PCC#21 "Hit the Gym"

· By Philip Chow · Published 2023-12-30T17:00:50.213Z

Meta Prompt
[Level 3] Meta prompt: The answer to the meta is where I spend most of my time (instead of going to the gym like I should)
Hint #1: Planet Fitness isn't in the grid but see if you can find some other well-known gyms (if you live outside the US or in a small town, some Googling will be needed)
Hint #2: There are a few clues that start with the exact same word
Hint #3: Take the title literally... 5 times
Hint #4: The letters of interest are where the gyms and the entries with the "Hit" clues intersect
Hint #5: The gyms are Equinox, Crunch, Blink, Curves, and Gold's
Checking for previous play data...

Leaderboard (updated hourly)

  • Capn Rick solved 2023-12-30T17:19:42.264Z
  • boharr solved 2023-12-30T17:37:10.110Z
  • KayW solved 2023-12-30T17:41:19.854Z
  • LCL solved 2023-12-30T17:59:22.512Z
  • LarsCaine solved 2023-12-30T18:17:37.327Z
  • atsirica111191 solved 2023-12-30T18:25:22.992Z
  • Pair O Ducks solved 2023-12-30T18:36:01.169Z
  • Meg solved 2023-12-30T19:41:43.641Z
  • whimsy solved 2023-12-30T20:20:23.475Z
  • benchen71 solved 2023-12-30T20:40:04.911Z
  • emmie solved 2023-12-30T20:48:55.787Z
  • Hector solved 2023-12-30T21:49:26.394Z
  • SamKat9 solved 2023-12-30T22:28:22.958Z
  • Cindy Weatherman solved 2023-12-30T22:54:32.382Z
  • heidi solved 2023-12-30T23:58:05.426Z
  • FrankieHeck solved 2023-12-31T00:22:06.971Z
  • Jake A solved 2023-12-31T03:13:19.350Z
  • HeadinHome solved 2023-12-31T03:35:24.216Z
  • Sendhil Revuluri solved 2023-12-31T03:44:49.383Z
  • Jeremy Smith solved 2023-12-31T05:59:58.681Z
  • MatthewL solved 2023-12-31T15:34:38.811Z
  • JM solved 2023-12-31T15:55:14.135Z
  • LCC17 solved 2023-12-31T18:03:41.495Z
  • frostyjhammer solved 2023-12-31T19:29:33.683Z
  • DIS solved 2024-01-01T02:57:09.331Z
  • BarbaraK solved 2024-01-02T02:40:14.843Z
  • Alex Sisti solved 2024-01-03T01:16:15.560Z
  • Laura M solved 2024-01-03T02:31:07.519Z
  • markhr solved 2024-01-03T02:53:32.069Z
  • Pboodang solved 2024-01-03T05:21:09.220Z
  • DrTom solved 2024-01-04T21:48:05.175Z
  • Darth solved 2024-01-06T14:56:09.625Z
  • Berto solved 2024-01-06T16:28:49.582Z
  • Qmark solved 2024-01-06T16:42:38.118Z
  • Jimmy James solved 2024-01-11T17:27:41.634Z
  • Flora Wynn solved 2024-01-19T04:37:27.978Z
  • kurtalert solved 2024-01-25T00:01:35.587Z
  • woozy solved 2024-01-27T04:35:17.856Z
  • Mikey G solved 2024-01-27T07:23:23.650Z


