Chasm of the Colorado -- 1873-1874, Thomas Moran -- Dept. of the Interior Museum, Wash., DC


Saturday September 15, 2007

Puzzle by Brad Wilber, edited by Will Shortz

There exists in Saturday crossword puzzles, a CHASM (40A One yawning) between CLEW (1A Interest of Miss Marple) and HEARTSEASE (58A Serenity) of solution.

Across: 1. Interest of Miss Marple (CLEW? I wanted "clue"); 5. Blow-drying problem (I wanted ROOTDAMAGE); 15. Liner’s locale (I thought ASEA); 16. Slipping frequencies (this could be audio, banana peels, what?); 17. Spot (ESPY); 18. Steering system components (how many of us know the multiple parts that make our Hummers hum?); 19. “OER the glad water of the dark blue sea”: Byron; 20. James Bond was kicked out of it (makes one think, doesn’t it?); 21. Eric of “Lucky You” (BANA); 22. Contortionist’s inspiration (PRETZEL); 24. Aquavit flavorer (I’m sure this just pops right into everyone’s head!); 27. Risible (why would I know this is ABSURD?); 28. Paris fashion house since 1956 (oh sure, of course, who doesn’t know this one?); 29. Seed’s exterior (TESTA); 30. Off by a mile (DEADWRONG); 34. 1990s Indian P. M. (A real reach for fill, puzzle constructor’s must love “Google”); 35. Where some addresses come from (tell me this one is postal-related, and what's with the dangling preposition?); 36. Massenet’s “Le ROI de Lahore” ; 37. Setting of Camus’s “The Fall” (meaning city); 42. Sign at some booths (booths, what booths, KISSES wouldn’t fit); 43. Marina accommodations (the Puzzle Police are going to go after this one, but BOATEL is legit); 44A Notoriety (RECLAME -- hey, I learned a new word); 47. Hansom cab accessory (also for football games and retirement homes); 48. Massive star (I said “no, this can’t be what they want” but it was); 49. Half of doce (more desperation, foreign-language numbers); 50. Something often smelled (Jack Nicholson does a great facial imitation of one in “The Departed" ); 51. Factor in a home’s market value (think sales-talk); 55. Do groundbreaking work? (no, not a cornerstone, ore); 56. Carried by currents, in a way (I entered UNDERTOWED and went to another corner); 57. Winetaster’s concern (why didn’t I know this?); 59. Forum infinitive (that is a long way to go for ESSE).

Down: 1. Shakespearean character who introduced the phrase “salad days” (and is this also why we have a Caesar salad?); 2. Tattoo remover (what else?); 3. Coffeehouse menu subheading (can I see a menu, please?); 1959 #1 Frankie Avalon hit (WHY is it always the #1 hit?); 5.Tested, as a load (well, now); 6. Documentarian Morris (ERROL); 7. Elvis follower (oh, very tricky, but it’s the middle name, Presley won’t fit, and neither will “fan” and Roy Orbison came before); 8. Lot (TON); 9. Richard Gere title role of 2000 (DRT); 10. Basso Berberian (ARA); 11. Sports champ depicted in “Cinderella Man,” 2005 (not the main character); 12. Counselor-ATLAW; 13. Davis of “Cutthroat Island” (pre-Depp of “Pirates of the Caribbean”); 14. Theme (good to see this word used properly for a change); 20. Fitch who co-founded Abercrombie & Fitch (another day, it’ll be Pound); 23. Indication of disapproval (or the mummified King); 24. Novelist Potok (more constructor Googling); 25. Tony winner for “Guys and Dolls,” 1951 (or, how many ways can you clue ALDA, or Alan, or both); 26. Detail on some tickets (ROW); 28. Material used in making saunas (it was redwood before they were almost all gone); 30. “Pink Shoe Laces” singer Stevens (another day, Goodman); 31. “Elijah” and others (yesterday, it was singular, clued as 13D Church piece, and August 24 as 14. “Elijah” or “The Creation”); 32. Bridle parts (no, “nose rings” are for cattle, NOSEBANDS are for horses); 33. Piercing glance (I have never, ever heard this used in real-life conversation, or ever seen it written!); 35. Coventry park sight (PRAM); 38. It’s raised after a payment is collected (not taxes?); 39. Disney doe (ENA); 40. Pinches (possibilities endless); 41. Part of a laugh (Hee? Hah? Hoh? Haw? Oh, HAR!); 43. Temporary property holder (BAILEE, why did I know this?); 44. Konica Minolta competitor (I mused NIKON, ARGUS, settled for what it is); 45. Elicit (it’s nice when a clue makes perfect sense); 46. Chick playing a piano (not a chicken, nor a "babe", not RANDY); 47. Isn’t quite neutral (another day, “is slanted”); 49. Toxin fighters (oh, so that’s what SERA do?); 52. Symbol of industry (ARM? No, ANT); 53. “Be more…” sloganeer (“Be more…”? That’s all? What a stingy clue!); 54. “Some Words With a Mummy” penner (POE!); 55. Honourary title: Abbr. (Google wouldn’t do, so it must have come from Dogpile).

Oh, and the puzzle itself? Great!