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Puzzle by Paula Gamache, edited by Will Shortz
MISSILEUNIVERSE (17A All the rockets in existence?) minus the ILE gives us MISS UNIVERSE; TEXTILEMESSAGE (26A "Dry-clean only," e.g.?), TEXT MESSAGE; CASTILEIRONPAN (44A Cooking utensil from central Spain?), CAST IRON PAN; and HOSTILECOMPUTER (58A HAL 9000, in "2001: A Space Odyssey"?), HOST COMPUTER. A nice illustration of what a little ILE can do -- ILE file away the puns, like "no man is an ILE" and et cetera.
Two eight-letter entries, CREVASSE (10D Deep fissure) and YATITTLE (37D First N.F.L. QB with consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons) (we had him two weeks ago October 5 clued as YATITTLE (59A QB who was the 1963 N.F.L. M.V.P.); two seven-letter entries EXITFEE (9D Mutual fund redemption charge) and ALKALIS (41D Acid neutralizers); six six-letter entries, MUSKOX (4D Animal with a shaggy coat); TEENIE (34A Small, as a Beanie Baby); ALMOND (41A Marzipan ingredient); TAVERN (22D Place for shots); Iran-CONTRA (49A); and PROUST (46D Subject of the 1999 film "Le Temps Retrouve") are all fairly interesting.
Thirteen five-letter entries, TORME (1A The Velvet Fog); OPIUM (14A Smuggler’s stock); OBEYS (36A Does as told); EERIE (39A Like déjà vu); ASYET (63A Thus far); STEPS (66A Recipe parts); LOOIE (18D Sarge’s superior); TIBIA (26D Second-longest human bone); EDENS (27D Utopias); ENAMI (29D As a friend, to the French); AORTA (30A Outlet of the left ventricle); Astronaut GUION Bluford, the first African-American in space (31D); and “NOVUM Organum” (1620 Francis Bacon work) (42D) have good variety.
Four letter across entries are clued as 6. Casino pair; 10. Cabaret, e.g., 15. Giant-screen film format; 16. Summer wine selection; 20. Ask for; 25 Brand of shaving products; 35. First course option; 40. Turner who sang “The Best”; 47. Like a starless sky; 54. OSSO buco; 61. First-year J.D. candidate; 62. Restaurant chain acronym; 64. A sergeant might ask a soldier to pick it up; and 66. Recipe parts.
The four-letter downs are clued as 1. Tabbies’ mates; 2. Mayberry boy; 3. Angry reaction; 6. Fizzled out; 7. Radio’s former “IMUS in the Morning”; 11. Oral history; “Evil empire” of the ‘80s); 13. “It’s BEEN real!”; 19. Brewery units; 24. Baseball’s Ed and Mel; 33. Mil. Option; 32. Sport with lunges; 39. Novelist Ferber; 45. Crucifix inscription; 49. Karate blow; 50. The last Mrs. Chaplin; 51. Minute part of a minute: Abbr.; 52. A program usually has one; 53. “Stupid me!”; 55. Eyelid woe; 56. Ooze; 57. Table scraps.
Last, and least, EMI, CAN, EHS, PAS, ODS, OOO, RID, SAN, TOE, VAR, and IOU are the three-letter siblings of ILE.
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