----------------- Thursday, December 18, 2008 Puzzle by Michael Vuolo, edited by Will Shortz In today’s crossword an UNDERCOVER AGENT, SWORN TO SECRECY, is said to say IF I TOLD YOU THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU -- and that’s not all! The agent’s statement is joined by ABUSES (22A. Wrongs) and DECEIT (52A. Scammer’s skill); ENVY (7D. Part of a famous septet) and HATE (39D. Bad feeling?); along with BONE (2D. Something to pick) and IRKS (24D. Gets to); FITS (13D. They may be thrown) and COOLIT (6D. “Enough!”); OFFKEY (48D. Out of tune); SLY (21A. Sneaking) and 27D. “WELLI never!” said with IRONY (15A. It may be tragic) -- AHA (40A. “Can’t fool me!”), BOO (43A. Cause of a scare) and OHBOY (28D. “Yippee!”) -- and beware the IDES (11D. Day of destiny)! MALA fides (bad faith)! Positives -- ATPEACE (42D. Tranquil) with OLIVES (47D. Tapenade ingredients); ELATE (29D Lift up) and AYES (57D. First side to vote), FREE (51A. Unoccupied) with LAMP (56A. Djinn’s home in a popular tale) to rub up good fortune in these trying times, give it a little PLAY (50A. Leeway) -- and that’s all CHUM (54D. Confidant)! However, even HIS Majesty (33A.) VIII (23A. The last King Edward of England) had a sad time of it, not to mention that ARIA from the tomb scene in “Aida” (25A. “O terra, addio,” e.g. ) -- angels guard thee! The SHEIK (32A. Title role for Valentino) fares a bit better -- HERE. Two folks in our puzzle provide an upbeat -- COHEN (30D. Singer/songwriter Leonard) and OWENS (64A. Buck for a song?). Other mid-size entries -- ABLATE (37D. Wear away, as a metallic surface); ARABIC (9D. With French, one of the two official languages of Chad); 9A. In AJIFF (quickly); ARCSIN (5D. Inverse trig function); ASTER (44A. Daisylike flower); EDUCE (63A. Bring out); FACED (4A. Bearded) a fifth definition in dictionaries as “to confront boldly“; JAGUAR (10D. Porsche alternatives), not clued as a cat; RADII (16A. They start in the middle); RAREST (19D. Most prized, often); RAYED (67A. Like the sun); SABBATH (36A. Subject of Exodus 20:10); TAMES (66A. Harnesses); URSINE (49D. Bearish). Three- and four-letter -- BEAN, CBS, CLUB, EDDA (53A. Icelandic volume), FINE FIR, FITS, IFS, LSD, MOLE, not clued as a burrower or spy, and PUMA, not clued as a cat, rounding out with more debris -- SEA, SEMI, SLOE, SODA, TOR, YEAR… Pairings -- Shortzesque clues for ASIA (25D. Part of a famous septet) and ENVY (7D. Part of a famous septet); EEL (35A. Slippery one) and ELM (65A. Slippery one?); also ARIA with ASIA, BODY and BONE, DYE and DIET, ENVY with ENVOI (18D. Poetic coda); SHEAF and SHELL, how about BOO and LOO? I won‘t tell a soul! ----------------- 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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Xword search information -- 1. “Numb3rs” airer; 14. Where to go in Greenwich?; 17. Keeper of confidential information; 20. Noodle; 26. Like a keeper of confidential information; 34. Fruit used in English jelly; 46. With 60-Across, what a keeper of confidential information might say; 60. See 46-Across; 68. Davy Jones’s locker, with “the”. Down: 1. Listing in a high-school yearbook; 3. Part of many a drink order; 4. Bearer of cones; 8. Alter, in a way; 12. Numismatist’s classification; 32. Rest stop sight; 31. Sophomores, e.g.; 38. Factor in a wine rating; 52. Legislature; 55. Home of Private Ryan in “Saving Private Ryan”; 57. First side to vote; 58. Spicy chocolate sauce; 59. Big brand in athletic footwear; 61. Rocky peak; 62. Cause of tripping?