This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
THEME: Secret Answer! ... The answers only make sense if you add the word "SECRET" below the grid, the answer to the "non-existent" 66 Across clue. The word SECRET can also be used before each of the theme answers e.g. (SECRET) ENTRANCE, (SECRET) ADMIRER, (SECRET) SANTA
ANSWERS I MISSED:
1. Thing with four digits : PAW
Most animals don't have that all important "opposable thumb" that allows us to work so efficiently with our hands.
14. Small business's dream, for short : IPO
An Initial Public Offering is the offer of stock for sale by a company for the very first time. In other words, it marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies do this to raise capital to expand (usually). Anyone owning stock in the company prior to the IPO, find that after the IPO their stock is now worth something on the market (as opposed to just on paper), and often become quite wealthy overnight.
15. Sets in geometry : LOCI
In mathematics, a locus (plural loci) is the set of all points that satisfy a particular algebraic equation. For example, for the equation 2x + 3y = 7, then all the values of x and y where this equation is true is known as its locus. And for this particular equation, if you plot all those values of x and y, you'll see that the locus forms a straight line.
16. Colorful summer treat : ICE POP
Well, here is an Irish term. The term ice pop has been supplanted in the US by "popsicle", as the Popsicle brand of ice pop became so popular. We still use "ice pop" in Ireland, and in the UK the same thing is called an "ice lolly", and in Australia it's an "ice block".
17. After 66-Across, Batcave feature : ENTRANCE
Batman's Batcave has a SECRET ENTRANCE.
19. Popular headlights : XENONS
Metal halide lamps that are called xenons, don't actually rely on the xenon gas to generate light. The xenon gas is added so that the lamp comes on "instantly". Without the xenon, the lamp would start up rather like a street lamp, flickering and sputtering for a while before staying alight consistently.
21. After 66-Across, anonymous Valentine sender : ADMIRER
23. After 66-Across, participant in a gift-giving activity : SANTA
25. Some Ferraris : GTOS
GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato.
30. Mideast city that is the capital of the world in H. G. Wells's "The Shape of Things to Come" : BASRA
The H. G. Wells science-fiction take "The Shape of Things to Come", written in 1933, predicts a global conflict (WWII) that breaks out on 1940 lasting for ten years, after which chaos reigns as no victor emerges. After worldwide plague, a benevolent dictatorship emerges, and the world moves towards a serene utopia. In time, the dictators are overthrown and peacefully retired, and the people of the Earth live happily ever after, all citizens of one, global state, with its capital in Basra in the Middle East.
31. Coniferous trees : YEWS
Coniferous trees are usually evergreen, and always bear cones (hence the name).
35. After 66-Across, election standard : BALLOT
36. Kitchen gadget brand with a rotationally symmetric logo : OXO
The OXO line of kitchen utensils is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average kitchen too. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn't have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.
The word "OXO" has rotational symmetry, meaning that if you rotate it 180 degrees it looks exactly the same as before rotation.
39. Agosto to agosto : ANO
In Spanish, form this August (agosto) to next August (agosto) is one year (ano).
40. After 66-Across, classic 1911 children's book, with "The" : GARDEN
"The SECRET GARDEN".
"The Secret Garden" is a children's novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, first published in serial form in 1910, and then as a complete book in 1911. The story is so popular that it has been adapted on more than one occasion for the stage, big screen, and television, and there are also numerous animated productions as well.
42. Janis Ian, Billy Preston and George Carlin were its first guests : SNL
NBC first aired a form of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975, under the title "NBC's Saturday night". The show was created in the first place in order to give Johnny Carson some time off from "The Tonight Show". In those days, "The Tonight Show" has a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday episodes and hold them for weeknights in which Carson was taking a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to pull together a variety show to fill the vacant slot.
44. Boozehound : ALKIE
Booze hound and alkie are both slang terms for an alcoholic.
45. Four-time Yankee All-Star Paul : O'NEILL
Paul O'Neill has the distinction of being the only player to have played on the winning team in three perfect games. The first was pitched by Tom Browning in 1988 for the Cincinnati Reds; the second was pitched by David Wells in 1998 for the New Yankees, in which O'Neill caught the final out; and the third was pitched by David Cone for the Yankees in 1999.
47. Places where connections are made: Abbr. : STAS
Connections are made at (railway) stations.
48. Literary character who says "For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee" : AHAB
In Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick" the obsessed Captain Ahab manages to lodge his harpoon in the whale's flesh with a final effort. He yells out "... to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee." With that, the injured whale dives, and Captain Ahab is pulled under to his doom, with a loop of the harpoon's rope wrapped around his neck.
49. After 66-Across, spy : AGENT
53. After 66-Across, exposé subject : HISTORY
The term "secret history" can be used to describe actual events that took place in the history of an individual, say, facts that have perhaps been suppressed or forgotten.
55. Squarepants : DWEEB
Dweeb, squarepants, nerd ... all are not nice terms that mean the same thing, someone excessively studious and socially inept.
56. Sorry soul? : ATONER
Nicely worded clue ...
58. After 66-Across, marketing gimmicks : FORMULAS
Perhaps the most famous "secret formula" is that for Coca-Cola. The company has been largely successful in protecting its formula for its flagship drink without the use of a patent. Indeed, the secret has been safer for longer than the term that would have been provided by a patent.
60. Old TV "Uncle" : MILTIE
Comedian Milton Berle was known as "Uncle Miltie" and "Mr. Television", and was arguably the first real star of American television, due to his hosting of "Texaco Star Theater" starting in 1948.
