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Puzzle #96 May 2009  "Child's Play"

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. Tell about Clark's having no outside compensation
  2. Expense covers small English pet
  3. Dad joins tennis star in discussion
  4. Rent recorded in state archives
  5. Join retinue back inside
  6. Obscenity must hurt
  7. Three notes define a town in Texas
  8. Climax of concert started with an interval of silence
  9. Decedent embraces heaven
  10. King of Israel, in spirit, getting one for nothing
  11. Real embattled Saxon noblemen
  12. Broadcast from Ballina, Ireland
  13. Denies turning and getting caught in a net
  14. I leave with a villain
  15. Slav radical wearing a chesterfield, perhaps
  16. Author of Gold and Gun
  17. Prince crushed lobster claw
  18. Getting excited about a trace of color
  19. Van run in well
  20. Iron man and woman
  21. Gathered with labor leader in bishop's place and had a meal
  22. Even aces, when played, fade away

Down

  1. Start off with first of active layers
  2. Aretha's swinging predecessor
  3. Less polluted, north-facing part of crater erupted
  4. French firm in contest for coarse fabric
  5. Another new day started as well
  6. Made an inventory of random details leaving out what's essential
  7. Helpers starting after May 15, perhaps
  8. Age of sentiment
  9. No sailor comes back to turn in
  10. Get old silver spindle finally
  11. Victor's in denial and kind of blue
  12. New revision loses one in translation
  13. Frosted tip of gelatinous ribbon
  14. Beginning to cackle in fright is uncommon
  15. Huge eastern sun room remodeled
  16. Aggravate with loud firearm
  17. Sawbones taking time to get fish
  18. True confusion about ship's color
  19. Celia loses her head for an English author
  20. Formerly in California? Keep it secret
  21. Remanded from here without husband as a form of punishment