02.29.08 -- The Leap Year Puzzle

Leap Froggie -- Roominations by Carol
Friday, February 29, 2008
Click here for LARGE PRINT.
Puzzle by Patrick Berry, edited by Will Shortz
If we are to do one extra crossword puzzle every four years, this would be the one to do! Of course, as we all know, and Wikipedia puts it so aptly, “A leap year (or intercalary year) is a year containing one or more extra days (or, in case of lunisolar calendars, an extra month) in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year.”
It is the day that every four years, a maiden may propose to her BEAU (56A Ball boy?) with full intent of discarding her MAIDENNAME (15A. One abandoned at the altar?). It’s the year the calendar seems to TAKEABREAK (28D. Stop working), instead of going along regularly ATALLTIMES (27A. Continuously).
INAPOTHER (1D. Agitated), one may leap for escape -- or a YOKEL (25A. Clodhopper) may do so in a stunt! Others as an OMEN (54A Mystical indicator) of life or death!
Ah, but on with today’s crossword -- in a word, it’s own word, COOL (23A Snazzy)!
In addition to the three ten-letter entries mentioned above, add ALPHATESTS (17A. In-house debugging); ICEICEBABY (52A. 1990 #1 rap hit that starts “Yo, V.I.P., let’s kick it”); THE NATURAL (55A. Bernard Malamud’s debut novel); MONOPHONIC (2D. Like most 1950s recordings); and ANOTHERYOU (3D. Final Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor comedy).
Nine-letter entries: For leap day, we have SKATEOVER (5A Barely mention, as something one doesn’t want to discuss); BETWEENUS (33D. “Don’t spread this around, but …”); and SORELOSER (57A. One who refuses to shake hands, maybe).
Eight-letter: CONTESSA (4D. Neapolitan noblewoman); TEAROSE (8D. Flowers named for their scent); SORRIEST (20A. Most useless); THESSALY (24A. Region bordering Mount Olympus); LEMONLAW (42A. It protects car buyers); BEDCOVER (47A. Soft spread); CLEAVETO (35D. Tightly embrace); and MANITOBA (35D. Home for the Ojibwa and Cree).
Seven-letter: OPHELIA (21A. “Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind” speaker); LETITBE (46A. #1 Beatles hit with the only known vocal contribution by Linda McCartney); ENTROPY (9D. Tendency toward chaos); and BIFOCAL (38D. Split right before your eyes?).
Six-letter: POTTER (18A. Person at the wheel?); RETIRE (51A. Hang it up); ONEILL (10D. “The Great God Brown” playwright); and RACINE (41D. Wisconsin city that’s home to S.C. Johnson & Son).
Five-letter: Stepping down the center of the puzzle without a break -- 15. MARIA Full of Grace” (2004 film); 22. ALGAE, Pool owner’s nuisance; 25. YOKEL; 31. REPEL, Push off; and 43. MERYL, Actress Streep. Stepping across and up without a break -- 40. CURIE, Unit of radioactivity; 38. BLEEP, Dispel a curse?; 30. GORY, Edward who created the Gashlycrumb Tinies -- here’s a filmed version; and 26. SPLAT, Sound of a dropped scoop of ice cream. There’s also HORSE (29A. Certain chess piece, informally); VALET (39A. Man); ADHOC (7D. Having a single purpose); and REBUS (45D. Picture writing, of a sort).
Four-letter: IMAC (1A. Product once advertised with the catch- phrase “There’s no step 3!”); NONO (14A. Putting regular gas in a diesel engine, e.g.); ANON (16A. Presently); ENYA (34A. “Caribbean Blue” singer); MAKE (36A. Ford or Lincoln); AFAR (44A. In the distance); ASKS (58A. Poses); KIPS (6D. Goes to bed, in Britspeak); VASE (11D. Classical art medium); EMTS (12D. Lifesavers, for short); REST (13D. Others); ELSE (19D. Other); VOTE (39D. Go for a party, say); BITS (47D. Atoms); ECHO (48D. Comeback); DEER (49D. Pullers of the chariot of Artemis); and RARE (50D. Practically unheard-of).
Three-letter: SAL volatile (5D.); TAB (32A. Coca-Cola creation); RIO (37A. “Notorious” setting); and BAR (53D. Rule out).
From today’s Free Press : “Being a leaper, as adults are called, brings with it the novelty of staying young because the person's birth date occurs once every four years. But it also brings some frustration -- from trouble registering for services online with computer programs that don't recognize Feb. 29 as a valid date, to getting arrested for having a driver's license where the birth date and expiration date don't match. Despite a few frustrations with their actual birth date, area leapers say they enjoy their quadrennial event.”
Well, sure -- you're special!
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Puzzle available on the internet at
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shake.pen said...

Very cool.

(IceIceBaby is the answer)

I like the way you set this up. Do you do this by yourself?

DONALD said...

Yes I do! Thanks!