10.18.07 -- Silas Sez

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Click here for LARGE PRINT.

Puzzle by Lucy Gardner Anderson, edited by Will Shortz

“May ITAKE your order?” (63A), along with SIDESPLITTING (38A); FRENCH (1A) FRIES (69A); BAKED (5A) POTATO (50D); COLE (10A) SLAW (68); ONION (33A) RINGS (44A); and, I insist, MEAL (60A) are the inter-related entries in this SOSO (70A) puzzle.

I absolutely refuse to delineate the machinations of this crossword. It seems reader rude to explain such a simple device as the splitting of side dishes of main courses -- but where’s the beef! Oh, HERCULES (29A)! NAW (20A), that’s beefcake! Of course, there’s the usually silent SILAS (32D).

Let’s say SILAS (32D) sez he’s compulsed to speak. What variations on the subject (or, if you will, “topic, text; essay, thesis, treatise, dissertation; composition; melody, mood", in addition to "subject"; check your thesaurus under “theme”) of this puzzle could he conjure?

Taking the route of academic snobbery: how about indicating superiority, perhaps starting with an explanation for the poor depraved and deprived masses that might mightily please the gods of hubris -- this would include describing the inter-related subject entries in high dudgeon prose with an occasional colloquialism thrown in as indication of simpatico -- explain that SIDE-SPLITTING is the splitting of the side dishes scattered throughout the grid , etc. for those souls who’s brain cells are pink instead of gray. Ramble on to include personal information about family, things disliked, how the crossword should have been constructed and what’s wrong with it, and finish with comments involving political correctness, expressing alarm. Sound important at all costs!

Another might be to essentially do the same SIDE-SPLITTING routine, noting four different two-word "side" orders are "split," with the first word appearing in one part of the grid and the second appearing in another. Then expound how swiftly he solved the puzzle even though it’s a later-in-the-week-supposedly-more-difficult puzzle -- he won’t bother explaining how he remembers in such minute detail such long pauses, trials and tribulations, bemusement at trickery, et cetera, all in the blink of an eye -- just sez he likes being fast.

He’d make note of astonishment at seeing outer space entries two days in a row, relate what he thinks is funny which to everyone in the universe will be a mystery as to why, showing mock humility in the presence of the rest of the world’s lack of all-encompassing knowledge -- after all, there are a few, very few, things in life he doesn’t know -- then he’d own up, expounding upon his new-found lore in languishing detail, and hypothesize upon similarities and their opposites, contradicting while contrasting, simultaneously googling, adding a dash of smarmy phrases to indicate pleasure or displeasure to remind us he’s only human with likes and dislikes, even though he ranks above us all -- it’s The Teacher’s way!

Cute, be cute, but question the very saneness of the crossword constructor. After the puzzle has been torched, remind the reader again he’s human too, returning to kick the ashes with a few more barbs, stomping out all alien intelligence to make sure! Stomp, stomp, stomp! Good -- wait, go back now and throw water on the death of inventiveness. Quickly, feign humility of making brilliant “guesses“ ("what I don't know, I divine"); telling us he doesn’t like certain things included in his puzzle from books and movies he’s never seen and never will, nonetheless dislikes enormously. Finally, he indicates his powers can blow away any reference to anyone in any puzzle any time -- but he sez “please“, just to be polite. “Oh, hell!“, again sez he, goes back, gives us some “gimme”’s -- never-seen things and things he’d rather not see -- and ends it all with some ridiculous request for unappetizing food!

The Teacher? He just tells us he’s always happy to see what he’s seeing, what he likes, what he “thinks” is better than something else, what ‘s not seen often, what he’s guessed, what was funny, and wrap the rest of it up like leftovers for the dog.

Across: 1. Lady abroad; 5. With 50-Down, steak go-with; 10. With 68-Across, fish filet go-with; 14. Wedding parties?: Abbr.; 15. Water, for one; 16. Tel AVIV; 17. Psyche components; 18. Fix, as a hitch; 19. Unnerve; 20. “Yep” negator; 21. Behind closed doors; 23. Drug-free; 25. Well-founded; 29. He-man; 33. With 44-Across, hot sandwich go-with; 34. Like waves on a shoreline; 37. It’s on the St. Lawrence River: Abbr.; 38. Hilarious…or a hint to this puzzle’s theme; 42. Brown, in ads; 43. Passed; 44. See 33-Across; 47. Closed tight; 51. White-knuckle; 54. Make a ship stop by facing the wind; 55. Newscast lead; 59. Drift NET; 60 Airline rarity, nowadays; 63. “May ITAKE your order?”; 64. Bob Dylan’s first wife and the title of a song about her; 65. Makeover; 66. Stinky; 67. Dirty magazines and such; 68. See 10-Across; 69. See 1-Down; 70. Neither good nor bad.

Down: 1. With 69-Across, burger go-with; 2. Treat splendidly; 3. One saying “I do”; 4. Letters before Liberty or Constitution; 6. Sprung (from); 6. x, y and z; 7. Toy sometimes seen on a beach; 8. Order; 9. Big name in balers; 10. Unisex dress; 11. Female gametes; 12 1995 showbiz biography by C. David Heymann; 13. December 31, e.g.; 21. Harden; 22. Musician Brian; 24. Breezed through; 26. One of a series of joint Soviet/U.S. space satellites; 27. Dragged out; 28. Suffix with absorb; 30. Shake in a way; 31. Cable inits. since 1979; 32. Albino in
“The Da Vinci Code“; 35. Police target; 36. Jazzy James; 38. Something to take in a car; 39. Fred Astaire’s ISNT This a Lovely Day”; 40. The Beeb is seen on it; 41. “The very IDEA!”’; 42. The Rams of the Atlantic 10 Conf.; 45. 2003 #2 hit for Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz; 46. SNO-Cat; 48. Go-getter; 49. Womb; 50. See 5-Across; 52. Spruce (up); 53. Perfume ingredient; 56. 1955 Oscar nominee for “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday”; 57. Tex’s neighbor to the north; 58. Some wines; 60. Partner, informally, with “the”; 61. Underwater cave dweller; 62. Oral health org.; 64. Draft org.


For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle solution above is by the author of this blog and does not guarantee accuracy. If you find errors or omissions, you are more than welcome to make note of same in the Comments section of this post -- any corrections found necessary will be executed promptly upon verification.

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 subscription.

No comments: