It’s Going To Cost You

New York Times, Sept.12

There are enough limbs in this puzzle to make a tree.

Looked at another way, the finished grid is pretty macabre: It squeezes the letters ARM and LEG into single squares, scattering appendages everywhere. But that’s the price you pay — “an arm and a leg” — for a puzzle titled “It’s Going To Cost You.”

The ARMs: “Bad news on Wall Street” (23 Across) is a BEAR MARKET, which is entered as BE(ARM)ARKET; it crosses with 3 Down (“David Bowie single with the lyric ‘If we can sparkle he may land tonight'”), ST(ARM)AN. “Three squares” (36 Across) is REGUL(ARM)EALS, crossing with 29 Down (“‘____, I’m sure'”), CH(ARM)ED; “Unit of star measurement” (61 Across) is SOL(ARM)ASS, crossing with “Frightens” (53 Down), AL(ARM)S; “Arc de Triomphe and Nelson’s Column” (77 Across) is W(ARM)EMORIALS, crossing with 78 Down (“Emporio ____”), (ARM)ANI; and “April, May and June” (114 Across) is CALEND(ARM)ONTHS, crossing with 99 Down (“Smugness”), SM(ARM).

The LEGs: “Like some doughnuts and windows” (59 Across) is DOUB(LEG)LAZED, crossing with 51 Down, (“Throat stuff”), PH(LEG)M; “Blow it” (75 Across) is BUBB(LEG)UM, crossing with 69 Down (“Mournful songs), E(LEG)IES; “Neutral space” (94 Across) is MIDD(LEG)ROUND, crossing with 86 Down (“Brand for hay fever sufferers”), AL(LEG)RA; “Blah-blah-blah” (116 Across) is ID(LEG)OSSIP, crossing with 117 Down (“Permitted”), (LEG)AL; and “What Fels-Naptha” banished, in old ads” (23 Across) is TATTLE-TA(LEG)RAY, crossing with 15 Down (“Assert without proof”), AL(LEG)E.

I’d never heard of “Fels-Naptha,” so I didn’t know what it banished — in old or new ads. Turns out there’s a copy of an old ad on the soap’s website if you click the “See Fels-Naptha in action” button. In fact, there were a lot of answers I was unfamiliar with, including MONODRAMA (62 Across, “Beckett’s ‘Krapp’s Last Tape,’ e.g.”); OSCINE (28 Across, “Relating to songbirds”); and MALLARME (62 Down, “‘L’Apres-midi d’un faune’ poet Stephane _____”).

Fun Terms Dept.: “Tough rubber?” (88 Across) is an INK ERASER; “Contends for valedictorian, say” (7 Down) is GETS ALL A’S.

Current Events Dept.: “Hazards for marine life” (72 Across) are OIL SLICKS.

Later this week, I’ll publish my first attempt at constructing a 15×15 grid — feedback is welcome (but please go easy on me)!

Questions or comments? Tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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