This is my solution to the crossword published in the New York Times today ...
COMPLETION TIME: 8m 19s
THEME: More, more, more ... all the theme answers include words with the sound "more" e.g. TELL ME MORE, MY CHERIE AMOUR, JAY MOHR
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 ... ILENE (ELENE), AMALIE (AMALEE)
5. Babble on : PRATE
Prate: to talk on idly and at length, comes to us from Middle Dutch "praten", meaning to talk or chatter.
10. "Ali ___ and the 40 Thieves" : BABA
There is some controversy about the story "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" in that it has been suggested that it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called "One Thousand and One Nights". The suggestion is that it was added by one of its European translators.
14. "The Time Machine" people : ELOI
In the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells "The Time Machine", there were two races that he encountered in his travels into the future. The Eloi were the beautiful people, that lived on the planet's surface, while the Morlocks were basically a slave race living underground.
15. Environmentalist in a Dr. Seuss story : LORAX
"The Lorax" is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss. It is an allegorical work, questioning the problems created by industrialization, and in particular its impact on the environment.
Dr. Seuss's real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss is simply a pen name.
16. Muscat's country : OMAN
Oman is lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The city of Muscat, with its strategic location, has a history of invasion and occupation. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody invasion. The Portuguese held the city for much of the next century until finally ousted by local Omani forces in 1648.
17. "Yes, go on" : TELL ME MORE
19. William ___, Hopalong Cassidy player : BOYD
In the original stories written by Clarence E. Milford in the early 1900s, Hopalong Cassidy was a bit of a brute, not at all like the heroic character that was portrayed on the silver screen and television. The role of Hopalong Cassidy was famously played by William Boyd, a role that he made his own by playing it in an incredible series of 66 (!) movies.
20. Spotted cat : OCELOT
The ocelot is found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn't look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he brought with him everywhere.
24. 1969 Stevie Wonder hit : MY CHERIE AMOUR
Stevie Wonder wrote "My Cherie Amour" way back in 1966, but it wasn't released until 1969. The song tells of Stevie's infatuation with a real woman that he knew in Michigan School for the Blind.
27. Harvard color : CRIMSON
Not only is crimson the school color, the Harvard Crimson is the name given to the athletic teams, and to the school newspaper. The school color was chosen by a vote of the student body in 1875.
33. Famed '50s flop : EDSEL
It was Henry Ford's son, Edsel Ford, who gave his name to the Edsel make of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with "failure".
38. Former host of TV's "Last Comic Standing" : JAY MOHR
Jay Mohr is an American actor, that I most remember playing a supporting role in the wonderful HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon" (must see TV!). With regard to "Last Comic Standing", not only did Jay Mohr host the show, he also created it and was the executive producer.
41. The way, in philosophy : TAO
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.
42. "You'll love the way we fly" airline : DELTA
Today, Delta is the world's largest airline (after merging with Northwest Airlines in 2008). Delta's roots go back to 1924, before it started carrying passengers and was called Huff Duland Dusters, a crop dusting company based in Macon, Georgia. The name Delta Air Service was introduced in 1928.
45. Suffix with Oktober : FEST
Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I've been there twice ... it is a great party ...
51. Big name in paint : BENJAMIN MOORE
The Benjamin Moore paint company is owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. Benjamin Moore founded the company with his brother in 1883, in Brooklyn, New York.
60. Eye part : IRIS
The iris is the colored part of the eye, which has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.
62. Location in a Donizetti opera : LAMMERMOOR
Lammermoor is a location featured in Donizetti's opera "Lucia di Lammermoor", which is based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott called "The Bride of Lammermoor". A more correct spelling of the actual location in Scotland is Lammermuir, with the reference being to the Lammermuir Hills in the southern part of the country. "Lammermuir" translated to "lamb's moor".
64. Scrabble piece : TILE
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Moshoer Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions ... in publications like the New York Times.
65. Actress Graff : ILENE
Ilene Graff is an American actress, probably best known for playing Marsha Owens, the wife of George in the TV series "Mr. Belvedere".
66. Florence's river : ARNO
The 1966 Arno flood was the worst in centuries, resulting in deaths and destruction of priceless art treasures particularly in Florence.
69. Without ice, as a drink : NEAT
The adjective "neat" has been used to describe "straight liquor" since about 1800. Before then, the term applied to wine, when it meant "unadulterated wine". The term comes from Old French "net" meaning "clear, pure".
