This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 28m 02s
THEME: Critical Periods ... The theme answers are common phrases, but read differently, with "critical periods" placed to suit the answer e.g. ACCEPTED U.S. AGE (accepted usage), THE U.N. EMPLOYED (the unemployed), PITTSBURGH P.I. RATE (Pittsburgh Pirate)
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0
7. Flag : COLORS
The "colors" is the name given to the flag or banner of a particular country, say.
13. Certain Internet connection: Abbr. : DSL
DSL originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.
16. Things refs raise their arms for : TDS
19. Full chromosome set : GENOME
The genome of an organism is all of the hereditary information needed to reproduce that organism, in other words, all of its chromosomes. All this information takes up an awful lot of computer storage space, just for one animal (such as a human). And yet all of this information is in almost every cell in our bodies. Every cell "knows" how to make a whole human being. This fact is exploited when taking certain cells for cloning, creating new identical replicates of the original animal from which the donor cell was taken.
20. Pairs' debarking point : ARARAT
The pairs of animals that Noah took with him onto the ark disembarked on the top of Mount Ararat, according to the Bible.
Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Ararat is a snow-capped dormant volcano, with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in Turkey. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or Ara the Handsome).
23. 234, as of July 4, 2010? : ACCEPTED US AGE
The accepted U.S. age on July 4, 2010 was 234 years old (1776 - 2010).
25. Cash in the music business : ROSANNE
Rosanne Cash is the eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, a successful singer in her own right.
26. 1950 noir film : D.O.A.
Both the original 1950 film "D.O.A." starring Edmond O'Brien, and its 1988 remake starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, are excellent movies. The basic storyline is that the lead character discovers he has been poisoned, and uses the limited time he has left to discover who "murdered" him.
30. ___ Bros. : WARNER
Warner Bros. was indeed founded by four brothers, although their original family name was Wonskolaser. All were Polish Jews who came to the US via Canada. They formally from Warner Brothers Pictures Incorporated in 1923, although they had been in the business since 1905. The company is now a major subsidiary of Time Warner.
31. Unit of force : DYNE
A dyne is a unit of force. The name "dyne" comes from the Greek "dynamis" meaning power or force.
32. Workers in a global peace organization? : THE U.N. EMPLOYED
38. Pass off as genuine : FOIST
The word "foist" comes from the Dutch word meaning "take in hand". The original concept came from playing dice, in which one die was held surreptitiously in one hand.
40. Unconventional : OUTRE
The word "outré" comes to us from French, as you might imagine, derived from the word "outrer" meaning "to overdo, exaggerate". "Outrer" is also the ultimate root of our word "outrage".
41. Remove from a talent show, maybe : GONG
NBC's "The Gong Show" only ran from 1976 to 1978, but it always seems to be on cable TV. I suppose the show was a forerunner of today's "America's Got Talent", in that it was a talent show in which the acts can be cut off in mid-performance by the sounding of a gong (just like the 3 buzzers on "Talent"). Despite all the terrible acts that appeared, some famous names made if after the show e.g. Box Car Willy, Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and Andrea McArdle (played "Annie" on Broadway).
42. Come under criticism : TAKE FLAK
Flak was originally an acronym from the German term for an aircraft defense cannon (FLiegerAbwehrKanone). Flak then became used in English as a general term for antiaircraft fire, and ultimately a term for verbal criticism, as in "take flak".
47. What gumshoes charge in the City of Bridges? : PITTSBURGH P.I. RATE
Gumshoe is a slang term for a private detective or private investigator (P.I.). Apparently the term "gumshoe" dates back to the early 1900s, and refers to the rubber-soled shoes popular with private detectives.
52. Kid : JAPE
To jape is to joke or quip.
53. Native Coloradan : UTE
The Ute are a group of American Indian tribes that now reside in Utah and Colorado. The Ute were not a unified group as such, but rather a loose association of nomadic groups.
57. Left at sea : PORT
The left side of a ship used to be called the "larboard" side, but this was dropped in favor of "port" as it was easily confused, say in high winds, with "starboard", the right side of the vessel. The term "port" was chosen as it was customary to dock a ship, for loading in port, with the left side of the vessel against the dock.
