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Puzzle #125 October 2011  "Carrying the Torch"

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. Demolish nest if beset with parasites
  2. Ten men traveling around India celebrated
  3. Beginning of popular path is level
  4. Leading English peer
  5. Short, chainlike bacteria infecting most reptiles
  6. Stretch diplomacy to include war finally
  7. Pathetic Penny is out dancing with Earl
  8. Batter, losing head, swings handle
  9. Something useless, small, and dead
  10. Upset bishop is ousted by rabbi in clash
  11. Track inside Broadway
  12. Dodger shortstop during three seasons
  13. Get away from this French swindle
  14. Soil broken for underground shelter
  15. Bow, perhaps in declaration
  16. Number of women in excess
  17. Variations involving a melody
  18. Infant born in bin
  19. Granny's new collection
  20. Formal act of retirement making a comeback
  21. Device that transmits poem within minutes
  22. Extra drones will hold missile back
  23. Bird in trailer
  24. Reported origin of space
  25. Spoke about end of act as dignified
  26. One who smuggles bird stuffed with tail of blenny and head of eel

Down

  1. Exercising in a beret, I get high
  2. Early computer turned up in Wouk's ship
  3. Way up in penalties
  4. Adventurous tale set in the Emerald City
  5. Age of eastern sun god
  6. Circuit encloses small space on all sides
  7. Skill and power rebuilt ship
  8. Waited around and helped to capture base
  9. Mystery entry
  10. Tear in defective light-detecting membrane
  11. Hooker holding ring and card
  12. Interval involves initially reciting a sequence of words
  13. Mystery entry
  14. Ultimately agree with reader and voter
  15. Name assumed by author on all my rubbish
  16. Ashmont, after reconstruction, doesn't keep new name
  17. New rate covers 500 sales
  18. Impartiality of ethic and order
  19. Limit of subject and color
  20. Sickened reptile regurgitates one bird
  21. Project help goes up in price