2. Baldwin of "30 Rock" : ALEC
Alec is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think his big break really was playing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan in "The Hunt for Red October", but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. He is making a name for himself these days playing Jack Donaghy on "30 Rock".
3. Tending to cause an argument : POLEMICAL
I am more familiar with the variant spelled as "polemic", but either way, it describes something controversial. The word comes into English from the Greek "polemos" meaning "war".
5. Great deal : PLETHORA
Plethora is such a lovely word, I think, meaning "a lot of", and usually in the sense of "too much". This usage dates back to about 1700, and before that plethora was the word use in the medical field to describe an "excess of bodily fluid".
6. CD-___ : ROM
CD-ROM is an acronym standing for Compact Disc - Read-Only Memory. This means that a CD-ROM is memory that is available in the form of a disc, and can be accessed by some computer device but it cannot be written to ... it's read-only.
8. La Brea attraction : TAR PIT
The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. There is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. Much of the seeping tar is covered by water, a significant fact. Over many, many centuries animals have come to the water to drink, and if venturing into the water get trapped in the tar. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animal. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It's well worth a visit if you are in town ...
9. University attended by J. K. Rowling : EXETER
J. K. Rowling is the author of the amazingly successful Harry Potter series of books. Rowling wrote the first book when she was living on welfare in Edinburgh in Scotland, and in long hand. She would often write in local cafes, largely because she needed to get her baby daughter out of the house (she was a single mom), as the youngster would tend to fall asleep on walks. Within five years, the single mom on welfare became a very rich woman, and is now worth about $1 billion!
10. ___ for apples : BOB
Bobbing for apples is a game played on Halloween. Participants must hold their hands behind their backs and grab apples floating in a large basin of water, using only their mouths.
11. BP partner : AMOCO
Amoco is an abbreviation for the American Oil Company. Amoco was the first oil company to introduce gasoline tanker trucks and drive through filling stations. There a few of them still around ...
12. Louisiana waterway : BAYOU
The exact origins of the word "bayou" is uncertain, but it is though perhaps to come from the Choctaw (a Native American people from the southeast) word "bayuk", meaning "small stream".
13. Compound conjunction : AND/OR
18. Comfy footwear, for short : MOCS
The moccasin is a traditional form of footwear worn by many Native American tribes.
22. Like some Kraut : SAUER
"Sauerkraut" translates from German as "sour herb" or "sour cabbage". During WWI, sauerkraut producers changes its name in order to distance their product from the "enemy". They called it "Liberty cabbage".
26. Club ___ : MED
Club Mediterranee is usually known as Club Med. It is a French company that started in 1950 with a resort on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean. It was originally a "club" with annual membership dues. Now it is an operator of numerous all-inclusive resorts located all over the world.
27. Dummkopf : CLOD
Dummkopf is a German word, and literally means "dumb head".
34. Longshoreman : STEVEDORE
A stevedore, or longshoreman, is someone employed in the loading and unloading of ships at a port. The word "stevedore" comes from the Spanish "estibador", meaning "one who loads cargo".
The word "longshoreman", is simply from "a man who works alongshore".
38. Where Mount Fuji is : JAPAN
Mount Fuji is Japan's highest, and most famous, mountain. It is an active volcano, situated west of Tokyo.
39. Utah city : OREM
Orem, Utah was originally known as Sharon (the Biblical name), and then Provo Bench, and in 1914 it was given the name Orem, the family name of a local railroad operator.
43. ___ Mahal : TAJ
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth, delivering the couple's 14th child!
47. Charlotte ___, capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands : AMALIE
Charlotte Amalie is the capital and largest city in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was name after the queen consort of King Christian V of Denmark, Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel.
51. Fast-moving attack : BLITZ
"Blitz", as it is used in English meaning a fast-moving and overwhelming attack, is a shortened version of "blitzkrieg". The blitzkreig was a tactic used by the Germans running up to and during WWII. In the German blitzkrieg, the army and airforce threw everything into a rapid penetration of enemy lines without stopping to reinforce its flanks. The German word "blitz" means "lightning" (and "krieg" means "war").
54. Citi Field player, for short : NY MET
Citi Field is the new baseball stadium used by the New York Mets, and sits right next door to Shea stadium, where the Mets had played for decades. And the name of course comes from sponsor Citigroup.
58. New Rochelle campus : IONA
Iona College is a Roman Catholic college run by the Christian Brothers, in New Rochelle, New York.
61. Card game based on matching groups of three : SET
Set is a relatively new game, played with a special set of cards, first published in 1991. It is apparently a great game, and won the Mensa Select award in 1991.