The Letter "C"
From the Mannerist alphabet, by I. Paulini
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Puzzle by Jim Leeds, edited by Will Shortz
Five inter-related entries, by addition of the letter "C" to the beginnings of "oral exam", "on the lookout", "Old Folks At Home", "oil paintings", and "ovenware", convolutedly clued for the resulting CORALEXAM (17A. Certain marine biologist’s test?); CONTHELOOKOUT (23A. One way to get into a gang’s headquarters?); COLDFOLKSATHOME (35A. Eskimos in an igloo?); COILPAINTINGS (Pictures of Slinkys?); and COVENWARE (57A. Witches’ pots, pans, etc.?). I find this kind of cunning linguistics not entirely to my taste, as a single letter, in this case "C", becomes evident only upon uncovering at least two, maybe three of the conceits, requiring the solver to slog through five coyly-clued unamusing smarmy entries with perverted definitions. At least yesterday’s puzzle had three letters, e.g., "NYC"!
OCEAN (37D. Triton's realm) and SEA (4D. Triton's realm) are an excellent Shortzesque twin-clued pair of entries.
Longer entries: BIRDCALLS (3D. Coos and hoots); WOLFSBANE (32D. Poisonous flower); RIBROAST (9D. Beef cut); and FARPOINT (36D. Utmost distance from the eye at which an image is clear); followed by CRESTS (22A. Tops); ALERTS (5D. Red lights and flares); LEAVES (26A. Splits); PANFRY (43A. Prepare trout, in a way); PINEAL (43D. Kind of gland); and ASSOON (51A. Part of A.S.A.P.).
A raft of interesting four-letter entries give a bit of difficulty in the upper right and lower left corners -- RAKES (9A. Casino equipment); AWEEK (10D. Hebdomadally); KELSO (11D. Five-time Horse of the Year, 1960-64); COPRA (22D. Dried coconut meat); CAUSA finalis (purpose, in law); (45D.); OSTAR (46D. Massive, very hot celestial orb); ISERE (47D. French frigate that carried the Statue of Liberty to the U.S.); LORAN (48D. Nautical acronym). Less troublesome four-letter entries are SIXTH (6D. Musical interval); PEASE pudding (British dish) (7D.); "If IWERE you ..." (16A.); BELIE (19A. Gainsay); ERITU (12D. Verdi opera); along with its anagram UTERI (56A. Wombs); "What SEEST thou?" (biblical query) (13D.); BOERS (30A. 'Breaker Morant" people); ACIDS (40A. Stomach contents); LOESS (25D. Windblown deposit); BLINI (30D. Thin pancakes); SARAN (59A. Cling Plus brand); TEVYE (60D. "Fiddler on the Roof" role); NOONE (49D. Who has won an Oscar for Best Actor three times); and "ARENT we all?" (62A.).
Four letters -- ABIE, ALEX, AMER, ANON, ANYA, ARTS, ASPS, EGON, EROS, FACT, FOBS, JESS, HANG, LANE, LEGS, LIEU, LUCE, OBOE, OENO, OVID, PEEL, OBOE, OVID, SEXY, SNOG, and UGLI.
Three letters -- CAP, ENS, OKD, OPA, REN, SUM, TED, and WSJ.
For today's cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.