09.11.07 -- Puzzle Perfect

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
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Puzzle by Christina Houlihan Kelly, edited by Will Shortz

There is nothing in this crossword puzzle that leaves one satisfied at it’s completion, except its’ completion. It is a perfect example of a word-by-word not-too-difficult Tuesday crossword. If you are a well-traveled “gourmet” of delicatessen fare, or a Google genius, you might know that four of the entries are inter-related -- but why would you care?

Various terms for a deli sandwich on a roll -- wedge, grinder, sub, and hero -- are contained in the entries SANDWEDGE (16A Golf club used in a bunker); MEATGRINDER (22A Butcher’s device); AMERICANSUB (44A U.S.S. Nautilus, for one); and SUPERHERO (55A Spider-Man or the Green Lantern). That’s it. Unless you’d like to include those deli standards in overpriced packages of an OREO (38A Nabisco cookie) or Krispy KREME Doughnuts (37A). An OMELET (5D Frittata, e.g.) you won’t get.

EMINEM (40D Rapper Marshall Mathers, familiarly), appeared in yesterday’s puzzle as (59A “Lose Yourself” rapper), and is getting good coverage from the Times crossword -- it’s just one of those names that takes care of a lot of entry business for the crossword constructor -- Eminem is M and M, the initials for Marshall Mathers, a far more marketable showbiz moniker. His crossword puzzle little brothers are ERMINE, MINER, NINER, and MINE.

The puzzle-perfect EMINEM is joined in the frequent-entry category by ATOZ, MISC, ELAN, OREO, MOMA, ARID, ASST, EKG, OAHU, ADLIB, EBOLA, SAC, ORIG, PERU, ERLE, OLD and HEX, along with the slightly less used ZED and ZEE, OMOO and OONA, MEESE and MAVEN, STATE and CRATE, ISLAM and ILIAD, ADLIB and AVIAN, etc. TUXEDO (43D Some supper club attire) appears more often than one would think; but, there are lots of “I’ve-seen-this-word-in-crosswords-before” entries in today‘s puzzle -- memorizing crosswordese is not my idea of a grand time! However, I always like OYEZ (5A Court cry); along with ELLA (60A Singer Fitzgerald), an entry which is always helpful.

Let’s LOOKAT (25A Examine) what’s a little more fresh -- well, the cluing -- although their entries are humdrum -- 34D The Pan American Highway runs through it (PERU); 15D Name after Dan or San (MARINO); 1A The whole ball of wax (ATOZ) along with 4D 1-Across’s end, in England (ZED); the Shortesque double-clues for 37D and 53D, Séance sound (KNOCK and MOAN); 13A Loafer, for one (SHOE) paired with 41A Avoid, as work (SHIRK); and Pretty WOMAN(Richard Gere/Julia Roberts movie) (17D) which, incidentally, was a Disney film based on George Bernard Shaw‘s “Pygmalion“ (better known as “My Fair Lady“).

Two longer entries, PHOTOCOPY (31A Xerox machine output) and SOUVENIRS (39A Tourist shop purchases) are just hanging around. TEHERAN (23D Iran’s capital) slices down the center of the grid, while ISLAM (58A Religion of the Koran) lurks in the lower left-hand corner, with XMEN (63A Marvel Comics mutants) bringing up the rear.

CIAO (62A “Toodles,” in Milan), ADLIB (44D Improvise) and YADDA (6D When said three times, et cetera) brings to mind that there’s not much more to say about this pleasant, but lackluster little Tuesday offering, so I’ll wrap this up with "yadda, yadda, yadda, no more ad lib -- ciao!"


Read Linda G at Madness…Crossword and Otherwise.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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We will never forget.

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