12.18.09 -- Say What?!

Jean-Antoine Watteau's sad commedia dell'arte player of Pierrot, ca 1718–19, traditionally identified as "Gilles" (Louvre)


Friday, December 18, 2009

Puzzle by Brendan Emmett Quigley, edited by Will Shortz

SAY WHAT (1A. ”Huh?”) leads off this conversational crossword which includes YOU JEST (3A. “C’mon, that can’t be true!”), WELL YES (14D. “Actually, it’s true”) and YOW (61D. “Man, that hurts!”), the CRUX (55D. Gist) of its’ gnarled cluing -- ALL HAIL (18A. Words of acclamation), AMUSE ME (17A. Request for entertainment), ASK OVER (63A. Offer to host) and I’M A LOSER (8D. Second song on “Beatles ‘65”) continue the IDEA (23A. Think piece?) in the guise of a YODELER (44D. Producer of high and outside pitches?) with an ARIETTE (13D. Opera quickie) or a RANT (37A. It may come from a loud speaker) to give the solver a solid shellac, e.g., CREAM, right down to THE WIRE (65A. Gritty TV series set in Baltimore).

Moving right along, TOE JAM (7D. Digital detritus), SCRAPED (38D. Like some elbows and fenders), DESEXED (64A. Now gender-neutral) and SPYWARE (45D. Virus kin) give a jolt to the ride, whether ENROUTE (62A. Neither here nor there?) by FLYBYS (42A. Means of obtaining data about planets), ARMADAS (2D. Forces afloat) or SQUAD CAR (38A. Place for a collared person) -- TGIF!

Proper names and such -- BON JOVI (43D. First hard rock band to score a #1 country hit), COOTE (51D. “My Fair Lady” actor Robert), ENDY (53A. Outfielder Chávez), FAT CAT (48D. Deep-pocketed type), HAJ (19A. 1984 historical novel, with “The”), ISTRIA (31A. Peninsula south of the Gulf of Trieste), 57A. “The JEW of Malta,” Christopher Marlowe play), LA JOLLA (20A. Home to Torrey Pines Golf Course), MOLIERE (16A. “The Imaginary Invalid” playwright), PIERROT (58A. Comic character in whiteface), ULSTERS (40D. Wool coats).

Remaining across:  25. Mini replacements, NANOS; 26. Tiny opening?, ITTY; 27. Shortsighted solution?, LASIK; 29. Periodo de 31 dias, MES; 30. Fed. Bill, T-NOTE; 33. Breaks, RECESSES; 35. The Sun and Mercury are in it: Abbr., WNBA; 46. Picks out, CULLS; 47. Gen. Pershing’s command: Abbr., AEF; 49. Hit to short right, say, BLOOP; 50. Calculated thing, RISK; 54. One in a long line of workers, ANT; 55. Certain pitch, COAL TAR; 60. Marker maker, CRAYOLA.

Down: 1. “Kwanzaa” comes from it, SWAHILI; 4. Birth data: Abbr., WTS; 5. Height enhancer, HEEL; 6. Hindu soul, ATMAN; 9. Drum set?, ROLLS; 10. Indian water holder, OLLA; 11. Biomedical research inits., NIH; 12. Rough housing, LEAN-TOS; 21. Standout, ONER; 24. High passageway between buildings, AIRWALK; 26. Fashionable, IN STYLE; 28. Stripes, KINDS; 30. Like some dumbbells: Abbr., TEN LB; 32. First string?, ABC; 34. Half-CAF (coffee order); 36. Superior, as an investment, AAA RATED; 39. Tonic water ingredient, QUININE; 41. Line holder, REEL; 52. Place for a crane, MARSH; 56. Make a pile in a casino?, RAKE; 59. Eggs sometimes served on toast, ROE.


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