59. Drinker's problem, for short : DTS
The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called Delirium Tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is "trembling madness".
60. Word that comes from the Greek for "indivisible" : ATOM
Leucippus lived in the 5th century BC in ancient Greece. He founded the Atomist Movement. The atomists believed that the world was composed of just atoms and voids, and that the atom was an indestructible particle. How wrong they were ...
61. Not stay long for shots? : BAR HOP
62. Symmetrical power conductor for appliances? : BILATERAL A.C. CORD
72. Wrapped garment : SARI
A sari (also saree) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, but is usually unstitched along its length. In length it can range from four to nine meters (that's a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.
77. Any singer of "Hotel California" : EAGLE
"Hotel California" is the title song from a 1997 album released by the Eagles. The song is allegorical in nature, and tells of a luxury hotel where one can check in, but never check out. The hotel is a symbol for the California music industry of the seventies that destroyed so many people who were trapped by it. There is an unrelated Hotel California in San Francisco, my favorite of the city's "boutique" and reasonable priced places to stay.
79. "Stop!" : AVAST
Avast is a nautical term, used to tell someone to stop, or desist from what they are doing. "Avast" comes from the Dutch "hou vast" meaning "hold fast".
81. Grp. of connected PCs : LAN
You may have a Local Area Network (LAN) in your house. If you've got a PC and a router or switch, likely attached to some modem, then you have a LAN.
82. What's borne at a funeral : PALL
A pall is a cloth used to cover a casket at a funeral. Pallbearers actually carry the coffin, covered by the pall. The phrase "casting a pall over", meaning to create a dark mood, is metaphorical use of the pall over the casket.
83. Too much guitar work by a professor's helper? : EXCESSIVE T.A. RIFFS
A T.A. is a professor's Teaching Assistant. A riff is a short rhythmic phrase in music, especially one improvised on a guitar.
86. Like some English muffins : PRE-SPLIT
Pre-split English muffins have been cut in half for you at the bakery. "Fork split" English muffins have been sliced around the circumference, and you have to finish the job yourself at home. I have no idea why ...
88. Scullers' needs : OARS
A scull is a rowing boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell.
90. Aquatic shockers : EELS
Despite its name, the electric eel isn't actually an "eel", but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body related to the catfish. An electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (that's 500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.
91. "The Addams Family" co-star : ASTIN
John Astin is best known for playing Gomez, the head of the household on "The Addams Family" TV series.
94. "Pay in cash and your second surgery is half-price"? : STRANGE O.R. DEAL
That would indeed be a strange deal to make in the Operating Room (O.R.), although these days ...
99. Small islands : AITS
Aits are little islands found usually in a river. Aits aren't typically formed by erosion, but by the deposition of silt over time. As a result, aits often have a long and narrow shape, running the length of the river, as the sediment builds up with the flow of the water. Many of the islands in the River Thames that flows through London have been given the name Ait, like Raven's Ait in Kingston-upon-Thames, and Lot's Ait in Brentford.
100. Nuevo Laredo store : TIENDA
"Tienda" is the Spanish word for "shop".
Nuevo Laredo lies on the banks of the Rio Grande, directly across the US-Mexico border from American city of Laredo, Texas. Nuevo Laredo is a younger city than Laredo, but is larger than its US counterpart.
102. Singer Fitzgerald : ELLA
Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song", had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and subsequently she became less interested in school. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, finding herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow she managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off, and as the say, the rest is history.
103. Galoot : APE
"Galoot" is an insulting term, meaning an awkward or boorish man, an ape. It comes from the nautical world, where it was originally a sailor's word for soldiers or marines.
108. Typical termite in a California city? : COMMON L.A. BORER
112. Inactive state : LATENCY
Something is said to be latent if it present, but not active.
113. Using fraudulently altered checks : KITING
Check kiting is illegal. The idea behind kiting is to write a check, even though there are in sufficient funds to cover the amount. Then, the con artist writes another check, also with insufficient funds, from another bank's account, to cover the original check. I am not sure it would work nowadays, but then again, I am as honest as the day is long ...
