12.28.09 -- After and Before


Monday, December 28, 2009

Puzzle by Patrick Merrell, edited by Will Shortz

COCK AND BULL (17A. One word that precedes “pit,” one that follows it), ROOM AND BOARD (27A. One word that precedes “key,” one that follows it), DOWN AND DIRTY (45A. One word that precedes “play,” one that follows it) and ROCK AND ROLL (61A. One word that precedes “hard,” one that follows it) are the interrelated group of this pleasant Monday crossword. That’s right -- cockpit, pitbull; room key, keyboard; downplay, play dirty; rock hard, hard roll.

The better-late-than-never DEAR SANTA (11D. Start of a Christmas letter) and the get-ready-to-go SEA-WORTHY (35D. Fit for sailing) are the other long entries, followed by those of seven letters -- CD RACKS (43D. Music store fixtures), PEP TALK (44A. Pregame morale builder), PRUNING (8D. Clipping, as shrubs) and VISIBLY (33A. By eyesight).

Six-letter entries include ABRUPT (26D. Sudden), ASSESS (68A. Evaluate), 56A. Buckaroo BANZAI (movie character), DENZEL (1A. Actor Washington who once played Malcolm X), DONKEY (47D. Braying animal), ICE AXE (14A. Mountain climber’s tool), KARNAK (65A. Egyptian temple site), LA BREA (7D. Famed tar pits whose name is Spanish for “the tar”), MOURNS (21A. Grieves), 28D. OBI WAN Kenobi of “Star Wars”, ONESIE (Infant bodysuit), RUSTIC (39A. Countryish).

Five -- ATLAS (52D. Book of maps), DARER (30D. Risk taker), DICED (1D. Chopped into small cubes), DUMMY (18D. Ventriloquist’s prop), ECOLI (2D. Food-poisoning bacteria), NECKS (3D. Prominent giraffe parts), OLEAN (29D. Fat substitute brand), PIZZA (44D. Order from Domino’s), ROONE (51D. TV sports broadcasting pioneer Arledge), YOLKS (53D. “Sunny” egg parts).

Short stuff -- AHS, ANKA, ANT, ARAW, ASTI, AWL, BAIT, BAKE, BIRD, BOAT, DAS, DECK, DISK, ELK, ESP, EXAM, GALS, GAR, ICH, IDAS, INCH, INTO, ITA, ITSY, KRIS, LENO, LPGA, MEI, NAE, NOD, OON, OTO, RAIL, RBI, ROZ (49A. Cartoonist Chast), RRS, SPEX, STYX (40D. Hellish river), THO and THY, TRIX, VOID, WAC, XRAY, ZAK (4D. Ringo‘s drummer son).


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Puzzle available on the internet at

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games.

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Remaining clues -- Across: 7. Org. for women on the links; 11. Karl Marx’s “___ Kapital”; 14. Mountain climber’s tool; 15. Got ___ deal (was rooked); 16. Mind reader’s “gift”; 19. Had a bite; 20. Antlered animal; 22. Cereal advertised with a “silly rabbit”; 23. “Slipped” backbone part; 25. Don’t tell ___ can’t …!”; 26. Sounds during medical checkups; 36. Long-nosed fish; 37. Scottish refusal; 41. “Let’s call ___ day”; 42. W.W. II female; 48. Suffix with pont-; 49. Cartoonist Chast; 50. With 13-Down, “super power” glasses; 54. Ostrich or owl; 59. Plains tribe; 60. Insect with a queen; 63. “___ ein Berliner”; 64. Prepare cookies or chicken, e.g.; 66. “Love ___ neighbor …”; 67. ___-bitsy. Down: 5. Test; 6. NBC host Jay; 9. Guys’ mates; 10. Hole-making tool; 12. ___ Spumante (wine); 13. See 50-Across; 22. However, informally; 24. Singer Kristofferson; 31. Train track part; 32. What a swabbie swabs; 33. Invalidate, as a check; 34. Fascinated by; 46. Silent assent; 54. Worms in a can, e.g.; 55. 1/36 of a yard; 56. Gravy vessel; 57. Paul who wrote “My Way”; 58. Actress Lupino and others; 61. Slugger’s stat; 62. B&O and Reading: Abbr.

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