12.23.07 -- Pfui! Humbug!

Sunday, December 23, 2007
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YULE OUTSOURCING, Puzzle by Adam G. Perl, edited by Will Shortz

The title given this puzzle, “Yule Outsourcing” refers to the inter-related entries compromising a “verse” -- SANTA HAD AN EASY SEASON (23A. Start of a holiday verse), LYING IN HIS BIG RECLINER (48A. Verse, part 2), IF YOU ASK HIM FOR A REASON (78A. Verse, part 3), EVERY TOY IS MADE IN CHINA (108A. End of the verse). That’s it. That’s what we’re getting for the “Holiday” -- somebody’s faux fakakta quote -- pfui!!!

The rest of this crossword is unmercifully lackluster and simple. O.K., I’ll admit, I don’t care to decipher what appears to be an "original" quotation of questionable merit -- but, perhaps we deserve this coal-in-tbe-stocking, all of us crossword aficionados who blog away, nitpicking, pretentiously assuming we could do better, excoriating for a comma here, a period there, slamming the out-of-order, commenting upon a poor little piece of ragged pseudo-literature as though it were some distraught student’s thesis -- this is what Santa Shortz gives us this Sunday as we hope that something better is sent down our chimneys on Christmas Eve. Oh, did I say the dread word, “Christmas” -- Lord (oh, there I go again) help us that we should commemorate the origins of the occasion!

Well, we’ll need to be content to hang our balls and bells on the tree, drape it with lights and tinsel, shopping desperately through today’s offering for something to wrap up and stick under it.

Don’t PANIC (69A “What to do? What to do?” feeling), it’s not a CRISIS (88D Big pickle?), we have REEFER (20A Joint), ASHES (38D Grate-ful?), RADON (95A Dangerous seepage), DEET (46A Insect repellent) and EDIBLES (112a Fruitcake and plum pudding, e.g.) like PECAN (64D Christmas cookie ingredient) UNDER the mistletoe (55A), all of which ISAPTTO (75D Will likely) tickle the ERRATA (1A Literary slips) as you PLOD (64A Lumber) your way through this Christmas PIE (77A).

The entries are generic, but the cluing makes a stab at dressing them up for the Holiday -- e.g., words/entries such as DASH (19D), ALL (108), IND (8D), RENE (3D), RETOLD (62D), STS (58A), REINS (64D), ORIENT (2D), REAR (3D), TEN (47D), et cetera are clued to pass as Seasonal fare -- a simple IQTEST (14A Grade school administration, maybe) will tell you this one will get an ESS (111D) or a DEE (109D)!

More of the same across: 7. Lost; 14. Grade school administration, maybe; 21. Former Acura model; 22. Fashion’s Bartley; 26. Locks; 27. 10%; 28. “ULEES Gold” (1997 film); 29. Suffix with respond; 30. Way overdue to take off?; 32. Former Japanese P.M. Shinzo ABE; 34. “Being and Nothingness” writer; 38. About; 39. Area for a reupholstered; 43. Comment made with a nod; 44. “ASAN alternative …”; 45. “Pay ITNO mind”; 54. Author Deighton; 56. Audibly; 57. Expiate, with “for”; 58. Nicholas and others: Abbr.; 59. Ticks off; 60. Church part; 61. Intrinsically; 62. A.A.A. recommendations: Abbr.; 63. Sandwich shop orders; 66. “The Sandbox” playwright; 70. Brown; 71. Young amphibian; 74. Flora and fauna; 75. Some sorority sisters; 76. Implied; 82. Archer William; 83. Fannie MAES (investing options); 84. Theodemocratic state; 85. Up TONO good; 86. Porters; 88. Popular cuisine; 90. Unemotional type, slangily; 92. Certain soldier; 93. “Little Miss Sunshine” co-star; 94. Mentaist Geller; 95. Dangerous seepage; 99. Decorate gateway in Japan; 101. Classic role played by Gerard Depardieu in “The Man in the Iron Mask”; 111. Jack of “The Apartment”; 113. Tickles; 114. Source of “we three kings”; 115. Puts a new bottom on; 116. Blocks.

Down: 1. Once, old-style; 2. Where the bag of gifts is stowed on a sleigh; 3. Auberjonois of “The Christmas Star”; 4. Times in classifieds; 5. Promo, perhaps; 6. Fictional detective Lupin; 7. “Mamma MIA!”; 8. Home of Christmas Lake Village: Abbr.; 9. RR stop; 10. Of fast times?; 11. Discriminating sort, in a way; 12. Heated; 13. Word repeated in “Now DASH away! DASH away! DASH away … !”; 14. French pronoun; 15. Line former; 16. Green-blue; 17. “Anything ELSE?”; 18. Blue -black berrylike fruit; 19. Whips; 24. F.D.R.’s successor; 25. Longed (for); 30. Studio sign; 31. Uncle BENS; 33. Univ. QB, perhaps; 34. Grammy and Emmy-winning soprano; 35. Until now; 36. Straps in a sleigh; 37. Number of lords a-leaping; 39. Based on ATRUE story; 40. Made a long story short?; 41. Title in Toledo; 42. Difficult period; 44. Big range; 45. Stravinsky and others; 49. Garfield’s assassin; 50. Memo starter; 51. Initiation rite; 52. Kind of artery; 53. French-named city on Galveston Bay; 60. Mideast desert; 62. Like the Christmas story, often; 63. What snow shovels may produce; 64. Christmas cookie ingredient; 65. Cub’s place; 66. Some; 67. Career soldier; 68. Peter of “Everybody Loves Raymond” 69. Elbows; 70. It’s a wrap; 71. EPSOM salts; 72. Singer Apple; 73. Joint part; 76. “Born TORUN”; 79. “Walk Like AMAN”; 80. Part of Captain Cook’s explorations; 81. Had; 87. Rafting area; 89. Out-elbowed?; 90. Pressed; 91. Group; 93. Take for ARIDE; 94. News source, for short; 95. Move, in Realtor-speak; 96. Swear; 97. Moore of “G.I. Jane”; 98. “Coffee, Tea ORME?”; 100. Court hearing; 102. “Take THAT!”; 103. Author Shere; 104. Lulu; 105. Lip; 107. Big bang maker; 108. Word left off the end of the clue at 13-Down; 109. Poor grade; 110. Satisfactory grade, in kindergarten.

Well, you can just go right ahead and tell Santa I’ve been naughty, and I don’t care -- he’s not getting any cookies here! Not for all the tea in China! Pfui! Humbug!


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