12.19.07 -- In Conclusion...

The Last Day of Pompeii, 1830-1833 -- Karl Brulloff -- The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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Puzzle by Victor Fleming, edited by Will Shortz
THELAST (36A. What shall be first … or words than can precede 17-, 23-, 52- and 60-Across), MANSTANDING (17A. Guy ready to sing the national anthem?), DAYSOFPOMPEII (23A. Era ended by Vesuvius?), OFTHEMOHICANS (52A. Belonging to a Hudson Valley tribe?), and PICTURESHOW (60A. Museum exhibit?) are this Wednesday crossword’s inter-related entries.
The Last Picture Show is the title of a 1971 film by Peter Bogdanovich;..... The Last of the Mohicans, of course, a novel by James Fenimore Cooper; The Last Days of Pompeii is a novel written by Edward Bulwer Lytton in 1834; and The Last Man Standing is simply endurance, to whatever degree, but I‘ll spare all of us Survivor .

Victor Fleming in the world of crossword puzzles is simply one of the best. He is not to be confused with the late Hollywood Victor Fleming, a director of films, most notably Gone With the Wind, although his crossword constructions are also epics. In an unusual mid-week appearance (you’ll usually encounter him on the tough weekend puzzles), he has created a little masterpiece.

FOOLISH (24D. Daft) slices through THE LAST in dead center like a warning as to the benefits of being so. From there, the puzzle takes flight into many fancies, offering a wide variety of entries and clues just right for a Wednesday puzzle.

The eight-letter TONEDEAF (3D. Unable to hit a pitch?) and NOTSOHOT (39D. Less than wonderful), followed by seven-letter ENSNARL (4D. Tangle up), TENDSTO (44D. Takes care of); ONENESS (20A. Meditation goal), and the lone TENDONS (56A. Sinews) are the longer entries, followed by the six-letter DOGGIE (13D. Little canine), BOGIES (45D. Unidentified planes), DANIEL (11D. Title brother in a 1973 Elton John hit), ADONIS (12D. Mr. Gorgeous), OFLATE (46D Recently), STENOG (47D. Court worker, for short), SITUPS (49D. Gym class exercises), and CENSOR (6D. Bleep out).

Five-letter entries are 1A. LETEM Eat Cake” (1930s musical); 6A. CELEB (Hollywood type); 14A. ILONA (Massey of old movies); 15A. ENVOY (Embassy figure); 21A. USING (Make the most of); 29A. TROOP (March [through]); 31A. ITALO (Author Calvino); 33A. OLEIC (Kind of acid); 42A. ATARI (Maker of the game Combat); 43A. STONE (Piece in the game go); 48A. ROSSI (Martini’s partner); 55A. GLEEM (Colgate alternative); 65A. TOPUP (Convertible driver’s option); 66A. STORE (Cache); 69A. TOTIE (Funny Fields); 5D. MATEY (Brit’s buddy); 10D. BYGUM (“Dang!“); 53D. EMPTY (Bottle ready to be recycled); 54D. “For every Bird ANEST”: Emily Dickinson; and a bow to the Holiday -- 68A. YULES (Christmases).


Three-letter, ADO, CPL, DAD, EON, ETO, IAN, IOU, ITS, LVI, NAY (39A. Vote against) and YEA (41D. Vote for), NOG, OAF, OTT, SEG, TUE, and END.
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.

Across: 27. Cold one, so to speak, 30. “If all ___ fails …”, 45. Pear type, 51. European erupted, 11. Familiar sitcom figure, 16. Stir, 19. Eggy concoction, 35. Churl, 39. Vote against, 59. Janis ___, with the 1975 hit “At Seventeen”, 64. D.D.E.’s purview in W.W. II, 67. Seg -- Down: 1. V.I.P.’s ride, 2. Pizazz, 7. Football lineman, 8. Mid first-century year, 9. Years and years and years, 18. Mgr.’s helper, 22. Project detail, 25. Negri of silent films, 26. Reveals, in verse, 27. Brief life?, 28. J.F.K. guess, 32. Baseball’s Little Giant, “___ a go!”, 37. Detriment, 38. Suffix with smack, 40. Former Texas governor Richards, 41. Vote for, 42. Liniment target, 50. Patisserie employee, 61. Payment pledge, 62. Lance ___ (U.S.M.C. rank), 63. Night that “Happy Days” was on: Abbr.


cornbread hell said...

the mt. etna eruption video is fascinating. i wonder how far away the cameras were?

DONALD said...

Far enough to live to tell about it -- that's for sure!

Anonymous said...

At first glance, I thought I was looking at a picture of the Rapture, and the title also affected my thought. I interpreted the lava spewing from Mt. Vesuvius as hell on earth, and the bright opening in the sky as heaven's gate.

It is a shame that Mt. Vesuvius claimed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. But with everything, there is a beginning and an end.