Thursday, September 11, 2008
Puzzle by Caleb Madison, edited by Will Shortz
With its clunky-looking black squares of the diagram dividing the crossword into essentially nine little puzzles, this ugly duckling manages to evolve into a less ugly swan by merit of its gimmickry which can be entertaining -- a set of circled letters, A through E, to be connected in order to form a cartoon-like star, along with three squares containing a symbol for a star, and entries in explanation of the entire arrangement.
HOLLYWOOD (32D. With 12-Down, locale of the 4-Down) BOULEVARD (12D. See 32-Down) WALKOFFAME (4D. Theme of this puzzle), LOSANGELES (30D. City where 32- and 12-Down is found). Lashed onto the stars’ trajectory are the entries RACKETEERS (20A. Makes people offers they can’t refuse), VAMPIREBAT (55A. Nocturnal bloodsucker), ELAINEMAY (33D. “Ishtar” director) and ABDOMINAL (11D. Like some six-packs), adding a cut of cynicism to the glamorous.
Miss May is joined in the star and/or people category by ALDA (43A. Tony nominee for “Glengarry Glen Ross”); ERICH (3D. Filmmaker Von Stroheim); ETHAN (52D. Allen in American history); ETTA (65A. James of jazz); 14A. LARA Flynn Boyle of “Twin Peaks”; LIV (30A. Actress Tyler); authors ANAIS (5A. First name in erotica) and AYN (48A. Rand who created Dagny Taggart), a CHEF (31D. Child, for one), VERA (55D. Lynn who sang “We’ll Meet Again”); IRENE (34A. Adler who outwitted Sherlock Holmes); a song, 9D. Elvis Presley’s “SHES Not You”, and 38A. COLA + grenadine + maraschino cherry = Roy Rogers cocktail.
Adding to the cut-throat of show-biz and beyond are SNEER (13D. Vile smile), SLAM (41A. Dis), RAP (27A. You might end up with a bum one), LIE (44A. Interrogator’s discovery), LASH (62A. Punishment unit), GLARE (1D. Ruiner of many a photo), 5D. Without ANET (riskily), TASTE (51D. It’s often unaccounted for) NOSE (6D. It may be wrinkled), RANAT (2D. Charged); WAR (47D. “That mad game the world so loves to play,” to Jonathan Swift), and even an ATEST (42A. Mushroom maker, for short).
The three squares containing the symbol for a star result in the across entries of NOSTARCH (15A. Request at a laundry); LOSTARTS (39A. Illumination of manuscripts, and others); RESTARTS (64A. Options during computer woes); and the accompanying downs of ASTARTE (7D. Ancient Semitic fertility goddess); RESTAREA (27D. Place for picnicking and dog-walking); and MUSTARD (57D. Yellow squirt?).
The remaining fill is innocuous: ABATE, ADEN, ADUE, AGATE, ANDSO, ANET, ANIL, ANTS, ATTHE, CCS, DOLE, EARS, EBON, EDUCT, EDYS, ETHOS, FAM, GREW, HOAR, ICER, ITSO, LABS, LEAD, MILAN, NEA, NSA, ONAN, OWN, PCTS, PESTO, RANAT, ROTE, SARS, SEEN, TOMA, and 53A. TWEE pop, music genre since the 1980s.
Overall, this crossword is a bit of a mad abstraction, not unlike the world that lets us walk upon sidewalk stars encased in cement shoes at the bottom of the river gurgling to rise to the heavens -- 59D. “Wishing won’t make ITSO”!
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
TEEN PUZZLEMAKER WEEK -- Note: All the daily crosswords this week, Monday through Saturday, have been contributed by puzzlemakers under the age of 20. Today’s crossword is by Caleb Madison, 15, of New York City. He is a sophomore at Bard High School in Manhattan. This is his fourth puzzle for The Times.
Special instructions: When this puzzle is done connect the circled letters in alphabetical order, and then back to the start, to reveal something seen on the 32-Down 4-Down.
Click on image to enlarge.Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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We will never forget.
Xword search information -- Across: 1. Waxed; 10. They might be chocolate; 16. Like some keys; 17. Dye plant; 19. Together, in music; 22. Apportionment; 23. Set of values; 24. View from Marseille; 25. Relatives, slangily; 36. ___ impulse; 40. Headline-making illness of 2002-03; 45. Cultural org.; 46. Retain; 49. Striped quartz; 60. Tony Musante TV series; 61. Extracted chemical; 63. Frost; 66. Competitor of Ben & Jerry’s; 67. “Thus …”; 68. Spotted. Down: 8. Bakery employee; 21. That, to Tomas; 26. Home of “The Last Supper”; 28. Hill dwellers; 29. ___ alla Genovese (sauce); 31. Also sends to, as an e-mail; 35. You might give a speech by this; 37. Ultrasecret org.; 48. ___ ready; 50. Peter out; 56. Port near the Red Sea; 58. Pie chart figs.