Author: Patrick Blindauer
Theme: Three indicated clues have a ladder as a common link. This ladder is visually represented as a long column of "H"s up the center of the puzzle.
- 37a: *Backyard club locale (TREEHOUSE).
- 4d: *With 59-Down, lookout's place (CROWS / NEST).
- 10d: *With 57-Down, red vehicle (FIRE / TRUCK).
- 7d: Visual representation of an item associated with the answers to the asterisked clues in this puzzle (HHHHHHHHHHHHHHH).
Another solid mid-week theme gimmick by Patrick Blindauer. It didn't take long to figure out that the long column was going to all Hs, but the meaning of the theme did not become evident to me until after the puzzle was solved.
- Some cool clues today, notably:
- 16a: Shrink rap? (I SEE). That's a good one.
- 20a: Does some team work (PLOWS).
- 43a: Level spot? (SHOP). This one took me a second. The tool called a level is often found in a work shop.
- 66a: Rhine whine? (ACH).
- 8d: Hard wear? (ARMOR).
- 12d: Chilling, so to speak (RELAXED).
- 42d: Steered vehicles? (OX CARTS).
- 14a: Emblem of victory (LAUREL). Read more than you want to know about it here.
- 15a: It ended during the Napoleonic Wars: Abbr. (HRE). Holy Roman Empire.
- 21a: Perkins competitor (IHOP). Mmmm... breakfast!
- 22a: Its inaugural flight was from Geneva to Tel Aviv (EL AL). All you really needed here was "flight" and "Tel Aviv".
- 24a: Termagant (SHREW).
- 32a: Strike out (DELE). To go with yesterday's STET.
- 48a: NFL team since 2002 (TEXANS).
- 50a: Soupçon (HINT).
- 52a: Sportscasters Trautwig and Michaels (ALS). I didn't know the former, but knew the latter, which was enough.
- 53a: "Mad Men" cable channel (AMC).
- 63a: Work the mezz (USH). I've written about USH before. Not my fave.
- 67a: Charlie's last name in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (BUCKET). It's been so long since I read this that the name did not come to mind easily.
- 68a: Furtive "Yo!" (PSST).
- 70a: Dietitian Robert (ATKINS). Of the low-carb, Atkins Diet.
- 1d: Showed up on radar (BLIPPED). Not used to seeing this as a verb, but I like it.
- 3d: Dawnlike (AURORAL).
- 9d: Strengthen, as steel (TEMPER).
- 13d: "The Bobo" star (SELLERS). One of my favorite Peter Sellers roles was as Clare Quilty in Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita", also starring James Mason and Shelley Winters. Here's a snippet.
- 33d: ___ Candy (character in "Wonder Woman") (ETTA). You could almost guess this one without any crossings. I mean, what else could it be?
- 35d: They outrank sarges (LOOIES). My first instinct is always to spell this with an OU instead of an OO.
- 38d: "What You Own" musical (RENT). Makes sense.
- 39d: It merged with the WB to form the CW (UPN). We're talking TV networks here.
- 40d: Navigational aid (STAR MAP).
- 45d: Hit the slopes after hitting the silk (PARA-SKI).
- 46d: Support group for young people (ALATEEN).
- 49d: Winnebago, e.g. (SIOUAN). Look at all those vowels together. I really wanted CAMPER here, but it already didn't fit by the time I got to it.
- 51d: Pick off, e.g. (TAG OUT). Baseball reference.
- 55d: Floria ___ (opera heroine) (TOSCA). I've heard of the opera Tosca, so it's not a far reach.
Suns of Bitches:
- 1a: She played Dr. Melfi on "The Sopranos" (BRACCO). I don't get HBO, and I haven't watched the syndicated reruns. I'm sure I've seen this name in puzzles before, but I got it from the crossings.
- 34a: "Arli$$" star Robert (WUHL).
Not much else to say. A fine Wednesday puzzle.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.