12.27.09 -- Letter -- the Diagramless


Sunday, December 27, 2009

DIAGRAMLESS, Puzzle by Mike Nothnagel, edited by Will Shortz

LETTER OPENER (68A. Desk item … or the end of the answer to each of the six starred clues?), STATE CAPITAL (12A. * Austin or Boston), MISS SCARLET (21A. *Female Clue suspect), bad form (40a. *Unsuitable behavior), BAD FORM (40A. *Unsuitable behavior), KNOCK ‘EM DEAD (58A. *”Give the audience all you’ve got!”), CEILING FAN (9D. *Overhead air circulator) and ALBUM COVER (28D. *Where a band photo might appear) comprise the interrelated group of this tough diagramless, producing capital letter, scarlet letter, form letter, dead letter, fan letter and cover letter.

Remaining across: 1. Sword handle, HILT; 5. “Concentrate!”, FOCUS; 6. Take to the altar, WED; 9. I.B.M. and AT&T: Abbr., COS; 16. Box on a spreadsheet, CELL; 17. Broadway lyricist Richard MALTBY; 18. “Bye-bye!”, SEE YA; 19. Opera featuring Amneris and Radames, AIDA; 20A. Cop A PLEA; 23. If nothing goes wrong, AT BEST; 25. “Be young, have fun, drink PEPSI” (1990s ad slogan); 26. Farm sound, BAA; 29. Old what’s-HIS-name; 30. Hurry, HASTEN; 31. Societal woes, ILLS; 33. Second-stringers, B-TEAM; 36. Good advisers, SAGES; 39. Bar tab, e.g., DEBT; 43. Brand of nonstick cookware, TFAL; 44. Far-out place to live?, EXURB; 46. “IT’S UP to you!”; 47. Coupon word, SAVE; 48. Opponent of Chiang Kai-shek, MAOIST; 51. “LES Trois Mousquetaires”; 53. Partner of improved, NEW; 54. “She Bob” singer Lauper, CYNDI; 55. Botanist GREGOR Mendel; 61. “Dancers in Pink” artist, DEGAS; 65. Star’s blowup, NOVA; 66. In the company of, AMONG; 67. First Stuart king, JAMES I; 68. Marvin Gaye’s “Can I GET a Witness”; 71. Rocky peak, TOR; 72. Hi-RES monitor; 73. Home sweet home, ABODE; 74. Catch sight of, ESPY.

Down: 1. Throat-soothing beverage, HOT TEA; 2. Means of giving the body a rapid cool-down, ICE BATH; 3. “Peanuts” girl, LUCY; 4. Airport uniform abbr., TSA; 5. Autumn, FALL; 6. Actress Dianne WIEST; 7. Seasons when Écoles aren’t in session, ETES; 8. Retreat for a pampering, DAY SPA; 10. Shoppe description, OLDE; 11. Bed support, SLAT; 12. Little, to a Scot, SMA; 13. Faucet, TAP; 14. Omega preceders, PSIS; 15. They may be tied before a game even starts, LACES; 16. Travel needs for tots, CAR SEATS; 21. Legendary hostess Perle MESTA; 22. In ads they’re often measured in sq. ft., APTS; 24. Lettuce variety, BIBB; 26. Wait, BIDE; 27. “I’ll make it a true Daily Double, ALEX”; 30. Med. Care providers, HMOS; 32. Nomadic Persian maybe?, STRAY CAT; 34. Do some polishing, EDIT; 35. Rearward, AFT; 37. Roofer’s projected expense?, EAVE; 38. Offed, SLEW; 41. Like much notepaper, RULED; 42. Digital video file format, briefly, MPEG; 49. Faultless, IDEAL; 50. Direction in a stew recipe, SIMMER; 52. 25-Across, for one, SODA POP; 55. Courteous fellows, GENTS; 56. Craze, RAGE; 57. Fix, REMEDY; 58. Like a wool sweater, KNIT; 59. Off-limits, NO GO; 60. Shower attention (on), DOTE; 62. It can be used to pass things on to your children, GENE; 63. Enzyme suffix, ASE; 64. Round Table title, SIR; 67. Perennial campaign issue, JOBS; 70. “Norma RAE”.

Of course, there are other letters...

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