11.21.07 -- Flix Flak

USO movie in mess hall, 1942.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

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Puzzle by Kelsey Blakley, edited by Will Shortz

More space was needed? Guess so -- however, the 16-space entry
MAJMOTIONPICTURE (41A Big studio release, in the army?) is less interesting than it’s two shorter inter-related entries, PVTSCREENING (21A Film showing for V.I.P.’s, in the army?) and GENADMISSION (59A Common ticket category, in the army?) -- not that it should be, just that one would think it would be -- and in this case, “not!” Deviation from the standard daily format of 15x15 is usually caused by an entry which needs sixteen spaces due to its importance in the scheme of things, so one would assume the entry would be a very good excuse for breaking the rule. No.

Without abbreviated military designations (indicated by the question mark), MATINEES (28D Shows with lower-priced seats, usually); EJECTIONS (37D Bouncers’ tasks); RAINEDOUT (12D Postponed, in a way); FLOPS (1D Lays an egg); and NOSHOW (50D Standby’s salvation) beg to be included with the above.

Two long entries give a false start -- due to their length, they seem likely to be part of the movie business, but instead BUYERSGUIDE (19A Consumer Reports offering) and SMOKESIGNAL (64A Means of communication) make one think of a fire sale.

People in the puzzle are
ABRAM (5A Presidential middle name); LAMA (15A Priest in an Ogden Nash verse); ORIN (18A “Little Shop of Horrors” dentist); NED (23A Ludd, the original Luddite); KANSAN (4D Bob Dole, by birth); RAYE (7D Comic Martha); TONIO (31D “Pagliacci” clown); RANI (36D Sari-clad royal); LIEGE (54D Feudal lord); ANDER (56D Florida congressman Crenshaw); and for the kids, KEN (65D Classic Mattel doll). Not likely that they’ll CARPOOL (38A Use the H.O.V. lane, say), but they could POLKA (53A Oktoberfest music)!

Places include INDIANA (45A Gary’s home); CHACO Canyon (Pueblo cultural area) (22D); ERIN (29D Yeats‘s land, poetically); OPAL (39D Nevada gemstone); OMNI Hotels (luxury chain) (58D); and AGRA (60D Indian tourist city). SNOWLINE (20A Demarcation affected by warming) and CAMPS (43D Roughs it) are probably too fluctuating to be included.

Spoken-word-related entries include FLAK (1A Harsh criticism); VERBS (10A Active vocabulary?); EMAIL (17A It may include a cc or bcc list); SAYAH (24A Doctor’s request); “Chances ARE” (35A); FORE (40A Driver’s warning); SOLEMN (49A Like many oaths); TISNT (70A Quaint denial); and AMEN (8D Final word).

Fabric gets a twirl today with TOILE de Jouy (fabric) (25A) and Queen ANNES lace (67A); and maybe the Sari-clad royal (36A RANI) -- or MANE (62A
Lippizaner’s locks)?

Now that the longer entries have been WEEDED (32A Worked the garden) out, it’s time to KICKIN (47A Add to the kitty), with the leftovers, ending on a positive note in the interest of AMITY (3D Cordial quality).

Across: BLAME (16. Point a finger at); NAMEIT (27. Carte blanche offer); ONEA (44. Fit to serve); TSP (46. Med. Unit); TONES (51. Shapes up); POI (57. Islands fare); HEAD (66. Foam);
PRANK (68. Bit of monkey business); OGLE (69. Give a come-hither look); and EASES (71. Lets up).

Down: LARVA (2D Maggot, e.g.); BLUE (6. Smurf-colored): MERIT (9. Scholarship criterion); VEGGIE (10. Meatless, informally); EMU (11. Outback runner); BIDE (13. Patiently wait); SLED (14. Inuit’s ride); LEFT (26. Not right); IPODS (30. Popular MP3 players);
ERRS (33. Slips up); DEEP (34. Tough to fathom); AMOK (35. In a frenzied way); MAKO (42. Cousin of a hammerhead); INGEST (48. Consume); SNIPE (52. Take potshots); KOALA (55. “Bear” that’s not a bear); PSAT (57. Jr.’s exam); DNAS (61. Double-helix molecules); and ILKS (63. Kinds).

There’s just nothing much else in the way of ordinary to cram into this eclectic crossword -- reminding one of preparations for a holiday which always WEAR (72A Get tiresome). So much going on with nothing to write home about!


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Puzzle available on the internet at
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