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Guest Puzzle July 2011  "Connect the Dots" by Unknown

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).

Across

  1. Excessively fond of taking time in achieving
  2. Flying mammals attempt comeback
  3. Leave mark for dramatic mystery character
  4. Rangy fish following group
  5. Lust indecently for lewd woman
  6. Eve, for one, touches a rare apple
  7. State restraining old city's growth
  8. Constituent levee breaks, covering most of city in ruin
  9. Big cat gutted in row
  10. Priestly actor leads in play
  11. Sprout bears small fruit
  12. Beverage containing oxygen as a laxative
  13. Plunderer returned to get new equipment
  14. Name of Creole native
  15. Attraction of rule breaking
  16. Money gets left for copper's last beat
  17. Little Harlem takes on a composer
  18. Quiet impulse to get really clean
  19. Starting the red/yellow test
  20. Tennis pro from club organization
  21. Vacuous loony lacking one iota of sense
  22. Suffer from hunger when harvest fails after Henry leaves
  23. Nest in tree providing shade
  24. Mineral deposit treated to remove sulfur and add earth
  25. Incident-based "can-do" tale concocted

Down

  1. Senility has two periods
  2. Official inspector and thief wasting time
  3. Second, plain ineffective anesthetic
  4. Sparsely scattered barley
  5. Put a bit of light in color to give a feeling of excitement
  6. Rod's acne erupted
  7. Foreign broad initially taken for film star
    5; should be 6; R left out in error
  8. Good material having a smooth surface
  9. The Spanish hero dancing in Punjabi city
  10. Cannabis troubles overwhelmed café
  11. Molten rock covers rare insect form
  12. I don't eat poisoned medicine
  13. Pressing to have article in silver made up
  14. Fellow endlessly approaches Ms Gardner with fruit
  15. Priestess is interminably active in breaks
  16. Funeral slab made of tempered steel
  17. Carthaginian takes peseta for shirt part of garment
  18. Stuffs innards with a bit of lard
  19. Chinese princess and tutor at odds
  20. After 60 minutes one of us will get a beautiful girl
  21. Cornmeal mush splattered on plate
  22. Bird and otter led in activity
  23. Prepare to turn left instead of right