12.08.07 -- Attic

Saturday, December 8, 2007

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Puzzle by Barry C. Silk, edited by Will Shortz

Lurking in the attic of tedious trivia are the masters of crossword cluing, spinning a web of deception as fine as silk, cloaking arcanum with a web so thick, many solvers will be as doomed as diptera. As a child, my mother once told me “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see.” Whatever the proper application to which that wisdom may be pressed, this Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle deserves to embrace it as a disclaimer. Well, it is Saturday, and on this particular day, the Times puzzle is bound by tradition to be as inscrutable as is humanly possible -- perhaps that is too high a bar to hurdle, but this offering comes close to clearing it.

Second African-American in the Baseball Hall of Fame -- so many other achievements in the “first” category, and to hide him behind Jackie Robinson is a little out of left field. Baseball Hall of Fame, HERE. 11. They feature creatures -- rhyming clue! 15. Some planets may be seen with it -- probably Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and sometimes Mercury. 16. “You can stop trying to wake me now!” -- IMUP, and it’s Saturday? 17. Simon Legree -- think of a dozen answers with ten letters, move on to next clue. 18. League heading: Abbr. -- fill! 19. Linemen next to centers: Abbr. -- fill, fill! 20. Taj Mahal attractions-- not India. 21. “My Life on Trial” autobiographer -- a dead lawyer? 22. Stat that’s better when lower -- fill, fill, fill! 23. Undivided -- fill, fill, fill, fill! 24. Pillowcase material -- neither eider nor feather will fit. 25. Loose overcoat -- every overcoat should be a little loose. 28. Some home theater systems -- more fill! 30. Fangorn Forest dweller -- and the fill goes on! 31. Makeup problem -- could this be the face itself? 31. 1961 top 10 hit for the Everly Brothers -- 46 years ago! 34. 1966 album that’s #2 on Rolling Stone’s all-time greatest albums list -- 41 years ago! Oh, by the way it’s not by the Stones, that’s the list -- try Beach Boys! 36. 2001 Microsoft debut -- computers. 39. Web developer? -- like I was saying, but it could happen anywhere. 43. The same beginning? -- think on that. 44. Willingly -- we’ve had this one during the past month, and it brought forth a goodly discussion. 45. Melodramatic cry -- take your pick, but this one is MYHERO! 46. Engine using a stream of compressed air -- how’s your prowess in technology? 48. Pay stub? -- To the list of “end”, “finish”, etc., add “stub”, ergo PayOLA. 50. Sequel title starter -- what to do with your SON fill? 51. Gets to work on Time? -- variation on a clue upon a clue…EDITS. 52. Spread news of? -- this one was a bruiser. 54. Block buster? -- the space is the biggest clue. 55. Cager Kukoc -- what team, when, why, etc., who cares? 56. It appears first in China -- lots of possibilities, but it’s FAMILYNAME. 58. ARAL Sea (shrinking body of water) -- right off, knew this one. 59. Lexicographic enlighteners -- not crossword constructors, for sure! 60. Achiever of many goals -- think soccer. 61. It’s no longer working -- the answer is not “out of order”!


1. Sharp workers -- not “cutters”, CUTLERS. 2. Cheaters, to teachers -- sometimes a synonym, this time an ANAGRAM. 3. Remove knots from, maybe -- need kneading? 4. Water follower, commercially -- it’s PIK. 5. Wearers of four stars: Abbr. -- fill, but not GENS. 6. Comic Kevin -- just a matter of how it’s spelled. 7. 60-Across’s real first name -- Edison was too long -- so we get this. 8. Option for DVD viewing -- LETTERBOXFORMAT, only way to see the original -- scan and pan cuts out half the film. 9. Products of wood ashes -- not LEES. 10. Flying start? -- “aero” won’t fit, just put in AER. 11. Fan club reading, briefly -- getting used to this one. 12. Either of two father-and-son Dodgers owners -- OMALLEY -- O'Malley is best known for moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles from the New York City borough in 1957 and convincing Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move his team to San Francisco. He still is considered a pariah in Brooklyn. O'Malley died in 1979. 13. Silhouette -- oh, that old eponym -- but an OUTLINE? 14. First-aid equipment -- let’s hope the kit has everything. 21. When there are lots of errands to run, say -- BUSYDAY. 24. “Doctor Faustus” novelist -- more and more fill! 26. Pacific force, for short -- what, “lava”, “nino”, no -- LAPD, come on, really! 27. Spaces between leaf veins -- the most straightforward clue of today. 29. Great move -- not always, a COUP from who’s view? 32. Caesarean being -- don’t look far, it’s ESSE. 33. Book before Job: Abbr. -- what else can you do with ESTH? 35. Dweeb. Not nerd, TWIT. 36. Conversation piece? -- oooh, good! 37. Early screenwriter Bernstein -- are there any less obscure ISADOREs? 38. Insignificant -- not “trivial” 40. How some people die -- oh, this is a gloomy clue! 41. Durable athletes -- I suppose one can say they’re IRONMEN, I don’t know. 42. Match -- lots of possibilities! 45. Many a circular -- this could also be clued as Writer Norman. being he passed away this month. 47. It’s worth 8 points in scrabble -- it’s the “J”. 49. Composer Boccherini -- oh boy, who knows, who cares! 52. Mean -- not cruel, but lowly. 53. Northumberland river -- rivers have the damnest names! 56. Creature feature -- this clue matches 11-Across, e.g., They feature creatures. 57. Annuaire listing -- don’t end your puzzle with a kindly clue!

The attic is open!
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Bill said...

I don't understand the claim that Judy Johnson was the first African American to be admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jackie Robinson 1962
Roy Campanella 1969
Josh Gibson 1972
Buck Leonard 1972
Monte Irvin 1973
Cool Papa Bell 1974
Judy Johnson 1975

DONALD said...

I took that information from the web site devoted to him -- so perhaps someone has a different slant on that information -- I'm going to check it out, to see why.

In the meantime, I will correct the information upon further research so that I don't continue to foment error.

The source I used was:


Which appears as a link to his name in the blog.

Thanks for calling this to my attention!