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Puzzle #210 December 2018  "Merry Christmas"

Instructions: Guess the words defined by the cryptic clues (answers vary in length from three to nine letters, and nine 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. Seven across words and six down words won't fit in the grid unless one of their letters is removed. Those thirteen letters, taken in order as they occur in across and down words, spell a message related to the title and the mystery entries. 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. Mystery entry
  2. Instrument art is improved
  3. Latrine is refurbished for dependent
  4. Child has to beg for a barrel
  5. Genuine increase without a breakdown
  6. Habitat of whomever
  7. Nine are about imminent
  8. Wife in haste gushed forth
  9. Spun cobwebs will cover a very strange person
  10. Nice report about a parrot's beak
  11. Ban turned bat eggs
  12. Amartya's oddly stern
  13. None yearn for judge
  14. Wears a ring around an outer garment
  15. California has nothing Mexican for our northern neighbor
  16. Republican in most awful rage
  17. Festering sac is on chest
  18. Temporary shelters with excellent views
  19. Measure of new crime around town
  20. Sail off by eastern passageway
  21. Hopes of retaining coin
  22. Mix of plaster and glue goes illegally around school
  23. Unsafe, erratic NE cruise
  24. Endlessly polish bone
  25. Mystery entry

Down

  1. A tense, troubled council
  2. Rustic noodles filled with golden liquid
  3. Restored Doric or Roman leader’s hall
  4. Spirit of engine failing with one nail lost
  5. Two nephews separately engaged in quiet expiation
  6. Eye scattered tears
  7. Seed coat's bad taste
  8. Old western is mentally sound about heroin
  9. Refuse to cook a stew
  10. Egyptian goddess exists twice
  11. Article on display in Parthenon
  12. Rod has degree and weight
  13. Having to do with sound of rattled coins
  14. Smell from cracked door
  15. Residue of soda pop clinging to Yalie
  16. The natural order that attracts one initially
  17. Brother abandons crazy cubism for song
  18. Unit of magnetic flux distorted slate
  19. Lake: a scene that's blurred
  20. Pierce small fruit
  21. Recognized wonk poisoned with nitrogen
  22. Mae & I disturbed composer Maillart
  23. Damn dogs start to eruct
  24. Count claims son altered agreement