Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Title: Movin' On Up
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.

Sunny Spots:
    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: Soup├žon (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.


Anonymous said...

Al Trautwig is a pretty well-known sports commentator. This year I noticed his absence from the VS. network's coverage of the Tour de France, now in progress. (He's probably involved with pre-Olympics this month.) Cycling fans are split on whether he's an idiot or a calm Everyman, as compared to the other universally admired Tour commentators.

Joon said...

for some reason, i thought the kellogg was a music school, which led to them awarding MFAs instead of MBAs... which led to a very interesting surname for young charlie. that corner was awfully tough for me, though. didn't know PARASKI or ALATEEN. eventually i guessed ATKINS off of __K__S and things sort of fell into place.

the H ladder was certainly interesting. i suppose it doesn't "work" if you're one of these speed-solvers who does some letters in lowercase because it's faster to write them that way.

Ellen said...

The idea that speed-solvers write letters in lowercase is generally a myth. At least, no one I know does this.

Anonymous said...

Major thanks to PG for helping to shape this theme. As you probably guessed, the H-ladder was the starting point. At first I had JACOBS in the grid, but when I noticed that TREEHOUSE had an H in the middle...well, it was one of those rare moments when the stars seem to have aligned properly.
Apologizes to any lower-case writers - actually, Ellen, you *do* know one. ;-)>


Howard B said...


It took me quite a bit longer to figure out what the Hs symbolized than it did to find the H-line during solving. Then again, I'm not a very visual/symbolic person; have trouble seeing optical illusions, stereograms, map directions to familiar places, etc.

And yet, after a bit of staring at the Hs and the clues, it suddenly (finally?) dawned on me. D'oh!

Thanks for the momentary frustration, and also that moment of clarity that made it worth the while. Clever!
(Poor H, usually so underappreciated ;).)

Ellen - I often end up writing 'e's and a few other letters in lowercase when I solve. It seems to be a natural extension of realizing that if I write too quickly, my handwriting is bad enough that it just makes those letters easier to distinguish. I certainly didn't plan to do that, and it doesn't change solving time any as far as I know. But if I don't solve online or at a tournament, I'm not looking at a clock anyway, so can't say for sure.
Just seems to be an alternative explanation for the whole changing-case thing.

Joon said...

no need to apologize, patrick--it's their fault! if indeed there is anybody who uses lowercase h, that is. i myself go lowercase only for e and a; nothing else seems worth the effort. it took me about a week to get used to it and now it seems normal.

i forgot to mention this yesterday, but "what you own" is my favorite song from any musical ever (which happens to also be from my favorite musical). i've also heard this same song referred to as "america," "america in the millennium," or "millennium." is there an official name for broadway songs?