Monday, March 24, 2008

Puzzle by David J. Kah, edited by Will Shortz

Think of how many untapped opportunities are out there for crossword puzzles starring The King -- 50th anniversaries of every conceivable twitch a body can make, down to the last flatulent gasp for a breath of fresh air! Ha!, no equinox or Easter to brighten our dark little world of crosswords this year, instead (pardon my onomatopoetically intended alliteration) pow!, a pitiful pittance passing for topicality in puzzledom in the person of a perfectly pompadoured Presley!

ELVIS (39A. Notable Army Inductee of 3/24/58),
RCA (54D. Record label of 39-Across),
KING CREOLE (56A. Last movie 39-Across made before his Army stint),
HAIRCUT (23A. Much photographed event after 39-Across’s induction),
ALLSHOOKUP (17A. Like 39-Across’s fans on his induction day?),
PRIVATE (26D. First Army rank of 39-Across),
WESTGERMANY (25D. Where 39-Across was stationed overseas),
COLINPOWELL (11D. Army officer who met 39-Across in 25-Down),
SGT (13D. Last Army rank of 39-Across: Abbr.),
GIBLUES (30D. First movie 39-Across made after his Army stint).

Further, add EGO (12D. Self-esteem), PEER (4D. Word before group or pressure), HAWKS (23A. Warmongers), and the visage of AWOL (40A. Military no-show), and it becomes APPARENT (40D. Clear to all) he was in PERIL (15A. Jeopardy) of being SHELLACKED (32A. Defeated soundly) by conservatives ready and willing to TAR and feather (47A.) his wiggling REAR (54A. Derriere) -- but at EASE (48A. Simplicity), a LIE (60D. Made-up story) from AFAR (10D. Light years away) -- he was a PLIANT (42A. Flexible) and an obedient COG (41A. Part of a gearwheel), spawning many an APER (52A. One who makes a good first impression?), instead of the easy road of 56D. “IVE had it!”

Oh, we’ll hear it from everyone on this crossword! “That was before my time! I was not born yet! I was one year old! Who cares? Where did the time go?!" One thing that we’ll not hear is “I’ve never heard of him.” We get dozens of crossword puzzles with dozens of personalities featured from eras when not a single being living on this planet was alive! Do we complain?! No. Why is that? Well, maybe it’s because ELVIS is still very much alive!

Other people in the puzzle -- DEGAS (66A. Artist who liked to paint dancers), along with 50A. Singer MARC Anthony, ANYA (65A. Novelist Seton), EVERT (63A. 1975-78 U.S. Open champ Chris), 16A. Phileas FOGG, who went around the world in 80 days, CEOS (6D. Corporate V.I.P.’s), 7A. Noah’s ARK, LIU (8D. “Ally McBeal” actress Lucy), TALIAS (33D. Actresses Shire and Balsalm), HALAS (49A. Legendary Chicago Bears coach George) and 21A. Spy Mata HARI.

Plenty of couples today: EEL & ELL (or ELK), LIE & LIU, ALOT & ATAD, NAG & NEG, PLEA & PLIE, SPA & SPOT, ALTOONA & ASTORIA; and a nice couple in the Shortzesque clue department -- 18. What the “H” of H.M.S. may be; and 49. What the “H” of H.M.S. may be -- HIS & HER.

Life can be a TREK (67A. Hard journey).

Elvis and me? Wouldn’t you like to know!


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