03.28.10 — What Makes IT ITCH?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

WHAT MAKES IT ITCH?, Puzzle by Ed Sessa, edited by Will Shortz

The title of this fairly dull Sunday crossword is a clue for the seven long answers of the puzzle, e.g., CH added to IT forms ITCH; ergo, expect to add CH to a few more words, in this case, WIN to WINCH, HIT to HITCH, MEN’S to MENSCH, PAT to PATCH, THAT to THATCH, PUN to PUNCH and BUN to BUNCH, changing familiar phrases to inane phrases with justifying question-mark clues, as follows:

NO WINCH SITUATION (23A. Problem for a crane operator?)
ONE HITCH WONDER (38A. Exceptional soldier on his only tour?)
MENSCH FASHION (68A. What kind, decent people wear?)
PATCH ON THE BACK (98A. Hidden help for one who’s trying to stop smoking?)
GET A LOAD OF THATCH (117A. Instruction #1 for roofers?)
MAKE A BAD PUNCH (16D. Hit below the belt?)
HOT CROSS BUNCH (56D. Really angry group)

Other — ANCHORAGE (81D. Home of Elmendorf Air Force Base), CIGAR CASE (47A. Cuban’s home?), COUNSELS (108A. Court figures), DESCEND ON (90A. Arrive unexpectedly en masse), SADDLE UP (29A. Get ready to go), MENDICANT (14D. Beggar), SINGLE GUY (79D. Bachelor), ZETA-JONES (9D. Academy Award winner for “Chicago,” 2002), and two split answer/clues, OSAGE TRIBE (20A. With 21-Across, native Oklahoma group) and STRIPED TIE (59A. Like many a 36-Across, Haberdashery offering).

Seven-letter — BURMESE (78A. Cuddly cat), CABANAS (69D. Some quick-change places), CLOSURE (55D. Conclusion), HELOISE (40D. Hint offered), NANETTE (94D. Tony and Emmy winner Fabray), NEW AGER (3D. Shirley MacLaine, notably), NEW HIGH (88a. Wall Street landmark?), NOMINAL (24D. Hardly worth mentioning), OGREISH (84D. Beastly), SARA LEE (51A. Food giant based in Downers Grove, Ill.), SCONCES (95D. Candleholders on a wall), SECURES (35D. Gets hold of), SIERRAS (49D. Rugged range), SPOKANE (2D. Expo ‘74 city), THREW IN (65D. Included for free).

Mid-size — ABETS; ACHOO; ACOIN; ACTII, ALETA; AMOCO (74D. Bygone brand with a torch in its logo); ASPEN; BEAUT; “BESAME Mucho,” #1 hit for Jimmy Dorsey; CHILI; ENDEAR; ENTER, GENIE; GOSSIP (48D. Tittle-tattle); HEATER; INCAS; INURE; KAPOK (27A. Pillow fill); LAPAZE (5A. World capital at 12,000 feet); LOCKET; NOAHS; OCALA; OSCAR (73A. Grouchy Muppet); OTYPE; PORED and PROBED; PUTON; RERAN; RINSE; SAHIB (77D. Bygone title of respect); SCRUM (10A. Rugby gathering); SOAPY; STAYED; STAUB; TAFTS; TERNE (46A. Lead and tin alloy); TONIC; TOPLIT; UBOAT; UNBEND; UPONE; UTERI; YAPAT (126A. Vocally bother).

Short stuff — ABE; ACHE, ache, ache, ache; AGIO; AMSO; ANNI; ARA; ASH; AWOL; COP; CRAB, crab, crab, crab; CRT; DERR; DONT; DUI; EDEN; EKG; ENOS; EROO; FIE, fie, fie, fie; HITS; HMS; HUES; ION; “Coffee ISN’T my cup of tea“: Samuel Goldwyn; ITEM; JOES; LICK; MEA; “Fly ME TO the Moon“; MRE; NAG and NOG; NESS; NIKE; ODIN; OKAY; OLA; OMNI; OPER; OTB; PABA; PAIN, pain, pain, pain; PASS, pass, pass, pass; PLOD, plod, plod, plod; RIDE; RIIS; RIT and ROT; RPM; SCAR; SEI; SOHO; SONG; STEP; TRIP; WATT and WREN, not the bird.

Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at

THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.

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Remaining clues — ACROSS: 15. Schoolyard comeback; 19. Phone abbr.; 22. Eponymous engineer; 26. Green-light; 28. In a lather; 31. Noodge; 32. ___ culpa; 34. Average fellows; 37. “___ Lincoln in Illinois” (1940 biopic); 43. Kvetch; 45. Showed over; 53. Feigned; 54. Chief Norse deity; 55. Hot dog topping; 57. G.M. tracking system; 61. Plug along; 62. Motorist’s no-no, for short; 64. Helps in a heist; 66. Get used (to); 67. Rubbish; 72. Colt’s fans, for short?; 76. Head turner; 76. 45 ___; 77. Leave a mark on; 83. ___ ark; 85 Switch add-on; 86. Machu Picchu people; 92. Play center, often; 93. Dentist’s directive; 97. iTunes selection; 101. Handicapper’s hangout, for short; 103. Spanish wave; 105. Big Apple neighborhood; 106. Twice tre; 107. Eggy quaff; 111. Scrutinized, with “over”; 114. Colorado resort; 116. Years, in Rome; 121. Beat; 122. Centers of early development; 123. Wish granter; 124. News tidbit; 125. Yearn; 127. Cry from beyond a closed door; 128. Leader of the Untouchables. DOWN: 1. Electrical particle; 4. Take a header; 6. Volcanic fallout; 7. Court transfer?; 8. Currency exchange premium; 11. Computer screen, for short; 12. Jacob who wrote “How the Other Half Lives”; 13. Maritime threat of the early 1940s; 15. Off-base in a bad way; 17. Six-time baseball All-0Star Rusty; 18. Like universal blood donors; 25. Ahead, but barely; 30. Charlie Chan creator Earl ___ Biggers; 31. Postman’s creed conjunction; 33. Courthouse records; 39. Member of a strict Jewish sect; 41. Follower of Christopher or Carolina; 42. Slowing down, in mus.; 44. Flip ___ (decide by chance); 50. Win over; 52. Razz; 53. Sunscreen additive; 58. Ohio political dynasty; 60. Old Japanese coin; 61. Investigated; 63. Straighten out; 68. Field ration, for short; 70. Peach and orange; 71. It means everything; 84. Beastly; 87. Filch; 89. Google stat; 91. Genesis son; 92. Sound while jerking the head; 96. Ticker tape letters?; 99. Like atriums; 100. Punk’s piece; 101. City in Florida’s horse country; 102. Gin’s partner; 104. Prince Valiant’s love; 109. “Swoosh” band; 110. One ___ at a time; 112. Heavenly place; 113. Succinct warning; 115. Pest; 118. Parseghian of Notre Dame; 119. “For shame!”; 120. Britannia letters.

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