12.19.09 -- In the Vein of Vague

Televangelist Oral Roberts superimposed upon the sculpture of The Praying Hands which greet the viewer at the entrance of Oral Roberts University, The monolithic sculpture, cast from Oral Robert's own hands is the largest bronze sculpture in the world.  The hands clap at midnight!


Saturday, December 19, 2009 -- Hanukkah 

Puzzle by Tyler Hinman and Byron Walden, edited by Will Shortz

Composed of four essentially separate corner puzzles fused by four 15-letter and two eleven-letter entries to a scattererbrain center, this wandering Saturday crossword goes out of the way to give clues of maximum vagueness, exemplarily the four aforementioned 15-letter entries -- YOU CAN COUNT ON IT (16A “Absolutely”), DOUBLE OCCUPANCY (3D. Split between roommates), LINE OF REASONING (10D. Thread used in briefs) and FINAL RESOLUTION (51A. Very end of a conflict).

ORAL ROBERTS (17D. “The Call” autobiographer) died this week and now resides dead center of this crossword crossing the O of CRIMSON TIDE (33A. Tigers’ rival in the Southeastern Conference). URBAN/DECAY (18A. With 4-Down, “Roger & Me” subject) share the letter A, while RED NOSE and NO SENSE (37D. Item sported to support Britain’s Comic Relief; 55A. What flibbertigibbets make) nearly cross noses; LAY LOW (56A. Stayed in, say) keeps a distance from LAY UPS (1D. Standard buckets); however, sharing an M are AMOROUS AMOEBAS (2D. Loverly?; 13A. Pseudopod formers).

Other seven-letter entries include ARMLOCK (26A. Hold in a ring); AVIATOR (11D. Managed banks?); BE A STAR (36A. Make it); ECSTASY (23D. Transcendent state); NEILSON (34D. Roger who coached eight different N.H.L. teams); NICEISH (39A. Pleasant enough); OCARINA (35D. Light wind); QUI VIVE (15A. Alert); SCHEMES (14D. Emulates Iago); SOAPIER (29A. More melodramatic); TRIM DIE (22D. Casting device); and this crossword’s self-descriptive, UNCLEAR (54A. Opaque).

Six -- BERGER (57A. Sandy who was national security adviser for Bill Clinton); BETTOR (12D. Certain ticket holder); DNA LAB (7A. Site of many tests); EISNER (42D. “The Spirit” creator Will); IREFUL (38D. Boiling over); LADDER (1A. Intraclub competition rankings).

Five -- APIAN (26D. Melliferous, perhaps); AVOWS (9D. Picked things); CAPER (40D. “The Italian Job,“ e.g.); EARLY (45A. Too quickly); ERATO (457A. Figure in Greek myth whose name means “desired”); FINNS (50A. They call themselves Suomalaiset); KNISH (27D. Offering from many a New York street vendor); LITER (46D. About 33.8 fluid ounces); OCTAD (35A. Oxygen atom’s protons, e.g.); 15D. Chili con QUESO (Tex-Mex dish); SNERD (31A. McCarthy cohort); STALL (44D. Foot-drag); SWEAT (20A. Hard work); TEASE (22A. Flirt).

Short stuff -- ART (30D. “Nature concentrated,“ per Balzac), DUN, EBAN, EDT, FUSE, HRE, ICU, LOB, LODI, NITS, OLEO, POLY, PTS, RAPS, RAN and RAW, SOTO, SEE and SUE.


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.

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.
Remaining clues -- Across: 19. Its leader’s flag featured a black eagle: Abbr.; 21. Cal ___; 24. All-Star Cubs catcher Geovany; 25. Overreact to an accident, maybe; 28. “___ sher!”; 38. Carefully monitored area, for short; 41. “Don’t you ___?”; 43. Criticizes; 46. Italian site of a 1796 Napoleon victory; 49. Small containers: Abbr. Down: 5. Host of PBS’s “Heritage: Civilization and the Jews”; 6. Made the newspaper; 7. Grayish shade; 8. Picked things; 32. August setting in the Capitol bldg.; 48. Muffin stuffin’?; 50. Curent governor; 52. Unprepared; 53. Easy interview question.

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