ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ State Comptroller Edward Regan may have caught prison officials with their pants down over the issue of keeping up their supply of boxer shorts.

Regan on Tuesday released an audit of Elmira state prison reporting 3,720 pairs of extra-large boxer shorts.

And while the comptroller's auditors said they couldn't find any record of a single pair of the bulky boxers being given out during a 16-month period that ended last summer, they said officials of the maximum-security prison ordered even more of them during the first quarter of 1986.

State prison system spokesman James Flateau defended the underwear overstock by noting that some inmates at Elmira are only there for a brief stay. ''It's also a reception center, so you need more underwear,'' he said.

The auditors said they also found 3,398 pairs of large-size pants and a 3 1/2 -year supply of large workshirts.

But the large sizes weren't the only problem, auditors said.

''The facility has a nine-year supply of size 28 pants,'' they said.

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DETROIT (AP) - Orchestra Hall 1, Al Capone 0.

Officials with the Detroit auditorium, mindful of the huge audience that watched the gangster's vaults opened on live television at a crumbling Chicago hotel, invited reporters to watch Tuesday while experts cracked a half-ton safe discovered last week during renovation work.

A chastened Geraldo Rivera, who was host of the Capone telecast, had to announce that the vaults contained no money. But inside the Orchestra Hall safe was another safe, which yielded a 1956 penny, a roll of theater tickets and the key to a safety deposit box, spokesman Jeff Montgomery said.

''We didn't have grand illusions, but at least we have a lucky penny and a key to the future,'' he said.

The nine-minute safe-cracking operation was performed by Jack Bates and John Caswell of the Redford Safe and Lock Co. It was covered by three film students from Eisenhower High School in Utica, one of whom, Jim Vacca, pasted on a Rivera-like mustache for the occasion.

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - When 10 clowns took their places at the Pittsburgh City Council meeting, the public's business took a back seat to a little fun.

The brightly-clad clowns distributed balloons and funny buttons to amused council members Monday as their part of a resolution welcoming the fourth annual Mid-Atlantic Clown Association convention beginning Thursday at a suburban hotel.

One clown planted a phony nose fashioned from a red balloon on the face of council President Ben Woods, whose face turned a similar shade.

''This is next year's council,'' quipped Councilman Jim O'Malley, a lame duck councilman.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The pampered pooches of rustic Laurel Canyon would roam free in a city park as part of a six-month experiment pushed by celebrity dog lovers. After nearly three hours of often biting testimony, a City Council committee opted Monday for Councilman Mike Woo's plan for a six-month leash- free trial program at Laurel Canyon Park.

''I don't think it's a good idea to have people and dogs together without leashes,'' said Councilman Joel Wachs. ''But if Woo wants it, it's his district.''

Artist David Hockney and author Clifford Irving testified for the plan. Irving said he runs his dogs in the park and contended there is no danger the four-acre park would be taken over by the canines. ''For every dog at the park there are one, two or three people with them,'' Irving said.

The committee decision still must be approved by the full council. It would make the small park the first in the city where dog owners can legally allow their animals to run free.