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Puzzle #80 January 2008  "Let's Face It"

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. Our group follows start of action in strike break
  2. Witchcraft holds ten back with attractive force
  3. Get ready to take a step
  4. Mark of current coin
  5. These boys carry fat around
  6. Baffle a fool with a sheet of paper
  7. Challenge upset moderate center
  8. Happiness is hugging trees
  9. Witticism about small being the lion's share
  10. Large body of water containing rare fluids
  11. Rocky soil delayed ceremony
  12. Mystery entry
  13. Gooner's excited state
  14. Start without leader for shelter
  15. Chimp's distress about wood
  16. Fish, losing top of head, becomes blue
  17. Talk about Spanish river carriage
  18. Man appears holding a large mass of rock
  19. Hear welcome sound
  20. Aircraft landed initially in ragged ridge
  21. Stick Henry in charge instead of King
  22. A noon examination revealing no sense of right and wrong
  23. Senseless if reversed before starting the suit

Down

  1. Crudely hid things for a later look
  2. In essence, socially backward and secular
  3. Skin marking is a signal
  4. Disney, for instance, recreated Taormina
  5. Indian philosopher
  6. It's dreary in Maldonado, Uruguay
  7. Community gathering to take place before end of June
  8. Judge takes Turkish coin for quartz
  9. Watch end of tap slowly trickle
  10. Newer analysis includes frog genus
  11. Stern of ship hit barge
  12. Oriental, as in a burlesque
  13. Snide answer conceals thought
  14. Burdened boy with plenty, essentially
  15. Get going without a meal
  16. A coat and a robe
  17. Pleased about charter
  18. Grand boater perhaps steps down to the river
  19. Mound of sand covers head of crass simpleton
  20. Stuff pig with top of turnip
  21. Having wings, a teal flies
  22. America rudely expels one picture-taker
  23. Perform ceremony about established church
  24. Looking forward to row about minerals