The Puzzler


EVERY clue answer must shed one letter before it will fit into the diagram; these deleted letters never come from unchecked squares (squares in which answers don't intersect). The letters thus dropped, when taken in clue order (Acrosses preceding Downs), will spell out a cryptic clue whose words have the following lengths: 7, 5, 2, 6, 3, 2, 9, 6. The answer to this clue is a five-letter word of a certain size, whose corresponding symbol is to be entered in the diagram's central box. Answers include four proper nouns.



1. Introduce new downsizing (9)

7. Bard outside I will make more comfortable (6)

11. Models exercising rarely (6)

12. Downsize to make smooth? (8)

13. Member came down on club's point of law (8)

14. Strip of weapons in lunar module (5)

15. Odd elastic buckles out of place (10)

16. Alien in Pisces shows charms (8)

18. Acts as boss in grim courts (7)

19. Get turned around in errant plan (8)

24. Ran last of articles in block letters (8)

26. French well surrounded by a mountain on all sides (7)

28. Opera gig could produce a run of notes (8)

30. Female is about to provide a substitute for hot spots (10)

32. Writers in sulky moods about love (5)

33. For all the world, an erotic novel (8)

34. The opposite of "stick" in pronouncements (8)

35. Specify northern island's name (6)

36. Maroon thread (6)

37. Mexican article in the hodgepodge having no central idea (9)


1. Aid pair of liners caught in shoal (6)

2. Those voting for English speakers in colleges (8)

3. Dickens's Barnaby is impolite when eating bit of gruel (5)

4. Company with beer and perfume merging (10)

5. Best in fashion -- if tie's tacked (8)

6. Stone implement clobbered the lion (7)

7. Laugh over Marlon, sick of testosterone perhaps (8)

8. Fabricate article about a Spanish volcano (5,3)

9. Medical drama's last character accepts a true substitute (6)

10. Fixing note on me kicking the bucket (9)

17. Secure win in chess for fellow in a stall (10)

18. Parental choices and commercial choices (9)

20. Verse writer merriest when drunk (8)

21. Senator's consuming ring pastries (8)

22. California boxing official, heartless and gay (8)

23. Fire again, and rule it "error" (8)

25. Tearing apart one of Arthur's knights (7)

27. Pet cur sloppily clipped ahead of time (6)

29. Victor's not starting things near the center (6)

31. Run off with small duck (5)

The Atlantic Monthly; November 1999; The Puzzler - 99.11; Volume 284, No. 5; page 127.

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