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  • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-12-30T17:00:50.213Z
    Answer explanation: there are five gyms in the grid: Equinox, Crunch, Blink, Curves, and Gold's (18A, 22A, 35A, 52A, 59A)... there are five clues that start with "Hit" (15D, 13D, 38D, 49D, 54D)... take the five entries with the clues that start with "Hit" and find where it "hits" the gym... LIBEL crosses EQUINOX at the "I"... POUND crosses CRUNCH at the "N"... BOP crosses BLINK at the "B"... BELUGA crosses CURVES at the "E"... and NUDGE crosses "GOLDS" at the D... this spells out the meta answer of "IN BED"... which is where you can usually find me despite having the same New Year's resolution for the past however many years of exercising more 😭
    Constructor notes: I tried to include gyms that are more well-known but I figured you can always rely on Google for the more obscure ones. This puzzle went through several iterations - my first intent was to have all the gym crossing words be a synonym of "Hit" and not use the word "Hit" in the clue at all... I had SMITE, POUND, BOP, BEATUP, NUDGE.. but I wasn't really happy with the ugly surrounding fill with that constraint, so eased the constraint with words that were easier to work with and reworked the cluing... I think repeating "Hit" in the clues brings the difficulty down
    Thank you for solving my puzzles and may you all have a Happy New Year! 🥳
    • Capn Rick 🤓8:05 · 2023-12-30T17:21:30.848Z
      Nice one, Phil! I did have to use a couple of 54D s, but nicely constructed and clued. Looking forward to more in 2024!
      • boharr 2s · 2023-12-30T17:37:31.126Z
        Thank you for a fun puzzle.
        • KayW 🤓5:33 · 2023-12-30T17:44:34.747Z
          Clever idea and execution!! but what a twinge of guilt as I read your intro, as I skipped the gym this morning myself LOL. Oh well there's always next year! Thanks and a very happy New Year to you. I saw the health clubs on my own but I peeked through to the second hint to find out what to do with them.
          • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-12-31T05:03:09.263Z
            it's ok don't feel guilty - like you said there is always next year! bwahaha 😂 - but seriously, i really want to get on a regular schedule... i have no excuse as my job gives me a free gym membership (i think i used it a total of 3 times in the past two years... yikes!)
          • LCL 🤓12:20 · 2023-12-30T18:02:30.197Z
            Nicely done. I'm not a gym-goer myself, so I would never have gotten the meta without your hints. The clue for 19A should be plural (Scoundrels)
            • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-12-30T19:25:00.537Z
              thank you - fixed!
            • whimsy 🤓9:38 · 2023-12-30T20:32:28.615Z
              I did find all the Hits clues in the Downs, but in the over complicating department, I tried to match them up with the "hits" in the Acrosses. I found out that the lyrics of Bare Necessities contain the word "clue" and of course that goes with NUDGE! :-) Was only familiar with Curves and Golds and so needed several nudges and googling. Thanks, Phil!
              • benchen71 🤓5:56 · 2023-12-30T20:41:15.110Z
                Only with the nudges. I don't think we have any of those gyms Down Under!
                • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-12-31T00:53:07.891Z
                  Glad you got there! I’ll try to make future puzzles more universally friendly ☺️
                • SamKat9 🤓8:31 · 2023-12-30T22:28:54.080Z
                  Great puzzle! Happy New Year!
                  • Hector 🤓7:52 · 2023-12-31T00:23:56.073Z
                    Hadn't heard of Blink, but the others rang the bell sufficiently. Nice one!
                    • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-12-31T00:51:42.672Z
                      Yeah that is the most obscure of the five - I didn’t realize it was a subsidiary of Equinox until doing google research to see how difficult it was finding these gyms from the solver side… I’m extremely biased because Blink is the closest gym to my apartment it’s just down the block 😂
                    • HeadinHome 🤓4:46 · 2023-12-31T03:38:50.856Z
                      Our city has URBAN Fitness Gyms, so I briefly thought it odd that you were “BnB’ed” (holed up in a BnB??) instead of at the gym! Had to look up the Equinox chain. Great idea for a meta, and clever title too!
                      • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-12-31T04:55:26.710Z
                        sorry i was unaware of the unintentional inclusion of a sixth gym... i hope the symmetry helped to lock in the main 5... thank you for solving! :)
                      • MatthewL 🤓5:45 · 2023-12-31T15:37:53.369Z
                        Nice one, Phil! No nudges needed, although I had a little bit of a hiccup because LIBEL crosses TIME in CRUNCHTIME, but I soon sorted that out. Happy New Year's!
                        • BarbaraK 4s · 2024-01-02T02:46:03.248Z
                          Nicely done!
                          Just got to it today, New Year’s Day, the day everyone resolves to join a gym and start working out and overflows my gym and all my favorite equipment:) Fortunately, by the end of the month, everything’s back to normal.
                          • Philip Chow constructor · 2024-01-02T13:59:18.919Z
                            Hahaha so true 😂 thanks for solving!
                          • DrTom 4s · 2024-01-04T21:55:46.408Z
                            First clue immediately reminded me that I entered MARIGOLDS - DUH!!! I did not know all of them but it was not hard to figure out which part of the word was a gym (hardest was EQUINOX) but then the HIT pretty much told me where I had to be since there did not appear to be any consistent lead or trailing character. As for going to the gym, well I used to make it a practice to pay not to use gyms. I have a free membership now (Boomer with Silver Sneakers on his Medicare) so now I do not have to pay to not go. For me it is easier to go out for a few mile morning walk and some pushups than actually drive to the gym and be put to shame by people who are actually in shape. Thanks for another interesting and fun puzzle Phil.
                            • Philip Chow constructor · 2024-01-04T23:08:04.672Z
                              Thanks for solving! Equinox is the rich ppl gym… costs over $200 a month 😱… some rich girl once nonchalantly said she signed up for an equinox membership just so she would have access to a clean bathroom every ten blocks in NYC just in case
                            • Darth 11:07 · 2024-01-06T14:58:04.576Z
                              Nice one! (Sorry I missed your puz last week, so doing catch up this morning.) ;)
                              • Qmark 4s · 2024-01-06T16:43:32.530Z
                                late to the gym...enjoyed your meta...thanks Phil!
                                • woozy 🤓11:19 · 2024-01-27T04:38:12.574Z
                                  I needed just the first nudge.
                                  Gyms have name? And people know them? Okay, I had heard of GOLDS and CURVES but not CRUNCH, EQUINOX, or BLINK.
                                  Definitely saw all the clues with HIT though.
                                  Fun meta.
                                  Former Mach 2 flier: Abbr.
                                  1. 1A
                                    Former Mach 2 flier: Abbr.
                                  2. 4A
                                    H.S. exams taken for college credit
                                  3. 7A
                                    Leonard who portrayed Spock on "Star Trek"
