PCC#24 "Phil in the Blank"

· By Philip Chow · Published 2024-01-27T16:06:38.033Z

Meta Prompt
[Level 1.5] Meta prompt: The answer to the meta is a famous Phil (bonus points if you can spell his name without looking it up)
Hint #1: 9 clues have a parenthetical number after it... what do the numbers mean?
Hint #2: Perhaps a more helpful title would be "Phil in(dex) the Blank"
Hint #3: Consider the nth letter of the answer where n = number in parenthesis... For example, Phil ___ (author of this puzzle) (3) would yield the third letter of CHOW = the letter "O"
Hint #4: The famous Phil is not a person... He's also not that great at predicting things and has an overall success rate of about 40%
Hint #5: The famous Phil is associated with a US holiday celebrated on February 2... He hails from a borough in Pennsylvania with a rather difficult name to spell
Checking for previous play data...

Leaderboard (updated hourly)

  • Capn Rick solved 2024-01-27T16:42:27.005Z
  • MatthewL solved 2024-01-27T16:46:48.222Z
  • Pair O Ducks solved 2024-01-27T16:52:14.953Z
  • FrankieHeck solved 2024-01-27T19:42:07.804Z
  • KayW solved 2024-01-27T21:38:04.049Z
  • boharr solved 2024-01-27T22:10:52.907Z
  • Flora Wynn solved 2024-01-27T22:38:25.531Z
  • damefox solved 2024-01-27T23:21:24.756Z
  • Hector solved 2024-01-28T00:42:01.097Z
  • rvkal solved 2024-01-28T00:50:15.745Z
  • whimsy solved 2024-01-28T01:07:58.042Z
  • emmie solved 2024-01-28T02:08:32.123Z
  • JM solved 2024-01-28T03:03:03.289Z
  • benchen71 solved 2024-01-28T03:24:32.028Z
  • Sendhil Revuluri solved 2024-01-28T04:37:40.547Z
  • Danny K Bernstein solved 2024-01-28T05:08:18.567Z
  • SamKat9 solved 2024-01-28T05:37:02.783Z
  • markhr solved 2024-01-28T06:43:32.033Z
  • Chris solved 2024-01-28T12:26:03.257Z
  • lbray53 solved 2024-01-28T12:38:41.728Z
  • Tim solved 2024-01-28T15:24:36.339Z
  • Jeremy Smith solved 2024-01-28T23:02:03.357Z
  • Alevyinroc solved 2024-01-28T23:02:06.324Z
  • Meg solved 2024-01-29T03:14:14.426Z
  • AxelPlays solved 2024-01-29T15:28:27.213Z
  • dooiemus solved 2024-01-29T17:13:58.424Z
  • DIS solved 2024-01-29T20:11:47.456Z
  • heidi solved 2024-01-29T21:01:15.333Z
  • Cindy Weatherman solved 2024-01-30T21:25:40.379Z
  • DrTom solved 2024-01-31T06:34:29.474Z
  • Laura M solved 2024-02-01T18:47:29.585Z
  • rjy solved 2024-02-01T19:59:19.197Z
  • Berto solved 2024-02-03T02:26:52.640Z
  • LCC17 solved 2024-02-03T05:39:32.537Z
  • Sharkicicles solved 2024-02-03T20:40:11.043Z
  • I K Snamhcok solved 2024-02-04T01:58:20.498Z
  • hoover solved 2024-02-04T03:05:10.897Z
  • Grant Kennell solved 2024-02-04T03:40:44.826Z
  • BrennerTJ solved 2024-02-04T19:09:43.223Z
  • parliboy solved 2024-02-06T21:51:38.744Z
  • LarsCaine solved 2024-02-09T19:21:26.160Z
  • Qmark solved 2024-02-13T00:25:28.552Z
  • Mikey G solved 2024-02-21T06:48:59.832Z
  • Salty solved 2024-02-29T13:24:08.770Z


