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Guest Puzzle September 2014  "Three in a Row" by Gail Findlay

Instructions: Guess the words defined by the cryptic clues (answers vary in length from three to eleven letters, six are capitalized, and one is foreign) 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 five down words won't fit in the grid unless a sequence of two of their letters occupies a single cell. Those compacted letters spell and illustrate the puzzle's six-letter theme word, which also provides a clue to the mystery entries. In addition, four across words and five down words won't fit in the grid unless one of their letters is omitted. Those nine letters, taken in order as they occur in across and down words, spell a word associated with the puzzle's theme. 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. If origin of universe becomes nothing, my sunny disposition will supply an alternative
  2. Reed's old lover speaking
  3. Female studies swarming eggy colony
  4. Fill from simmering teas
  5.  Mystery entry
  6. Tipsy MD's funky at heart
  7. Lo-cal diet modified, reducing 500 to 50
  8. Fey ain't crazy
  9. A toothed whale recoiled from macrodontia
  10. Satisfied with an expression of disgust
  11. Mystery entry
  12. A catalyst scattered enemy around Nazis' center
  13. Soros endlessly agitated for boomers
  14. Erté flips to be in Paris
  15. Reptilian armor
  16. Secure simple assignments for everyone at the beginning
  17. Crushed bone for a poet's pitch
  18. Power has to have obligations
  19. Evaluator drops $1000 to gain treasury for broker
  20. Mystery entry
  21. Sitar player Shankar's audio-video in Rhode Island
  22. Tragic king dismisses leader to get attention
  23. Shop too darn long, finally, for an arcade game
  24. Surprising mystery surrounding magician's initial equilibrium  
  25. Bess's love for Spanish guy eliminating you at the end

Down

  1. Council is silly, not ill, OK?
  2. Rests evenly on campus
  3. Raunchy satyr is pretentious
  4. Ruin encores and die
  5. Loudly provision with weapons for plantation
  6. Take place of villain after company returns
  7. Limit of flesh to the ear
  8. Manmade setback contains a curse
  9. Weight gained from onetime consumption of hamburger's middle
  10. Old city manager was about the night before
  11. Half-jaundiced pediatric patient's protest, maybe
  12. Ask an elder about Hawaiian god
  13. English chap briefly slowing down behind brother
  14. Abrupt method of operation fit inverted pattern
  15. Izzy got energy to incubate fertilized egg
  16. Repetitive practice around Georgia leads to the name of a village in England
  17. Legion takes in Royal Academy artist
  18. Shabby techie supports data unit
  19. Teen returns old brand-name depilatory
  20. Paddle and fly topless
  21. Assume mail includes author
  22. Head north after boast
  23. River alien is a versifier
  24. Transporting lead and oil is hard work
  25. Bauxite and galena, for instance, or einsteinium
  26. Bacchanal of gory dancing
  27. Morricone mixes nine and nothing
  28. Mean and lean without resistance