09.01.07 -- Enigma



Saturday, September 1, 2007

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Puzzle by Karen M. Tracey, edited by Will Shortz
JACQUELINEDUPRE (36A Cellist who debuted at London's Wigmore Hall at age 16) was a British cellist, today acknowledged as one of the greatest exponents of the instrument. In 1971, Jacqueline du Pré’s playing began an irreversible decline when she began to lose sensitivity in her fingers, as well as in other parts of her body, and in 1973 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the disease that caused her health to deteriorate until her death in London on October 19, 1987, at age 42.
This is an elusive and enigmatic crossword full of mischief, music and mystery.
Joining Jacqueline du Pré (click on names for music videos) in music are EOLIANHARP (14A Music maker “played” by the wind) (I prefer that it would be spelled “Aeolian”); MISSSAIGON (60A "Madame Butterfly,” updated); GYNT (61A Peer on a stage); SAROD (21D Indian lute); and OLGA (Grammy-winning merengue singer Tañón). For more of Jacqueline du Pré “Elgar Cello Concerto 2nd movement”; and for a variation on Peer Gynt, Apocalyptica - Hall of the Mountain King -- playing the music and audience into a frenzied storm!
Mischief’s afoot with the clues for PLANB (1A Backup); TOTS (6A Squirts); CCUP (10A Size in a lingerie shop), haven’t seen it in a crossword before; ENTERS (10A Boards), thinking of maybe ASEA (62A Being tossed, maybe); HOUSEPET (20A Fluffy, perhaps) , now that’s a cute one; ASKUP (39A Invite to one’s penthouse suite), perhaps it just sounds mischievous; REED (41A Fen bender), not your everyday “fender bender”; SAFESIDE (50A Cautious people stay on it); BADRAP (5D Wrongful slammer sentence, say), I so wanted “Bum rap”; THX (6D Appreciation abbreviation); RDS (46A Holders of shoulders, e.g.); UNDETERRED (12D Not put off), not delay; PEST (13D Raid victim), a product in the clue; AVASTMATEY (26D Salt halter); and UPDOS (37D Beehives, e.g.).
Mysterious clues lurk with ERASMUS (38D He wrote “In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king”); HESHE (48A Inclusive pronoun); MICKEYFINN (27D It’ll knock you out after you knock it back); GASGUZZLER (57A Expensive choice for a commuter); CREPEPAPER (11D Pinata decoration); SPRUCE (9D Smart); POINDEXTER (17A Stereotypical nerd); MYRON (47A Ancient Greek sculptor famous for his athletes in bronze), who knew?; MALONE (52A Shakespearean scholar Edmond), another who knew; and EXILED (23D Like Shakespeare’s Prospero, e.g.), I knew -- SHAZAM (45D Gomer Pyle expletive)!
Stretching somewhere in between elusive and enigmatic are the acrosses: 16 Basse-Normandie department; 18 2004-06 poet laureate Kooser and others; 22 Tears; 2 Trainee; 25 Zodiac symbol; 28 PAX Britannica; 29 Navajo handicrafts; 31 Car rental company founder Warren; 33 Country with coups d’etat in 2000 and 2006; 35 Airline purchased by T.W.A. in 1986; 40 Robed dignitary; 42 Availed; 44 It lands at Landvetter; 56 Problem ending; 59 Big name in contact lens cleaners; and MEANS (63A Statistical calculations).
Falling in the same category as the above are the downs: 1 Tio PEPE (sherry brand); 2 Crazy; 3 Set down; 4. Bronc rival; 7. Curses; 8. Palm smart phone; 10 Fashionable resort area; 15 Instant success?; 25 Javanese chiefs; 29 1996 Golden Globe winner for “Truman”; 30 Variety listings; 32 Like some diamonds; 34 Lord of fiction; 48 Where the Fulda flows; 49 Cartoonist Segar; 50 Pioneering puppeteer; 51 Place of honor; 54 Rialto sign; and 55 Coastal avifauna.
Last, but not least, for the enigma of enigmas, we have ENIGMA (43A Knot) -- how a "knot" is an "enigma" is truly an enigma!
I'm puzzled!
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
The “Jacqueline du Pré” belongs to the group of the shrub roses. Blooming from summer until autum she has cup shaped, ivory colored flowers of with notched petals and red stamens giving a smell of nutmeg.
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
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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lorettalockhorn said...

That statistics clue alone was enough to send me into permanent regression.
Is there a wig available for me after 42A?
This puzzle was so bad, it was almost good.

DONALD said...


...and that's an ENIGMA!