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Puzzle #79 December 2007  "Gift Package"

Instructions: Guess the words defined by the cryptic clues (answers vary in length from four to eleven letters, and six are capitalized) then enter them in the grid one after another in the same order as their clues, starting in the upper left corner. Across words that don't end at the right continue on the next row, and down words that don't end at the bottom continue in the next column. Eleven across words and ten down words won't fit in the grid unless one of their letters is omitted. Those twenty-one letters, taken in order as they occur in across and down words, spell a seven-word message related to the mystery entry. Thanks to Kevin Wald for test-solving and editing this puzzle. (If you are having trouble printing these puzzles, you can download an Adobe Acrobat version of the puzzle and grid). [Want to see some hints?]

Across

  1. Beginning of sudden sharp twitch
  2. Palm Sunday is about charity
  3. Penny, facing a day in Paris without Jack, is gloomy
  4. Unaccompanied man starting early for theater
  5. Social gathering gets last of meat and vegetable
  6. Mechanical repetition of recorded sound
  7. Interior design of inside corridor
  8. Tell one rumor about recluse
  9. Norma edited a novel
  10. Note about gold marketplaces
  11. Note the similarities of level in approach
  12. Buzz us around noon for a vegetable dip
  13. Sort of southern dish
  14. Visionary guide missing start of trail
  15. Pester boxer about five hundred grand
  16. About to propose English name
  17. I, in person, freed royal captive
  18. Not in a hurry; open around 1:00
  19. Pietra's a wanton freeloader
  20. Unconcerned about a Dutch musical number
  21. Woolen sash wrapped around eyepiece
  22. Spoiling it all with love for nymphet

Down

  1. Confident about fellow coming back for identifying label
  2. Suet blended with phosphorus and whipped
  3. Karl drops five eggs
  4. Mutt to follow Bob
  5. Resort's attractions hold back a Houston team
  6. Improve brew with toppings of tarragon and thyme
  7. Time outside of the room
  8. Sage is excited about a number
  9. Take on a cause pro tempore
  10. Equestrian event confused De Grasse
  11. Limit weight brought back in
  12. Fashion magazine of excellence
  13. Sustains less radical decay
  14. Head of ram in grave with one horn
  15. Support the Spanish drive
  16. Taser for restraining a slave
  17. He ran in frolicsome play
  18. To remove parasites, get wet holding head and tail of eel
  19. Time to muse
  20. Cantor meets with jazz singer
  21. House of fashion disrupted endless parade