Annotated Crossword Puzzle Clues

The Independent Weekly crossword puzzle is usually an exercise in frustration for me, since I usually can't even figure out enough of it to get the clever little puns or riddles hidden inside. But this week, I actually finished it, and I only got five letters wrong.

One of my life dreams is to learn a language other than English well enough to do crossword puzzles in it. In the interest of learning English well enough to do crossword puzzles in it, here are the things I learned by doing this week's crossword:

ACROSS

4. Three-time AL batting champ (5 letters) Sports
29. Frog genus (4 letters) Biology
32. Helen Jackson heroine (6 letters) American Literature
35. Makes one's way (5 letters) Vocabulary
41. Actress Hagen, of "The Boys from Brazil" (3 letters) Popular Culture: Cinema
60. Small dark goose (5 letters) Biology
64. 1970s New York mayor Abe (5 letters) U.S. Politics
84. Mites or ticks (7 letters) Biology
90. Normandy town (4 letters) European Geography
91. Old section of Algiers (6 letters) North African Geography

DOWN
2. TV's "____ Baltimore" (4 letters) Popular Culture: Television
5. Arrowsmith's first wife (5 letters) American Literature
12. Asta's mistress portrayer (3 letters) Popular Culture: Cinema
18. Cholesterol, for one (6 letters) Biochemistry
30. Pop singer _____ Marie (5 letters) Popular Culture: Music
22. "The giant _____ Sumatra...": Doyle (5 letters) British Literature
36. Revoke a legacy (5 letters) Vocabulary
45. Slammin' Sammy (5 letters) Sports
60. Lawyer Melvin (5 letters) Popular Culture: Celebrities
78. French L-35 launcher (6 letters) Military Technology
81. Gave the cold shoulder (7 letters) Vocabulary

Are these things worth knowing? Well, I got this far in life without knowing them, so they certainly aren't necessary in the scheme of things. Some (like the frog genus) are probably only useful insofar as they might come up in other crosswords. The literary and geographical references were interesting, though, especially the giant rat. And new vocabulary is always fun. I've never encountered "snoot" as a verb before.

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