Illustration for Paradise Lost, Gustave Dore
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Puzzle by Bob Klahn, edited by Will Shortz
A dozen ten-letter entries in sets of three occupy the four corners of this puzzle with no regard to rhyme or reason.
Upper left: BUBBLEBATH (1A Modesty preserver, in some films) is an odd-ball description. OPERASERIA (15A Old form of Italian musical drama) on the other hand is fairly straightforward, as is ADVANCEMEN (17A Public appearance preparers).
Upper right: WINTERTIDE (12D End-of-year festival) is timely, especially in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. ANDYROONEY (13D “Common Nonsense” author, 2002) and STOLENCARS (14D Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concern) finish off this corner.
Lower left: HASAGOATIT (24D Tries something) was a very fair definition, as was the clue for OCHLOCRACY (25D Mob rule); however, a word not often used in day-to-day conversation, while the simple entry BOOTLEGGER (26D One running for work?) wanted to be VOTEGETTER, or anything else that could come to mind.
Lower right: PERIPETEIA (48A Unexpected turn of events, as in a literary work) is a word I haven’t seen in a quarter of a century. While PLATEGLASS (51A See-through sheets) is very common, the clue is opaque; and finally, EIGHTEENTH (53A Grant’s position in presidential history) is just a matter of enumeration.
After the ten-letter entries, eight eight-letter entries ensue: TOYSTORY (19A Pixar’s first feature-length film); BRASSARD (4D Uniform armband); HANDOUTS (10D Fliers, e.g.); FOURIRON (27A It has a smaller degree of loft than a mashie); XANTIPPE (32D Scolding wife: Var.); MISTITLE (33D Handle incorrectly?); GOLCANDA (37A Rich mine or other source of great wealth); and BAPTISMS (43A Initiations).
The center portion of the crossword was a bit tricky -- I wanted XERES to be JEREZ (which it is, but not today); WITTY, LUSTY, PALMS, PROMS; NOTES, NOSES (I’m not kidding); kept thinking of June Allyson in the The Shrike instead of XANTIPPE, and was totally unfamiliar with GOLCONDA, wallowing around in a seeming quagmire in the middle of the puzzle, at which time my computer froze!
When everything was “back to normal” (unnecessary quotes necessary for emphasis), I had a clean slate and left out my beloved mish mash of a center, entering only FIRMA (27D Latin land descriptor). Thereon, the computer was so slow, I just stared at blanks awaiting to type until I was allowed to do so! If I didn’t have a blog, I’d had quit right then and there!
Finally, I printed what I had and completed it by hand -- and while I was somewhat perturbed, I’m sure this would have sent the crossword speed-freaks to their analyst, no matter what the time of night!
The remainders, Across: 11. “TWAS wondrous pitiful”: “Othello”; 16. “AINT Nobody” (1983 Chaka Khan hit); 18. Introduction to Chinese?; 20. Finger or toe; 22. Mass appeals: Abbr.; 23. You may be lost in the middle of it (remind you of anyone?); 24. McKinley’s first vice president; 28. Cupule’s contents; 29. Sparkling; 30. List in a book’s front: Abbr. (what sensible individual uses TOC anywhere? Maybe TIC, TAC, or TICK TOCK, but Table of Contents -- if someone every says "read the TOCs", I’ll slap them!); 31. Like racehorses (wanted this to be FAST); 32. Spanish city that gave sherry its name (now is that a for-real clue?); 33. MINA Harker, heroine of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”; 34. Rocket datum: Abbr.; 35. Where to pick up dates?; 36. Fall production; 37. Rich mine or other source of great wealth; 39. Shuffles; 40. Margay cousins; 41. Siege site; 42. Mountain sheep; 47. Graffitists’ scrawls; 50. Puts away; 52. Banks of note.
Down: 1. Shell, e.g., 2. Hair-raiser?; 3. Bunch; 5. You can make light of it (“The Tell-Tale Heart” flickered in my memory); 6. Squire (as a verb); 7. Draft picks (not military); 8. Private group (military); 9. Even numbers; 11. Meditative exercise; 21. Catawampus (it’s AWRY -- what?!); 23. Scoring units; 27. Latin land descriptor; 29. Joins; 35. Price-manipulating group; 36. Retinue; 38. Top-of-the-line; 39. Rug rat ; 41. It may be blind; 43. Gasconade (for a simple word like BRAG?!); 44. Name equivalent to Hans or Ivan; 45. Tear up (long “e”); 46. Military band (who wears those?); and 49. Father of Hophni and Phinehas, in the Bible -- it’s ELI, for the love of heaven!
So, this report comes crashing to an end! This clever crossword puzzle ate my computer and left me speechless -- peripeteia lost!
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.