Puzzle #80, “Where Have I Seen That Before?”

Here is puzzle #80:

080_whereseen.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is something that was the answer to a previous PGWCC puzzle. This isn’t intended to be a wild goose chase, nor should it be an advantage to have solved the prior puzzles. Below is a list of all previous answers, for reference.

Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, October 26. I’ll post next week’s solution – and maybe a new puzzle? – next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Here’s the complete list of all previous PGWCC answers:

U
GOTH
APPENDIX
TRUMP
REDACTION
SEE NEWNESS
MRS. PEACOCK/REVOLVER/DINING ROOM
STAX
ONE BOURBON, ONE SCOTCH, ONE BEER
JACKS
STRAWBERRY WINE
CARVINGS
PIG
GRAPE
AREA CODES
HYPHENS
THE RAIN IN SPAIN STAYS MAINLY IN THE PLAIN
HORNS
SANDWICH FILLINGS
SUM
SUB
FRUIT
BRADY
POWER
QUICKLY
TRUNCATED
LASTS
DONALD GLOVER
MALADY
SUPERIOR
SQUARE ROOTS
HATS
STOP
JAMES
PLATYPUS
HUEY LEWIS
SERGEANT
CANSECO
ADMISSION ORDER
DIRTY DANCING
HOWLED
FRAUD
I WILL TREAT
ADDER
CASSIOPEIA
INVERT
INKER
MARK
L
PREEN
IOMEGA
1,339,724,852
FORREST GUMP/PHILADELPHIA
ADD ONE
BROOD
FOXCONN
BLANKS
HOUSE
FRENCH KISS
OUI
OODLES
ISLANDS
TRIVIAL
BIG MAMAS
SPLIT
HAVING SOME VERY NICE PUZZLE IDEAS
PALE FIRE
DAMPER SANDBOX
EQUINES
PINE
E.B. WHITE
CONCH
ENGINEERING
RAISE
AARON RODGERS
CAFFE LATTE
LORD JIM
BEECH
TROLLS
BAG
COME BACK
WALL-E/PLAN K

Puzzle #79 Solution


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Last week’s puzzle had complicated instructions – two answers, both with something in common with the theme entries (which you had to find), and one that was closely related to the first theme entry.

First step was to notice that there were several entries – six, to be exact – that ended with a standalone letter. In order of where their first letters appeared in the grid:

PART D
MAN U
ICE-T
CARDI B
DR. T
LOW A

Next is where the puzzle’s title comes into play. Take those final letters and send them back to the beginning, insert a new letter, and you can form new words – and not just random new words, but words that are alternate answers to the clues for other entries:

DEPART = Exit (the clue for 44a. LEAVE)
UNMAN = Emasculate (the clue for 57a. NEUTER)
TWICE = A second time (the clue for 50d. AGAIN)
BACARDI = Major liquor brand (the clue for 4d. KETEL ONE)
TL;DR = The short version, for short (the clue for 19a. ABBR)
ALLOW = Authorize (the clue for 26a. PERMIT)

Here’s where the two solving paths diverge. To get the first answer, take the new letters you inserted after moving the standalone letters to the beginning, in grid order. That’s E-N-W-A-L-L, which spells the little-used word enwall. Now reverse the meta mechanism by sending the E to the end and getting rid of the N and you get the animated movie WALL-E.

To get the second answer, take the initial letters of the secondary theme entries, again in grid order. That’s K-A-P-L-A-N, which spells the name Kaplan. Again, reverse the mechanism to get, not the word “plank,” but PLAN K, which google will tell you has something to do with Medicare/Medigap (making it closely related to the first theme entry, PART D.)

Somewhat fittingly (but totally by happenstance), the two letters you had to discard in the process of reaching the final answers were N/A.

