02.08.09 -- Cryptic

From “Solium Infernum” a turn based strategy game set in the profoundest depths of Hell.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
CRYPTIC CROSSWORD, Puzzle by Richard Silvestri, edited by Will Shortz
I wasn’t going to do this puzzle, but I did, and only with help from Elizabeth and Dan (see Comments)!
Across: 1. Conclude 500 divides 2, DEDUCE; 4. What a guard might ask for: father’s weapon, PASSWORD; 9. Positive story about operating room in Virginia, FAVORABLE; 11. Reggie Miller, for one, comes back to give a summary, PACER; 12. Trials or transactions, ORDEALS; 13. Touching fellow who has been in the sun, TANGENT; 14. Oscar-winning actor is embracing Reagan, IRONS; 16. Most ridiculous place for a bird, INANEST; 19. Hot old lover quoted, EXCITED; 21. Talent to burn, they say, FLAIR; 23. Take out additional cent, EXTRACT; 25. Doctor Adam ran a fast time, RAMADAN; 27. Feel sorry about missing the first bird, EGRET; 28. Change back row, REARRANGE; 29. Great tie, wrong knot, TOWERING; 30. Well-spoken doc goes after viral malady, FLUENT.
Down: 1. Lifted top off a low- grade flower, DAFFODIL; 2. Find a video featuring Letterman, DAVID; 3. Pens hymns for the audience, CORRALS; 5. A. bartender may pour it right on one’s toes, ALERT; 6. Middle Easterner losing a good English medical instrument, SYRINGE; 7. Short race confused players, ORCHESTRA; 8. Obligation to include record agent, DEPUTY; 10. Introduction of Band Aid musician, BASSIST; 15. Deposition plainly visible at end of fifth file, OVERTHROW; 17. Country/god, ANDORRA; 18. Byzantine patterns in part of church, TRANSEPT; 20. Oscar-winning actress has paintings for hire, CHARTER; 21. Bottomless woman holding hoop right near the thigh, FEMORAL; 22. Theater company breakfast, theater company breakfast, REPEAT; 24. Spin around one Italian city; 26. Somewhat slow without an author, DANTE.
I had my doubts as to FLAIR, and stubbornly stuck to DEPOSE, DENSE and ANEAT. Dan in Comments set me right -- it's not DEPOSE, but D(EP)UTY (obligation = duty, record = EP, agent = deputy); and as to DENSE, it's DANTE -- somewhat slow without an author = (an)DANTE; and finally, a bartender may pour it right on one's toes = ALE+RT. FLAIR is correct, as FLARE has a (verb) sense of burn (as in flare-up).
I also didn’t understand the clue for PASSWORD (see Elizabeth's explanation in Comments), nor the answer of OVERTHROW, which I later came around to its' being OVERT (plainly visible) plus the end of fifth (H) plus file (ROW).
Thanks for the help, and now I hope I can declare this puzzle finished!
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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Elizabeth said...

4 across is
what a guard might ask for: password
father's weapon: pa's sword
get it??!

DONALD said...


Ha, ha! Thanks!

===Dan said...

8D=D(EP)UTY (obligation=duty, record=EP, agent=deputy)

26A Somewhat slow without an author=

5D A bartender may pour it right on one's toes= ALE+RT

Flair is correct, as FLARE has a (verb) sense of burn (as in flare-up)

DONALD said...


Thanks for finishing this cryptic -- your corrections have been incorporated into the text and in the image of the puzzle.

winbrick said...

1A. I see how deduce means conclude and de=D (500) and duce=deuce=2, but I don't see how 500 divides 2 in the answer. I was looking for a word that meant conclude and had IDI (500 splitting II)somewhere in the word, preferably at the start.
Better clue: "Conclude 500 teams with 2". This puzzle was crazy!

===Dan said...

Winbrick, DE(D)UCE shows D dividing DEUCE. Both the 500 and the 2 are straightforward definitions, and the action of splitting is straightforwardly indicated. Cryptics are tricky not by ambiguity or fuzziness, but by sleight-of-hand: the surface of the clue is like the magician waving his wand. You are distracted from what's right under your nose; the surface reading of a clue makes it hard to see the cryptic instructions. That's why I love them.

So you won't see 500 defining "De" or 2 defining "duce"; if you are going to rely on the sounds of the words you need to say so explicitly with a "homophone indicator" even if it's as misleading as "on the tongue" or "in the ear." (That may not be the case with "Puns and Anagrams" clues, but it's a firm rule with cryptic clues.)

winbrick said...

Thanks for the help. I see now how D splits deuce. It is perfect. I do lots of puns and anagrams,having learned to do them from my mother. However somehow that slipped by me. In fact this was a very difficult puzzle for me, although most puns and anagrams puzzles are much simpler.

On to the next one.