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Puzzle #98 July 2009  "Shape Up"

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. Strange scene around large circle or ring
  2. Ward off with a nullification
  3. Irritated fish eats everything
  4. Judge's assistant chef likes egg, radish, and kohlrabi starters
  5. Chlorine and dye spilled in river
  6. Sofa collection by Peg
  7. Fabric wrapped in crepe
  8. Trap is reset for a criminal
  9. Shallow essay about a medical procedure
  10. Army cop captures 'em near that guy's city
  11. Main attraction: cold mince pie entrée with carrot top
  12. Former rioter being punished outside
  13. Blackbird hides in summer leafage
  14. Joy of head honcho getting endlessly lit for nothing
  15. A number of contenders
  16. Prodigal son eats more
  17. Earth-moving chore
  18. Small container for end piece
  19. Real bad foe in brawls
  20. New quints having excellent hearing
  21. Craft went across without a lookout

Down

  1. Sorceress holds large ring
  2. Hot spot in Seychelles
  3. Blow horn around noon
  4. Eve's sick having eaten ten bugs
  5. Joel trades one for English pot
  6. Half a quart of nitrogen in sink
  7. Recruit's brother turned up as well
  8. Ancient aspect of soldiering
  9. Honey badger's later metamorphosis
  10. Formerly of concern
  11. Episode heard and observed
  12. New camera captures island country
  13. Cincinnatians bringing back the German soprano
  14. Casper is happy having to buy the farm
  15. Compel chief to get in front
  16. Brats having nothing nice, finally, to put on
  17. Lived and died with clout
  18. Soul goes west with India's leader
  19. Dashing Streep wins Cannes's first prize
  20. Paper's pronoun error
  21. Function of grass in ecosystems
  22. Late getting it back and not saying much
  23. Pelosi's exchanging pitcher for new shoes
  24. Honest Sam started as right end