Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Title: Gross Out
Author: Patrick Blindauer
Theme: Remove ICK from phrases
  • Spring chicken => SPRING CHEN (16a: Get an "Early Show" anchor out of jail?). Referring to Julie Chen.

  • Pickup trucks => PUP TRUCKS (23a: Litter transports?).

  • Wicked witch => WED WITCH (29a: Marry a sorceress?). This is my least favorite, due to the glaring absence of the indefinite article. The answer to the clue should be WED A WITCH. I'm kind of surprised this was allowed to slide.

  • Picket fence => PET FENCE (42a: What keeps the neighborhood from going to the dogs?). I actually thought of this answer as I was solving 23a, so it wasn't a big surprise when it showed up.

  • Ticket office => TET OFFICE (51a: Vietnamese government branch in charge of the New Year celebration?).

  • Sticky fingers => STY FINGERS (58a: Source of pigs' knuckles?). This one's kind of weird, but I'm willing to let it go because "Sticky Fingers" is such a great Rolling Stones album. The vinyl album cover actually featured a real zipper.

  • 61d: "Gross!" (and a hint to this puzzle's theme) (ICK).

Sunny Spots:
  • 34a: Willowy (SVELTE). I love the word SVELTE.

  • 1d: Flips out (HAS A COW). Thought HAS A FIT at first, but this is even better.

  • 9d: One who says "irregardless," e.g. (SOLECIST).


  • 1a: "Killing Me Softly With ___ Song" (HIS). Long way to go for HIS, but I love the fact that this song was written about Don McLean's "American Pie".

  • 4a: Chocolate-colored dogs, for short (LABS). I have to tell you, when I first read this clue I thought it said "Chocolate-covered dogs, for short". That one brought up some strange imagery.

  • 8a: "Not on your life!" (AS IF).

  • 13a: Units of purity (KARATS). CARAT is a unit of size (as in diamonds). KARAT is a unit of purity (as in gold), where 24 karats is 100% pure.

  • 15a: It's south of West Palm (BOCA).

  • 20a: Knights, e.g. (PIECES). In chess.

  • 22a: Tree thicket (COPSE).

  • 26a: Salute using feet? (ODE). Cute clue for a common answer.

  • 41a: Org. that doesn't allow traveling (NBA). It allows it; but you lose possession for doing it.

  • 55a: Speaker of the house's spot? (STEREO). Yeah, okay. Kind of a stretch.

  • 63a: Zeno's followers (STOICS).

  • 64a: Samba city (RIO). Isn't RIO short for Rio de Janeiro? Is samba short for some longer dance name?

  • 65a: Seaport in Yemen (ADEN). This one shows up a lot.

  • 66a: 1,024 bytes, for short (ONE K).

  • 2d: Self-destruct (IMPLODE).

  • 3d: Like some pool balls (STRIPED).

  • 7d: Forestless tract (STEPPE).

  • 8d: Counter-intuitive calculator? (ABACUS). Cute.

  • 10d: Puck deflector, sometimes (ICE SKATE).

  • 11d: Send via phone (FAX).

  • 13d: Child seat? (KNEE).

  • 14d: Miffed state (SNIT).

  • 24d: Do theater work, in slang (USH). Ush is an ugly word.

  • 25d: TV show on which Don Pardo does the announcements (SNL). I like "Saturday Night Live", but man does it show up a lot in puzzles.

  • 30d: The U.S. joined it in Apr. 1917 (WWI).

  • 35d: House call? (VOTE).

  • 36d: 2003 holiday film (ELF). It's no "Bad Santa"... :)

  • 38d: Fanatical (OBSESSED).

  • 39d: Like high schoolers' jobs (PART-TIME).

  • 42d: Delt neighbor (PEC).

  • 44d: "Ta-ta!" (CHEERIO).

  • 45d: "Self-Reliance" essayist (EMERSON).

  • 47d: Snuffs out (DOES IN).

  • 52d: Own (up) (FESS). Its really short for confess; I almost feel like it needs an apostrophe.

  • 53d: RR stops (STNS). Never know whether this is going to be STAS or STNS.

  • 54d: Boxer (PUG). Eh.

  • 60d: Exclamation of disapproval (FIE). Do people really say "fie"? BAH! (6d: "Poppycock!").

