12.19.10 — Total Lunar Eclipse


Sunday, December 19, 2010

HOPE FOR CLEAR SKIES, Puzzle by Kevin G. Der, edited by Will Shortz

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE (125A. Event on Dec. 21,2010, viewable in North and South America, depicted visually in this puzzle), CASTING / A SHADOW (137A. With 146-Across, what the center of this puzzle is doing during a 125-Across), TURN RED (What the focus of a 125-Across will do at its climax), AMATEUR ASTRONOMER (94A. Many an avid observer of a 125-Across), CELESTIAL BODIES (66A. Objects of interest in a 125-Across), along with seven squares in an arc above the center of the crossword square reading EARTH, e.g., BRIGHT, DIM, DARK, MOON, DARK, DIM, BRIGHT, and one square below at 143-Down reading SUN, constitutes the interrelated group of this complex (however, topical), leaden (however, celestial) and fragmented Sunday crossword.  Wordplay, The Crossword Blog of the New York Times simplifies it all with an excellent graphic, HERE.

The word-in-a-square entries —

  • MANY [MOON]S AGO (26A. A long time past) and [MOON]ING (27D. Youthful prank in a car;
  • AFTER [DARK] (29A. At night) and [DARK]MAN (30D. Superhero played by Liam Neeson in a 1990 film);
  • [DARK] HORSE (32A. Long-shot candidate) and [DARK] AGE (32D. Era of ignorance);
  • ON A [DIM]E (40A. One way to stop) and [DI M]AG (41D. Yankee great Joe, colloquially);
  • C[D IM]AGE 47A. Clone of an optical medium’s contents) and [DIM]LY (48D. How things may be lit or remembered);
  • [BRIGHT]EN (63A. Remove drapes from, as a room) and [BRIGHT] IDEA (63D. Promising proposal);
  • AL[BRIGHT] (69A. First female U.S. secretary of state) and [BRIGHT] SIDE (71D. Optimist’s focus);
  • AT THE [EARTH]’S CORE (81A. 1914 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel set in an underground land) and RARE [EARTH] (59D. Terbium or thulium);
  • GOE[S UN]DER (140A. Folds) and [SUN] UP (143D. Dawn).

Other across — 1. Not live, ON TAPE; 7. Author Roald DAHL; 11. Shop dresser, ADZE; 15. How something may be veiled, THINLY; 21. “Ball Four” author, BOUTON; 22. Big name in athletic footwear, AVIA; 23. Rama’s kingdom, SIAM; 24. Whence the line “I fear Greeks even when they bring gifts”, AENEID; 25. Feature of some pool balls, STRIPE; 28. Enthrones, CROWNS; 31. Football’s Sanders, DEION; 33. HOW-to; 34. YOM Kippur; 37. “AS I said …”; 38. Glossy black bird, DAW; 42. Mil. Address, APO; 44. Driller?: Abbr., SGT; 45. Kisser, MUG; 48. Wang of fashion, VERA; 50. Lulus, ONERS; 52. Drinking and gambling, VICES; 54. Basic solutions, LYES; 55. Breach, GAP; 57. Dummies, PEA BRAINS; 61. Six-time All-Star third baseman for the 1970s Dodgers, CEY; 72. Not yet delivered, IN UTERO; 74. How some things are made, TO ORDER; 75. Jackie’s #2, ONASSIS; 77. Think probable, DARESAY; 78. Pliny possessive, MEA; 79. Beach seen from Diamond Head, WAIKIKI; 80. Once, in the past, ERST; 88. Like many cakes, ICED; 89. “Honor is A MERE scutcheon”: Shak.; 91. Bygone European capital, LIRA; 92. Subterfuge, PLOY; 93. Track star Owens, JESSE; 109. Atlantic City locale, with “the”, TAJ; 103. Loser to McKinley, BRYAN; 104. Duff Beer vendor, MOE; 105. Spaceship attire G SUIT; 106. Slump, SAG; 109. Slugger Roberto ALOMAR; 111. Jackie’s #1, KENNEDY; 114. Proust’s “SWANN’S Way”; 116. Book set?, LITERATI; 119. Italian lover’s coo, TI AMO; 120. Indian royal, MAHARANI; 122. Deep-dish dishes, LASAGNES; 123. Heads outside together?, TOTEM; 124. Novelty glasses, X-RAY SPEX; 128. Turkish pooh-bahs, AGAS; 131. Flying Cloud, e.g., REO; 132. Student’s stat., AVG; 133. Dub, NAME; 149. To whom Hamlet says “Get thee to a nunnery”, OPHELIA; 150. There from the start, INBUILT; 151. It marks the target on a curling rink, TEE LINE; 152. Munchkins, PEEWEES; 153. Pardner, say, COWPOKE; 154. Commodore’s insignia, ONE STAR.

