Puzzle by Jay Kaskel and Daniel Kantor, edited by Will Shortz
SILENT NIGHT (59A. Song of 1859 … or what the five circled letters represent?) along with the unpronounced silent letters N, I, GH and T lurking in circles within CHURCH HYMNS (18A. Carols, often), MICHAEL CAINE (24A. Scrooge player of film), NAUGHTY OR NICE (38A. Polar opposites?) and CHRISTMAS EVE (51A. Time before the present day?) — are the interrelated group of this wonderful Christmas Eve crossword.
Other — ACCIDENTAL (31D. Chance), EASED IN (48A. Entered cautiously), MAURITANIA (2D. Its capital is Nouakchott), MT SINAI (29A. It has 3,750 “steps of penitence”), MUSIC STAND (3D. Score keeper?), OAK / TREE (57A. With 67-Across, sacred symbol to Zeus), THE RIVIERA (32D. “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” setting).
Mid-size — ADAGE, ARCTAN (4D. Inverse trig function), EROTIC, ESPANA, GAS CAP, GEHRIG (8D. The Iron Horse of baseball), GET AT, HARD C (7D. Head of cattle?), LIE TO, SALTED, SCENE I, SKITS, TIC TAC, TO LET.
Short stuff — ALEC, ANNA, ARCH, ARE, ASH, ASST, AVA, CAMP, CELT, CIA and SPY, CRU, DIR, EACH, EAT and EAU, ENE and ENT, ESO, ETUI, GOGH, GRE, HEE and HEN, HMM, IAN, INSO, IRE, LAW, LONI, LYS (35D. Lily, in Lille), MME, NEA and NEW, NEON, NUS, OHI, OSLO (43A. Cold capital), OUCH, PAT and PAST, RAH, RARA, RIOT, SEED, TEN, USAC, VICI.
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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.
Remaining clues — ACROSS: 1. Not an ideal answer to “Do these jeans make me look fat?”; 4. Chief; 8. Something to unscrew on an auto; 14. Feu fighter; 15. Uncommon in ancient Rome; 16. Land of Papá Noel; 17. N N N; 20. Mr. Hilarious; 22. Chair: Abbr.; 23. Nonverbal congratulations; 30. Intimate; 33. Down; 34. Bird, e.g., once; 37. Comment upon receiving a large bill; 42. “___ doing …”; 44. Pique condition?; 46. Saw; 54. Palindromic girl’s name; 58. TV’s Anderson; 64. It’s taken to calm down; 66. It takes place on board a ship at sea in “The Tempest”; 67. See 57-Across; 68. Be a certain way?; 69. Bit of candy; 70. Start of something; 71. Brief subject. — DOWN: 1. Game ___; 5. Exclamation heard 12 times in Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance; 6. Word on a vin bottle; 9. Silvery-gray; 10. 19-Down employee; 11. Rough it, say; 12. Lady whom Don Giovanni tries to seduce; 13. Over; 19. Employer of 10-Downs: Abbr.; 21. “___ don’t know”; 24. Fr. Title; 25. Per; 26. Misinform, maybe; 27. #10 on a table; 28. Seamstress’s aid; 36. Flat sign; 39. Car-racing org.; 40. Van follower; 41. Tramp; 45. Chemical suffix; 47. Blue; 49. Like many winter roads; 50. Peruvian pronoun; 52. Ziering of “90210”; 53. Burlsque bits; 54. Bob Cratchit to Scrooge, e.g.: Abbr.; 55. Part of a boast; 56. Smart ___; 60. Three-in-one M.D.; 61. Class-conscious grp.?; 62. Princeton Review subj.; 63. Part of a snicker; 65. Fresh.