This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 58m 20s
THEME: I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO ... some squares in the grid use more than one letter, and instead take the words "I DO"
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
It looks like this is a special crossword for compilers Byron Walden and Robin Shulman. There's a hidden message in the list of clues, revealed by taking the first letter of each Across clue. It spells out:
1. Bug detection devices? : PALPS
A palp is an appendage found near the mouth of many invertebrates, including mollusks, crustaceans and insects. It is used to help in feeding, but can also assist in locomotion.
6. Yemeni, for one : ARAB
Yemen sits in a very strategic location in the Middle East, with the Red Sea to its west, and the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden to the south. As such, Yemen has been colonized by many of the great powers in history, with most of the attention focused on the coastal town of Aden in the south.
10. Red indication on a clock radio : AM-PM
Usually if the red LED is on, then the time shown is PM.
The 12-hour clock has been around along time, and was even used in sundial format in Ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans back then would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.
14. O. Henry, e.g. : ALIAS
William Sydney Porter wrote under the name O. Henry. He was famous for short stories that were witty, had clever wordplay, and usually ending "with a twist".
15. Navigational reference points : LODESTARS
A lodestar (an term rarely used now) is a bright star that's used nor navigation purposes. The most famous would be Polaris, the Pole Star, which is very close to true north. The name lodestar comes from the days of early compasses, when a naturally magnetic stone was used to detect magnetic north. These stones were called lodestones.
18. Native Australian winds : DIDGERIDOOS
When I was growing up in Ireland, there was a famous Australian entertainer we used to see all the time on TV called Rolf Harris. One thing for which he was noted was playing his didgeridoo, a wind instrument that was used by indigenous Australian peoples as far back as 1500 years ago. It has a remarkably rich sound.
19. Davy Jones or any other Monkee : TV IDOL
Davy Jones was the apparent lead vocalist for the Monkees, but it was drummer, Micky Dolenz that took the lead in most of their hit songs. Peter Tork was the Monkee that was portrayed as the "dumb one" on "The Monkees" television show, but he was far from a dummy. In the early days of the band, session musicians played all the instruments for the records, except Tork. He got to play his guitar. The things that are kept from us ...
23. Bowler alternative : TOP HAT
I think a bowler hat is called a derby here in the US. It was first produced in 1849 in London by hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler, hence the name. The alternative name of "derby" comes from the tradition of wearing bowler hats at the Derby horse race every year (and major race in England every year).
25. Inhabitants of central African rain forests : OKAPIS
The okapi is closely related to the giraffe, although it does have markings on its legs and haunches that resemble those of a zebra. It is native to the Ituri Rainforest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
32. Only actor to win a comedy and drama Emmy for the same character : ASNER
And the role of course was that of Lou Grant in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". And did you know that Gavin Newsom, the up and coming Mayor of San Francisco, is Asner's nephew (through his wife)?
34. Abba hit of 1976 : I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO, I DO
"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" was the second of ABBA's long, long string of smash hits. It was particularly successful in Australia, where there is a huge Abba fan base to this day. The song was featured in a really great Australian film called "Muriel's Wedding" from 1994. This was the movie that launched the career of the wonderful Toni Collette.
36. Yossarian's tentmate in "Catch-22" : ORR
Orr has no other name, just "Orr", in Joseph Heller's "Catch 22".
43. Lobbies, often : ATRIA
In modern architecture, an atrium is a a large open space, often in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.
51. Shunned shellfish, say : ATE KOSHER
According to Jewish dietary law, kosher food is "fit" to eat, and food that is not kosher is called treif (or tref).
57. "It Don't Come Easy" singer, 1971 : STARR
"It Don't Come Easy" was one of the first solo singles by Ringo Starr after the breakup of the Beatles in 1970. The song was produced, and co-written, by fellow Beatle George Harrison, and indeed Harrison plays guitar in the original recording. The song refers to the difficulties the Beatles were having at the time of their breakup, hence ... "It Don't Come Easy".
58. Nautically equipped, in a way : PONTOONED
Pontoon are in effect buoyancy tanks, empty spaces that help keep vessels afloat. So, the hulls of catamarans and trimarans are pontoons, as are the floats that act as landing gear on float planes.
59. Good place for a smoke : HUMIDOR
A humidor is a box or room that has a controlled environment optimized for the storage of cigars, cigarettes and pipe tobacco. The main factor to be controlled is humidity, hence the storage area is called a humidor.
61. "Dawn of the ___ fingers ...": The Odyssey : ROSY
Eos is the goddess of the dawn in Greek Mythology. Homer referred to her as "rosy-fingered dawn" in both the Iliad and the Odyssey.
1. Final section of T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" : PART V
T. S. Eliot was born in New England but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Much of his college education was at Oxford, and clearly he became comfortable with life in England. In 1927 he became a British citizen, and lived the rest of life in the UK.
Eliot wrote "The Waste Land" in 1922, and it opens with the famous line, "April is the cruelest month ...". The poem is divided into five parts, entitled:
- I. The Burial of the Dead
- II. A Game of Chess
- III. The Fire Sermon
- IV. Death by Water
- V. What the Thunder Said
2. Brand with the slogan "All Day Strong" : ALEVE
Aleve is an anti-inflammatory drug, Naproxen sodium.