Down — 1. Delivery people, briefly, OBS; 2. Zero, NOT A ONE; 3. Battle over domain, TURF WAR; 4. Haggling, AT IT; 5. Sailor who debuted in a 1929 comic, POPEYE; 6. Juan’s January, ENERO; 7. Glen Canyon DAM; 8. Actress Gardner, AVA; 9. Dharma follower, HINDU; 10. Tiramisu features, LAYERS; 11. Catalog, ASSORT; 12. Steak DIANE; 13. Veer back, ZAG; 14. Comic Philips, EMO; 15. Aircraft gauges, TACHS; 16. Kind of couplet for Chaucer, HEROIC; 17. “IN OR out?”, 18. Paper for which Murray Kempton and Jim Dwyer won Pulitzers, NEWSDAY; 19. Trace of blood?, LINEAGE; 20. Football meas., YDS; 33. Kind of lane, HOV; 35. How things may be laid, TO REST; 36. Key of Bach’s “The Art of Fugue”, D MINOR; 39. Director Anderson, WES; 43. Amorous skunk in cartoons, PEPE; 46. Golden State campus inits., UCSD; 50. Lincoln Center production, OPERA; 51. 1974 Japanese Nobelist, SATO; 52. Feeling, VIBE; 53. Extended solo, SCENA; 56. Crackerjacks, ACES; 58. Tundra or wetland, BIOME; 50. Father-and-son actors, ALDAS; 62. Actor Morales, ESAI; 64. Prepare to fight, ENARM; 65. “Grey’s Anatomy” extra, NURSE; 67. One of the Islamic virtues, LOYALTY; 68. Grateful response, I OWE YOU; 69. Big name in athletic footwear, ASICS; 70. Column in a dating questionnaire, LIKES; 73. Aquarium fish, TETRA; 78. One getting a lift?, SKIER; 82. “TIE A yellow ribbon …”; 83. Place to put bags, TRUNK; 84. Laugh part, HAR; 85. E.M.T.’s training, CPR; 86. Science, OLOGY; 97. Reagan and others, RONS; 90. Tactic used against Britain by Napoleon, EMBARGO; 93. Boarding aids, JETWAYS; 95. Out-and-out, ARRANT; 96. Protective membrane, AMNION; 97. Beethoven’s “Appassionata,” e.g., SONATA; 98. One that overflows, TEEMER; 99. Fender bender, e.g., MISHAP; 100. Towering, TALL; 101. Jordan’s Queen ALIA International Airport; 102. Smidgens, JOTS; 106. [Just like that!], SNAP; 107. One of the Brontës, ANNE; 108. E.U. group, G SIX; 110. Pot-au-feu, e.g., MEAT STEW; 112. Classic rebuke, ET TU; 113. Observatory feature, DOME; 115. Powder rooms?, ARSENALS; 117. It may be shot during a riot, TEAR GAS; 118. Castaway’s locale, ISLE; 120. The year 1045, MXLV; 121. Japanese “thanks”, ARIGATO; 126. Need for KenKen, LOGIC; 127. Bistro offering, CARTE; 128. Rent-A-COP; 129. Hang open, GAPE; 130. 1968 U.S. Open champ, ASHE; 134. Mine entrance, ADIT; 135. Bart Simpson’s grandmother, MONA; 138. Pitcher, EWER; 139. Suffix with vir-, ILE; 139. Never: Ger., NIE; 142. “Charlotte’s Web” inits., EBW; 144. Italian God, DIO; 145. Forest game, ELK; 147. Clinton or Obama, once: Abbr., SEN; 148. Laugh part, HEE.

At a Lunar Eclipse

Thy shadow, Earth, from Pole to Central Sea,
Now steals along upon the Moon's meek shine
In even monochrome and curving line
Of imperturbable serenity.

How shall I like such sun-cast symmetry
With the torn troubled form I know as thine,
That profile, placid as a brow divine,
With continents of moil and misery?

And can immense mortality but throw
So small a shade, and Heaven's high human scheme
Be hemmed within the coasts yon arc implies?

Is such a stellar gauge of earthly show,
nation at war with nation, brains that teem,
Heroes, and women fairer than the skies?

~ Thomas Hardy At a Lunar Eclipse (1903)


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at

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