Puzzle by Larry Shearer, edited by Will Shortz
Four inter-related entries, CARSTARTER (17A. C); CLAMPSHAPE (60A. C); AVERAGEMARK (11D. C); and EPCOTCENTER (26D. C), along with the fact that all clues begin with the letter C, and two oddly-shaped groupings of black squares in the center of the diagram depicting a large forward and backward C divided by the entry MADDEST (27D. Crossest), contribute to an over-awareness of the crossword constructor’s clever coalescence of…well, the letter C.
Of no avail in the solution of the puzzle, the choice of starting every clue with the letter C is clumsy -- I didn’t even notice the gimmick until I had completely solved the puzzle (I’m a diagram solver, the clues are merely reference), and when I did, I asked myself why, and was it worth the effort? It’s all a sort of a clamp unto my feat! In trying to make sense of it all, I decided that the constructor and solver in this instance are in two different worlds, the former in critical need of a C-Clamp-down.
Across: 1. Convenience store sign; 4. “Coming soon” messages; 10. Churls lack it; 14 Constrictor; 15. Convincing,, as an argument; 16. Confess openly; 17. C; 19. Cosmos legend; 20. Celebrity biographer Hawes; 21. Charlotte of “The Facts of Life”; 23. Canapé topping; 24. Coleridge, for one; 27. Curved motorcycle part; 29. Criticizes harshly; 30. Concluding appearance; 32. Clive Cussler’s “INCA Gold”; 33. Coal scuttle; 34. Conked out for good; 37. Completely wowed; 38. Columnist Hopper; 41. Comedy series award, maybe; 42. Con MOTO (animatedly, in music); 43. Countless years; 44. Commuter’s choice; 45. Collects one’s winnings; 49. Creature at SeaWorld; 50. Clarify; 52. Closely related; 53. Comic strip prince’s son; 54. Civil rights org. that became a governing party; 55. Clerk, to a bus. Owner; 58. Cole Porter’s “LETS Do It”; 60. C.; 65. Critic James; 66. Come aboard, in a way; 67. Comfy retreat; 68. Cartoon explorer; 69. Cowley and Keats; 70. Coach in Little League, often.
Down: 1. “Charlie’s Angels” airer; 2. Come TOA head; 3. Cause damage to; 4. Cuts for agts.; 5. Circumambulate; 6. Cruel person; 7. Coloratura’s home, with “the”; 8. Consequence of a solo homer; 9. Cremona collectibles, for short; 10. Choose; 11. C; 12. Crayon choice; 13. Coarse wool fabric; 18. Concentrates on specific achievement; 22. Conceit; 24. Cassandra’s father; 25. “Capitalism” rock group OINGO Boingo; 26. C; 27. Crossest; 28. Committed to the truth, in court; 30. “Can it!”; 31. Cry of grief; 35. Capua friends; 36. “Chimes of Freedom” songwriter; 39. Crosby’s “So DOI”; 40. Cape ANN; 46. Captors of Patty Hearst: Abbr.; 47. Chief; 48. City near Cleveland; 50. Course before an entrée; 51. Competitor of Ragu; 55. C.I.A. betrayer Aldrich; 56. Catch sight of; 57. Credit application figs.; 59. Coral SEA; 61. Cardinals, on scoreboards; 62. Count up; 63. Casserole morsel; 64. Close.
Now, had every entry begun with a C, I would be cheering and clapping! Clamp, clamp, clamp!
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