08.03.08 -- Off With Their Heads!

Queen of Hearts: “Off with their heads!” -- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Illustration by
Sir John Tenniel

Sunday, August 3, 2008

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!, Puzzle by Peter A. Collins and Joe Krozel, edited by Will Shortz

On the cutting edge of cunning and clever, this Sunday crossword allows the solver to slice through its meaty material like ripe cheese! By removing the initial letter of “double-word” entries, incomplete sentences are finished off with amusing results.

The interrelated across clues and their entries:
23. “Will the long-winded REVERENDEVEREND his sermon?” -- (reverend / ever end);
32. “The majority of British HISTORYISSTORY policy coming to fruition.” -- (history / is Tory);
48. “I noticed you use the SPOTLESSPOTLESS often than the tarnished one” -- (spotless / potless);
57. “The driver’s crew decided to make the PITSTOPITSTOP priority” -- (pit stop / it’s top);
67. “The parishioners ignored the MANDATEANDDATE meat on Friday” -- (mandate / and ate);
81. “The judges put the names of each FINALISTINALIST for the M.C. to read” -- (finalist / in a list);
94. “As one member of the crew LABOREDABORED co-worker leaned on his shovel” -- (labored / a bored);
110. “You won’t find any SONATINAONATINA Turner album” -- (sonatina / on a Tina).
Here's the real thing...

Judith Beheading Holofernes,
Artemisia Gentileschi

Unrelated entries of length include
GHOSTTOWNS (15D. Relics of the Wild West); DISCJOCKEY (68D. Record holder); LANDMASS (6D. Australia, e.g.); DIVEINTO (9D. Take up wholeheartedly); REYNOLDS (24D. English portraitist Sir Joshua); ISAOAOKI (85D. Japanese-born Hall of Fame golfer); TRAVOLTA (72D. “Hairspray” actor); MANTOMAN (107A. Box-and-one alternative); PRETENDS (27A. Puts on); PEDAGOG (92A. Teacher: Var.); UNEATEN (34A. Left over) IMPERILS (82D. Compromises).

The remainder of the crossword contains entries of six letters or less. Of note are the clues for ERRED (65A. Crossed one’s i’s and dotted one’s t’s), a switch that may go unnoticed; 47D. Johnson and Johnson, e.g., VEEPS, not the baby products; 117A. It’s frequently stolen, BASE, the operating word is "frequently"; 69D. About which the Bible says “Consider her ways, and be wise”, ANT, that‘s a very long clue for a very short entry!

Across: 1. Swarm; 5. Lots; 10. 11th-century year; 14. Audibly shocked; 19.
Hot rod rod; 20. One of the Four Seasons; 21. German article; 22. Glow; 26. Philosopher Kierkegaard; 28. Power brokers; 29. “Let me tell you…”; 30. Mark, Anthony and others: Abbr.; 31. “Tasty!”; 36. Shoot out; 37. Take care of; 40. Washington State airport; 43. Amaze; 44. One of five Norwegian kings; 51. Promised; 52. Ties a second knot; 53. Habit; 54. Human GENOME Project; 55. Alphabet quartet; 60. “Life ISA beach”; 63. Welcome at the door; 66. Promgoers: Abbr.; 71. Understands; 74. Train head; 75. Work hard; 76. Ultimatum’s end; 80. It might lead to a cloud formation, for short; 86. Pusher catcher, for short; 87. Shoe letters; 88. Retinue of Pan; 89. You-Tube offering; 90. Baloney; 101. Nigerian export; 102. Any ship; 105. Company bought by Chevron in 2005; 106. Dig; 109. Mushroom variety; 112. Wilder and Hackman; 113. Wash. Neighbor; 114. Potato pancake; 115. Race pace; 116. Daisy type; 118. Calm; 119. Tom Joad, e.g.

Down: 1.
Bad-weather gear; 2. Apply; 3. Dwellers in Middle-earth; 4. Cross; 5. Park in New York, say; 7. Automotive pioneer; 8. It may come from a barrel; 10. Deserve; 11. Deceive; 12. Central; 13. Like some boxes on ballots; 14. Franciscan home; 16. AIRTO-ground missile; 17. Derisive look; 18. Copper; 25. 1994 and 1997 U.S. Open winner; 29. Green shade; 32. Bucket of bolts; 33. Grove in many an English churchyard; 34. Pure; 35. Your: Fr.; 37. Lat. Or Lith., once; 38. Ursine : bear :: pithecan : APE; 39. Amaze; 41. Al’s is almost 27; 42. Place to hang your hat; 43. Lady ASTOR, first woman to sit in British Parliament; 45. Sacks; 46. Mail for a knight; 49. Kind of sale; 50. ENTRE Nous” (1983 film); 51. Having all the money one needs; 54. Bible distributor; 56. Milk; 57. Attach, as to a lapel; 58. Cuisine choice; 59. Many a pirate’s appendage; 60. “That is to say …”; 61. Receiver of lists; 62. Tick off; 65. Actress Holmes; 70. Confederate; 73. Baseball bigwig Bud; 77. Top; 78. Beijing-to-Shanghai dir.; 79. Ike’s W.W. II domain; 81. Broadcast signal; 83. Tore; 84. Minister‘s deg.; 87. Daredevil Knievel; 91. Poker call; 93. Deseeded, as cotton; 94. “Hasta LUEGO“; 95. Incorporate into a city; 96. Fess Parker TV role; 97. Greek marketplace; 98. Folk percussion instruments; 99. Old enough; 100. Break down; 102. Smarmy smile; 103. Red River city; 104. Related on the mother‘s side; 107. MATA Hari; 108. Football Hall-of-Famer Graham; 110. Melodramatic response in comics; 111. Jazz cornetist Adderley.

As with anything, including decapitation or crosswords, with or without an eponym or a guillotine, hacking away at words can be a grueling and grisly business -- one can hardly be asked to grin and bear it! This one, however, was a pleasure! What fun!

Off with their heads!


For today’s cartoons, 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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alanrichard said...

I liked the puzzle. It was a clever construction. The problem with repitition in the answers is that when you get half or more of the answer the rest is a gimmie. For example: if the theme clue is MODERN INSULTS and every answer begins with DIS, such as DISappear, (to criticize someones looks), DISfunction, (To criticize the useage), DISmay, (to criticizt the 5th month), etc. There is nothing to figure out once you get the theme.
In this puzzle, 15 word answers have half as a gimmie - which makes it very easy!!!

DONALD said...

True, but not everyone catches on, and those who do get that "aha" moment.