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Puzzle #24: Empty Boxes

AOK’s Review:
Good morning, crossword lovers!

This is Adesina Koiki, crossword enthusiast and sports reporter better known as Ade or “AOK” in the crossword blogosphere. It’s a pleasure to be here to start blogging and reviewing Patrick’s Piece of Cake Crosswords. I’m not sure what specific direction this blog will take on a week-to-week basis, but, as far as I’m concerned, the most important thing is to have fun with it, like the fun I’m sure you have had in solving one of Mr. Blindauer’s crosswords.

So let’s get to the fun, shall we?

This is the first POCC that I’ve solved, and it came as a bit of a surprise that the theme included rebus squares! Well, the clues might be a piece of cake, for the most part, but that doesn’t mean that tricks aren’t afoot when doing the grid. I know that now! As I’m sure you noticed, there’s a literal take on the puzzle’s title, with three boxes filled with the letters “MT.”

A-HA moment (When I figured out the theme): On the MT crossing with AMTRAK (53D: [Transportation provider since 1970]) and STORM TROOPER (58A: [Imperial soldier of sci-fi]). I was fairly sure of what was going on with the first theme entries, FREEDOM TOWER and WARMTH, but decided to bounce around the grid and make sure of it on a different part of the grid. Are there any other imperial soldiers of renown outside of storm troopers?

O-HO moment (Something I know now that I didn’t know before): What a fun and enlightening clue for TOPEKA (49D: [State capital whose name means “a good place to dig potatoes”]). I’m sure the word has its origin from a Native American-tribal language. With what we know now about Topeka, I wonder what Boise means.

OLIO (Other things of note): I don’t think I ever had a TOY CHEST when growing up (11D: [Container for playthings: 2 wds.]). My toys were just strewn around my room for a long, long period of time. The brand of makeup that I currently own and use when getting ready to get on camera is, indeed, L’OREAL (34A: [Big name in cosmetics]). I’m not joking, either!

Sportsball moment of the day: Remember the Hartford Whalers, the professional hockey league team that eventually moved to Raleigh and became the Carolina Hurricanes? Well, the team, while in Hartford, had a theme song, and it is one of the most memorable theme songs of any sports team that ever had a theme song. (Not that there are so many teams that have theme songs.) What’s the title of the song?

BRASS Bonanza! (52D: [Symphony section]).

Patrick’s notes:
This is an example of a rebus puzzle, in which more than one letter is entered into a square. These are tricky to spot until you’ve been doing puzzles for a while, but hopefully the title helped clue you in to what was going on.

I tried to keep the corners bigger on this one, and used a few longer Downs to spice things up, as well. Having a minimum of theme material allowed me to keep the fill very clean. FLOR is a little tricky, but I gave two clues for it to help out, and if you don’t know Dianne Weist’s work in “Bullets Over Broadway,” check it out. The “don’t speak” scene is the famous one.

Had fun with the clues for OCT and NIECE, and the song “I Love TRASH” was a personal favorite as a kid. Which “Sesame Street” song was your childhood favorite?

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