02.23.10 -- Alouette

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Puzzle by Joanne Sullivan, edited by Will Shortz

LAND FORMS (68A. Geographical features … or what the circled squares in this puzzle represent), along with the circled squares (in print they’re gray squares) spelling geomorphologic units self-descriptive of their imitative form, e.g., PLATEAU, CLIFF, VALLEY, PLAIN, MESA and MOUNTAIN, are the interrelated group of this great-outdoors Tuesday crossword.

UPDRAFTS (20A. They lift kites), CLIME (16A. Weather of a region), RIA (7D. Narrow inlet), the ROSS / SEA (59D. With 46-Across, Antarctic waters), a single SABOT (10A. Wooden shoe) and a TEPEE (27D. Conical dwelling) add to the hike, while an ESTATE (30D. Brideshead, for one) is in wait for the weary traveler.

ALAS and OOPS (52D. “Lackaday!” and 54D. “Well, that was stupid of me!”) make a rare joint appearance among a group of words that are ILL AT EASE (17A. Fidgety), TENSE (33D. Uptight) including GUILE (50D. Slyness), SPAM (19A. Too much of e-mail) and a YENTA (42A. Busybody) -- SCARING (10D. Halloween activity) stands beside 11D. Edgar ALLAN Poe, but there’s a VALENTINE (15A. Patron of the hearts?) for those who missed the day.

Other entries of length include ALLUDES TO (61A. References), ANNEXES (43D. Extensions, APERATURES (1A. Camera openings), CHAPLAINS (44A. Service leaders in the service), ET ALIAE (26A. And other women: Lat.), LIONESSES (66A. Den mothers), MESS CALLS (34A. “Come and get it” signals in the Army), SELECT (24D. Grade of beef) and TEENAGE (49A. Like most promgoers).

Five-letter -- ACING (32D. Getting an A+ on), 18A. “What’s it all about, ALFIE?”, AMPLE (65A. Having plenty to spare), ASANA (28D. Yoga position), CELIA (51D. Salsa singer Cruz), EMMYS (26D. Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Drama Series), ENSUE (8D. Come after), GLACE (36A. Candied, as fruits), LEO IX (60A. Sainted 11th-century pope), MARIA (31D. Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger), SASES (67A. Wedding invitation encls.), SEATS (39A. Is a maître d’ for, say).

Short stuff -- AAAS, AVIS, BIFF, CEDE, DEF, DYE, EEN, ELLA, ERIN, GNU, ITEM, “ Well, LAH-di-dah!”, LEAN, LEE, LEMA, LON, LSAT, MAT, MESO, MPAA, MUIR (56A. John who wrote “My First Summer in the Sierra“), “Ready or NOT …”, OMIT, OUT, PALP, REAM, SEEP, SPED, TALL, TEES, TNT, UND, USSR, VASE, VIC, UND, USSR, UTE, VIC, YIN.

Finally, there’s a tune provided with which to travel about those land forms.  It's a grisly little children's song about plucking the feathers off a small bird, a skylark, e.g., 52A. Song whose title is repeated before and after “gentile” in its first line, ALOUETTE -- "Alouette, gentille Alouette, Alouette, je te plumerai, Je te plumerai la tête, Je te plumerai la tête, Et la tête, Et la tête, Alouette, Alouette..." -- for the rest of the ghastly lyrics in English, see HERE. For the lovely melody, HERE.

Skylark, photograph by David Tipling

Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at

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Remaining clues -- ACROSS: 1. 22. Bouquet holder; 25. Half of the tai chi symbol; 30. Day’s end, to a poet; 31 Grapping site; 38 Org. that approves trailers; 41. Hibernia; 50. Wildebeest; 51. Grant. DOWN: 1. Dollar competitor; 2. Sensory appendage; 3. First name of the First Lady of Song; 4. 500 sheets; 5. Blast producer; 6. Colorado tribe; 7. Narrow inlet; 9. Trickle (through); 12. Back to the Future” bully; 13. Not mention; 14. Caddie’s bagful; 21. Tint; 22. Trader ___ (restaurant eponym); 23. Some batteries; 29. Exam with sections known as arguments,” for short; 37. Meager; 40. Hightailed it; 45. Founding father Richard Henry ___; 48 No longer fashionable; 53. Champagne Tony of golf; 55. Like most N.B.A. players; 56. Prefix with -zoic; 57. CCCP, in English; 58. Line-___ veto; 62. Cambodia’s ___ Nol; 63. Tristan __ Isolde”; 64. 3, on a telephone.


Phil said...

Very good and creative theme.

Now I know what a 'Mesa' is - there are several of them bordering driveways on my block.

DONALD said...


..."several of them bordering driveways on my block..." I'm curious, please explain...

Phil said...

Gee, I suck at communication. (Another board I have to flee ...)

If a 'mesa' is simply
M a

... basically a bump, then a snowpile qualifies.

Ok. Shut up phil.

DONALD said...


Oh. Of course! I really must get outdoors more! I see from the news that it's everywhere!