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Head Game

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Puzzle by M. Greene and Craig Kasper, edited by Will Shortz

Created with words of letters in circles (in fairly proper placement) is a face and/or head -- HAIR, SCALP, BROWS, EAR, EAR, EYE, EYE, NOSE, LIPS, and CHIN. This conceit can be of use in solving if discovered without too much pondering. It is a slim amount of entry assistance, but anything in an arduous crossword such as this, is welcome.

The ten entries that contain the circles -- BOOSTERCHAIR (21A Toddler’s mealtime accessory); FISCALPERIODS (29A Quarters for a business, e.g.); WEBBROWSER (54A Safari, e.g.); BEARTHEBURDEN (53D Be weighed down); BLEEDINGHEART (15D Empathetic one, derisevely); BLARNEYED (64A Persuaded with flattery); HEYERDAHL (66A Noted explorer of Polynesia); NANOSECOND (76A Time in which light travels one foot, approximately); LUNARECLIPSES (100A Astronomical events that occur twice or more a year), and CHINESEBOXES (113 Nested set of containers).

Interesting stuff: An IMAC (7A Product whose 1-Across is a 61-Across) has an APPLE (61A Snack item) as its EMBLEM (1A See 7-Across); 81A. Creatio ex NIHILO (Christian tenet), creation out of nothing; BORAXO (18A Heavy-duty hand soap), MUON (71A Particle created by a cosmic ray); and TATAMI (98A Teahouse floor covering).

Oh No!: OHNO (57A Worrywart’s cry) ONO (79D “Yes, I’m a Witch” musician), not these entries again: EXHALED (20A Showed relief, in a way); RATATAT (24A Battle report?); UGARTE (36A Lorre’s ”Casablanca” role); SANTA (42A Grinch disguise), just appeared in Friday’s puzzle; RAGGED (49A Rough), we had Raggedy Ann yesterday; CRETIN (58A Idiot), leave these poor souls alone; REESE (70A 1940s-50s Dodger who was a 10-time All-Star), sometimes Witherspoon, or with an “s”, the candy.

Nice to see: FREEDOM (117A License); and the seldom-seen entries, LASTORY (4D Steve Martin romantic comedy); ACTIONABLE (19D Worth trying?); KAZOO (14D Skiffle instrument); CYRIL (10D Saint for whom the Russian alphabet is named); ENCIPHERED (67D Secret); and CLUEIN (119A Tell); along with the “head” entries -- BOOSTERCHAIR, FISCALPERIODS, BLEEDINGHEART, BEARTHEBURDEN, WEBBROWSER, BLARNEYEYED, HEYERDAHL, NANOSECOND, LUNARECLIPSES, and CHINESEBOXES.

Other clues of interest are 11A. Posh part of Boston; 19A. Like some upset stomachs; 28A. Danger in a uranium mine; 74A. Comedy show that once featured John Candy and Martin Short; 107A. Filmed over; 121A. Relative of Rover; 5D. Like seven of Sophocles’ 123 plays; 13D. Political asset; 40D. Kerfuffle; 65D. Coin with kanji writing; and 93D. Cry of triumph after “Whew!” -- IMADEIT! That was a kerfuffle with a skiffle!

New to me were AXL Rose (12D); REDPINE (109A Minnesota’s state tree); and Music of Kanye West (97D HIPHOP) -- also, there's lots of fill which I won’t bring up so I won’t put it down, except for NOS and NOT, SES and SESS, PIG and PUB -- you get the idea.

Used a CRAYON (31D Tool for many a homemade Mother’s Day card) to color in the hard-to-see head/face parts in the grid -- but I hesitate to call it a tool!

I’ll stop now, or I’ll start finding more body parts (e.g., NAPES [101D Kittens’ “handles]) in this Sunday crossword puzzle head game and never get on with life!