The Argonne

New York Times, Sept. 6

I was thinking WAY too hard about this one.

The Argonne forest was the site of some fierce fighting in World War I … or World War II, I forget. And I noticed that most of the theme answers in this puzzle were vertical. So I thought, “Wow, are they going be types of trees or something? Maybe even French trees?” (I think the Argonne is in France. It’s certainly spelled like a French forest.)

Sigh. It was after I’d solved the fourth tree-less and French-less theme answer that I finally repeated the puzzle title to myself: “Argonne … Oh, God … ‘R gone!'” And then the SCOTTISH EEL of 7 Down (“Fish in a firth?”) became the “Scottish Reel” by putting the missing “R” back.

The “R”s were also gone from the SHIP TO SHORE ADIOS (114 Across, “Departure call from a Spanish vessel?”), ROMULUS AND EMUS (51 Down, “Mythical twin’s bird tale?”), CROSS-COUNTRY ACES (24 Across, “Some skiing stars?”) and COMMANDO AID (40 Down, “Camouflage?”), among others.

Other clues that made me smile were 72 Across, “Something of great interest?” — USURY — and 100 Across, “Big name in escapism?” — HOUDINI.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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