Monumental Achievement

New York Times, April 25

This very cool puzzle was actually a three-fer, with a crossword, scrambled word and connect-the-dots (well, connect-the-circled-letters) all rolled into one grid.

The puzzle came with a note explaining that seven of the clues were missing a common word, as indicated by a set of brackets: “[ ]”. I happened to be working on the middle of the grid pretty early when, using some crossing letters, I figured out that 66 Across (“Paris attraction that features a [ ]”) was THE LOUVRE. Besides the Mona Lisa, the only really iconic image I associate with the museum is the GLASS DESIGN BY I.M. PEI (89 Across) — a pyramid. And PYRAMID is the “Monumental Achievement” constructor Elizabeth C. Gorski was looking for.

By solving the rest of the puzzle, you’ll find that the seven circled letters in the grid spell PYRAMID when they are unscrambled. And, when you connect them in that order, voila! A pyramid right there in your grid. (Funny, it wasn’t there when I started the puzzle.)

The rest of the “bracketed” clues yield various definitions of “pyramid”: THREE DIMENSIONAL SHAPE (109 Across); CARD GAME (78 Across); YOGA POSE (55 Across); IMAGE ON A DOLLAR BILL (37 Across).

That last one reminds me of the cheesy Nicolas Cage action movie “National Treasure,” in which the pyramid on the back of a dollar is one of the keys to a surreal historical scavenger hunt, ostensibly designed by the Founding Fathers. It’s on basic cable oh, about every three hours or so, but I only tune in for the 20 minutes they spend running around Independence Hall and Philadelphia’s historic district. I love seeing our city on the big screen! (And I love the recent references to Philly in “30 Rock,” brainchild of area native Tina FEY — 83 Down.)

I have to admit, I’m having trouble with the last bracketed clue … it’s something LEADING FORMATION (23 Across) but I haven’t figured out that upper left quadrant yet and I’m running out of time. I’ll fill it in later and post an update.

One other thing … the homemade puzzle that I posted last week contains one error in the clues: 24 Across should be “Greek war god,” not Roman. My apologies.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy.

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