09.14.08 -- Sunnyside Up

Sunday, September 14, 2008
YEAR-ROUND, Puzzle by Jeremy Newton, edited by Will Shortz
O.K., let’s get this over with quick. Twelve squares contain three letters each indicating the twelve months of the year, arranged on the diagram (grid) as a circle -- thus the puzzle’s title, “YEAR-ROUND”, e.g., JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, OCT, NOV, DEC.
However difficult uncovering that gimmick may be, the remainder of the puzzle, including both entries and clues, is unfriendly and, in many cases, downright hostile. This is not your father’s Sunday morning Times puzzle, this one is dredged up from the bottom of the etymological swamp of crosswords, an unpleasant burnt-toast experience akin to curdling cream in your coffee with an embryo in your too-gooey egg!
Across: 1. Portraitist of George Washington; 7. Robot maid on “The Jetsons”; 12. Sorority chapter; 17. Leader of a flock; 18. Do away with; 19. Spreader of holiday cheer; 21. Singer who said “At least I had that, one guy understood me”; 22. Possible punishment for steroid use; 23. Enhance; 24. When Cannes heats up; 25. Native tongue of R&B singer Rihanna; 26. Bow to; 27. Wise guy; 28. Ear part; 29. “Esq.” titleholders; 31. Keep an eye out for; 33. Meager; 34. Prefix with sphere; 35. Fuming; 38. Daring; 39. Alvin and the Chipmunks, e.g.; 40. Experts at exports; 43. Genre explored by Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith; 44. Diurnally; 45. “Hop TOIT!”; 46. Mexican mouse chaser; 48. Inner circle; 51. Proust title character; 53. Job interview topic; 57. Sioux tribe member; 58. State capital on the Colorado River; 61. Economy-size; 63. Langston Hughes poem; 64. Cry at sea; 66. Cancun resident, once; 68. Farm call; 69. Hall’s partner in pop; 70. “This is how it’s done”; 71. Worth mentioning; 72. Pattern for light or sound; 74. Soft hat materials; 76. Actors Max and Max Jr.; 78. See; 79. NIKI Taylor, co-host of “Make Me a Supermodel”; 80. It appears when things go bad; 82. Bolts down; 85. Thrill seeker; 91. “If you ask me,” online; 92. The “A” of James A. Garfield; 94. Some exams for joint pain sufferers; 95. Litigant; 96. Symptom of catarrh; 97. Focused (on); 99. Brisk pace; 100. Cavs, on a scoreboard; 101. Nativity figure; 102. “Was it ARAT I saw?” (classic palindrome); 103. Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Pulp Fiction”; 106 Were present?; 107. It might run in the rain; 109. Filled (with); 110. Part of a serial; 112. Eroded; 113. It’s usually said with the eyes closed; 114. Wig; 115. Egg holders; 116. Kind of skill; 117. Farm machine.
Down: 1. Weightlifter’s helper; 2. Have a break at 4:00, say; 3. Troop troupe: Abbr.; 4. Basic travel path; 5. First name in gossip; 6. Paris was part of it; 7. Equips with new clips; 8. Small African antelope; 9. It’s darn likely; 10. “My, my, old chap!”; 11. Dusk, to Donne; 12. Unlikely event for puritans; 13. MADD member; 14. Foe of Spider-Man; 15. Like some modern maps; 16. Coffee table item; 19. Mustang rivals; 20. Gene who sang “Back in the Saddle Again”; 21. Cause of many uprisings; 27. Members of the bar?; 30. Biker’s add-on; 32. Early Chinese dynasty; 33. Admit defeat, in a way; 34. Lucratively; 36. Polite disclaimer; 37. ABC a.m. show, briefly; 38. Last resort in poker, often; 41. Doesn’t waver; 42. Euripides drama; 43. G.P.S. suggestion; 46. Bottle opener’s surprise; 47. Vegas openings?; 48. Untangles, in a way; 49. Cyberball maker; 50. Pop singer who appeared in the movie “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”; 51. It’s called in a political convention roll call; 52. Undercover device; 53. Campaigns for; 54. “Quite possibly”; Surface-TOAIR; 56. Singles and jingles; 59. Sub with sauerkraut?; 60. White wine from Verona; 62. W, e.g.: Abbr.; 65. Professional with many contacts?; 67. Lords and ladies; 73. Is past?; 75. Scrape (out); 77. Like some professors; 79. Sask. Neighbor; 80. Drinks in frosted glasses; 81. Married; 82. Hit Sony product introduced in 1984; 83. Model after; 84. American, Swiss, etc.; 85. Design feature of many a viaduct; 86. Lookout, maybe; 87. “OMG, that’s sooo funny!”; 88. Kind of bar; 89. Squared away; 90. First name in cosmetics; 92. Now, in Nogales; 93. Wages, before overtime; 97. Beer serving in a pub; 98. “Yippee!”; 101. Jabbers; 102. U.S. gas chain; 104. Triple-edged sword; 105. Part of a horse’s genealogy; 108. Cool CAT; 109. Genealogical grp.; 111. S. on a French compass.
None of which answers that age-old question, “which came first….”
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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Linda G said...

This was the toughest Sunday puzzle I've seen in a long time, but I have to admire the creativity that went into its construction.

I set it aside last night and just came back to find my error...a typo (write-o?) at SAFE BET. Somehow I'd written SAFEBER, and I couldn't get 31A with that R at the end!

I'm just sayin'... said...

"Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"......
I didn't get the unfriendliness/hostility you speak of. I thought it was a pretty good balance between pop references and "my father's"-type clues. I'm 49. Different strokes, I guess.

DONALD said...

linda g

Right you are!

...and that's a very safe bet!

DONALD said...

i'm just sayin'

The unfriendly/hostile remark was meant as a compliment to the crossword's impenetrability -- "my father's" is a reference to being better than previously as in "not your father's Oldsmobile" -- I hope this note will illuminate those remarks.