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  • Philip Chow constructor · 2024-01-27T16:06:38.033Z
    Answer explanation: 9 Phils are in the grid and the parenthetical numbers in their clues point to which letter to take from their last names... the 3rd letter of MCGRAW, the 3rd letter of HARTMAN, the 2nd letter of COLLINS, and so on... this spells out GROUNDHOG... and so the meta answer is the name of the groundhog that uses his shadow to predict an early spring or a late winter: Punxsutawney Phil, popularized by the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day."
    • MatthewL 🤓5:36 · 2024-01-27T16:47:37.162Z
      I confess -- had to look up the correct spelling of the name, so no bonus points for me. Thanks for the puzzle, Phil!
      • Pair O Ducks 🤓6:24 · 2024-01-27T16:58:00.675Z
        Silly me, I got GROUNDHOG day and thought, rats, I've never seen it, gotta google the cast. Well apparently the main character's name is Phil Connors! But then I realized you didn't spell out Groundhog "Day," just the groundhog, whose name has always been one of my favorite fun facts!
        • FrankieHeck 🤓14:20 · 2024-01-27T19:44:10.608Z
          I did the same thing when I test solved. I think it was because I'd been looking up so many other Phils in the puzzle. And I couldn't figure out why he thought I wouldn't be able to spell it. When I was emailing him about the puzzle, I realized what the real answer was (and then spelled it wrong...twice!)
        • Capn Rick 8:29 · 2024-01-27T16:44:13.657Z
          Very nice, "Phil"! My high school in central PA used to play Punxsutawney in sports (but I still had to Google the spelling). 😄
          • KayW 🤓5:21 · 2024-01-27T21:38:48.951Z
            Fun one!! Haha took me 4 tries to spell it correctly. Who the heck stuck an "S" in there?
            • Philip Chow constructor · 2024-01-27T23:41:42.586Z
              lol yay 1,000 points for you!
            • boharr 3s · 2024-01-27T22:11:46.932Z
              Got the meta. Flunked spelling. Thanks, Phil.
              • damefox 🤓5:25 · 2024-01-27T23:22:20.927Z
                Aww, thanks for 11D, Phil! 😊
                • whimsy 🤓11:19 · 2024-01-28T01:13:05.410Z
                  Really like this one -- I hang out with a Phil a lot! :-) For me it wasn't so much "who stuck the "S" in there?" but researching that there's a "U" in there! Thanks, Phil!
                  • benchen71 🤓5:00 · 2024-01-28T03:25:01.867Z
                    Very nice, but I definitely needed Google for the spelling!
                    • Sendhil Revuluri 🤓4:45 · 2024-01-28T04:38:43.197Z
                      Fun, thank you! Don't mind my repeated guesses of CONNORS before I remembered the other Phil in the movie… (and yes I belatedly understood that the metanism only got at GROUNDHOG
                      • SamKat9 🤓10:14 · 2024-01-28T05:37:47.924Z
                        Yeah I had to look that up...I definitely couldn't remember the little guy's name. Thanks for the puzzle!
                        • DrTom 15:49 · 2024-01-31T06:36:56.579Z
                          Even being from Pennsylvania I did not spell it right...well at least we don't kill and eat him anymore! Thanks Phil, I hope you do not see your shadow.
                          • Laura M 🤓6:27 · 2024-02-01T18:49:11.007Z
                            Nice puzzle, great movie! Had to look up the spelling, I was close but not quite right.
                            • rjy 🤓4:42 · 2024-02-01T20:01:23.763Z
                              (Unfortunately!) I got the answer immediately from the prompt alone, but fun to go thru the exercise anyway. Thanks for the puzzle!
                              • Qmark 3s · 2024-02-13T00:27:39.571Z
                                Printed the puzzle when it came out but didn't have a chance to try it until nudges needed. Enjoyed your puzzle a lot Phil! Thanks! (my first attempt at spelling the town in PA was bonus points for me) :)
                                Phil ___ (TV host known as Dr. Phil who got his start offering advice on "The Oprah Winfrey Show") (3)
                                1. 1A
                                  Phil ___ (TV host known as Dr. Phil who got his start offering advice on "The Oprah Winfrey Show") (3)
                                2. 7A
                                  Place to hang your clothes
                                3. 13A
                                  Speedy Gonzales exclamation
                                4. 14A
                                  Phil ___ (SNL cast member who also voiced Troy McClure on "The Simpsons") (3)
                                5. 16A
                                  Combined, as funds
                                6. 17A
                                  Email address component
                                7. 19A
                                  Phil ___ (Genesis drummer and singer with the song "Against All Odds") (2)
                                8. 21A
                                  Poker player's declaration
                                9. 22A
                                  Electrical units represented by omegas
                                10. 23A
                                  Country with an exclave on the Strait of Hormuz
                                11. 25A
                                  Partner of Verklärung, in a Strauss opus
                                12. 26A
                                  When tripled, a nursery rhyme cry by a little piggy
                                13. 27A
                                  Deerstalker or fez
                                14. 29A
                                  Phil ___ (daytime talk show pioneer who was the first host to include audience particiation) (6)
                                15. 32A
                                  Airport listing: Abbr.
                                16. 33A
                                  Give a speech
                                17. 35A
                                  Words after "I need" when I'm tired and cranky
                                18. 36A
                                  Phil ___ (golf pro nicknamed "Lefty" who is the oldest major winner in history) (9)
                                19. 38A
                                  Frees from, with "of"