Here’s a confusing picture that attempts to show all of that:

Puzzle #80 is in the works but not yet done. Stay tuned …

Puzzle #78 Solution and Puzzle #79, “Go Back to the Beginning”

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Five theme entries with weird clues last week:

WMNG CT (cartoon) = CHEYENNE
MV LBRDR (novella) = OLD YELLER
RD CCKTL (folklore) = HURRICANE
“DRM TM” NM (arcade game) = CHRISTIAN
NX (animated films based on the cartoon) = SHUT DOWN

What’s going on here? Turns out the meta mechanism is of the “find an alternate clue answer” type, but first you have to figure out what the clue is by reconstructing it. That part’s not that difficult – Cheyenne is a WyoMiNG CiTy; Old Yeller is a MoVie LaBRaDoR (okay he was actually a Lab/mastiff mix in the movie, and not a Lab at all in the book, but close enough); a hurricane is a ReD CoCKTaiL; Christian was a “DReaM TeaM” NaMe (Christian Laettner was the sole college player on the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team, nicknamed the “Dream Team”); and to shut something down is to NiX it.

When you try alternate answers to these clues, you can find a pattern that explains those parentheticals in the clues: they’re all fictional ghosts from different media (get it? the vowels in the clues have “ghosted” you …):

CASPER is another Wyoming city (but also a ghost in the cartoon Casper the Friendly Ghost)
MARLEY is another Movie Labrador (but also a ghost from the novella A Christmas Carol)
BLOODY MARY is another red cocktail (but also a ghost from folklore)
CLYDE is another first name from the Dream Team (but also a ghost from the arcade game Pac-Man)
KIBOSH is another synonym of “nix” (but also a ghost from the not-very-well-known movie adaptations of Casper the Friendly Ghost)

Finally, taking those five ghosts and putting their first letters in order yields the vowel-free string CMBCK, which with the right vowels inserted becomes our meta answer, COME BACK – not only something you might say after being abandoned, but also what ghosts do – they “come back” from the dead to haunt the living.

Next up is puzzle #79, “Go Back to the Beginning.”

079_backtobeginning.puz

This metapuzzle has two answers, both of which have something in common with several entries in the grid. One is a well-known animated movie; the other is closely related to the first theme entry. Submit your answers using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, October 12. Will I publish a new puzzle next week? I hope so …

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #78, “Where Did You Go?”

I am back this week with Puzzle #78, “Where Did You Go?” ***UPDATE: One aspect of the puzzle wasn’t well-enough researched; I have altered one clue (for 61-across) slightly, which will hopefully make things a bit clearer.

078_wherego2.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a something you might say after being abandoned (as you’ve been by the vowels in some of this puzzle’s clues.) Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, October 5. I’ll post next week’s solution – and maybe a new puzzle? – next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #77 Solution

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When I had my sister test-solve last week’s mini-puzzle “Matters of Taste,” I correctly predicted that its difficulty level would vary for solvers. It was based on anagrams, which some people seem to see almost automatically, while others struggle to find them even if they know to look. Here, there was nothing very obvious to prompt you to look for anagrams. Once you figured it out, though, you might have noticed that anagramming one word in the title would also yield an in-the-language phrase, matters of state. And indeed what we had were anagrams for the names of countries:

Those three celebrities stacked in the center are, as far as my research revealed, the only three well-known* people (to Americans, anyhow) whose names anagram to country names:

AL B. SURE! -> BELARUS
INA GARTEN -> ARGENTINA
MEG RYAN -> GERMANY

Take the initial letters of the three countries, in order, and you get BAG, which is in the grid at 1-down (and was given a travel-related clue.)

(* I did find others with Wikipedia entries – Mel Davis (Maldives), an NBA player in the ’70s; Anna Miros (San Marino), a member of the Polish national volleyball team; and Iain West (Eswatini), a British forensic pathologist who worked on some high-profile investigations, including the drowning of Robert Maxwell, most recognizable today as Ghislaine’s father.)

It is not looking good for a new puzzle this week, as my attention has been elsewhere. Hopefully I will be back with a new offering next week.

