Good One!

New York Times crossword puzzle Dec. 22 / Constructed by Elizabeth C. Gorski

This puzzle is a good one, indeed!

Today’s crossword is a clever connect-the-dots grid that creates an image of someone so good that you could call her angelic. Or simply an angel.

An angel is hidden in today's puzzle. (Click to enlarge.)

An angel is hidden in today’s puzzle. (Click to enlarge.)

A blurb at the top asks solvers to connect the letters in the circled squares in alphabetical order. After drawing those lines from A through U, the resulting image – an angel – is the link between the five theme answers: SHOW BACKER (as in angel investor, 6 Down); MICHELANGELO SCULPTURE (8 Down); AEROSMITH SONG (14 Down); GOLFER CABRERA (53 Down); and a TREE TOPPER (70 Down).

Pretty straightforward, but still elegant and clever – not to mention festive! What did you think?

Famous Names Dept.: Another golfer, DAVIS LOVE III, makes an appearance at 27 Across (“With 63-Down, 1997 P.G.A. champ who captained the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team”). Also found in the grid are “Writer Ann” BEATTIE (87 Down) and “‘Cloud Shepherd’ artist” JEAN ARP (84 Down).

Trio Dept.: The doubled clue “Mideast ruler” yields the alternate spelling AMIR (93 Down) and SAUD (81 Down). And a “Mideast national” is an ISRAELI (88 Down).

Martian Chronicles Dept.: The twice-used clue “Futuristic weapon” yields both PHASER (50 Down) and RAY GUN (107 Across).

Tripped Up Dept.: I made a couple of ERRORS (“Boo-boos,” 111 Across) that left me saying ACK! (“Cousin of ‘aargh!’,” 9 Down). The biggest one was filling in SKIP instead of SKID for “Lose traction” (10 Down), which made it really hard to figure out the DAVIS LOVE entry. The second part of that answer (III) was more hindrance than help, too, and I’m sure that was on purpose. To which I say GRR! (“[I'm mad!]” 76 Across).

Happy Birthday Dept.: In case you missed it, the crossword puzzle celebrated its 100th anniversary on Dec. 21. There were many tributes this past week, including the NYT’s daily puzzle and the Google doodle. In Philly,  a local public radio host interviewed longtime crossword constructor Merl Reagle.

‘Twas Three Nights Before Christmas Dept.: Holiday-related clues include NOEL, NOEL (“Words that precede ‘Born is the king…’,” 61 Across), JESU (“Bach’s ‘___, Joy of Man’s Desiring’,” 84 Across), and TOY (“Item in Santa’s sack,” 57 Down), a gift that might generate some OOHS (“Cries of joy,” 46 Down).

For The Rest Of Us Dept.: Speaking of holidays, “Funny Anne” MEARA (98 Across) is married to Jerry Stiller, whose “Seinfeld” character was the genius behind the celebration of Festivus. In fact, it’s tomorrow – so get out that pole and prepare to air your grievances!

Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy. And here’s a little more about me.

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