Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wednesday, January 2 - Patrick Blindauer

Patrick Blindauer is one of my favorite constructors. He entertained us several times last year with a delightful puzzle-within-a-puzzle...including word searches and a chess game...and we have another one tonight.

Trouble is...it took me forever to understand it, and I'll bet there are some of you who still don't. (Hint: Say it out loud to someone else...that's how I figured it out.)

Hints appear as connected clues...20A: With 59-Across, hint to this puzzle's secret (clarinet/relative). When you follow the instructions at 41A: What to do after completing this puzzle, with four straight lines (connect all the O's), this is what you get.

Clear as mud? A clarinet relative is an oboe. Look at the picture above...there's an O-bow.

Go ahead and smack yourself...I did.

Favorite clues in the puzzle include 27A: Souvenir from a bad trip? (abrasion), 63A: Like some hands (idle), 70A: China company (Lenox), 1D: Half a dance (cha), 8D: Alternative if things go wrong (Plan B), 9D: Bread for burritos? (dinero), 26D: Some court attire (tennis shoes), 31D: Curtain puller of film (Toto) and 53D: Spanish skating figures (ochos).

A double-dose of two fabulous Broadway dancers...1A: Rivera of the original "Chicago" (Chita) and 56A: Gwen of the original "Chicago" (Verdon). When Chicago began its Broadway run in 1975, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger were just six years old. Who'd have thought they'd play Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart years later?

Things I learned from crosswords include 38A: River to the Rhone (Isere), 45A: Chief Whitehorse, e.g. (Otoe), 47A: Japanese leader of the 1960s (Sato), 64A: __ Gay (W.W. II plane) (Enola), 3D: New issue on Wall St. (IPO), 40D: City north of Cologne (Essen), 43D: Pope after John X (Leo VI), 52D: Animals (fauna) and 65D: With 32-Across, a ball game (one o'cat).

[54D: Cain vis-à-vis Abel] is one of those answers that could go one of two ways...older or elder. In this case, the cross made it easy to get. 52A: Promoted (fostered) meant an -ed ending, even if you didn't know the answer right away. That E meant that elder was the correct answer.

Noteworthy answers include 6A: "Dragnet" force, in brief (LAPD), 10A: Org. for which a D.V.M. might work (SPCA), 17A: Unending pain (agony), 19A: N.Y. neighbor (Conn.)...my birthplace, 24A: Honeymoon suite feature (hot tub), 35A: Chewy candy (Rolo), 44A: Children's author Blyton and others (Enids), 49A: "The Gift of the Magi" gift (fob)...one of my favorite stories, 69A: Cain of "Lois & Clark" (Dean), 5D: Sanctuary (asylum), 11D: Made a killing, say (profiteered), 13D: Former U.N. chief Kofi (Annan), 21D: Multiple-choice choices (A B or C), 24D: Actor Tom of "Amadeus" (Hulce) and 37D: Former Swedish P.M. Palme (Olof).

The long weekend is over...back to work tomorrow with all of the attendant year-end paperwork. I'll see you then.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

27A Souvenir from a bad trip?
Abrasion? Somebody put this one in context for me please? Just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Trip, fall down and scrape (abrade) your knee.

wendy said...

OMG, even with my highlighter I couldn't figure out how to connect the O's into anything that resembled a 'clarinet relative.' Sheesh! Glad you could figure it out.

My main embarrassment came with Gift of the Magi. Though I've read the story, in my head was the homage one of my favorite old TV series, Due South, once paid to it (in an episode called Gift of the Wheelman), where the watch was replaced by an expensive pen, so I had Pen in there despite feeling something terrible was wrong. I couldn't remember the watch fob to save my life.

Very nice puzzle!

Anonymous said...

Linda...thanks for pointing out the theme...I finished the puzzle, but like Wendy could make no sense of connecting the O's even though both of my daughters played the oboe!!!

Linda G said...

When I started writing this last night, I still had no idea how CLARINET/RELATIVE fit into the picture I'd made connecting the O's. I wrote four paragraphs about not getting it before showing it to Don. It was while I was explaining to him what I did that it became obvious...so I had to (happily) delete what I'd written. The puzzle wasn't so tough, but figuring out the puzzle within was a killer!

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad Wendy, I was thinking of the wrong Magi story entirely, Henry Van Dyke’s “The Story of the Other Wise Man.” instead of The Gift of the Magi by O Henry, probably because I identify with the fourth wiseman, have given it my all and don't understand where it's leading. And FOB doesn't fit into this story anywhere!

bougeotte said...

Thank you for the visual Linda. I knew it had to do something with Oboe but did not make the connection right away. I was to tired from doing the crossword last night. Loved the clue for abrasion.
Until tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Just a few words to thankyou for your daily blog. When a clue makes my hair hurt,I can turn to Linda G.

Linda G said...

The Other Wise Man is a great story...the girls used to ask me to read it over and over.

bougeotte, it was one of my favorites, too, although it stumped others.

truck, you're so kind...you made my day.

Howard B said...

I didn't get the O-bow either. Made all sorts of horrendous shapes though. Tried to connect the dots, and ended up something which looked like Sudoku of the Damned.

You're not alone out there, solvers :).

Anonymous said...

Rick - Thanks for the clarification. I couldn't get my mind out LSD for the "trip" - Norman