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Puzzle #133 June 2012  "Short Cut"

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. Idiot robot originated inside orbiter
  2. Dotty let papa feel
  3. Bream changed color
  4. Weed weight
  5. Crater erupting with doubled energy to give new life
  6. Mariner trying to keep still
  7. Old-fashioned subway's metal top is replaced by rubber
  8. For instance, Venus's level temperature
  9. Nasty spine or prick
  10. A constellation Ramon renamed
  11. Fresh young mercenary captures rebel leader
  12. Vengeful sorceress made off with Earl
  13. Most will trap one animal
  14. Base prude rudely eructed
  15. Swear nothing's been removed from passage
  16. Part of corolla formed by ring around core of nectary
  17. Love friends giving gems
  18. Express feelings of rage to men when rejected
  19. Nothing in shed but a cut of beef
  20. Babe longed to keep fit
  21. Let it remain hidden in finest etching
  22. A North Dakota city's ground area
  23. Surplus ad rule is broken
  24. Lack of restraint left one scene in shambles

Down

  1. Marital discord is warlike
  2. Worst/best options
  3. Abstemious farmer trades work for battery
  4. Transmutations involving fungal spores
  5. Undivided breach in tree
  6. A facial cleanser for one who makes up
  7. Reflecting power of adobe mixed with a bit of lead
  8. Buyback of rare portfolio
  9. Carry away last of paper in warehouse
  10. Up to snuff unit at end of hall
  11. Left-wing votes for bird
  12. Mystery Entry
  13. District includes new theater
  14. Dude holding large onion, for instance
  15. Swimming in the French river
  16. Town in Massachusetts gets series' opener back
  17. Leave, getting caught coming back a penny short
  18. Time to relax and fluff
  19. Refurbished rental with new light
  20. Separate into parts and cut around top of stem
  21. More about Samuel's code
  22. Hands getting stuck in this Parisian glue
  23. Primate holding self back to reach climax