05.24.08 -- Gray Matter

From Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, with an image of the human brain depicted behind that of God, from a brain surgeon‘s Website.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Puzzle by Charles Barasch, edited by Will Shortz
Opening with two Shortzesque double-clued entries GUESSER (1A. One taking a shot) and GUNMAN (1D. One taking a shot); REND (7D. Split) and DASHED AWAY (8D. Split); along with a third set, VEERED (54A. Went [off]) and ERRED (56A. Went off), and a near fourth set, ASSTDA (17A. Second in court?: Abbr.); LATTER (30A. Second); this crossword is a poser, right down to the last entry of SEERESS (57A. Girl with a future?).
In between are the intriguing entries, MARRIED WITHKIDS (18A. Like a family man); ITSLOVE (35D. Song from Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town”); QUALITYTIME (38A. What most couples try to have together); RISK (9D. Gamble); FATWALLET (15D. It’s stuffed with dough); and LEADADOUBLELIFE (46A. Be like Clark Kent) and SADDENED (11D. Brought down).
NEWSPAPER AD (23A. Pitch between columns), another oddly clued entry; HAMSALAD (55A. Deli sandwich material); OSTINATO (10D. Repeated musical phrase); and PIRSQUARED (25D. Area of interest to Archimedes) headline this ADO (39D. Tzimmes) of DROSS (8A Worthless stuff) perhaps provoking the self-doubting solver to exclaim ICANSO (35A. "Just watch me!).
Other long entries include UNSHADED (13A. Exposed); NICOTINE (16A. What some patches provide); SCHAEFER (32D. Beer brand since 1842); TAXPAYER (33D. One with a duty); CLOSEDIN (53A. Got ready to pounce); SLASHER (12D. Horror movie character) and ASTOUNDED (26D. In a daze), an apt entry.
Six-letter entries include FAISAL (15A. Mideast royal name); STARTS (32A. Cy Young had a record 815); ELWOOD (34A. One of the Blues Brothers); OFYORE (52A. Long gone); UNIATE (2D. Certain Christian); ESCROW (3D. Funds may be in it); DEWIER (14D. More innocent); SLOUCH (36D. Not be upright); INIDLE (40D. Not going anywhere?); MAFIAS (41D. They have family units); EMENDS (42D. Polishes); and a mere two five-letter entries, WISER (29A. More likely to be fresh) and SPEAR (36A. Sticker).
If I’ve omitted anything, it doesn’t matter -- it’s just gray matter!
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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Across: 20. First volume heading starter; 21. “To you, Antonio, ___ the most”: Shak.; 22. Old Testament book: Abbr.; 28. Ending for some gases; 37. Counterpart of “pls”; 43. Slow runner in the woods; 44. Erase; 45. ‘60s theater. Down: 4. Restaurant business bigwig; 5. Coll. Entrance hurdle; 6. Real estate agent on “Desperate Housewives”; 19. Super finish?; 24. Kind of song; 31. Makings of a suit; 34. Prefix with calyx or thalamus; 47. Illustrator of “Paradise Lost” and “The Divine Comedy”; 48. Gulf of San ___ (Caribbean Sea inlet); 49. West African capital; 50. Ovidian infinitive; 51. “There was an old man…” poet.

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