Saturday, January 19, 2008

Puzzle by David J. Kahn, edited by Will Shortz

Murder on the ORIENTEXPRESS (36A. See 15-Down) certainly has a better ring to it than Murder on the METRONORTH (9D. New York City transportation option), or perhaps Murder on a SLEIGHRIDE (28D. Christmas song favorite since 1949), or a SAFARI (45D. What a game plan leads to?), but chances are you won’t need to go anywhere to be slaughtered by this sadistic Saturday stumper.

HERCULEPOIROT (15D. Noted 36-Across passenger) is conveniently aboard, but likely LOATH (49A. Indisposed) to READINTO (59A. Infer) even the most AVID (8D. Not blasé) solver a motive for murder trudging up this grade STEEP (6D. Acclivitous) grade with no SAFEAREA (38D. Refuge), desperately looking for an EXITVISA (17A. Embassy issue?) from this ACIDIC (11D. Sharp) ZEROZERO (2D. Love all).

Its sensibilities range from the SNIDEST (65A. Superlatively derogatory) ATEASE (66A. Having one’s feet up, say) to the simple HAVEACOW (15A. Freak out). Once AIREDOUT (63A Put on the line perhaps), I’m sure one could conjugate upon the entries and their clues to no end. -- but this puzzle really is ONFIRE (54A. Lit) with 21A. DREDAY, 1993 rap hit with the repeated lyric Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay”!

Far-away places and strange sounding names (that too, is a lyric) may bring your murderous adventure to AZTECS (1A. Mesoamericans of old); SAMPANS (7A. Mekong River sights); TURIN (29A. Fiat headquarters); 51A. Gulf of SIAM, body of water next to Viet Nam with an ARABIST (1D. Mideast expert, maybe) or even ENOS (55D. Mercury-Atlas 5 rider) and IMPS (30A. Little terrors)!

Likely to make one SITUP (40A. Rise partly) are a slew of clues and entries with little relationship other than inference, shot-gun marriage and fourth definitions -- oh, yes, of course, there are exceptions: REHEAT (14A. Warm up, as leftovers); AREOLE (16A. Small cavity, as around a cactus spine); IZOD (22A. Big name in sportswear) and others -- here are the remainders:

Across: 18. Short cut; 19. Look at a Playboy Club?; 24. Concordat; 26. Role in a Tchaikovsky ballet; 27. Battlers, at times; 31. Part of many cultural venue names: Abbr.; 32. Shrill; 34. Long rides? ; 41. Echelons; 43. Gridiron stat: Abbr.: 46. Dead Souls” novelist; 48. Platters’ platters players; 54. Lit; 56. Jim Beam and others; 58. Univ. of ALA, alma mater of Joe Namath and Bart Starr; 61. Higher-priced; 63. Put on the line, perhaps; 64. Sportscaster with the catchphrase “Oh, my!”
Down: 3. Simon & Garfunkel hit after “Mrs. Robinson”; 4. Affirmative action letters; 5. CALL letters; 7. Adolphe with an instrument named after him; 10. Hard-top; 12. Certain diet restriction; 13. Influential one; 20. Down; 23. Actress Mazar and others; 25. Rabbit food?; 33. Prefix with parasite; 35. Letter finisher; 37. Water towers? ; 39. Father-and-son comedic actors; 42. Comparatively bulky; 43. Groups of plants; 44. Entered; 47. Romantic narrative; 50. Helped, in a way, with “over”; 52. Title role for Maria Callas in her only film; 57. Turned on; 62. ABE Lyman & His California Orchestra , popular 1920s- ‘40s band; and 60. When repeated, an old-fashioned cry -- TUT TUT!!


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