Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Title: Vowel Movement
Author: Patrick Blindauer
Theme: Two-part phrases where the second part mirrors the first part except that the vowels progress (A=>E, E=>I, I=>O, O=>U).
  • 3d: NASA doctor’s collection? (SPACEMAN SPECIMEN).

  • 5d: Glittering lymphoid mass? (TINSEL TONSIL). Ewww.

  • 8d: With 51-Down, jelly thickener for "The Conference of Champions"? (PAC-TEN/PECTIN).

  • 11d: Fad collection of actor Dempsey? (PATRICK'S PET ROCKS). It would be too egocentric to self-reference here, I guess. Eh, Patrick?

  • 26d: Breath fresheners for a certain prayer? (MANTIS MENTOS). That's prayer as in "one who prays" -- a praying mantis.

Well, we have give a "potty humor" tag just for the title, don't we? I've seen a theme like this before, though I don't recall the exact details. I don't believe it dealt with double phrases like this one -- I think it was just phrases that were modified by the vowel progression. The 16-letter theme entries force the 15x16 design with theme clues running down. Plenty of theme fill here, and a remarkably smooth fill -- not unexpected from recent Constructor of the Year Oryx winner Patrick Blindauer.

Sunny Spots:
  • 27a: Square that might have two sides? (MEAL). I'm certain I've seen this clue before, and it still caught me. Very clever, a square meal including sides. But why two? Why not three?

  • 36a: "Play with us" channel (NICK JR). I love this because the CKJR letter combination seems so unplausible during the solve.

  • 6d: Sparks could be seen on it in '07 (IDOL). Jordan Sparks and "American Idol". Very nice clue.

  • 1a: Medicinal meas. (TBSP). An abbreviation at 1a is not ideal, but we'll forgive this minor indiscretion.

  • 5a: Alfred directed her in "The Birds" (TIPPI Hedren).

  • 10a: Tail of a Tibetan terrier? (APSO). Cryptic half-of-dog_name: Lhasa apso.

  • 19a: The whole kit and caboodle (A TO Z).

  • 20a: In "Penny Lane," what the banker never wears in the pouring rain (MAC). Beatles clues are always welcome here.

  • 21a: Minor key? (ISLET). Cute clue.

  • 22a: Bruno of "City Slickers" (KIRBY).

  • 23a: Capital near the Oahe Dam (PIERRE). South Dakota.

  • 25a: One with an abode in Aden (YEMENI). Usually it's ADEN in the puzzle, not the clue.

  • 28a: Lie-down, to a Yank (NAP). Why to a Yank? Southerners don't nap?

  • 29a: Private sleeping arrangement? (COT). Military reference.

  • 38a: Australian Open champ before Steffi's three-year winning streak (HANA Mandlikova).

  • 39a: Foot massager? (ODIST). Okay, that's pushing it.

  • 43a: ___-Poo (character in "The Mikado") (NANKI).

  • 44a: 1974 film starring Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland (SPYS). I was so certain this was going to be MASH. If TRYSTS weren't such a gimme I might have had a real problem here.

  • 47a: Most in need of Beano, maybe (GASSIEST). This ices the potty humor tag.

  • 50a: Torn up on the screen (RIP). Rip Torn. But you knew that. You've seen this clue before.

  • 52a: It borders Sask. (MONT). Montana.

  • 65a: Economize (STINT). I wanted SKIMP in the worst way here, but I couldn't make it fit. STINT, to me, means a length of time.

  • 68a: Number of pesetas in un duro (CINCO). Pick a Spanish number that begins with C.

  • 69a: Chain with chairs (IKEA).

  • 70a: Chachi's cousin, with "the" (FONZ). From "Happy Days", of course.

  • 1d: Disney mutt (TRAMP). "Lady and the Tramp" is one of my favorite Disney films.

  • 2d: Religion seeking world peace (BAHAI). You'd think all religions would seek world peace, wouldn't you? If only.

  • 7d: "Our Gang" dog (PETEY).

  • 13d: Black Sabbath vocalist's first name (OZZY). Easy, but nice to get that double-Z in there.

  • 22d: Military cap with a flat top (KEPI). This is a word I learned from crosswords.

  • 34d: Mathematician Lovelace (ADA). Linda didn't fit. And counting to twelve doesn't make one a mathematician... ;)

  • 37d: –1, for 180° (COSINE). Speaking of math...

  • 46d: Mortarboard tosser (GRAD). That's those funky hats they make you wear.

  • 48d: Jolt, e.g. (SODA). "All the sugar and twice the caffeine."

  • 59d: Toque wearer (CHEF). Hey, "Hell's Kitchen" has started again. But they don't wear toques. This is the time of year when Fox dominates the airwaves... "House", "Idol", "24", "Hell's Kitchen", ...

Suns of Bitches:

  • 16a: Webkinz company (GANZ). Never heard of it. I've heard of Gas-X (in puzzles), but that didn't fit.

  • 56a: Subject of the song "Tell Me, Trudy, Who Is Going to Be the Lucky One?" (EDERLE). I'm too lazy to look this up. It's only vaguely familiar.

Another nice puzzle from PB2, as we've come to expect.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

don't know the song, but gertrude EDERLE is the famous channel swimmer.

lot of flat-topped hats for one puzzle, no? KEPI, toque, mortarboard.

i think "lie-down" is what southerners call a nap. at least that's what i think the clue is implying. i don't speak southern.

Jim Finder said...

I think the Brits would call it a "lie-down," while Americans (whom the Brits would call Yanks) would call it a "nap."