittle : 'ELP
Eliza Doolittle in Shaw's "Pygmalion", and the musical adaptation, "My Fair Lady", 'as a Cockney accent so drops her aitches, pronouncing "help" as 'elp.
22. Tony's consigliere, familiarly, on "The Sopranos" : SIL
The character Silvio Danta on HBO's excellent series "The Sopranos" really is comical looking. He has the died hair, possibly a wig that's truly "big hair", and the all the jewelry and mannerisms that one possibly does not expect from a Consigliere. "Sil" is played by Steven Van Zandt, a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, in which he plays guitar and mandolin. Who knew ... ???
27. Form of government : POLITY
A polity is the form of government of a nation, or perhaps a state, church or organization. Another term for polity might be "body politic".
28. 1994 Kathleen Turner movie : SERIAL MOM
Kathleen Turner was favorably compared to Lana Turner with her deep voice, especially after her sultry performance in the 1981 movie "Body Heat". Turner continued to command leading roles through the eighties but her career hit a roadblock in the early nineties when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and found herself in constant pain. She turned to alcohol, which along with the medication for her disease altered her appearance dramatically. Thankfully, the disease is now in remission, and Turner has been seen more and more on the stage and screen in the last decade.
30. One with an M. : MME
A Monsieur might be married to a Madame, in France.
33. First N.F.L. player to record 100 receptions in a season : ART MONK
Art Monk is a former American football wide receiver who played with the Redskins, Jets and Eagles. Before turning pro he played football at Syracuse University, and now is a member of the SU Board of Trustees.
36. "Love Is the Drug" group, 1976 : ROXY MUSIC
"Love is the Drug" was released in 1975 by Bryan Ferry's rock group, "Roxy Music". Roxy Music is also famous for giving Brian Eno his start in music.
39. Certain match results : TKOS
In boxing (and other sports), a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can't get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly "knocked out". A referee, fighter, or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a knockout having taking place, especially if there is concern about a fighter's safety. In this case, the bout is said to have been ended by a technical knockout (TKO).
42. Club wielder's club: Abbr. : PGA
The Professional Golfers' Association was founded in 1916, and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where all the golfers live. Back in 1916, the association was formed though in New York City.
46. 47-Across hire : CPA
47. See 46-Across : IRS
The Inland Revenue Service has lots of Certified Public Accountants. The IRS came into being during the Civil War, to raise money to pay for war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, taxation was limited to levies on trade and property.
48. Short-billed rail : CRAKE
Rails are birds of the family Rallidae (hence their name). Outside of America, the name rail tends to be reserved for long-billed species, the term "crake" is used for short-billed species.
49. Stephen King novel : SALEM'S LOT
Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" was published in 1975, his second novel. It belongs to the horror genre, so you won't catch me reading it. There's an interesting story about the actual publication of the first edition. The intended price of $8.95 was changed at the last minute to $7.95, but not all the price changes were made before release. A few copies "escaped" with the dustcover marked $8.95, and they are now worth a lot of money. Go check your bookshelves ...
52. Astronomical unit : AEON
Aeon is a variant spelling of "eon". In astronomical terms, an aeon is defined as one thousand million years.
54. Electronic product sensation of 2005 : NANO
The iPod Nano is the successor to the iPod Mini, and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There have five versions of the Nano to date and the current Nano as well as playing tunes has an FM player, records voice memos, and even has a pedometer!
57. Miller Park squad : THE BREWERS
The Brewers are Milwaukee's professional baseball team, and they play at Miller Park. Miller Park was completed in 2001. The stadium has the country's only fan-shaped convertible roof, which can open and close in under ten minutes.
1. Fashion designer Johnson : BETSEY
Betsey Johnson is an American fashion designer. She sounds like quite a character, and apparently is known for doing a cartwheel on the catwalk at the end of her fashion shows.
4. Bud head : FOAM
You gotta love the foam on that Budweiser beer (well, I don't, but you might ...).
5. Convert at Barclays, say : ENCASH
Where I come from we exchange a cheque (note the spelling) for money by "encashing" it.
6. Norwegian novelist/feminist ___ Skram : AMALIE
Amalie Skram's life probably gives clues to how she became such a proponent of woman's rights and addressed the subject in her novels. Amalie's father left his wife and five children when she was 17, and moved from Norway to the US to avoid a prison term. Amalie was then pressured by her mother to marry a much older man, with whom she stayed for thirteen years and bore two children. Pressures, largely from the infidelity of here husband, led to Amalie having a nervous breakdown and spending years in a mental hospital.
8. Irving Bacheller's "___ Holden" : EBEN
Irving Bacheller was an American journalist and writer. His novel "Eben Holden" was published in 1900.
9. Natural coat : RIME
Rime is that beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.
13. Typing concern : RH FACTOR
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which antigens again on the surface of the red blood cells are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected by the recipient. However, blood type O-Neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, AB or O, positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a "universal donor".
14. Wood for food, maybe : EYE RHYME
An eye rhyme is a similarity in spelling between two words that look like they should rhyme, but are actually pronounced differently. So, for example, wood "looks like" food, but the words sound quite different. Sometimes eye rhymes are noted in older poems, as the pronunciation of words that originally rhymed has changed over time.
23. Electron property : SPIN
In the quantum world, spin isn't really the same as the property of spin around an axis with which we would be familiar. But, some things are very similar. For example, the spin of an electron does have a direction. Beyond that, I am lost ...
26. Invoice word : REMIT
Remit: send me the money!
30. Diagnostic aids : MRI SCANS
A CT Scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT Scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses on radiation can be harmful, and is cumulative. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images, so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (like X-rays). We used MRI technology in our chemistry labs at school, back in the days when the technology was called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Apparently the marketing folks didn't like the term "nuclear" because of its association with ionizing radiation and bombs, so it's now called just MRI.
31. City originally called Ville-Marie : MONTREAL
The original name of Montreal was Ville-Marie, meaning the City of Mary. Ville-Marie is now the name of a borough in the city, the borough which includes the downtown area and "Old Montreal". The present-day city covers most of the Island of Montreal which lies where the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers meet. The name Montreal comes from the three-headed hill that dominates the island and is called Mount Royal.
33. Somewhat : A MITE
A mite: a small amount, as in "the widow's mite".
42. Steiger's "Jesus of Nazareth" role : PILATE
"Jesus of Nazareth" was a 1977 television mini-series directed by Franco Zeffirelli for British television. By all accounts it is a spectacular piece of work, although I haven't seen it myself. English actor Robert Powell plays Jesus, and Rod Steiger plays Pontius Pilate. Others in the star-studded cast include, Anne Bancroft (Mary Magdelene), Ernest Borgnine, Claudia Cardinale, James Earl Jones, James Mason, Laurence Olivier ... the list goes on and on. I will have to put on my "wish list" ...
44. Goldilocks and others : ASTERS
Goldilocks is a relatively rare type of aster, native to south-eastern Europe.
49. One might say "Nevada" in Las Vegas : SASH
Maybe Miss Nevada would be wearing a sash with the word Nevada on it at a beauty pageant in Las Vegas?
50. Huber of women's tennis : ANKE
Anke Huber is a retired professional tennis player from Germany. Huber stepped out of the shadow of fellow German star Steffi Graf when Graf retired in 1999, and for the last two years of her playing career Huber enjoyed the recognition as Germany's top player.
51. Barbecue offering : SLAW
The term "coleslaw" is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name "koolsla", which in itself is a shortened form of "Koolsalade" meaning "cabbage salad".