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Puzzle #189 February 2017  "Solve for X"

Instructions: Guess the words defined by the cryptic clues (answers vary in length from three to eleven letters, four are capitalized, and one is a two-word phrase) then enter them in the grid one after another in the same order as their clues, starting in the upper left corner, but skipping the central square marked by an X. 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 one of their letters is omitted. Those ten letters, taken in order as they occur in across and down words, spell a three-word phrase related to an entire word that must be compacted into the square marked by an X.  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?]


  1. Covering vehicle swiftly
  2. Train a bishop to speak with complexity
  3. Nothing about a German plant
  4. Chemical morning in England
  5. Painter stirring a sticky substance
  6. Base hit leads to confusion
  7. Dotty or Linda getting a number
  8. Troy's part of messy working method
  9. An American writer bound to consume energy
  10. See small vessel
  11. Period of time that twenty earths orbit
  12. Teaming illegally and making money
  13. Supported knight in drill
  14. Fuss about worship
  15. Rustic route and ancient city by a lake
  16. Son's sour beginning
  17. Turned top at end to expand
  18. Scoter's shelter
  19. Random area including bottom land that's fit for cultivation
  20. Guy, one that is ineffectual and empty
  21. Talk back with agitation
  22. Burden of bad deal


  1. Charlie replaces wife in animal fight
  2. Think, eat, die digesting
  3. Suffering Lear embracing one airy spirit
  4. Mad Rosen retired a noisy sleeper
  5. Mark ring restraining rod
  6. Reconstructed part as ancient city
  7. Repaired a telly not long ago
  8. Go around east end molding
  9. Padre's worn robe
  10. Erstwhile earl's sticky mixture
  11. Moving aria about true lasso
  12. Aliment containing calcium oxide
  13. Brother replaces king in mass for one that's buried
  14. Fake money keeps company costing less
  15. Spoken part of pastorale
  16. Note: cracked vertebrae have a prolonged effect
  17. Sound of sheep breaking table
  18. Official answer found in lair
  19. Male dancer taking on Grecian queen
  20. A profit once more
  21. Salvaged, but improperly secured
  22. Keep out of cabaret
  23. It's wrong to demean a worm