A Mind Boggling Brain Teaser

Wednesday I got up bright and early to fly to Louisville for the Mid-America Truck Show — the big, fat daddy of all truck shows. Given that we booked our tickets last week, we had a connection in Charlotte rather than a direct flight. And in typical O’Hare fashion, our flight left late, got in late, and necessitated both a dash to the next flight and two extra hours at the airport waiting on the checked package that missed the connection. (I needed it for a meeting that was to start 2.5 hours after we landed.)

At any rate, as I boarded the second flight after our powerwalk from the other end of the airport, I realized I was in the very last row of a cramped regional jet.

Once I got situated across from the bathroom and was forced to turn off my Treo, I reached for the US Air magazine in the seat pocket. After leisurely flipping through rather boring editorial and a ton of steakhouse ads, I came to the crossword page.

Low and behold, it was titled “The Four-H Club”!

4-H crossword

This struck me as particularly appropos, given that my only prior trip to Louisville was for the 4-H Agent National Meeting in 1998. That was the trip where our first night (Halloween) we took a carriage ride, nerdy Walter insisted that we stop at a gas station (still drawn by equine) so he could get a candy bar, and we then clopped along the river only to spy a steamboat filled with costumed transvestites.

Still feeling nostalgic about that trip and 4-H in general, I read the description of the puzzle:

A hip-hip-hurrah for the hard-to-belong-to group in this month’s featured crossword


It went on:

The original 4-H organization was a government program to aid rural youth; the H’s stood for head, heart, hands and health. What’s the connection with this puzzle? The Across answers at 22, 36, 52 and 67 belong to a group that’s exclusive — but it’s not hush-hush, and solvers with the wherewithal, if searching through and through, may find the theme and finish the puzzle with head held high.

Seriously, I knew 4-H had a brand perception problem — but never in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine it being seen as an “exclusive” club! Perhaps the authors are from the boonies and were playing a big fat joke.

Since I’m terrible at crosswords, I went straight for the key on page 186. Here were the answers:

Hither and Thither
Henry The Eighth
High Heeled Shoes
Perish The Thought

So, my smartypants readers — this riddle is for YOU to figure out. Uncle.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Andrea said,

    Geez, looks like branding is a perpetual adventure! Thanks for the reminisce. How I remember that trip well! Hey, hope life is going good!

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