08.23.08 -- Why Am I Here?

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Puzzle by Natan Last, edited by Will Shortz
Picture yourself on a train in a station/ With plasticine porters with looking glass ties./ Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,/ The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
It’s count-down Saturday -- starting with eight ten-letter across entries: PLASTICINE (1. Oil-based paste mentioned in the lyrics to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”); HAVEANIDEA (15. Get inspired); OBITUARIES (17. Late news?); DUMBLEDORE (24A. Headmaster of literature); SWITCHEROO (49. Underhanded change, slangily); WHYAMIHERE (57. Existential musing); HOOTENANNY (60. Folkies’ do); ORNATENESS (62. Opposite of simplicity).
No nines, but eight eights, all downs: CIRCUITS (7. Motherboard array); REASONER (12. Human as opposed to an animal, notably); ARMORIAL (13. Of heraldry); QBSNEAKS (14. Plays after some snaps, in brief); SLASHERS (32. Cutting-edge cinema?); AIRWOMAN (33. Her idea may be taking off) possibly to AVIATE; MRMIYAGI (34. Film character who says “I promise teach karate. That my part. You promise learn”); AUTOMATA (36. They work by themselves).
Seven-letter entries include SETTEES (21D. Parlor pieces), not to be confused with a SETTO; TRISECT (27D. Divide, in a way); ESTONIA (28A. Hiiumaa Island belongs to it); ARMLETS (42A. Small, narrow bays).
A fairly good amount of those of six letters: PHOBOS (1D. Moon of Mars); LABORS (2D. Breaks one’s back); AVIATE (3D. Play an ace?) which an AIRWOMAN may do; NEEDBE (9D. Required); EASELS (10D. Conference room props); THEWHO (43D. Preceder of Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock); SENHOR (44D. Man of Rio); JOLENE (46D. #1 country hit for Dolly Parton); ACORNS (47D. Food for jays); MOSEYS (48D. Moves with no urgency).
Five-letter: CODES (20A. Buildings often have them); TWEAK (31A. Minor modification); TENAM (53A. Soldier’s 1000); SOLOS (54A. Bars without other people?); SETTO (4D. Begin), not to be confused with SETTEES; IDIOM (8D. Translator’s challenge); RAYON (50D. Silk alternative); LOHAN (51D. Star of “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” 2005).
The Shortzesque clues for BOATS (19A. Thanksgiving dishes) and YAMS ( 18A. Thanksgiving dishes) have nothing to do with LIRAS’ clue, (39A. Turkey tender?).
Fours -- IRAQ (11A. Script meaning “God is great“ appears on its flag); VERB 16A. Do or die); 23A. “ORTO say, Rise up and walk?”: Luke 5:23; RITE (29A. What a priest may prepare for); SURE (41A. Always effective); LOCO (51A. Bats); EMAG (55A. It’s read virtually, briefly); TAUS (5D. Unstable leptons); DOIT (24D. Prodder’s cry); TRIO (37D. The Ghostbusters, e.g.); SINE (54D. 0, for 180 degrees).
There’s a small marriage of threes and fours -- INA (6D. Preceder of 46-, 59- or 61-Across); JAM (46. Fix); RAGE (59. Burning state); SNIT (61. Pique).
Might as well do the remaining threes -- IVY (11D. What often grows attached?); ELS (30D. Raised lines); ALT (40D. Space neighbor?); MET (58D. Sat); SON (22A. Delivery possibility); SSE (26A. G.P.S. abbr.), on Monday it's clued as opposite of NNW; 27A. “Tais-TOI!” (French “Shut up!”); SAM (32A. “Dick Tracy” character Catchem); RLS (38A. Inits. Associated with Hyde); TIS (45A. 1999 best-selling memoir); HOY (52A. Este día).
Here’s a question -- when is a Friday puzzle a Saturday and vice versa? Are they interchangeable? -- does it matter? Well, that’s the egotistical and tiresome diatribe in the blogosphere! I doubt that The New York Times can or would be held accountable to the judgmental impositions of the preening members of an electronic crossword clique who find it intellectually stimulating to be upset over whether one day is harder than another. Often, it appears the lady doth protest too much, especially over this article in Slate -- The Puzzle of Puzzle People by Ron Rosenbaum. Expounding upon the fine line between Friday and Saturday difficulty is just self-serving vanity. Crossword editors can and will do what they damn well please and there isn’t diddly any doodler can do about it!
ITSLATE (35A. Lead-in to “I really should get going)…
Why Am I Here?
Wheel of Existence (Bhavachakra)
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Puzzle available on the internet at
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