08.02.07 -- mineshaft

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Puzzle by Robert Dillman, edited by Will Shortz
GETTHEPBOUT (17A “Shake a leg!”);
GOFORTHEAU (11D Try to win);
AGBELLS (24D Christmas song since the 1950s);
SNPANALLEY (28D Songwriters’ home);
CASTFEALIBI (59A Sound out?)
I mean, honestly -- how many people have committed to memory the Berzelius's symbols (Latin abbreviations) for ferrum (iron) Fe; plumbum (lead) Pb; aurum (gold) Au; argentum (silver) Ag; and last, lowly stannum (tin) Sn. You may wish to use these or other latin names of metals in your casual conversation in order to alienate those around you -- or just string them together as a sort of mini-Latin Mass -- “ferrum plumbum aurum argentum stannum -- et cetera!”
For future use -- and when might that be?! -- see HERE. ...and HERE for more!
Oh, but that deep dark hole of a mineshaft wasn’t enough for Mr. Dillman, our possessed puzzle constructor du jour -- for good measure, he slaps us in the face with NAHUM (5D Prophet who predicted the destruction of Nineveh); FROSTS (8D Ticks off); WILD (26A Uncombed, say); IBN (31A Start of many Arabic names); and other clueless clues: Dimwit, Target of some testing; Territory on the Arabian Peninsula; Alternative to Le Bourget; Sobriquet for Charles V, with “the”; Suddenly changes course; Get on; Tired-looking; Common car decal; Warthog feature; Ones standing around monuments?; Farm letters?; Certain jack, in cribbage; Put up; Vacuum; Kitchen coat; Tie; and V.
Of course, there will be some who SNEER (68A Visual put-down) or SCOFFAT (54A Jeer) my consternation, and that’s just SWELL (37D Super) because I truly believe neither MORON (15A Dimwit) or MAVEN (1A Whiz) will find this puzzle any less than a mind-shaft!
“Ferrum plumbum aurum argentums stannum -- vade in pace!”
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle solution above is by the author of this blog and does not guarantee accuracy. If you find errors or omissions, you are more than welcome to make note of same in the Comments section of this post -- any corrections found necessary will be executed promptly upon verification.
Puzzle available on the internet at
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Anonymous said...

I agree - a real stinker of a puzzle (it should have used Sulfur somewhere as it really did stink).By the way, I love your blog!!
KC- Boston

Anonymous said...

Latin well yeah, but take a look at a table of elements which is undoubtedly the source of the abbreviations. The clues were pretty rank.

DONALD said...

KC in Boston:

It was one of those puzzles I really wanted to forget, but having a daily blog that I'm determined to maintain, the pain of the puzzle was extended -- actually, in theory, the idea of latin abbreviations looks much better than it plays -- it just falls flat! You're right, all it lacked was sulfur!

Thanks for your positive comment!

DONALD said...


Well, it was a bit of a struggle to make sense of it all -- I mean, abbreviations, etc. However interesting it might be, it is not information that I can imagine being used in my lifetime again!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving an opinion!

Susan said...

In looking for answers to this truly awful puzzle in Google, I came upon your blogsite. I couldn't agree with you more. It was the worst Thurs. puzzle I've ever tried to do.

DONALD said...

It won't die!