The photograph “Grace,” depicting an elderly man bowing his head and giving thanks, taken in Bovey, Minnesota, in 1918, by Eric Enstrom, was adopted as the official state photograph in 2002. A copy of the photograph is on display in the secretary of state’s office in St. Paul. -- A framed copy has been a fixture of my mother’s dining room for half a century.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Puzzle by Elizabeth C. Gorski, edited by Will Shortz

PRAYER (55A It ends with something found four times in this puzzle) is the binding clue, along with AMENCORNERS (lA Parts of churches appropriate to this puzzle) for the inter-related entries of this Thursday crossword puzzle. For good measure, there is ONEARTH (45D Where "Thy will" will be done, in part); "Do UNTO others ..." (26A); DEUT (42A Old Testament book: Abbr.); and EDEN (6D Fall place).

Four four-letter squares provide the letters A-M-E-N to eight entries, two of which utilize the word “AMEN”. The ENDRESULT (36A Consequence) is “AMEN” in all four corners, MIMETIC (25D Imitative), or should one say suggestive, of AMENCORNERS (1A).

Of course, there is no architectural section of a church building called the amen corner. An amen corner is a place in a church reserved for pesons leading congregational responses.

The eight inter-related entries are: AMENCORNERS (1A); AMENTOTHAT (1D “You sure said it!”); AMENDS (14D Adds to or subtracts from); AMENITIES (65A Factor in a hotel rating); CAMERAMEN (9A TV news crew); STAMEN (60D Filament holder); TUTANKHAMEN (66A Egyptian royal); and MILITIAMEN (46D Citizen soldiers).

The always welcome Shortzesque clue has struck twice in this puzzle, with “Roomy dress” being the clue for both 11D MUUMUU and 58D TENT; and again with “Trattoria order” being the clue for both CAMPARI (40D) and SCAMPI (48D).

The positive entries -- COURAGE (2D “Be brave!”); OPTIMAL (3D Best); AONE (10D Primo); along with the four AMENs and their entourage --balance the negative well enough -- ONUSES (18A Loads); NIHIL (5D It meant nothing to Nero); LOWMARK (44D D, for one);
AMOK (24A Frenzied); the neutral but corrective REENTER (13D Type in, as lost data) and the selective REREAD (7D Like favorite books, often). TUSH (34D Sitting spot) may raise an eyebrow, and TOPSIDES (15A Decks) is joined by AMENCORNERS and OUTTHERE (17A Really bizarre) stacked in nebulous locations in the upper left corner.

ICEMEN (21A Ones with cool jobs?) is a cool clue, along with Thumb locale: Abbr. for MICH (49A), Quick change artist? for TELLER (31A), and Twinkly, in a way for STARLIT (41D). Other longer entries include ESSENCE (12D Perfume); CHOCK (9D Wood block for holding an object steady); RUMOR (37D Buzz); HOUSED (16A Put up); SLALOM (43A Winter Olympics event); PIECHART (61A Graphic in a business report); TRIPLE (63A Rare play); and CONCERTI (64A Bach’s Brandenburgs, e.g.).

People in the puzzle include
HAMEL (22A Veronica of “Hill Street Blues); DUCES (30A Italian leaders); MATE (33A Pal); MCS (Roast V.I.P.‘s); RATSO (47A “Midnight Cowboy” role); SALMAN (60A Writer Rushdie); YALE (56D Setting for many episodes of TV’s “Gilmore Girls”) (yesterday this entry, in the same location, was clued as Where the Clintons met); ERLE (23D First name in mysteries); Edvard BENES, Czech president and patriot (53D); CARIOU (50D Tony winner for “Sweeney Todd,“ 1979); DECCA (54 Label of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas); and Mother HEN (62D).

Other across: 19. Angular opening; 20. Follower of Max of Paul?; 28. Petri dish gel; 29. Touch up, as text; 36. Sounds of ambivalence; Rice-A-RONI (51); 52. Computer once with an egg-shaped design; 53. City south of Delray Beach, for short; 54. Carpenter’s pin; 57. Sales rep’s assignment: Abbr.; 59. Month before juin.

Other down: 4. Alphabet trio; 8. Reno-to-L.A. dir.; 21. Smidgens; 27. C.I.A. forerunner; 29.
Mahler’s “Das Lied von der ERDE; 30. Hollow; 32. Prefix with spore; 38. Hawaiian root; 39. Dr.’s order; 61. Polling abbr.

Another crowning achievement in crossword puzzle construction for Elizabeth C. Gorski, who has given us a puzzle of both intelligence and grace.


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