114. Sharpie alternatives : FLAIRS
Sharpie and Flair are brands of pens.
115. Preceder of 116-Across : ESS
ESS: the letter S.
116. Follower of 115-Across : TEE
Tee: the letter T.
118. "Opening" word : SESAME
In the Arabic tale "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", the magical cave entrance is opened with the words "Open, Simsim", but this mutated into "Open Sesame" in European translations.
1. "Good grief!" : EGAD
Egad was developed as a polite way of saying "oh God" in the late 1600s, and is an expression of fear or surprise, as is, "Good grief!".
2. Art ___ : DECO
Art Deco was the name given to the design and architecture of the 1920s, which actually had its roots in Belgium and then spread throughout Europe and later arriving in North America. A celebrated example of the art deco form is the magnificent Chrysler Building in New York City, completed in 1930.
3. Quechua speaker : INCA
Quechua was the existing Native American language that was adopted and by the Incan Empire and favored over other dialects. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro discovered the Incas in 1526, the beginning of the end for the ancient civilization, ravaged by force and by imported smallpox.
4. Low digit : TOE
6. Locking lever : DETENT
A detent is catch or lever that locks the movement of one part of a mechanism. Paradoxically, it comes from the French word "détente" meaning "loosening", as is in our use of "détente": the easing of tensions between rival nations.
8. Tulsa sch. : ORU
Oral Roberts University is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was founded relatively recently, in 1963, by the late evangelist Oral Roberts.
9. ___ Cruces : LAS
Las Cruces is the second largest city in the state of New Mexico, and is the home of New Mexico State University.
11. Seasoned stew : RAGOUT
Ragout is French in origin, and is a highly seasoned stew of either meat or fish. The name "ragout" comes from the verb "ragouter", "to revive the taste".
13. "___ Fuehrer's Face" (1942 Disney short) : DER
"Der Fuehrer's Face" is a famous Donald Duck cartoon short produced to support the American war effort. It is a blatant anti-Nazi propaganda piece, and was well received, winning an Academy Award in 1943, the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. If you get the chance, you just have to see it ...
15. Explorer who claimed Louisiana for France : LASALLE
Robert de la Salle was a 15th century French explorer. On one of his expeditions to North America he claimed the entire Mississippi River basin for France. The La Salle name has been honored in numerous ways across North America, including the LaSalle automobile brand, LaSalle Street in Chicago and La Salle Avenue in Minneapolis.
18. Bergen's foil : SNERD
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen's most famous character was Charlie McCarthy, but he also worked with Mortimer Snerd.
22. Poi ingredient : TARO
I am a big fan of starch, and being an Irishman I love potatoes however they are prepared. That said, poi is horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant, by cooking the corm in water and mashing it with water until the desired consistency is achieved.
24. General dir. of Sal Paradise's return trip in "On the Road" : ENE
Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" is largely autobiographical, telling the story of Sal Paradise (Jack K.) and the road trips that he and his friends took across the country in the fifties.
36. Headquarters of the Union of South American Nations : QUITO
The full name of the capital city of Ecuador is San Francisco de Quito. It is the second highest administrative capital city in the world, after La Paz, Bolivia.
The Union of South American Nations is a nascent organization in South America that is modeled on the European Union. Originally, the headquarters were to be located in Quito, but it is likely that operations will begin in Buenos Aries.
38. "Hansel and Gretel" setting : FOREST
Hansel and Gretel is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, who are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan, and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home. But, the children are abandoned again, and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds, so the children do indeed become lost. But, eventually, they all live happily ever after ...
41. CNN's Sanjay : GUPTA
Sanjay Gupta is an American neurosurgeon, and is best known as the CNN's chief medical correspondent. In 2009, Gupta was offered the post of Surgeon General in the Obama administration, but he declined.
43. Northern inlets : FJORDS
A fjord is a drowned valley that was formed by glaciation.
