12.27.07 -- The Letter "C"

From the Mannerist alphabet, designed and engraved by I. Paulini

Thursday, December 27, 2007

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Puzzle by Jim Leeds, edited by Will Shortz
Five inter-related entries, by addition of the letter "C" to the beginnings of "oral exam", "on the lookout", "Old Folks At Home", "oil paintings", and "ovenware", convolutedly clued for the resulting CORALEXAM (17A. Certain marine biologist’s test?); CONTHELOOKOUT (23A. One way to get into a gang’s headquarters?); COLDFOLKSATHOME (35A. Eskimos in an igloo?); COILPAINTINGS (Pictures of Slinkys?); and COVENWARE (57A. Witches’ pots, pans, etc.?). I find this kind of cunning linguistics not entirely to my taste, as a single letter, in this case "C", becomes evident only upon uncovering at least two, maybe three of the conceits, requiring the solver to slog through five coyly-clued unamusing smarmy entries with perverted definitions. At least yesterday’s puzzle had three letters, e.g., "NYC"!

OCEAN (37D. Triton's realm) and SEA (4D. Triton's realm) are an excellent Shortzesque twin-clued pair of entries.
Longer entries: BIRDCALLS (3D. Coos and hoots); WOLFSBANE (32D. Poisonous flower); RIBROAST (9D. Beef cut); and FARPOINT (36D. Utmost distance from the eye at which an image is clear); followed by CRESTS (22A. Tops); ALERTS (5D. Red lights and flares); LEAVES (26A. Splits); PANFRY (43A. Prepare trout, in a way); PINEAL (43D. Kind of gland); and ASSOON (51A. Part of A.S.A.P.).
A raft of interesting four-letter entries give a bit of difficulty in the upper right and lower left corners -- RAKES (9A. Casino equipment); AWEEK (10D. Hebdomadally); KELSO (11D. Five-time Horse of the Year, 1960-64); COPRA (22D. Dried coconut meat); CAUSA finalis (purpose, in law); (45D.); OSTAR (46D. Massive, very hot celestial orb); ISERE (47D. French frigate that carried the Statue of Liberty to the U.S.); LORAN (48D. Nautical acronym). Less troublesome four-letter entries are SIXTH (6D. Musical interval); PEASE pudding (British dish) (7D.); "If IWERE you ..." (16A.); BELIE (19A. Gainsay); ERITU (12D. Verdi opera); along with its anagram UTERI (56A. Wombs); "What SEEST thou?" (biblical query) (13D.); BOERS (30A. 'Breaker Morant" people); ACIDS (40A. Stomach contents); LOESS (25D. Windblown deposit); BLINI (30D. Thin pancakes); SARAN (59A. Cling Plus brand); TEVYE (60D. "Fiddler on the Roof" role); NOONE (49D. Who has won an Oscar for Best Actor three times); and "ARENT we all?" (62A.).
The Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York Harbor on the Isere.


Three letters -- CAP, ENS, OKD, OPA, REN, SUM, TED, and WSJ.


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
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Across: 1. Palms (off on); 5. Egyptian symbols of royalty; 14. “____ the Agent” (old comic strip); 15. Lieu; 20. ___ Kooser, former U.S. poet laureate; 21. Cultural stuff; 28. F.D.R. agcy.; 29. Wrinkly fruit; 32. Lived; 39. Many a person on the U.S.S. Enterprise: Abbr.; 41. “’Starts With F’ for a thousand, ___ “; 42. Cartoon pooch; 52. Prefix with -phile; 53. ___ canto; 60. Novelist Seton; 61. Kiss in Kensington; 63. Zest; 64. 1910s heavyweight champ ___ Willard. Down: 1. “Is that a ___?”; 2. Poulenc’s “Sonata for ___ and Piano”; 8. Arithmetic exercise; 18. Word with bus or memory; 24. Poet who wrote “At night there is no such thing as an ugly woman”; 26. Time-honored name; 27. Expressionist Schiele; 31. Let pass; 33. Western Hemisphere abbr.; 34. Hot; 38. Not be resolved; 44. Like most adages: Abbr.; 54. Carrier of a bow and arrows; 55. Stamina; 57. Climax; 58. Financial paper: Abbr.


Anonymous said...

OPA (F.D.R. agcy.) is fairly obscure.

Actually known as the "Alphabet Agencies" from the New Deal FDR administration, Wikipedia determines their number to be over forty -- an additional word in the clue is certainly due, e.g., FDR freeze agcy.



For a lovely depression song, this link:


R. Kane

Anonymous said...

this is the first time I have only missed one letter: I must be ill.