Patent Puzzler #1. The National Archives, Washington, DC


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Puzzle by Brad Wilber, edited by Will Shortz

If puzzles are meant to puzzle (and by the best of information, they are) then it's apropos this puzzle puzzles.
DRAZIZ (46D Character on trial in “A Passage to India”) and MARIA (11D Musical character who sings “My Favorite Things”), I knew. I also came up with CRAZYHORSE (64A Big name in Dakota history) because that’s my home state, and I had Aziz' Zs. Well, after that, it was helter-skelter back-and-forth, in-and-out, up-and-over and back again until finally it was only a toss-up between is it ici ETIA or ici ETLA (here and there, to Therese) (31A) -- and why not clue ILE (57A Project wrap-up?) as something to do with Therese, too?

Ergo, between never-said and seldom-used-or-seen words as entries, coupled with coy clues, this crossword was a bit brittle. Seen by themselves without their separation, especially in part (remove a couple letters), such entries as CAMPHOROIL,
IPODNANO, FELICITOUS, TESTACY, INAKNOT, OATCAKE, MCHALE, don’t flesh out easily -- and then to get 6D Like a bad spray-on tan, ORANGEY -- well!..and get a load of Farrah!

The obvious was unobvious, RATATATTAT, TRALALA, ONEORTWO, etc. are given vague clues, e.g., 17. Rap; 42. Syllables to skip by; and 33. Not many -- just as an example. Could-be-anything clues such as 15A Presidents Adams, Fillmore and Taft; 20A Put down some chips?; 21A Minute buzzer; 36A Imprecise; 39A You may get into it while shopping; 53A Characteristic quality; 54A Direct; 61A Quarter division; 5D Occupiers of top spots, 48D People person?; and 50D Goon’s last words -- were of no help either.

I'm tempted to recommend that BLATS, TER, ENT, NEI, ENNE, REFI, TYRE, and yes, FLY, should be severely admonished by The Nitpickers!

The four corners of the crossword are packed tight with the join toward center nicely rippled with black squares yielding a very odd center-piece of a seven-unit thing I can’t recall seeing in a crossword before -- it is, of course, just accidental black fill. No matter. I just keep seeing it every time I look back at the page while writing this, and more and more it looks like a clumsy diva twisting her ankle while taking a bow center stage.

I’m rambling, and that’s
Dann’s forte!

Other across: 1. Liniment ingredient; 11. Certain copier; 16 “… on the head of APIN?”; 18. “The Man Who Fell to Earth” director; 19. Make a scene?; 22. Detail on some tickets; 24. Its banks are lined with nearly 200 palaces, GRANDCANAL; 26. Cousin of -trix; 27. “Giuliani: Nasty Man” author, EDKOCH; 28. Booster of a rock band; 29. Tackle box item; 32. “in the’, in Italy; 33. Nostalgia elicitor; 38. Alma mater of Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk: Abbr.; 43. RX specification; 44. Sinusitis studier’s specialty: Abbr.; 100 centimes, in Haiti; 47. Like the Chrysler Building; 62. Nightspots where the attraction is simply a gas, OXYGENBARS; 55. Makes a raucous noise; 58. Rolls roller; 59. National Historic Landmark in Manhattan, PLAZA HOTEL; 62. Apropos, FELICITOUS; 63. Pablo Neruda’s “ODES to Common Things”.

Down: 1. Parish leader; 2. Its ads once showed hammers inside the head; 3. One of a protective pair; 4. Org. addressing class conflict; 7. Score direction: Abbr.; 8. Scottish cereal staple; 9. Snarled; 10. “Saving Private Ryan” craft, for short; 12. Player in a shirt pocket; 13. Anticlimactic court outcomes; 14. Lemony meringue concoction, ANGELPIE; 21. Celtic Kevin with a retired jersey #32; 23. Bank offering, briefly; 25. Seventh-century year; 30. It can help you keep your balance; 33. Not many; 34. Keen of vision, LYNXEYED; 35. Like some airport shopping, DUTYFREE; 37. Novus ORDO seclorum (Great Seal phrase); 40. It goes on and on; 41. Drinking fountain, BUBBLER; 43. Willful state?; 49. Mint-family plant with bright-colored leaves and blue flowers; 52. Unlikely prom kings; 56. “SHIH Ching” (classic book of Chinese poetry); 59. U.S.M.C. #-2; 60. Ear: Prefix.

This puzzle puts the puzzle back in puzzle -- it's a perfect puzzler!


For today’s cartoons, go to
The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.