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Illustration: Hamlet stands over his uncle Claudius praying for forgiveness for the murder of his brother -- the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, March 1, 2003.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Puzzle by Joe Krozel, edited by Will Shortz

I ripped this puzzle in half and changed the left with the right half so that the thing made some sense. It’s now a parallelogram -- note that the puzzles' construction is actually two puzzles completely divided by a top-to-bottom stepping of black squares -- so no harm done!

The across clues for 1, 13, 16, 19, 26, 34, 37, 41, 45, 51, 59, 63 and 66 are all the same -- a hyphen (-).

The right side of the puzzle (which is now the left side after being torn asunder) has the following across clues:

10 Opposite of all;
15 Loser;
18 Try, as something new;
22 Like some low-rise buildings;
30 Places where fans may gather to watch a game;
36 Noted 1829 West Point graduate;
40 Deem appropriate;
44 Irish playwright who wrote “The Shadow of a Gunman”;
47 Countryman of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer;
55 Target of chondrolaryngoplasty;
61 Barely; 65 Comforting words; and
68 What some browsers browse.

The English language is written left to right. Why are these entries right to left? The meager hyphen clues and their inter-related clues opposite are just gimmick for gimmick’s sake -- a joyless discovery eliciting “why?” (Upon receiving a note in the Comments section from an "anonymous", my "why?" has been answered --I cannot but help agreeing with same -- the explanation is very enlightening and recommended. See Comments section at end of the original post.)

The longer across entries and their clues are RANTED (14A Went on and on); EMCEES (17A Hosts); HENRYI (60A English king who was the youngest son of William the Conqueror); ENAMEL (64A Canine coat?) and SALSAS (67A Some dips).

The longer down entries and their clues: ATHROB (15D Like a thumb struck with a hammer); LIPSYNC (24D Not really sing); SMILEY (42D Symbol in Wal-Mart ads); ISRAELI (25D Certain Middle Easterner); OPEN ARMS (39D Guests may be greeted with them); and most of ARSENAL (43D Magazine locale).

On the new right is STEPSON (7D Hamlet, to Claudius) which hangs from GHOSTS (4A Common Halloween costumes) bringing to mind the action in the photograph of "Hamlet" above -- and this schizophrenic puzzle!