12.18.08 -- I Won't Tell A Soul!

Peter Lorre and John Gielgud in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Secret Agent“, 1936
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Puzzle by Michael Vuolo, edited by Will Shortz
In today’s crossword an UNDERCOVER AGENT, SWORN TO SECRECY, is said to say IF I TOLD YOU THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU -- and that’s not all!
The agent’s statement is joined by ABUSES (22A. Wrongs) and DECEIT (52A. Scammer’s skill); ENVY (7D. Part of a famous septet) and HATE (39D. Bad feeling?); along with BONE (2D. Something to pick) and IRKS (24D. Gets to); FITS (13D. They may be thrown) and COOLIT (6D. “Enough!”);
OFFKEY (48D. Out of tune); SLY (21A. Sneaking) and 27D. “WELLI never!” said with IRONY (15A. It may be tragic) -- AHA (40A. “Can’t fool me!”), BOO (43A. Cause of a scare) and OHBOY (28D. “Yippee!”) -- and beware the IDES (11D. Day of destiny)! MALA fides (bad faith)!
Positives -- ATPEACE (42D. Tranquil) with OLIVES (47D. Tapenade ingredients); ELATE (29D Lift up) and AYES (57D. First side to vote), FREE (51A. Unoccupied) with
LAMP (56A. Djinn’s home in a popular tale) to rub up good fortune in these trying times, give it a little PLAY (50A. Leeway) -- and that’s all CHUM (54D. Confidant)!
However, even
HIS Majesty (33A.) VIII (23A. The last King Edward of England) had a sad time of it, not to mention that ARIA from the tomb scene in “Aida” (25A. “O terra, addio,” e.g. ) -- angels guard thee! The SHEIK (32A. Title role for Valentino) fares a bit better -- HERE. Two folks in our puzzle provide an upbeat -- COHEN (30D. Singer/songwriter Leonard) and OWENS (64A. Buck for a song?).
Other mid-size entries -- ABLATE (37D. Wear away, as a metallic surface); ARABIC (9D. With French, one of the two official languages of Chad); 9A. In AJIFF (quickly); ARCSIN (5D. Inverse trig function); ASTER (44A. Daisylike flower); EDUCE (63A. Bring out); FACED (4A. Bearded) a fifth definition in dictionaries as “to confront boldly“;
JAGUAR (10D. Porsche alternatives), not clued as a cat; RADII (16A. They start in the middle); RAREST (19D. Most prized, often); RAYED (67A. Like the sun); SABBATH (36A. Subject of Exodus 20:10); TAMES (66A. Harnesses); URSINE (49D. Bearish).
Three- and four-letter -- BEAN, CBS, CLUB, EDDA (53A. Icelandic volume), FINE FIR, FITS, IFS,
LSD, MOLE, not clued as a burrower or spy, and PUMA, not clued as a cat, rounding out with more debris -- SEA, SEMI, SLOE, SODA, TOR, YEAR…
Pairings --
Shortzesque clues for ASIA (25D. Part of a famous septet) and ENVY (7D. Part of a famous septet); EEL (35A. Slippery one) and ELM (65A. Slippery one?); also ARIA with ASIA, BODY and BONE, DYE and DIET, ENVY with ENVOI (18D. Poetic coda); SHEAF and SHELL, how about BOO and LOO?
I won‘t tell a soul!
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Xword search information -- 1. “Numb3rs” airer; 14. Where to go in Greenwich?; 17. Keeper of confidential information; 20. Noodle; 26. Like a keeper of confidential information; 34. Fruit used in English jelly; 46. With 60-Across, what a keeper of confidential information might say; 60. See 46-Across; 68. Davy Jones’s locker, with “the”. Down: 1. Listing in a high-school yearbook; 3. Part of many a drink order; 4. Bearer of cones; 8. Alter, in a way; 12. Numismatist’s classification; 32. Rest stop sight; 31. Sophomores, e.g.; 38. Factor in a wine rating; 52. Legislature; 55. Home of Private Ryan in “Saving Private Ryan”; 57. First side to vote; 58. Spicy chocolate sauce; 59. Big brand in athletic footwear; 61. Rocky peak; 62. Cause of tripping?

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