44. Any tail in a cat-o'-nine-tails : LASH
The cat o' nine tails was a vicious instrument of punishment, particularly popular in the Royal Navy. The "cat" was made up on nine cord thongs, and at the end of each thong was a knot. The specialty knot was aptly called a blood knot, and was designed to bite into the skin and draw blood. It was these "claws" at the and of the thongs, along with the nine "tails" that gave the name to the whip, the "cat o' nine tails".
45. Lhasa ___ : APSO
The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet, and is named after Lhasa (the capital city) and apso (a Tibetan word meaning "bearded"). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC, and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.
49. Thick soups : POTAGES
A potage is a think soup or stew, and is named after the Old French word for a potted dish: "pottage").
50. Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, e.g. : IDOLS
Miley Cyrus is 17 years old now, and became famous playing the Disney Channel character "Hannah Montana". She is of course the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. When she was born, Billy Ray and his wife named Miley "Destiny Hope", but then she became known as "Smiley" as she was always smiling as a baby, and this got shortened to Miley over time. Cute ...
I've seen Lady Gaga interviewed on television a few times, and she sure is "unique". Her music is of course out of my league, but she does know how to put on a show.
58. Some short-term investments, briefly : TBILLS
A Treasury Bill (T-Bill) is a US government debt that matures in one year or less. The bill is purchased at a discount to the face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed for that face value. For comparison, a T-Note matures in 1-10 years, and a T-Bond matures in 20-30 years.
60. Seed coverings : ARILS
The casing called the aril, which surrounds may seeds, may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and aids in the dispersion of the seeds.
61. ___ nova : BOSSA
Bossa Nova is style of music from Brazil that evolved from samba. The most famous piece of bossa nova is the song "The Girl from Ipanema".
67. Li'l Abner creator : CAPP
"Li'l Abner" was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he want so far as to apologize to his long standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt like the quality of his work had gone down in those recent years.
68. Food thickener : AGAR
Agar is a jelly extracted from seaweed, with many uses. It is found in Japanese desserts, can be used as a laxative, as a food thickener, and is the most common growth medium used for growing bacteria in petri dishes.
73. 1967 Dionne Warwick hit : ALFIE
There have two versions of the movie "Alfie" now. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004, and starred Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie. However, it was Dionne Warwick's cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.
77. Bobby Fischer, once : EXILE
American Bobby Fischer was one of the greatest chess players of all time, enjoying remarkable success from a very early age. Perhaps his most famous victory was against Boris Spassky in 1992, a match held in Yugoslavia. At the there was a strict embargo against the country, bringing Fischer into conflict with his own government in the US, after which he roamed the world, never to return home. He lived in Hungary, Germany, the Philippines and Japan, and finally in Iceland where he died in 2008 at 54 years of age.
84. Tiny bit : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use it to portray something very small, as it is the smallest letter in the alphabet.
91. Dexterous : ADROIT
The French for "to the right" is "à droit", from which we get our word "adroit". The original meaning of "adroit" was "rightly, properly", but it has come to mean dexterous and skillful.
93. Rice dishes : PILAFS
Pilaf is a Persian word, and we use it to describe rice that is browned in oil and then cooked in a seasoned broth.
95. Brown and Turner : TINAS
Tina Brown is a British journalist, best known in America as author of "The Diana Chronicles", a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, of whom Brown was a personal friend. Brown has turned her attention to this side of the Atlantic, and is working on a book about Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Tina Turner is of course the American singer, the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll".
103. "Che gelida manina," e.g. : ARIA
"Che gelida manina" is a famous aria from Puccini's opera "La Boheme", sung by the tenor lead, Rudolfo.
107. Nautical rope : TYE
A tye can be either a chain or a rope, and is used to hoist a spar up a mast.
109. Novy ___, Russian literary magazine : MIR
"Novy Mir" is a Russian literary magazine with a long and varied history dating back to 1925. At one time its content was heavily influenced by the Soviet Communist Party, but there was also times when it became an outlet for dissidents. Famously it published "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", a novella by Alexander Solzhenitsyn telling the story of a prisoner in the Gulag.
111. International grp. since 1948 : OAS
The Organization of American States has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. All the independent states in the Americas are members of the group (except Honduras, suspended after the 2009 coup in that country).