11.22.08 -- Hot Tips and Hairs

Surface of a human hair. 20μm scan size. Enhanced topographic view.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Puzzle by Frank Longo, edited by Will Shortz
Eight fifteen-letter across entries are the main feature of this Saturday crossword, which should please those who take special pleasure in offbeat diagrams with sparse black squares; in this case, dividing the puzzle into three sections with a matching top and bottom and a clever middle crossing of INTERLUDE (34A. Dramatic break) and INERTIA (23D. Torpor). One must effectively solve each of the three sections independently. The 15-letter entries:
ATOOTHFORATOOTH (16. Age-old retaliation);
TRUETOTHELETTER (17. Having no inaccuracy whatsoever);
SOLVETHEPROBLEM (31. Fix things);
IMMEDIATEDANGER (35. A firefighter at work may be in it);
AMERICANTABLOID (51. James Ellroy novel that Time magazine named best fiction book of 1995);
GENERALAUDIENCE (57. Suitable for all); and
The remaining across -- 18. “SADTO say …”; 19, Necklace decoration, NACRE; 20. Alicante article, UNAS; 21. Crime scene evidence, often, HAIRS; 26. Peau de SOIE (soft fabric); 27. Old TV ministry, PTL; 28. Automated, often malicious PC apps,
BOTNETS; 30. Slangy suffix, OLA; 41. First suit?, CEO; 42. Robin Goodfellow and others, SPRITES; 43. “Blood hath been shed ERE now”: Macbeth; 44. Isn’t right on, ERRS; 46. Author Madame de STAEL; 47. It’s a ball, PROM; 48. Compete for, in a way, BIDON; 50. AIMTO please.
Of course, the key to solving those long could-be-anything across entries is to crack open as many down entries as possible, and those clues run from easy to impossible, as follows:
1. Fast-food restaurant packets; 2.
Italian port with ruins of an imposing Aragonese castle; 3. Longtime Arizona congressman who ran for president in 1976; 4. People who deal with stress successfully?; 5. Quintillionth: Prefix; 6. Pythagorean character; 7. Bog youngster; 8. Bart Simpson hears it a lot; 9. Be transformed?; 10. Miss at a barn dance; 11. Amenhotep IV’s god; 12. Shreds; 13. “That’s hardly amusing”; 14. Not being productive; 15. Time for an emergency phone call?; 21. They may break open cases; 22. Inside; 23. Torpor; 24. Opposite of scanty; 25. Cobbler alternative; 28. Compromises; 29. Things kept behind bars; 32. Be in the running; 33. TV bear; 35. Swelling reducers; 36. Writer whose novella “Carmen” is the basis of Bizet’s opera; 37. Musical ornament using two quickly alternating tones; 38. “La Traviata” lover Alfredo GERMONT; 39. Section of some bookstores; 40. Give a face-lift; 45. Dressing targets; 47. A ton; 49. De NIRO (Nolte’s “Cape Fear” co-star); 50. Anne Nichols title protagonist; 52. Poky; 53. According to; 54. Occasion to recharge; 55. Shrovetide concluder: Abbr.; 56. Do a summer’s work?
With its’ HOTTIPS (21D. They may break open cases) and HAIRS (21A. Crime scene evidence, often), this is
the stuff that dreams are made of… a solver’s delight!
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Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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