12.22.09 -- Dropping S


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Puzzle by Robert A. Doll, edited by Will Shortz

It seems that six entries have lost their S -- HOP STEWARD (17A. Attendant at a ‘50s dance?) derived from shop steward; ELF ESTEEM (22A. Personnel concern for Santa?), self-esteem; PIN DOCTOR (51A. Acupuncturist?), spin doctor; MALL MINDED (57A. Addicted to shopping?), small-minded; PARK PLUGS (10D. Ads aimed at hikers and picnickers?), spark plugs; and LUSH FUNDS (32D. Money for liquor?), slush funds.

Esses in place, the mid-size entries include HAS-BEEN (41A. Washed-up star); KNOLLS (45D. Rounded hills); LOW-KEY (6D. Subdued in manner); MATISSE (5D. Henri who painted “The Dance”); SLIP-UPS (33A. Goofs); UTOPIAN (43D. Ideal, but impractical).

The bulk of this drowsy drop-a-letter Tuesday crossword is composed of five-letter entries -- ADAGE (64A. Item in “Poor Richard’s Almanack”; AKRON (21A. Goodyear’s Ohio headquarters; ANENT (13D. With regard to); ANITA (14A. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” writer Loos); ANKLE (49D. A spat covers it); BRIDE (37A. One given away by her father, often); CYNDI (53D. Singer Lauper); DENIM (1A. Material for informal jackets or skirts); ERASE (7D. Shake an Etch A Sketch); FLORA (24D. Botanist’s study); IDIOT (50D. Dostoyevsky novel, with “The”); INDUS (54A. Pakistan’s chief river); INURE (11D. Toughen, as to hardship); ISLET (52D. It might have a single coconut tree); IT’S ME (4D. Response to “Who’s there?”); LATCH (23D. Gate fastener); MINKS (20A. Animals famed for their fur) and STOLE (31A. Item made from 20-Across); NINON (67A. Curtain fabric); PLANT (34D. Botanist’s study); SOAPY (55A. All lathered up); SOLON (2D. Athenian lawgiver); SEGNO (35D. Musical repetition mark); USAGE (43A. Grammarian’s concern); WAIFS (48A. Street urchins); WISPS (48D. Cirrus cloud formations).

Short stuff -- ABE and ABEL (63A. The brother in “Am I my brother’s keeper?“) and ADAM (46D. 63-Across’s father), ANON, ASAP, BASS, BEN, DAH and DAN and DEN, ECRU, EGO and ENO and ENTO, ESSE, ETAL, GAR, GLEN, HANA, KAT, LEGO, MAP, MELD, NEER, NIP, NNE, OLD, ORAL, PETS and SETS, PISA, PLOD, REAP, RULE, SAL, SIN, SOY, TIE (30D. Gift in a long, thin box), perhaps hanging from the mantle?


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Remaining clues -- Across: 6. Building block brand; 10. City on the Arno; 15. Like slander, as opposed to libel; 16. Bartlett’s abbr.; 27. Mule of song; 28. Tofu source; 29. List-ending abbr.; 36. Hosiery hue; 39. Secluded valley; 44. Mandlikova of tennis; 45. Crazy ___ of the comics; 47. Miami-to-Boston dir.; 58. Injure, as the knee; 62. Walk wearily; 65. Places for props; 66. Many adoptees. Down: 1. Morse T; 2. Brian of ambient music; 3. Sip from a flask; 8. Needle-nosed fish; 9. Jolly ___ Saint Nick; 18. Inner: Prefix; 21. “Chop-chop!,” on a memo; 22. To be, to Brutus; 25. Pinochle lay-down; 30. Gift in a long, thin box; 33. Break a commandment; 37. Gridder Roethlisberger; 38. Collect, as rewards; 40. Not e’en once; 42. Jazz combo member; 57. Explorer’s aid; 58. Actor Vigoda; 59. Aykroyd of “Ghostbusters”; 60. Swelled head; 61. La-Z-Boy spot.

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