                                  4. 12A
                                    "Chicken Run" enclosure
                                  5. 14A
                                    One might rotate atop a music box
                                  6. 16A
                                    "Hop ___" (Dr. Seuss book that a library considered banning because it might encourage children to use violence against their fathers)
                                  7. 18A
                                    Season openers?
                                  8. 19A
                                  9. 21A
                                  10. 22A
                                    Do-or-die moment
                                  11. 24A
                                  12. 27A
                                    Tool with teeth
                                  13. 28A
                                    Peanut, for one
                                  14. 31A
                                    Leaping before looking, say
                                  15. 34A
                                    Galileo or Fibonacci, by birth (their town had a leaning tower)
                                  16. 35A
                                    A New York minute
                                  17. 41A
                                    "Jungle Book" bear who sings "The Bare Necessities"
                                  18. 42A
                                    Rihanna's best-selling album "Good ___ Gone Bad"
                                  19. 43A
                                    "Shutdown" rapper
                                  20. 45A
                                    Second option in a famous Hamlet soliloquy
                                  21. 51A
                                    ___-Man (classic arcade game)
                                  22. 52A
                                    Graphs of a certain periodic function essential to Fourier transforms
                                  23. 55A
                                    "Love is in the air, but so is ___. Wash your hands" (saying that encourages you to practice self-care to avoid catching a winter bug)
                                  24. 58A
                                    Gets down to propose, traditionally
                                  25. 59A
                                    Flowers popular in Hindu weddings
                                  26. 62A
                                    "Based On ___ Story" (Kaley Cuoco comedy that feeds into America's obsession with serial killer podcasts)
                                  27. 63A
                                    Type of investment account
                                  28. 64A
                                    PED XING, for example
                                  29. 65A
                                    Ed who voiced Mr. Fredricksen in Pixar's "Up"
                                  30. 66A
                                    Bugs Bunny animator Avery
                                  31. 67A
                                    ___ kwon do
                                  1. 1D
                                  2. 2D
                                    Mexican state for which a desert is named
                                  3. 3D
                                    Movie with the line "I feel the need... the need for speed"
                                  4. 4D
                                    Presidential nickname
                                  5. 5D
                                    Company behind the One Chip Challenge
                                  6. 6D
                                    "Futurama" soft drink that rhymes with "worm"
                                  7. 7D
                                    "99 Luftballons" singer
                                  8. 8D
                                    Waffle ___ (kitchen appliance that my mom used a total of two times and now just sits in the garage collecting dust because it's too annoying to clean)
                                  9. 9D
                                  10. 10D
                                    The loneliest number, in song
                                  11. 11D
                                    Encouraging cry to a drag queen
                                  12. 13D
                                    Hit with a hammer
                                  13. 15D
                                    Hit one's reputation with written defamation
                                  14. 17D
                                    Chest muscles, for short
                                  15. 20D
                                    "Lamb Chop" puppeteer Lewis
                                  16. 23D
                                    Vocal quality of some country singers
                                  17. 25D
                                    "If ___ be so bold..."
                                  18. 26D
                                    Chromosome component
                                  19. 29D
                                    Org. that covers Springfield in a giant dome in "The Simpsons Movie"
                                  20. 30D
                                    Liquor thinned in Gwendolyn Brooks's poem "We Real Cool"
                                  21. 32D
                                    What powderhounds do
                                  22. 33D
                                    "Stormy Weather" singer Lena
                                  23. 35D
                                    Amount equal to 1/16 of a cup: Abbr.
                                  24. 36D
                                    Māori ceremonial dance (hidden in "Boom Shakalaka")
                                  25. 37D
                                    Bit of negativity?
                                  26. 38D
                                    Hit on the head
                                  27. 39D
                                    Everything, with "the"
                                  28. 40D
                                    Group of sheep
                                  29. 44D
                                    "But ___ me, give me liberty or give me death!"
                                  30. 46D
                                    Niçoise salad ingredient
                                  31. 47D
                                    Historic shipping weight allowances as compensation for loss by waste
                                  32. 48D
                                    "So done with that!"
                                  33. 49D
                                    Hit song for children's entertainer Raffi "Baby ___"
                                  34. 50D
                                    Ancient Jewish ascetic
                                  35. 53D
                                    ___ ease (uncomfortable)
                                  36. 54D
                                    Hit lightly with your elbow
                                  37. 56D
                                    "Take a ___!" ("Get lost!")
                                  38. 57D
                                    Hungarian city known for "Bull's Blood" wine
                                  39. 59D
                                    Wharton degree, often: Abbr.
                                  40. 60D
                                    "___ gratia artis" (MGM's motto which translates to "Art for art's sake")
                                  41. 61D
                                    Subject of "the birds and the bees" talk