11.20.07 -- Team

Gridiron football team at Dartmouth College, 1901
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Puzzle by Larry Shearer, edited by Will Shortz
I’m guessing you’ve got to love football to make up a puzzle like this Tuesday’s crossword. Alternating each line in sequence with AFC/NFC, v.v. NFC/AFC, etc. --
American Football Conference, National Football Conference, both under the National Football League -- so that not only can teams play AFC against NFC as they would in reality, but evenly distributing home field advantage among the four entries -- GIANTBILL with a faux clue (17A Big spender’s woe?); COLTPACKER (25A Revolver toter?); CARDINALCHARGER (37A MasterCard-carrying ecclesiastic?); and CHIEFSAINT (45A Peter?), all with an eye on the SUPERBOWL (56A Where this puzzle’s theme pairs would like to meet).
Team members available from this crossword are Paula Abdul, Spiro Agnew, Carol Alt, Isaac Asimov, Lorne Green, Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (it's said he's buried under Giants Football Stadium built on the site of a former swamp in New Jersey), Reggie Jackson, Frankie Laine, the Mayo brothers, Ronnie Milsap, R. E. Olds, David Oreck, Saint Peter, Barbra Streisand, an alto, a hag, and a yenta. Further, Kal-El, Superman's birth name is disclosed, and Spock's father is revealed as a Vulcan. Also here are Ernie and the Ewings from TV.
A dog, RIN TIN TIN; a lion, LEO; and an elephant, BABAR are the mascots.
Across: 1. Missing Jimmy; 6. Hit the slopes; 9. General feeling; 14. Paula of “American Idol”; 15. Chum; 16. Take forcibly; 19. “Mule Train” singer, 1949; 20. Bete NOIRE; 21. Gum Arabic-yielding tree; 22. Where to find the headings Books, Dolls & Bears, and Collectibles; 27. The Ewings soap; 30. Letter-shaped support; 31. Huge expanses; 33. Clinic name;
40. New York home of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; 41. Give the boot to; 43. Mark, as a ballot square; 51. Deck wood; 53. Quick Pick game; 55. Worse than bad; 60. Chain unit; 61. Reproductive cells; 62. Condor’s nest; 63. Tender spots; 64. Prickly husk; 65. Pasta sauce brand.
Down: 1. Witchy woman, 2. Sapporo sash; 3. Rx watchdog; 4. 1975 Barbra Streisand sequel; 5. Chorus voice; 6. Richard’s first vice president; 7. Superman’s birth name; 8. Under the weather; 9. Spock, on his father’s side; 10. Asimov of sci-fi; 11. LaCrosse carmaker; 12. Bert’s Muppet pal; 13. Pickle portion; 18. Some ballpoints; 21. Imitative in a silly way; 22. Papal bull, e.g.; 23. Kiddie lit elephant; 24. Olds discontinued in 2004; 26. Developer’s plot; 28. “AMI Blue?”; 31. Spa feature; 32. Overhead trains; 33. Reggie Jackson nickname; 34. Think alike; 35. Buttinsky; 36. Vacuum maker; 38. Library no-no; 39. Supermodel Carol; 43. “Trust No One” TV series with “The”; 44. Sermon ending? 45. Lacking couth; 46. Self-help category; 47. Due to get, as punishment; 48. Toughen; 49. Romantic message, in shorthand; 50. Without face value; 54. Pipe section; 56. Cry out loud; 57. Seam material; 58. Rug, of a sort; 59. Zodiac beast.
ETCETC (44A “Blah, blah, blah …”).


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