"Of all the works by Rodin, the most famous one is unquestionably the great Thinker. It was modelled in 1880-1882 for The Gates of Hell, and exhibited in its original size (H. 71.5 cm) in Copenhagen in 1888. It was enlarged in 1902 and exhibited in this form at the Salon of 1904 where it aroused strong reactions from the press. It was on this occasion that Gabriel Mourey, editor of the magazine Les Arts de la vie, launched a subscription for a bronze "offered to the people of Paris" to erase the affront caused by the refusal of the statue of Balzac in 1898."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Puzzle by Brendan Emmett Quigley, edited by Will Shortz

It used to bother me when my late wife would (usually on a Saturday) say "I declare this puzzle finished!" (when it was not) and toss the newspaper aside, commencing to be occupied with the little things that one must do to stay civilized. Today, I understand! At one point, I simply said "I declare this puzzle finished!" Yes, I had gone over it word by word, checked every single entry, matching against the clues, conjuring up the widest interpretations possible -- and still the New York Times equivalent of spell-check, the Applet "Check My Solution" device, kept insisting there was an error. So, finally, I said I don't care, everything works just fine the way it is, and -- I declared this puzzle finished!

I would be happy, perhaps even thrilled, I mused to myself, to know what I have overlooked, or whether the New York Times has hired HAL in its computer network. In the meantime, I went on -- luckily for me, a good soul shed light (see Comments), and now all's well!

Appropriately, the entries in this puzzle relate to games, puzzles, numbers and mazes -- PUBQUIZ (1A. Event in which teams may drink rounds during rounds); UNSNARL (8A. Comb); GOTFREE (16A. Broke out); ACESOUT (19A. Defeats easily); BEATSIT (20A. Doesn't stick around); RADII (48A. Cuts into a pie, often); MISDEAL (51A. Distribution slip); SYSTEMS (60A. Information technology subject); UNICODE (2D. Cousin of Ascii); ARCSINE (12D. Function whose domain is between -1 and 1); SNARE (26D. Part of a certain kit); ALG (30D. H.S. subject); ONECLAM (41D. Part of a fin?); GAMEST (43D. Most intrepid); RATER (48D. Zagat contributor); and QTYS (Amts.). Well, not strictly related, but they might as well be because, that's right -- I declare this puzzle finished!

Oh, but I just can't go without mentioning UGGBOOTS (8D. Boho-chic footwear) and GNOCCHI (18A. Dumpling dish), the weird entries today. There's also QUASARS (4D. Some radio sources) and DAYSTAR (58A. Bright planet, sometimes) universally related, e.g., of the universe. PDQBACH (53A. Ostensible composer of "The Abduction of Figaro" and "Oedipus Tex") leads the initialized entries which include STJAMES (31A. Place on a game board?); NFCTEAM (11D. Saints, e.g.); and, of course, UGGBOOTS!

People: PAPADOC (1D. Leader who claimed to have put a fatal curse on J.F.K.); LEITER (14D. First pitcher to have defeated all 30 major-league teams); DERALTE (40D. 20th-century German leader's moniker); PILATES (17A. Conditioning system); DORA (21A. 1920s birth control advocate Russell); PEROT (22A. Author of "Save Your Job, Save Our Country: Why Nafta Must Be Stopped -- Now!"); ALROSEN (33A. A.L. home run champ of 1950 and '53); GORME (1966 Grammy winner for "If He Walked Into My Life"); a DEB (44A. Focus of some ball-handlers?); DUENA (46A. Spanish mistress); and ESTELLE (56A. Bennett of the Ronettes).

Leftovers: ANOUNCE (15A. Minimal, with "of"); EIRE (24A. Name on some euros); ODORS (25A. They may be found in sneakers); 27A. "DEO vindice" (Confederacy motto); CANER (28A. Chairperson?); CESSNA (29A. Big name in flight); HAIRGEL (35A. Mop holder?); WINDOW (38A. Often-minimized thing); APIA (47A. Samoan capital); MRES (50A. Field fare, briefly); ENTENTE (55A. Summit goal); STAINER (57A. Worker doing a desk job?); and that's just TOSTART (59A. "First ...") -- following are the downs:

BOLEROS (3D. Dances in waltz time); 5D. "'UNTO Me?' I do not know you" (Emily Dickinson poem); ICEUP (6D. Get slippery, in a way); ZESTED (7D. Zipped up); NONET (9D. Big combo); STOA (10D. Old marketplace surround); REHIRES (13D. Not-so-new work crew); RESOLED (23D. Having a better bottom?); CANID (28D. Wolf, e.g.); JEW (32D. Faster, maybe); REDALERT ("Danger!"); HOPINTO (35D. Enter for a spin); ARISTAS (36D. Bristly appendages); NUMBEST (39D. Least sensible); WASHERS (42D. Load-bearing things?); BIPEDS (45D. Man and others); ENNA (52D. Italian province or its capital).

So, what was the difference? CANIS instead of CANID; SUENA instead of DUENA. As advised, I worked "doggedly" (a clue for the ages) with help from Blake in Comments, and IMADEIT (37A. Words after "Whew!") -- a tough one IDSAY (49D. Opinion opener) -- and with that, Canis, Canid, Suena, Duena -- "I declare this puzzle finished!"


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

To go to the original post with illustrations and the completed puzzle, or to leave a Comment, click on the TITLE at the beginning of today's or any day's commentary.