Suns of Bitches:

  • 18a: Afleet ___ (2005 Preakness and Belmont winner) (ALEX). I guess I wasn't paying attention to horse racing in 2005, because this one didn't even ring a bell for me.

  • 27d: Palindromic middle name of Alfre Woodard (ETTE). Who? What?

  • 31d: Charleson of "Chariots of Fire" (IAN).

  • 37d: Declaration of Independence signer Richard Henry ___ (LEE). Not someone I recall hearing about.

  • 43d: "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" Tony winner ___ Leo Butz (NORBERT). I think we've established my weakness regarding theater.

  • 49d: Influential Florentine painter (GIOTTO). I've probably seen this name before, but I couldn't remember it. Here's a painting entitled "THe Dream of Joachim"

Some toughies here, for a Tuesday, but everything was fairly crossed so it didn't detract from my enjoyment of this puzzle. I was surprised to see that it was a 15x16, as there were no long down entries, but I suppose it must have loosened things up to make squeezing six across theme entries more tolerable. I'm also suspicious when a Patrick Blindauer puzzle seems straightforward, as they rarely are. I keep looking at that kind of strange configuration of black squares in the puzzle's center, wondering if I'm missing something, but if so, I don't see what. I was half expecting to see the number 144 (a gross) or something, written in black squares...

Well, if I missed it, I'm sure someone will point it out. Either way, it was a decent Tuesday puzzle.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

re: NBA and traveling... have you seen an NBA game recently? the answer really should have been NCAA. it's unbelievable how many steps they can get away with in the pros before they finally blow the whistle. still, a fun clue.

richard henry LEE is one of the great virginia lees (great-uncle of robert e), who proposed the motion for independence in the continental congress. he's got a fun song in "1776." GIOTTO is a hugely important early renaissance painter. arguably the first painter of the italian renaissance, in fact, if you don't count his obscure teacher cimabue. i don't know anything else about any of your other suns of bitches. i think i've seen ALFRE in a puzzle before; maybe she's an actress? her middle name, though, is a bit much to ask.

Anonymous said...

I think my original idea for WEDWITCH was [Sorceress who cast a spell over Mr. Right?], but the adjectival form is "wedded." Maybe I should have tried to use WEDWITCHES, instead.

In any case, thanks for the fun writeup of my word baby!


Pete M said...

@patrick: You're the man. You know I love your stuff. Keep it up.

mellocat said...

Yes, Alfre Woodard is an actress. She has (to me) an interesting and distinctive voice. I saw her on Desperate Housewives a couple of years ago and immediately knew I knew her from some other show/film but had no idea which one. And even after checking out out all she's been in on IMDB I have no clue. I hate when that happens....

Pete M said...

@mellocat: That got me looking. Besides some guest appearances in shows I used to watch (LA Law, Hill Street Blues, The Practice), she was also in Star Trek: First Contact. You can see her at a little past 5:30 of this clip, where she compares Picard to Ahab, chasing his "white whale" (the Borg). She was also in K-Pax (with Kevin Spacey) and was the judge in Primal Fear (a great film with Richard Gere and the big screen debut of Edward Norton -- if you haven't seen it, you need to). Speaking of which, I didn't realize Edward Norton has only been in about 20 films, which is weird because I own at least 7 of them. :)

Joon said...

ed norton's a great actor, but when's the last time he was in a great movie? it makes me sad every time i see a commercial for the new hulk flick.

Pete M said...

It's hard to match the Rounders, American History X, Fight Club set of the late 90s. The Score and The Italian Job were fun. Actually, I'm really looking forward to Motherless Brooklyn. If you haven't read the book, you should. It's an offbeat detective mystery whose protagonist has Tourette's Syndrome. It's a hoot!

mellocat said...

That Star Trek movie condensed to 9 minutes clip is a riot. Nope, that's not where I recognized her from -- she's changed a lot since then, so I'm thinking it must be more recent, but I've looked at everything she's got listed in IMDB and I can't recall her in any of those. Maybe it was something not listed (I once spent almost an entire moving trying to place one of the actors and finally realized he was the Mac in the Mac/IBM commercials), or maybe I'm confusing her with someone else. But I bet you'll remember her name next time she comes up in a crossword!