01.21.11 — Why?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Puzzle by Pete Mitchell, edited by Will Shortz

I should bite my tongue… I’ve been at this for four years, day-in and day-out, and yes, there are days when I wonder when it will all end. Yes, my dear thousands of daily readers, this is one of them!

Quotes about today’s excellent crossword from The Crossword Club:

Is it me, or is Pete Mitchell trying to tell me something? Mind you, I don’t believe for a second that people are trying to send me messages through their puzzles. Because that would sound deranged, right? ~ Wordplay

Hey! Who put this Saturday puzzle into my Friday? I wasn’t expecting the puzzle to put up such a fight. I don’t usually get mired in so many bogs in a Friday puzzle. ~ Crossword Fiend

This one felt fairly easy, but my time says "normal" or maybe even a shade higher. Nothing stumped me for very long, but I didn't speed through much of it either. ~ Rex Parker

Well, yes, it seems today's constructor, Pete Mitchell, places quality over quantity, as this is his first Times crossword in over two years, and boy, it’s a stumper! O.K., the subject at hand…

Across — 1. Aflac ad figure, facetiously, SPOKESDUCK; 11. Omegas represent them, OHMS; 15. She played Appassionata von Climax in Broadway’s “Li’l Abner”, TINA LOUISE; 16. Janus-faced, DUAL; 17. Chinchillas and boas, e.g., EXOTIC PETS; 18. Words before expert or fool, I’M NO; 19. “The Gene Krupa Story” title role player, MINEO; 20. Pamplona pronoun, ESAS; 21. Bygone N.Y.C. punk club, CBGB; 22. Handles, SEES TO; 24. Literary inits., RLS; 26. Chocolate LAB; 27. Ace pitcher’s reward?, SALE; 30. Epoch when bats first appeared, EOCENE; 32. Starbucks offering, CHAI; 36. Homebuyer’s “bargain”, FIXER-UPPER; 38. Quiche ingredients, oeufs; 40. AUF Ferienreisen” (Strauss polka); 41. Cool, POISE; 42. Result of a permanent failurer?, BAD HAIR DAY; 45. Basis of growth, SEED; 46. Jockey wear, BRIEFS; 47. Ones concerned with custody, EXES; 49. Put down a can?, SAT; 50. Telecom techies, EES; 52. Profanable, SACRED; 57. A COW on the Line” (Thomas the Tank Engine story); 59. Residencia, CASA; 62. Bit of a grind, CHORE; 63. Byron poem, LARA; 64. Outrageous, OVER THE TOP; 66. Clarifying words, AS IN; 67. Bad blood, NO LOVE LOST; 68. Totally not happening, DEAD; 69. Make a spectacle of oneself, say, DRAW STARES.

Whoa! Slow down! Time to drag up an old plaint — I guess it’s just me, but I like to think when I do a puzzle… How long does it take to read the clues? How long does it take to enter the letters into their respective boxes, whether tactile or electronic? Let‘s suppose that there is a need to think! With that said, anyone claiming to complete this puzzle in under ten minutes is a either a prevaricator or autistic. Admittedly, there are those of us who “just know” what a word must be by having only one letter or at the most two -- like contestants on game shows who can give the name of a song with but a few notes; however, crossword solvers wheezing for breath as they seek to equate haste with intelligence are possessed, some to the point of desperation, gasping to be first in declaration of a pitifully faux mensa! I just don’t get it! I don’t promote comments on this blog, but go ahead, dispute — there is no argument!

Down — 1. Watch things, STEMS; 2. User of a 58-Down, PIXIE; 3. When a quick snap may happen, ON ONE; 4. Bush and Jackson, KATES; 5. Writer known as Old Possum, and his family, ELIOTS; 6. Lib. Arts major, SOC; 7. Suck in, DUPE; 8. They’re hung across roads, UIES; 9. CSTAR Optics; 10. Laura Bush biographer Ronald, KESSLER; 11. Like some poetry, ODIC; 12. Crow, HUMBLE PIE; 13. Iron’s preceder on the periodic table, MANGANESE; 14. Acted like a baby, in a way, SLOBBERED; 23. Palooka, OAF; 25. Introductory course?, SOUP; 28. Many an interrogee, LIAR; 29. Radiate, EXUDE; 31. Navy-equivalents of S.F.C.’s, CPOS; 32. High-fat dish with greens, COBB SALAD; 33. Sit on the bench, HEAR A CASE; 34. Assembly places, AUDITORIA; 35. “IF HE Should Ever Leave You” (Tom Jones song); 37. High-tech transmission, E-FAX; 39. Trustworthy, SAFE; 43. Motion approval, YES; 44. “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”, I SECOND; 48. Bag in a trunk, SACHET; 51. Make last, maybe, SAVOR; 53. Crayfish claw, CHELA; 54. Wankel engine part, ROTOR; 55. Jagged, EROSE; 56. Secretaries’ charges: Abbr., DEPTS; 58. Item used by a 2-Down, WAND; 60. One of Swoosie’s co-stars on “Sisters”, SELA; 61. Shoulder-to-shoulder, AROW; 65. They often hang around sports bars, TVS.

It’s the old burning question… Why?


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't even have a chance!