Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wednesday, February 20 - Chuck Hamilton

Now that I've gotten over the feeling that it's creepy to Google a constructor, I must say that I enjoy finding out a little bit about someone I hadn't heard of. According to cruciverb.com, Chuck Hamilton had his first puzzle published in the LA Times a year ago. I didn't spend enough time researching to find out if he's been published in the New York Times before today's puzzle, but JimH will likely let us know if this is Chuck's debut.

Assuming it is...what a first puzzle. While the theme itself didn't excite me, the theme answers were all multiword phrases...always a favorite of mine.

The theme is revealed at 65A: It can precede the first words of 17-, 28-, 35-, 47- and 61-Across (double).

17A: "Back to the Future" subject (time travel).

28A: Fans often have it (team spirit). Double team? Maybe someone can clue me in on this one.

35A: Earthquake site (fault line).

47A: Flaky sort (space cadet)...about how I felt by the end of the workday. It'll be a big relief to wrap up my huge project tomorrow. Ten-hour workdays aren't for me.

61A: C-E-G triad, e.g. (major chord). Piano lessons paid off yet again. This was an absolute gimme.

There were some answers that I don't recall ever having seen in a grid...among them:

1A: Cause of a skin rash (eczema). Disgusting, yes...but such a great word. The Z, preceded by a C...it's just too good.

14A: Quenched (slaked).

2D: Some newsletter pictures (Clip Art).

3D: Machine on a skating rink (Zamboni). The name has always reminded me of something good to eat...maybe zabaglione.

6D: Far from klutzy (adroit).

41D: Defensive wall (parapet).

50D: Alternatives to 'Vettes (T-birds).

44D: Spanish capital under the Moors (Cordoba).

I've always liked the expression helter-skelter, aside from the connection to Charles Manson. At any rate, I liked that it was used to clue two of the answers...12D: Enters helter-skelter (piles in) and 45D: Not helter-skelter (orderly).

Favorite clues in the puzzle:

10A: Bugle tune (Taps).

31A: Moonshiner's setup (still).

51A: Horror film staple (gore). Nice change-of-pace clue.

60A: Defaulter's loss (repo).

67A: It may leave marks (pox). Another gross one, but I liked its cross at 58D: It's "stronger than dirt" (Ajax).

68A: Doesn't stick to the straight and narrow (strays). As I looked over the grid before blogging, I kept seeing that as St. Ray's...maybe some sports team?

29D: Made a scene? (acted).

48D: Parts of analogies (colons).

I don't know how many times I'll struggle to remember 49A: Automaker Ferrari (Enzo)...should be a gimme by now. 57A: Simon Wiesenthal's quarry (Nazis) shares the Z...Wiesenthal was an amazing man. You can read more about him here.

For some reason, I loved 40D: "Puh-lease!" (spare me)...don't know why it struck such a chord tonight.

That's it for this one. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Bill from NJ said...


DOUBLE TEAM can be a sports expression. It means to assign 2 men to guard one because of his ability. Mostly used in basketball and football.

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

I loved this puzzle, too. Just a few of the usual suspects (tmen, erne, loa) but lots of good stuff (zamboni, eczema, slaked... I love that word). I like multiple-word answers, too, but couldn't see the connection between these theme answers until I saw 65D. Puff Pastry fit nicely for flaky sort and I was hungry. My favorite: hi sign?/wave.

Hope your project goes well. I'm in the midst of a big one, too. I can barely find time to do the puzzles, much less write comments, never mind a blog, so thanks.

Anonymous said...

I never caught that helter-skelter was used twice (thank you Linda) -- and now I see the second H-S answer is right under the first.

Synchronicity: I got to 10a (TAPS) at the exact moment (west coast) when it was an answer on Jeopardy (Hutton/Cruise movie)...I mean a question. Probably blasphemous, but the puzzle doesn't always receive my undivided attention.

Anonymous said...

Every time I leave for a month or two I come back to find a new way of signing in to leave a comment.

Zamboni?? Is that for real? Puh-lease, spare me.

Glad to see your blog is still giving out the answers and those great comments.


SethG said...


Music and lyrics by the Gear Daddies.

PhillySolver, beware,

Anonymous said...

Sethg: Thanks much for the reference. Fantastic! Great song, never heard it or of the Gear Daddies. But I really got a kick out of both.


wendy said...

A POX on AIRER and ADORER! And APTEST. Not in the language, to my discerning ear. But still a nice puzzle. I was thwarted by having Five for WAVE (obviously read High for Hi) but everything else fell nicely into place.

SPARE ME was a nice one! ;) And I liked the theme answers, though the word they had in common wasn't any kind of help.

METRO was resonant today. We have a bus levy on our March 4 ballot, and the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, who is from Akron and has a vegan restaurant here now, was campaigning yesterday for passage during these tough economic times. (The system is called METRO).

What I wouldn't give to be on "Omoo" island right now.

Anonymous said...

I found the puzzle to be fun and not particularly difficult for a Wednesday....ACE for a close friend? TBIRDs as alternatives to 'Vettes...no way!!!! perhaps a Mustang or a GTO!!!

Linda G said...

Thanks, Bill, for explaining DOUBLE TEAM, and to Seth for the video clip...it was nice to start my day with a laugh ; )

Rikki, I neglected to mention WAVE under favorite clues...thanks for pointing that out.

JD, it's nice to hear from you again...I hope you enjoyed your travels. If you'd been in TAHITI, I think you'd have mentioned that.

Karmasatre, TAPS was just too eerie! The puzzle doesn't always get my undivided attention either...I suppose we'd change that if we were concerned with our time.

Wendy, I agree on APTEST, AIRER and ADORER. I always start with what I like best...usually by the time I've finished up with my favorites, I'm ready to call it a night!

Bob, I figured they just needed an abbreviated car name for the clue...but you're right. Corvette lovers would definitely disagree. ACE in that context was new to me.

Anonymous said...

SLAKE always reminds me of the M*A*S*H episode in which Radar is trying to impress a girl by reading her the poetry of "Ruptured" Brooke. He thinks it's a dirty word and warns the girl that "there's slaking in here."

Anonymous said...

I wanted to know what is 16A: Miners entry; ADIT ?
Also: I've seen APTEST before & put it in straight away. I was okay with ADORERS, but not impressed. However, again, should 22A's answer have been an abreviation?


Linda G said...

Sean, ADIT was new to me. According to my Webster's New World College Dictionary, it's "an approach or entrance; specif., an almost horizontal passageway into a mine." Whadda ya know...

As far as 22A, I don't think so...TV is used so much more often than television that it's hardly thought of as an abbreviation.

Off to do some reading before the puzzle appears online.