11.10.07 -- Riddles

The riddle of the Sphinx, the solution in the background


Saturday, November 10, 2007
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Puzzle by Dana Motley, edited by Will Shortz

Before analysis, after "a" (34A PRIORI) is but one of the many mini-riddles that may doom one's gray matter to pushing up DAISIES (25A Symbols of freshness) this weekend. Have no doubt about it, this is one tough QUIZSHOW (37D It has valuable questions) apt to leave even DOUBTERS (36D They have nagging questions) to exclaim, "It is, ISITNOT (26D "Right?")!"

This is a puzzle with a parade of deviousness and riddles -- 17A Knee problem is GRASSSTAIN; 18D Some clich├ęd writing - JOURNALESE; 35D Hangers-on - TOADIES; 38A Other drivers (never you, of course) - IDIOTS; 24A Smith, e.g. - ARTISAN; 39A Following group - CULT; 3D Feature of many a big do - TEASEDHAIR; 6D Filling stations? - EATERIES; 22D Apes - PARROTS; and not the last or least NOMAS (45D Mexican uncle?).

NEXTTOLAST (49A Like Y, e.g.) and RST (40A Character lineup), along with EXIT (16A It’s often marked with a number) certainly give pause -- EDEL (23A Leon who won both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award in 1963) wanted to be Uris or Auel. Am I to be enlightened by now knowing 21A Capital, usually is METROPOLIS? Or that 37A Select groups are QUORUMS? Or perhaps that the Target of a rabbit punch (46A) is not the neck or head, but NAPE?

Name several dozen food items before MASHEDPEAS (54A Soft, high-fiber dish) or ZITI (12D Fusilli alternative) spring to mind! #1 best sellers are now (18D SMASHES)…Part of the earth’s outer layer is not the crust, but the (47D PLATE), and an Oil holder is an EASEL (48D). ASTO and AHSO receive nebulous definitions, and CHAR here is a (56A Red-bellied trout).

Am I making any sense -- guess why? Firm fear is now LOSS (59A); a Light carriage with a folding top is not a surrey, but a CALASH (42D); 34D Beat could be anything, but here it is PULSATE. How often does one encounter DEBONAIR (10D Jaunty), CHATTED (7D Had a causerie), RAJAH (27A Rogers Hornsby’s nickname, with “the”), BONANZA (44A Windfall); CANASTA (39D Game derived from 500 rummy), and CAISSON (42A Ammunition carrier on wheels) all in one strange bed together?

“…LEST faith turn to despair”: Romeo (20A) is not one of Shakespeare’s most quotables, and did we need to go that far away to find a clue for poor little LEST? In what case is a SHED a (33A Garage alternative)? SCH (31A Senior ctr.?), ECON (6A College major, briefly), and HIST (30D H.S. subject) ECHO (50D Be reminiscent of) school DAZE (10A Fog).

ONAPAR (43D Even) with all of the above, the remainders: 1A Vegetable oil, e.g., 14A Up; 15A “Got it”; 19A Very small serving; 41A It’s been put on before; 52A ALLA francese; 53A Crown; 57A Topic lead-in; 60A “Saint Joan” playwright”; 61A Fisherman’s basket; 1D Maker of a historic touchdown; 2D Iota; 4D Neighbor of Monterey Park, briefly; 5D Atlas info: Abbr.; 8D The sacred bull Apis was his embodiment; 9. They’re proscribed; 11D Botanist’s angle; 13D Form of the French “to be”; 29. Some materiel; 31D Do something emotionally to; 32D Word preceding various colors; 49. Halite, chemically; 51D Present occasion, informally; and 55D Multiple of LXX.

The Sphinx is delighted!

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.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games

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