01.09.09 -- Puzzled

QEII (28A. Ruler crowned in 1953, informally)
Friday, January 9, 2009
Puzzle by Paula Gamache, edited by Will Shortz
The crossword puzzle, which has been called "the most popular and widespread word game in the world," was invented by Arthur Wynne in 1913.
Wynne was an immigrant from England who worked for the New York World. One day, his editor asked him to invent a new game for the newspaper's Sunday "Fun" section. Wynne recalled a puzzle from his childhood called "Magic Squares," in which a given group of words had to be arranged so their letters would read the same way across and down. Wynne created a larger and more complex grid, and provided clues instead of giving the necessary words.
As though to demonstrate just how far the Arthur Wynne “word cross” has come, today’s crossword is chock full of double entendre, innuendo, rhyming entries, deluge and clamor, canary and carnivore, exes and axis, drip and flip, batt and fazool, and
One atop another, THE ONCE OVER (1A. A looker might give it … or get it ),
FOOTBALL WIDOW (12A. Partner of a certain rabid sports fan) and SAY THE MAGIC WORD (14A. “Please?“ elicitor) start this crossword off in fine fettle.
The rhymes -- CULTURE VULTURE (45A Habitués of art galleries, theaters, etc.),
GEORGIE PORGIE (47A. Nursery rhyme title fellow) and GREEN SCREEN (48A. Once-common monochrome PC display), are a tri-tandem at the end of the crossword.
Shortzesque clues -- EMIT and SEEP (23- and 26-Down -- Ooze) and WRETCH and SARGE (13- and 14-Down -- Base person). Interrelated entries -- PAIR (22D. See 25-Down) and EXES (25D. 22-Down that has split) and DRIP (38A. With 15-Down, hangs on the line) and DRIES (15D. See 38-Across). How about BORG and BORGE …or FLIP and DRIP …and EXES and AXIS?
Eight-letter entries -- AGITATOR (27D. One stirring the pot); AREA CODE (42A. Prefix in parentheses); today’s other ruler,
EDWARD II (10D. Loser in the Battle of Bannockburn, 1314); MANEATER (17A. Lion, tiger or shark).
Seven-letter -- CLAMORS (6D. Raises an outcry); GATELEG (31D. Drop leaf supporter); ORDER IN (33D. Call for delivery); ROOT OUT (11D. Find and destroy);
SLEEVES (32D. They’re short on T’s); TOYOTAS (1D. Some hybrids).
Six-letter -- AZORES (16A. Native home of the canary); DELUGE (38D. Cataclysm);
ELGART (7D. “Hooked on Swing” jazzman Larry); FADE IN (37D. Many an opening shot); the word for the day, FAZOOL (12D. Italian beans, in a Dean Martin standard); FILENE (44A. Department store founder who pioneered credit unions); HOT ROD (2D. Fast accelerator); IN A RUG (30D. Bug’s place?); LIENEE (34D. One with a mortgage, e.g.); SMITHS (26A. Forgers); TIGGER (29A. Bouncy kid-lit character).
Five-letter --
ANAIS (36A. First name in erotica); APRES (35D. Opposite of avant); BORGE (40D. The Great Dane of entertainment); EDUCE (23A. Infer from data); ETHER (3D. Clear sky); LEDER (41A. Shorts material, in München); LITRE (41D. Petrol purchase); OWING (8D. Seeing red?); ROTOR (18A. Wankel engine component); TABAC (29D. The French smoke it).
Three- and four-letter -- AXIS (27A. Something to turn on);
BAEZ (40A. Dylan was once her protégé); BATT (39A. Matted cotton sheet); BODS (19D. Figures, informally); BORG (19A. Winner of 11 Grand Slam tournament titles); CURE (43D. Smoke, e.g.); EADS (25A. 19th-century engineer with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame); ELS (24A. Local borders?); FLOR (44D. Thing with petalos); GOAD (21A. Goose); NAM (5D. “We Were Soldiers” setting); OBES (4D. U.K. awards); PORT (22A. Computer hookup point); 20A. QUIZ (28D. It can be frightening when one is popped); 33A. Rock-OLA; 20A. ROTI de boeuf; SUET (32A. Blood sausage ingredient); UPC (46D. Lines at a checkout counter?: Abbr.); VICE (9D. Gambling too much, e.g.), or perhaps doing too many crossword puzzles. All this attention to to "word cross" would surely leave Arthur Wynne himself puzzled!
For a “Brief History of Crossword Puzzles” --
For a “Crossword Nightmare” --
For that song with “FAZOOL” --
For today’s cartoons, go to
The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
Click on images to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
If you subscribe to home delivery of The New York Times you are eligible to access the daily crossword via The New York Times - Times Reader, without additional charge, as part of your home delivery subscription.

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