The Adorable Snowman

Sunday, December 2007

WINTER FIGURE, Puzzle by Elizabeth C. Gorski, edited by Will Shortz

This Sunday delight is headed by the note: The 16 circled letters, starting in square #4 and proceeding roughly counterclockwise, ending at #38, will spell the opening lyric of a popular song. Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve either solved the puzzle or I’ve ruined your fun!

Fun it is too! Intelligent and frivolous! While the diagram (or "grid", as some prefer) is a bit clunky with its black squares roughly (hold it a distance from the eyes) outlining a snowman; however, the circled-squares do so with much more finesse -- the top hat at the top of the diagram gives a top-heavy look to the puzzle, taking one aback at very first glance. I thought, “who’s going to wear that to a New Year’s party?” -- EVENTS (145A. New Year‘s Eve parties, e.g.) -- and then discerned a coal-like outline of a snowman -- so like a SERF (144A Lord‘s worker) or VASSAL (90A Lord‘s worker), (so Shortzesque!), proceeded to solve this romp in the snow.

The 16 circled letters, as you know by now, whether through your own imperturbation or the less subtle machinations of this commentary spell out F R O S T Y T H E S N O W M A N. I couldn’t resist putting little baby Frostys into the grid instead of the letters -- too much free time? Why no! If people can go out and roll snow into big balls, stack them, stick objects into the result, e.g., coal, carrots, pipes, whatever, place a hat on top -- 107A. Provider of an old silk hat, e.g. (as depicted at the top of this puzzle) = HABERDASHER -- or even wrap a scarf around it, stick twigs into it to indicate appendages, and give it a broom, then my efforts at continuing the tradition with this entertaining cyber-snowman construction is not so outrageous that I need to seek analysis, or is it?!

Onward -- after “FROSTY, THE SNOWMAN” is 3D. Lyric, part 2, after “Was a”, JOLLYHAPPYSOUL; 134A Lyric, part 3, after “With a” CORNCOBPIPE; 16D Lyric, part 4, ANDABUTTONNOSE; 114A Lyric, part 5, ANDTWOEYESMADEOUTOFCOAL. So to beat this to death, the following:

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.

Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow but the children
Know how he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in that
Old silk hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.

O, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh
And play just the same as you and me.

Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.

Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Over the hills of snow.

I feel like such a child! Well, let me tell you, as a child, we had a blizzard that closed the whole town down for nearly a month, nothing came in, nothing went out. Could not touch the window panes as they were something of a cross between glass and ice upon to which one’s hands would adhere as if with crazy glue. We bundled up ala Eskimo to sleep at night, and yet during the day, we did -- yes, we built a huge snowman, which spent the good part of the winter evolving with the weather, vandalism, repairs, smack dab in the middle of the front yard, where it terrorized the neighborhood for months!

Across: 1. Land of 300+ islands; 5. Not straight; 10. Words: Abbr.; 15. Eclipse feature; 19. Borodin’s “Prince IGOR”; 20. N.F.L. team for which Barry Sanders played; 21. “Dancing With the Stars” winner APOLO Ohno; 22. Shortly; 23. Wright wings; 24. Playwright Fugard; 25. Not familiar with; 26. Nuptial exchange; 27. Shed some light on? 29. Deli offering; 31. Artificial heat?; 32. Pull; 40. Like some folders; 41. Cadaverous; 42. Class in factories; 44. Oil by the barrel; 45. Photographer Adams; 47. Avalons, e.g.; 48. Have ANOUT (be innocent, maybe); 50. Date with a Dr.; 52. No fancy threads; 54. Piece of soap; 56. Poker great Ungar and others; 59. Breaches; 60. Gets a move on; 63. Rain forests and grasslands, e.g.; 65. R.N.’s locale; 66. Ice cream maker Joseph; 67. Clarinetist’s purchase; 68. Scatter; 70. Smidgen; 72. Cultural funding org.; 73. “ITSNO big deal!”; 75. 13; 78. Dec. holiday plans?; 80. Pump room?; 82. Five min. periods, maybe; 83. A wee hour; 85. Without slack; 86. “Jurassic Park” actress; 88. Advantages; 90. Lord’s worker; 91. Part of R.S.V.P.; 92. Cen. Parts; 54. Yule LOG; 95. No longer working: Abbr.; 96. Bourg’s department; 97. Before, in verse; 98. Ginger treats; 100. Cole Porter’s “You Don’t Know PAREE; 102. Hitches; 104. Fraternity letters; 110. Rugged wheels, briefly; 119. Rustic setting; 120. Ear-relevant; 121. State one’s views; 122. J.F.K. alternative; 123. The Oath” author Frank; 125. Horizontal molding pieces; 131. Wolves; 133. Mountain ridge; 137. Contents of some scrolls; 138. Kind of track; 140. Wound (up); 141. Herbal tea; 142 Loses ground?; 143. Crawl (with); 144. Lord’s worker; 145. New Year’s Eve parties, e.g.; 146. Wood measure; 147. OSLO Accords; 148. News agency started in 1925.

I’ll dispense with the downs, so the snowman stays up as long as possible! -- with the exception of 1. FIESTA (Holiday Party); 2. IGLOOS (Homes that may have tunnel entrances); 58. SPARKLE (What icicles do); 118. FESTIVE (Holidayish); and 126. ANGEL (Harpist, of sorts) -- something else to do with the snow!


For a festival of snowman cartoons, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.