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Puzzle #157 June 2014  "Precious Metal"

Instructions: Guess the words defined by the cryptic clues (answers vary in length from three to thirteen letters, and four 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. Five across words and six down words won't fit in the grid unless one of their letters is omitted. Those eleven letters, taken in order as they occur in across and down words, spell a three-word phrase. In addition, two other words, one across and one down, won't fit unless they are appropriately compacted, you must determine how.  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. Central router repair involves one attendant
  2. Mean chores overwhelmed newscaster
  3. Repairman takes a circuitous course
  4. Calm land in location is empty
  5. Make sense of cut around monster's heart
  6. State of slavery
  7. Oddly crazy little island
  8. Shock of insane comeback
  9. Sea horse
  10. Similarly, Eisenhower follows Smith
  11. Nasty bites around center result in split
  12. Dude's mirth is killing
  13. Moderator's muse
  14. Dr. Silver's a bore
  15. Backing nature programs around a country
  16. Lifelessness of lava covering collapsed mine
  17. Compiled a table filled with facts and figures
  18. Old canine is sick with onset of tumors
  19. Narrative of depiction
  20. Small bird's hindquarters
  21. Judged right date wrong
  22. Mass media company has a look back
  23. Near end of visit in private chamber
  24. Gradual change in Curie genealogy

Down

  1. Chanel is a merger of two companies
  2. Rare machine turned up housing a recording device
  3. Naughty Rose embracing Charlie and Mark
  4. Wing-like part of salamander
  5. Headless fish is the smallest of the lot
  6. Rough stew of plum with essence of thyme
  7. Intended to get new money
  8. Triangular piece of cloth is part of lining or edging
  9. Thomas Kretschmann's question
  10. Gertrude's mug
  11. Lead rodents around
  12. Mutating let more error occur in chromosome end
  13. Disobedient one is not a burden when corrected
  14. Chuck reading the cover for trash
  15. Beat children a lot
  16. Heads rolled before day darkened
  17. Large, wild area inhabited by five nymphs, perhaps
  18. Got a torn gown
  19. Chief of police put to rest in level ground
  20. Understanding copper/tin alloy absorbing energy
  21. Concern about Democratic group
  22. Claret mixed with a bit of egg is sweet stuff