09.05.07 -- A Touch of Evil

Above -- Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs
Below: SATURN DEVOURING HIS CHILDREN (1824) by the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

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Puzzle by Richard Silvestri, edited by Will Shortz

EVIL (34D Satanic) happenings --cannibalism, murder, assassination, nuclear holocaust, potato famine, gluttony, hate, and vanity from the unborn to the conquering worm -- permeate this Wednesday WAIL (38A Blow a mean horn).

“If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?“ must have seemed just too good a morsel to pass up, because it required an additional line of down squares, resulting in a crossword puzzle with no center. Instead of the usual 15 squares across, we have the RARE (12D Few and far between) 16, which was necessary to accommodate the quotation on three lines:

IFVEGETARIANSEAT (21A Start of an idle question); VEGETABLESWHATDO (42A Middle of the question); HUMANITARIANSEAT (60A End of the question)

The question sets the remainder of the puzzle awry, as the thought it provokes is quite off-center! Just for the record, the quote is attributed to variously Unknown, a bumper sticker, Steven Wright, and various other sources, how many others can we expect in the future -- do we need to read everyone‘s T-shirt?

It seems that the Times puzzle constructors are hungry, as today’s puzzle, with it’s cannibalistic quotation, follows Tuesday’s food fest, with even a POTATO (50D Victim of ring rot) left over from yesterday, seemingly in less palatable condition. Instead of fava beans or the like, we have a SPEAR (5A Bit of broccoli) and a MELON (53A Low-fat breakfast dish) to complete the MEAL (62D Square thing), along with SAKE (46A Drink with tempura).

Alternatives to the humanitarian repast include DEER (47A Antelope’s playmate), ASPIC (56D Molded jelly),IMAS corny…” (64A), and if we follow the implied perversion, we’re ALLOWED (23D Licit), FIDO (51A Rover’s pal) or an EAGLE (58A Top scout). With a menu like that, there’s no worry of becoming OBESE (73A In need of middle management?). Catch my ODOR (33D Gas leak giveaway)?

EGAD (36D “Zounds!“) and HELP (60D Fab Four film), sound the ALARM (8D Chili rating unit?) -- I’ll settle for a MOO-cow (31A) or nothing but a LEI (37D Luau favor). Keep ASTA (13D Hammett pooch) on a short LEASH (57D Collar attachment) and STEER (59D Have the tiller) clear of the EVIL (34D Satanic), while you SORT (18A Do a post office job) through this TRASH (17A Incinerator deposit).

Guests at today’s repast include ALAN Turing, the Father of Computer Science (15A), OSWALD (40A Ruby’s victim), ISAIAH (45A Book before Jeremiah), PIET (6D Painter Mondrian), STANDISH (10D Miles from Plymouth), EVEL (34A Robbie Knievel’s father), a NABOB (54D Big shot), and CHER (74A “Bang Bang” singer, 1966).

Other stuff (or stuffings) include BALE (1D It may be held together by twine); SCRAP (10A Tussle); AISLE (16A Usher’s domain), FETAL (19A Prenatal); AORTA (20A It leaves the left ventricle); STARE (24A Long look); MELDS (Canasta plays); WALES (55A Cambria, today); EVENT (66A Tenth of a decathlon), LEASE (69 Pad paper?); PALED (72A Went white); BASIS (1D Groundwork); ALOFT (2D In the air); LARVA (3D Pre-chrysalis stage); ENTER (4D Record) SAFE (5D Call at first); RELIED (9D Depended); CROSS (11D Boxing punch); SWAHILI (27D Language from which “safari” comes); MANSE (53D Parson’s place); TOTAL (70A Bottom line); ABOMB (67A Manhattan Project result) and PHAT (14D Excellent, slangily).

There are quite a few contrasts and the like: LEASE and LEASH; WAIL and WALES; FIDO and ASTA; EVIL and EVEL; ESTA and ASTA; EAGLE and ALOFT; LEAF and LEI; MATE and MELDS; ROTE and RARE; TRASH and SCRAP; ABOMB above TOTAL with UVEA (61D Part of the eye) peering all alone in fright from out of this TALENTED (43D Masterful) Wednesday crossword!


For today's cartoons, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

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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