Monday, January 28, 2008

Puzzle by Michael Blake, edited by Will Shortz

THE CHIPMUNKS (55A Singing group suggested by the starts of 20-, 28- and 48-Across) is certainly a very light way of linking three heavy entries together -- ALVIN TOFFLER (20A. “Future Shock” author), SIMON WIESENTHAL (28A, Late hunter of Nazi war criminals), and THEODORE DREISER (48A. “Sister Carrie” author). Alvin and the Chipmunks is an animated music group, consisting of three singing chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. I haven't heard them in years, but as children my brother and I would sing very slowly on a tape recorder and then replay it on fast -- voila, Chipmunks!

Lots of other contrast in this jazzy little Monday puzzle: LAMAZE (26A. Kind of class for expectant mothers) with STIFFS (8D. Cadavers, slangily); TERRA firma (17A.) with EDWHITE (44D. First American to walk in space); CLAMOR (27D. Noisy shouting) with SEDATE (28D. Anesthetize, say); TOWIT (21D. Namely) with Tit for TAT (12D.); and we have a BEAR (10D. Yogi, for one) and a MOOSE (69A. Bullwinkle, for one) -- oh, an there's TERMITE (46D. Orkin target) and ANTENNA (9D. Insect or radio part) -- and a total repeat from yesterday's puzzle, ATANEND (5D. Finished), clued yesterday as (19D. Over).

People in the puzzle joining those pseudo-Chipmunks, Alvin Toffler, Simon Wiesenthal, and Theodore Dreiser, are MATA Hari (1D.); ABEL (2D. Brother of Cain and Seth); "MERV Griffin's Crosswords" (3D.); MARINO (4D. Dolphins QB Dan); LEE (22D. Former auto executive Iacocca); THOMAS (25D. Clarence of the Supreme Court); EARLE (32D. Country rocker Steve); MAMMA (1A. Baby's first word, in Italy); EMO (34A. Comedian Philips); a DIVA (35A. Aria singer); DIOR (37A. Designer Christian); an IMAM (42A. Muslim holy man); LOTT (45A. Former senator Trent); HAN Solo of "Star Wars" (64A.); IRENES (65A. Actress Papas or Ryan); ROGET (66A. Thesaurus author); and last but not least, an actress I directed in a play some years ago, EDIES (71A. Actress Falco and namesakes) -- explaining why I was such a faithful viewer of "The Sopranos".

Pictured below is what the chipmunk in my backyard looks like. He and his extended family live under the tool shed, and I've never heard them make a sound, much less sing!

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

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