10.24.07 -- Terra Firma, Et Cetera

18A TERRAFIRMA -- The World Destroyed by Water, Gustave Dore, 1866

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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Puzzle by Patrick Blindauer, edited by Will Shortz

TERRAFIRMA (18A *Solid ground); HABEASCORPUS (20A *You should have the body); ABOVO (40A *From the beginning); ALEAIACTAEST (59A *The die is cast); SEMPERIDEM (62A *Always the same); ECCESIGNUM (4D *Behold the proof); and SINEQUANON (31D *Without which not) are seven inter-related entries; e.g., Latin -- indicated electronically by an asterisk, and in newsprint by italicized print, to unify the entries for the solver.

Six of the seven entries form a box within the grid creating a small puzzle in the center, and seven smaller ones on the outskirts of the grid. The Latin entries are really the only thing that matters in the puzzle, all the other entries are there to fill the empty spaces. In any event, the non-Latin entries are interesting enough to keep the solution from being high drudgery.
"Alea iacta est" -- said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC, according to Suetonius. The original meaning was roughly equivalent to the English phrase "the game is afoot", but its modern meaning, like that of the phrase "crossing the Rubicon", denotes passing the point of no return on a momentous decision and entering into a risky endeavor where the outcome is left to chance.


Across: 1. 7-Up flavor; 5. Easter serving; 9. Funny ones; 14. “Just ASEC!”; 15. Succulent plant; 16. Clinker; 17. Locker room supply; 22. Online currency; 23. Catches in the act; 24. Pro at balancing; 27. Big pet food brand; 30. Pageant wear; 32. Erica who wrote “Any Woman’s Blues”; 35. Bottom of a lily; 38. Bank rights; 39. Schoenberg’s “Moses und ARON”; 42. Gray-brown goose; 43. “The Taming of the Shrew” setting; 45. Sport whose name means “gentle way”; 46. Formerly, once; 47. Kind of number; 49. 7’1” N.B.A. star, informally; 51. Pince-NEZ; 52. Shout to a team, maybe; 55. Fall colors; 65. “Warm”; 66. They’re rather pointless; 67. “Camelot” actor Franco; 68. Other, in the barrio; 69. Charles; 70. Innovative 1982 Disney film; 71. Like a busybody.

Down: 1. Wood-turning tool; 2. Stern that bows; 3. Nellie of opera; 5. Back muscles, for short; 6. The Black Stallion” boy; 7. Idiot; 8. He said “Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting”; 9. Turndown; 10. Van Gogh floral subject; 11. Bobby of Boston; 12. Male cat; 13. Title in S. Amer.; 19. Getaway alerts, for short; 21. Cry before “It’s you!”; 24. All alternative; 25. PENNS Grove, N.J.; 26. Money in the bank, e.g.; 28. Part of a C.E.O.’s resume; 29. Topic: Abbr.; 32. Black lacquer; 33. Filibuster, in a way; 34. Altertness aid; 36. Bud’s comedy sidekick; 37. Briefs, briefly; 41. “Isn’t that beautiful?!”; 44. Lacking purpose; 48. Round dance official; 50. Gallery display; 53. Canonized figure; 54. One who’s not “it”; 56 Look after; 57. Some Peters; 58. Homeless animal; 59. Mimicked; 60. Pertaining to flying; 61. “Follow me!”; 62. Leave in stitches?; 63. Air quality org.; 64. Debussy’s “La MER.

Abeo, abeo, abeo, actum est, comites! Die dulci fruimini!

-- Hokusai, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, Hakone Museum, Japan


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THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games

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Kat said...

I've been reading your blog for a while (came across it when checking my puzzle answers and was too impatient for the next day's paper) and just wanted to say I really enjoy reading it each day to find the little tidbits you include about different clues. I just felt a bit guilty lurking this whole time without a word. Thanks!

DONALD said...


Thanks for your note -- don't worry about the lurking, SiteMeter shows that there's an average of 1,500 visitors (a/k/a lurkers)per day, and that makes you very special in that you have said hello!

I'm sure your comments on the day's puzzle would be of interest to all who visit!