                                20. 40A
                                  Equip with weapons, in the past
                                21. 41A
                                  Letters before an alias
                                22. 44A
                                  Phil ___ (actor nominated for an Emmy for his role of Jamie Tartt in "Ted Lasso") (1)
                                23. 46A
                                  Regnal number of Richard in a Shakespeare title
                                24. 47A
                                  Carnelian or crimson
                                25. 48A
                                  Actress Horvath of "The Rings of Power"
                                26. 49A
                                  Words before "state of affairs"
                                27. 51A
                                  Bad button to hit if you didn't mean to "reply all"
                                28. 52A
                                  "All that is or ever was or ever will be," per astronomer Carl Sagan
                                29. 55A
                                  Phil ___ (reality TV host who says "You're the last team to arrive. I'm sorry to tell you that you have been eliminated from the race") (5)
                                30. 58A
                                  Auricle and canal extending to the tympanic membrane
                                31. 60A
                                  Turkish hospice
                                32. 62A
                                  Phil ___ (Hall of Fame Yankees shortstop known as "The Scooter") (7)
                                33. 63A
                                  Anime series in which the titular character often runs with his hands extended behind his back
                                34. 64A
                                  Start doing business again
                                35. 65A
                                  Phil ___ (Nike co-founder and former CEO with the memoir "Shoe Dog") (4)
                                1. 1D
                                  Where X marks the spot
                                2. 2D
                                  Stitch with hooked needles
                                3. 3D
                                  Made attractive, as dog show competitors
                                4. 4D
                                  Small streams
                                5. 5D
                                  Genesis brother
                                6. 6D
                                  Arabic term for a dry river valley that contains water only when heavy rain occurs
                                7. 7D
                                  Deep gorge
                                8. 8D
                                  Back muscle, for short
                                9. 9D
                                  "Twelfth Night" duke who said "If music be the food of love, play on"
                                10. 10D
                                  Leader of the Thenns in "Game of Thrones"
                                11. 11D
                                  Jane Austen title heroine or crossword constructor Oxford with the podcast "Outside the Blocks"
                                12. 12D
                                  Samantha's daughter on "Bewitched"
                                13. 15D
                                  Start of an oft-quoted "Seinfeld" catchphrase, used on the show to deny Elaine of her order of mulligatawny
                                14. 18D
                                  News story intro, in journalism jargon
                                15. 20D
                                  "Anyone interested? Anyone?... ANYONE?!"
                                16. 22D
                                  Be in the hole
                                17. 24D
                                  City northeast of Kangaroo Island
                                18. 27D
                                  Raise, as a flag
                                19. 28D
                                  Pendulum's path
                                20. 30D
                                  Tennis champ Osaka who beat Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open
                                21. 31D
                                  Raggedy red-haired doll
                                22. 34D
                                  Number of rings for Marvel's Shang-Chi
                                23. 36D
                                  Physicians: Abbr.
                                24. 37D
                                  Lead-in to "Lanka"
                                25. 38D
                                  Bit of gossip in an Adele song title
                                26. 39D
                                  All worked up
                                27. 41D
                                  Floor covering under a coffee table, perhaps
                                28. 42D
                                  Branagh who played Niels Bohr in "Oppenheimer"
                                29. 43D
                                  Do some basic math
                                30. 44D
                                  Geometric art style embodied by the Chrysler Building
                                31. 45D
                                  Subside, as rain
                                32. 50D
                                  Ohio city where Goodyear is headquartered
                                33. 51D
                                  Lamb Chop puppeteer Lewis
                                34. 53D
                                  Selection of small dishes served as appetizers popular in Mediterranean cuisine
                                35. 54D
                                  Rice-shaped pasta
                                36. 56D
                                  Sound from a pigpen
                                37. 57D
                                  Federal agent, for short (in which the first letter stands for "government")
                                38. 59D
                                  Satisfied the munchies
                                39. 61D
                                  Many a "Rugrats" character