04.14.08 -- Control

Dragon Cave, by Robert M. Katkowski
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Click here for abridged post in LARGE PRINT.

Puzzle by Christina Houlihan Kelly, edited by Will Shortz

Block, hamper, check, foil in the entries of AUCTIONBLOCK (20A. Bidding impediment?); PICNICHAMPER (33A. Outdoor meal deterrent?); REALITYCHECK (44A. Truth obstruction?); and ALUMINUMFOIL (58A. Metallic element’s obstacle?) constitute the inter-related entries in this Monday back-to-work puzzle. Hopefully, those words don’t describe your commute or your day’s events, for it certainly wouldn’t be the best way to start the week!

In any event, after Friday and Saturday’s brainbuster puzzles, this little gem is certainly welcome -- even the ho-hum, everyday crosswordese seemed to be old friends one is glad to see -- lord knows, if they appear on Friday or Saturday, they would be in ornate disguise through the sadistic implementation of some helpless clues. As you most likely know, the difficulty of the Times puzzles increases from Monday to Saturday, and even though the words are the same in the majority, the clues just get freaksome -- add in some really obscure entries, and voila -- Saturday!

Block, hamper, check, foil is the name of the game for authors of crossword puzzles, and today we’re given a free pass, with nary a frisk or an XRAY (73A. Photo taken after an accident). From ATOZ (completely) (17A.) without J, Q or W, this puzzle will bring a SMILE (54D. Photo- grapher’s request) with it’s ails, such as NAUSEA (49D. Pregnancy symptom, frequently); ACHY (42D. Hurting all over); RANKLE (13D. Annoy); TRASH (52A. Garbage); SOTS (54A. Tipplers); FANG (1A. Vampire’s tooth); YIPE (23D. “Eeek!”); SPAY (31A. Neuter); No PETS allowed (sign) (41D); and TKOS (43D. Some boxing results), all melding nicely with those main negatives.

People in the puzzle are old friends: XENA (16A. Lucy Lawless TV role); OTERI (18A. Cheri formerly of “S.N.L.”); YENTL (27A. Streisand film about a Jewish girl masquerading as a boy); HOSEA (39A. Book after Daniel); ANITA (63A. Anita Bryant); NEMO (70. Nautilus captain); GOTTI (6D. Crime boss known as the Teflon Don); STAMOS (47D. Actor John of “Full House”); ARLENE (48D. Dahl or Francis); and ROY (67D. Dodgers catcher Campanella).

We’ve got gas, AMOCO (5D. BP gas brand) and ESSO (38A. Gas brand with the slogan “Put a tiger in your tank”); food, INOIL (28A. How sardines may be packed) and UGLI (21D. Aptly named tropical fruit) -- YUM (23A. “Ooh, tasty!”); places to go, IRAN (19A. Persia, today); SAN Francisco (47A.) MESA (62A. Small plateau); Mideast’s GAZA Strip (4D.); RUHR (37D. German industrial valley); but will need to Show UPAT (attend, as a meeting) (40A.) work instead. NAME (59D. Partner of rank and serial number) pairs include UNIS and UNIV, along with ASE and ASI; after that it’s a free-for-all -- the remainders:

Across: 5. Playing marble; 10. At any time; 14. Pi r squared, for a circle; 15. Engine; 26. Enter; 30. Suffix with vocal; 32. Enzyme suffix; 50. Inc., abroad; 51. Lawn care brand; 57. The second “S” in MS-DOS: Abbr.; 64. January to December; 68. Humdinger; and 69. Odometer units.

Down: 1. Air safety org.; 2. Murals and such; 3. Opposite of paleo-; 7. Had dinner at home; 8. Bullring bull; 9. “ERIN go bragh!”; 10. Napoleon, on Elba or St. Helena; 11. “The Two Gentlemen of VERONA”; 12. Passes, as a law; 22. Computer memory unit; 24. Les √Čtats-UNIS; 25. Beaded shoes, informally; 29. “Are you INOR out?”; 30. “IMET a man with seven wives”; 34. Casual conversation; 35. Wrestling move; 36. “ASI live and breathe!”; 45. Grades 1 to 12, briefly; 46 Mozart’s “COSI Fan Tutte”; 55. Frequently; 56. “Here’s mud in you eye!:, e.g.; 60. Prof’s place: Abbr.; 61. Wildcat; 65. Suffix with musket; and 66. Doc’s org.

Gee, Monday and we’re all SMART (53D. Brainy)!

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For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games

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1 comment:

cornbread hell said...

wile e. made me laugh so hard i had to steal it from you. (with a nod to you of course.)