New York Times, July 26
So how many of King Arthur’s knights can you name? Luckily, you don’t need to know their names for this puzzle. But you do need to remember that their proper title is “Sir,” because this “Story Circle” is actually a “SIR”-cle — five squares in which you must squeeze in the word SIR. When loosely connected, they form a circle.
Here goes: 38 Across (“Fathers”) is (SIR)ES, which crosses nicely with 18 Down’s PUMP(S IR)ON (“Does some heavy lifting”). 72 Across is (SIR)IUS (“Part of Canis Major”), while 72 Down is (SIR)LOINS (“Some steaks”). The other (SIR)s can be found in the last square of 40 Across; the first square of 74 Down; and the last square of 80 Down. It’s kind of pentagram-ish, but I guess it can pass for the Round Table.
The clue that something funny might be up is 14 Down (“With 76-Down, 1953 Ava Gardner film … as depicted elsewhere in this puzzle”): KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE. The rest of the long clues are similarly themed, including EXCALIBUR (2 Down, “1981 film in which Helen Mirren plays a sorceress”); SWORD IN THE STONE (137 Across, “1963 animated film with the song ‘Higitus Figitus,’ with ‘The'”); QUEST FOR CAMELOT (143 Across, “1998 animated film featuring the voice of Pierce Brosnan”); MISTS OF AVALON (71 Down, “2001 Anjelica Huston miniseries, with ‘The'”); and the exquisite A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT (4 Down, “With 12-Down, 1889 Twain novel”).
(For the record, I can only name two knights off the top of my head: Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot. And that’s even after seeing “Spamalot” on Broadway.)
P.S. Philly-based Temple University got a shout-out in 101 Down, “Temple structure?” The answer: DORM.
Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy