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).
- 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.