12.07.07 -- Sampler

Chocolate Sampler, Li-Lac Chocolates, NYC


Friday, December 7, 2007

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Puzzle by Patrick Berry, edited by Will Shortz

I was reminded of the Forrest Gump quote by today’s crossword puzzle -- “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.’”

Opening with SAMPLER (1. Confectioner’s offering), today's crossword is one itself, including PRALINE (15A Item in a 1-Across) and closing with TEASETS (55A They hold at least two cups each) this puzzle’s also dishes up a hefty plate of REDBEANSANDRICE (19A Traditional Monday meal in Creole cuisine), perhaps served ALDENTE (52A Offering just the right amount of resistance) by CATERERS (14D Hosts’ hirees) for the solver to TESTOUT (54A Give a whirl). Even CHARLESDEGAULLE ruminates of edibles (46A He said "How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 kinds of cheese?").

T.G.I.F.!, and the weekend is here! For RANDR (28A Time off), take a RIDE (27A Fair diversion), see OPERAS (42A Palais Garnier offerings), or go INHIDING (12D Lying low) to surf the INTERNET (32D Site site) -- the choice is yours!

Possessing a lower word count than usual (there are no three-letter entries), this is a conversational piece -- ENGAGEIN (6D Practice), IDLECHAT (29D Cocktail party exchanges), TALKEDAT (33D Had a one-sided conversation with), LILTS (37A Speaks with a pleasing rhythm), like RATS (27D “I hate it when that happens!”), SHESGONE (34D 1976 Hall & Oates hit); DANROWAN (11D TV host who told viewers “Look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls!”), and, of course “How can anyone govern a national that has 246 kinds of cheese?”, along with ETTU (48D Some famous last words).

People in the puzzle include DULLARDS (31D Intellectuals’ opposites); ARLENE (2D Longtime “What’s My Line?” name), ALAN (9D Playwright Ayckbourn), REID (10D Frist’s successor as majority leader), LENO (47D Celebrity who testified at the 2005 Michael Jackson trial), SPARKY (1D Radar’s radio contact on “M*A*S*H”), MALDEN (3D Brando’s “On the Waterfront” co-star), PLEBES (4D First-year men), REYNOLDS (7D Noted English portraitist), OLEANNA (16A Two-character Mamet play), ELKS (25A Grand Lodge Convention attendees), INDIANS (29A First major-league team to sign Satchel Paige); TSONGAS (33A 1992 New Hampshire primary winner); CAHN (36A Frequent Styne collaborator); AFRO (39A Jimi Hendrix’s style); ELLE (43A Reese’s “Legally Blonde” role), not to mention Charles de Gaulle, Susanna, and Hammet, and a CARD (36D Funny fellow).

The entries for 38-, 39-, and 40-Down headlines BASSET ABUSES FELINE (call the ASPCA!) with the clues: Dog breed whose name literaly means “rather low”, Wrongs, and Ocelot, for one. ASTA is romping around in protest at 49D (Four-legged Hammet character). Other members of the menagerie are ANACONDA (13D Montana county seat named for a nonnative creature), CORALS (8D Beach shop souvenirs), HORNETS (50A Underground nesters), and perhaps the ELKS on a good party night!

Health and Hygiene get notice with CARDIAC (8A Affecting the heart); ALLERGY (17A Cause of overreactions?); ODOR (23A Podiatric problem, for some); and then we're left with a group of miscellany such as RAINHAT (18A Matching accessory for a slicker); KNEE (21A (“Oh! Susanna” closer); GOAL (22A World Cup highlight); YENS (24A Urges); TWINE (26A Big tier?) (I thought it was “tier”, you know?); DAUNT (35A Intimidate); BALE (38A Bundle up); ARKS (44A Synagogue cabinets); BEEP (45A Timer sound); DOSSIER (51A Required reading for 007); ANTENNA (53A Wire, at times); LIRE (5D Money replaces by euros); SAKE (20D Purpose); TRON (26D 1982 film and arcade game); and the oddly clued entry -- NAILHOLE (30D Board opening?).

Webster’s defines the subjectively clued RELENT (41D Come around) as variously “to soften in temper, resolution, etc., become less severe, stern, or stubborn, or to melt.”

Let's just break out the SAMPLER!
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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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