Puzzle #76 Solution and Puzzle #77, “Matters of Taste”

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Last week’s solution was TROLLS. The long entries (FAIRNESS, SCRAPING BY, OCCURRENCE, SELF-ESTEEM, GIVE RISE TO, and WEAR DOWN) were synonyms of words you could form by adding a long e to the front of a single-word clue for a different entry, in a nod to the lazy nomenclature of many online things. So “quality,” the clue for 2-down TRAIT, becomes “equality” which is a synonym for FAIRNESS. And so on (king -> eking; vent -> event; go -> ego; licit -> elicit; rode -> erode.) The first letters of those secondary theme entries spell out TROLLS.

And hey, I came up with a puzzle #77 for this week after all. It’s a mini!

077_mattersoftaste.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an entry in the grid. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 21. We shall see what, if anything, next week brings.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #76, “Extremely Online”

A day late, here’s Puzzle #76:

076_extremelyonline.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a group found online. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 14.

Based on my recent track record I’m not gonna promise a new puzzle next week … I might be a little burned out, to be honest. I haven’t had a new idea in a while, and always seem to spend free time on other pursuits lately. Hopefully inspiration will strike before long.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #75 Solution

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Last week’s solution was pretty straightforward, but took research for most. We had six people as long entries, and their first names suggested tree varieties:

Bing Crosby -> BING Cherry (C)
Garry Trudeau -> GARRY Oak (O)
Jack Nicholson -> JACK Pine (P)
Jeffrey Wright -> JEFFREY Pine (P)
Dutch Schultz -> DUTCH Elm (E)
Dawn French -> DAWN Redwood (R)

The first letters of the tree types spell out COPPER, which is a type of BEECH tree. (It is also apparently a type of birch, so that was an acceptable alternate answer.)

I’m not ready with a new puzzle right now; I’ve got a grid filled, but not yet clued. I have some work to do this afternoon but I will get it out soon, hopefully.

Puzzle #74 Solution and Puzzle #75, “Wooden Idols”


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Sorry for the missed week – it was a busy one.

I’ll let a solver explain the solution to puzzle 74:

Answer: SEATTLE MARINERS
================
The 7 theme answers can each be described by the singular of an MLB team’s nickname. The cities for those teams are found in various clues.
JUNIPERO SERRA -> PADRE -> SAN DIEGO -> 1A
PRINCESS ANNE -> ROYAL -> KANSAS CITY -> 112A
BLACKBEARD -> PIRATE -> PITTSBURGH -> 46D
ASHLEY OLSEN -> TWIN -> MINNESOTA -> 70A
PAUL BUNYAN -> GIANT -> SAN FRANCISCO -> 20A
THOMAS WOLSEY -> CARDINAL -> ST LOUIS -> 114A
ADOLPHUS BUSCH -> BREWER -> MILWAUKEE -> 12A
The letters in those numbered squares spell LORD JIM, who can be described as a MARINER.

Next up is puzzle #75, “Wooden Idols.”

075_woodenidols.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a kind of tree. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 8. Will I publish a new puzzle next week? I hope so …

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #73 Solution and Puzzle #74, “Team Players”

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Last week we had a mashup of meta mechanisms, each of which gave you a five-letter word.

Each theme entry featured a word which, with a letter added, makes a Starbucks size; the added letters spell out LATTE:

TAL(L)
TRENT(A)
SHOR(T)
VEN(T)I
GRAND(E)

Most solvers figured out at this point that the intended meta answer was CAFFÈ LATTE, but it took some more work to figure out how to derive “caffè.” The secret was in the title – size (in ounces) mattered. The letters in the boxes with numbers matching the number of ounces in each of the given sizes (12, 31, 8, 20, 16) spelled out CAFFÈ.

Note that even though trenta means “thirty,” apparently the official size of the Starbucks Trenta is 31 ounces. To avoid confusion/controversy here, I just stuck As in box 30 and box 31. But I missed the opportunity to avoid the same confusion with the Venti, which is 20 ounces (as that’s what the word means) in the hot version but 24 for iced drinks. I wish I’d realized this because that’s an easy fix – 1-down could be CAME FAR, 31-down ADE, 35-across READ (or something like that). Oh well …

Next up is puzzle #74, “Team Players.”

074_teamplayers.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a Major League Baseball team. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, August 24. I’ll publish a new puzzle next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.