61. Irish pop star : ENYA
Enya's real name is Eithne Patricia Ni Braonain, which can translate from the Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful career. Personally, I don't like her music, as it all sounds the same to me, but she sure does turn up in crosswords a lot!
62. 1970s supergroup, for short : ELP
Emerson, Lake and Palmer were an English supergroup popular in the seventies. Keith Emerson had been successful with the Nice, Greg Lake with King Crimson, and Carl Palmer with Atomic Rooster. Given that all three performers had already achieved success prior the formation of the group, ELP is termed a "supergroup".
63. "V" extras : ALIENS
The ABC science fiction series "V" is still running, I believe. It is a remake of a mini-series of the same name from 1983. It's all about aliens coming to Earth "in peace", but they actually have a more sinister agenda.
64. Jiang's predecessor : DENG
In china, the term "Paramount Leader" has been used since the days of Mao Zadong to describe the person who holds several leadership offices concurrently. The Paramount Leaders have been:
1. Mao Zedong (1949 - 76)
2. Hua Guofeng (1976 - 78)
3. Deng Xiaoping (1978 - 92)
4. Jiang Zemin (1992 - 04)
5. Hu Jintao (2004 - incumbent)
65. Lo-___ : RES
2. Sleep lab study : APNEA
Sleep apnea can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possible due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.
3. "Der Ring des Nibelungen" war god : WOTAN
Richard Wagner's "Ring Cycle" is more properly called "Der Ring des Nibelung", and is composed of four very, very long operas. The individual operas are"
- "Das Rheingold"
- "Die Walkure"
Wotan is a character in Wagner's "Ring Cycle", the King of the Gods. He is better known as Odin, of Norse mythology.
5. One in an accelerated program? : ION
In a particle accelerator, the particles that are accelerated have to have a charge, so are ions. The charged ions are subjected to high magnetic fields that propel them around a linear, circular "track", before being smashed into something, just to see what happens!
6. Cormac who wrote "No Country for Old Men" : MCCARTHY
American novelist Cormac McCarthy published the novel "No Country for Old Men" in 2005, and saw it adapted into a very successful film of the same name released in 2007. The title comes from a line in the William Butler Yeats poem "Sailing to Byzantium", that we Irish school-kids all had to read and learn to recite ...
9. Big PC maker : ACER
I am typing away right now in an Acer laptop, for my money the most reliable machine at the best price.
10. Dakar's land : SENEGAL
The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar, a city located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.
13. Photo finish? : OPS
The word "op" can go with the word "photo", giving us "photo op", short for "photograph opportunity".
18. Photographer Herb : RITTS
Herb Ritts was an American fashion photographer. He was famous for shooting black & white images, in the style of classical Greek sculptures.
22. ___ Day, Jan. celebration : MLK
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was singed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states "resisted" naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like "Civil Rights Day"), but it was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.
26. Chief Joseph ___, after whom a Maine college town is named : ORONO
The town of Orono is home to the University of Maine, founded in 1862. The college is actually located on an island (Marsh island) lying between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers. The town of Orono is named after Joseph Orono, a chief of the Penobscot Nation.
29. "Clue" actress Madeline : KAHN
Madeline Kahn was an American actress best known for her comedic roles, especially those directed by Mel Brooks.
In the 1985 movie "Clue", Madeline Kahn played the role of Mrs. White.
35. 2,100-square mile island with six volcanoes : BALI
Bali is the most important tourist destination in Indonesia, and is an island lying east of Java. In recent years that tourist industry has been badly hit, due to two terrorist bombings. The first one, in 2002, killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists in a nightclub.
37. Lilliputian : WEE
The word "lilliputian" meaning "wee" or "very small", comes from Jonathan's Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". Lilliput and Blefuscu are two island nations that are inhabited by tiny people who are under six inches tall.
42. Gobbled : SNARFED
To snark, meaning to gobble up, is probably a melding of the words "snort" and "scarf".
43. Labor grp. : ILGWU
The International Ladies' Garment Workers Union was founded in New York City in 1900, destined to become one of the largest unions in the US, and one composed primarily of female members.
46. Maxim, e.g. : LAD MAG
A "lad mag" is a men's magazine.
"Maxim" is an international men's magazine, featuring revealing (non-nude in the US) photo spreads of female celebrities and models.
50. Certain fisher : EELER
An eeler is someone who fishes for eels, (also known as "sniggling").
51. Football Hall-of-Famer Greasy : NEALE
Greasy Neale was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1941-1950.
54. River that's the site of Javert's demise in "Les Misérables" : SEINE
There's a famous scene in the musical version of "Les Miserables", when Javert commits suicide by jumping into the River Seine. In the days of "special effects" in musical theater, it's quite clever ...
56. Member of a Latin trio : AMAS
Amo, amas, amat ... in Latin, I love, you love, he/she loves.
57. Tessellation piece : TILE
In the world of tiling, a tessellation is a collection of shaped tiles (usually all the same shape) that fill the space with no gaps. Some of the shapes can be quite complex, but clever use of geometry allows them to fit together seamlessly. A simple example of a tessellated design is a collection of hexagons, in a honeycomb pattern.
59. Artist Rembrandt van ___ : RYN
The celebrated Dutch painter's full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. He is perhaps most appreciated for his portraits, and left the world a remarkable collection of self-portraits.
Movies and TV Shows mentioned in today's crossword ...