3. Teen drivers? : LIBIDOS
Libido is a term first popularized by Sigmund Freud. His usage was more general than is understood today, as he used libido to describe all instinctive energy that arose on the subconscious.
4. Geithner's predecessor at Treasury : PAULSON
I suppose Henry Paulson is fated to be forever linked with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. He was named Secretary of the Treasury by President Bush in 2006, after a long career with Goldman Sachs (where he was eventually CEO). I don't think he needed the money that came with the Treasury job. At one point with Goldman he had a net worth of $700m.
5. "Bird" with a flexible nose : SST
Concorde had that famous "droop nose". The nose was moved to the horizontal position during flight to create the optimum aerodynamic shape and reduce drag. The nose was lowered during taxi, takeoff and landing, so that the pilot had better visibility. The need for the droop nose was driven largely by the delta-shaped wings on Concorde. The delta wing necessitates a higher angle of attack than conventional wing designs, so the pilot needed the nose lowered so that he or she could see the ground.
6. "Crimes and Misdemeanors" actor, 1989 : ALDA
"Crimes and Misdemeanors" is a 1989 black comedy written and directed by Woody Allen. I'm afraid I not a fan of Woody Allen's work, so I have never seen the movie. Alan Alda plays a pompous brother-in-law of the main character, who of course is played by Woody Allen himself.
7. Gâteau des ___ (Mardi Gras dessert) : ROIS
Gateau des rois (French for "cake of the kings") is associated with Mardi Gras and Carnival in some places, and with an Epiphany festival just after Christmas in others. The kings referred to in the name of the cake are the three kings from the Bible, who came to honor the Christ Child, twelve days after he was born. That 12 day interval explains why the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th, 12 days after Christmas Day, and marks the end of the so called "12 Days of Christmas".
10. Mythological thread-cutter : ATROPOS
In Greek mythology, Atropos was the oldest of the Three Fates. Atropos was associated with death, as it was she who decided how one would die, and cut the thread of a mortal's life with her shears. Her sister Fate, Clotho, spun the thread of life, and her other sister, Lachesis, measured its length.
13. Freelance output: Abbr. : MSS
16. Red Rock State Park location : SEDONA
I've been to Red Rock State Park near Sedona, and it is a lovely place to visit. I note that there is a guided moonlight hike available, a 2 1/2 hour guided trek that takes in sunset and moonrise. It's on my list of things to do ...
20. Spanish man's name that means "peaceful" : PLACIDO
And I suppose the most famous Placido is Placido Domingo, the Spanish tenor, and one of the celebrated trio "The Three Tenors". The Three Tenors were Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti (RIP).
24. Can.'s Northwest ___ : TERR
Canada is made up of ten provinces and three territories. The three territories lie to the north of the country, and are Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Territories differ from Provinces in that they only have governmental powers that are delegated to them by the federal government, whereas the provinces have constitutional powers in their own right.
27. George Sand title heroine : ISIDORA
George Sand was the pseudonym of the very colorful French novelist Baroness Dudevant. Her novel "Isidora" was first published in 1861.
28. Some snowmobiles : SKI-DOOS
Ski-Doo is a brand name of snowmobile produced by the Canadian company, Bombardier Recreational Products. The first Ski-Doo went on sale in 1959, and was intended to be named a Ski-Dog. The marketing concept was that the personal snowmobile would replace the dogsleds used by hunters and trappers. A painter misread instruction and pointed the name Ski-Doo on the side of the vehicle instead of Ski-Dog, and the name stuck.
31. Bellini opera set in the English Civil War : I PURITANI
Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini is famous for the three notable works: "La sonnambula" (1831), "Norma" (1831) and "I puritani" (1835). "I puritan" translates as "The Puritans".
33. Short and disconnected: Abbr. : STAC
Staccato is a musical direction, signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, long and continuous notes played very smoothly.
35. Punctilious type, slangily : I DOTTER
Someone who is punctilious observes all the rules and formalities, dots the Is and crosses the Ts.
38. February 4th, to some? : SILENT R
The name of the month February comes from the Latin word "februum" meaning "purification". The Romans had a ritual Februa (purification) on February 15th every year. I don't think many people pronounce the first R in "February", leaving it silent, but I could be wrong ...
49. Birthstone for most Leos : PERIDOT
Olivine is relatively common mineral, but is rarely found with purity that is sufficient for use as a gemstone. In those case where the olivine can be used as a gem, it is called peridot. Peridot is always olive green in color, with color intensity a function of how much iron is in the stone.
52. "I am," in Italy : SONO
Sono (I am) is the first person singular from of the Italian verb essere (to be).
56. "Also, I almost forgot ...": Abbr. : PPS
One adds a PS (postscriptum) at the end of a letter. A second postsciptum (or postscript) is a post postscriptum, a PPS.
57. Doo-wop syllable : SHA
Doo-wop developed in the 1940s, and can be described as a vocal-based R&B music. Even though the style has been around since the forties, the name doo-wop wasn't introduced until the early sixties.