Puzzle #27 Solution and Puzzle #28, Whose Title Is Long and Strange

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Last week’s puzzle “featured” some geographic wordplay. No clear theme entries, but several named geographic features throughout the grid, in each case crossing an entry that started with the same letter and was followed by the type of feature. For example, CALVARY is a HILL that starts with C – or if you like, a “C-HILL” – and it crossed CHILL. Like so:

The letters at the crossings spelled out SLAKE, which, reparsed as “S-LAKE,” suggested the metapuzzle’s answer SUPERIOR, sitting there at 14-across.

Longtime Gaffney solvers may remember an old meta of his that heavily featured the “D-RIVER” pun seen here at 62-across. I can honestly say I did not consciously recall that puzzle during the construction of this one, though I’m sure it was somewhere in the recesses of my memory. In fact, this puzzle didn’t start out about geography at all – I was just trying to think of things starting with [letter] that could be crossed with a seemingly unrelated word of the form [letter + type of the thing], and after several geographic features made the list I realized I could make the whole thing more cohesive. Some good nongeographic ones had to be sacrificed though – my favorite was SPOONERISM / (S)WORDPLAY, though it would have been tough to fit a lot more theme around that crossing … Anyhow, as usual I must acknowledge Matt for providing inspiration, even if I wasn’t aware of it!

Up next is a puzzle whose title I struggled with. I settled on a long-winded mixed metaphor that … well, you’ll see:

028_pgwcc028.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a mathematical term. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, September 23 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and 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 #26 Solution and Puzzle #27, “Distinguishing Features”

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Last week’s grid had six occupations. There was also some pretty weird fill. Six entries in the grid were one letter different from a body part known as a common “occupational” injury for those six. For example, [artist Paul] KLEE is KNEE with one letter changed, and there’s a condition known as “housemaid’s knee.”

As shown above, the changed letters in (nursemaid’s) elbow, (skier’s) thumb, (housemaid’s) knee, (toper’s) nose, (athlete’s) foot and (swimmer’s) ear spell out the appropriate meta answer MALADY.

This week’s puzzle is called “Distinguishing Features.” PDF and .puz are below:

027_distinguishingfeatures.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an entry in the grid. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, September 16 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and 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 #25 Solution and Puzzle #26, “Occupational Hazards”

Again I’m in a rush and will keep it short …

Last week’s puzzle featured six people – some pretty obscure! – with the last names GONZALES, GILMORE, HOWARD, LUCIANO, McCALLA, and GILLESPIE. Solvers noticed that there are others with these last names (some fictional, and one still somewhat obscure) whose first names or nicknames are adjectives that describe them (or ironically don’t.) Ordered and repeated to match the parenthetical numbers in the clues, the first letters of those adjectives – Curly, Happy, Irish, Lucky, Dizzy, Irish (again), Speedy, Happy (again) – spelled out CHILDISH suggesting our meta answer Donald Glover, whose musical stage name is CHILDISH GAMBINO.

Reactions were in some sense mixed – some felt that Irish McCalla was not well-known enough, and that her nickname also stuck out because it doesn’t end in Y and/or is a nationality rather than a character trait or physical attribute – but as I said I’m in a hurry so I’ll leave it there.

This week:

026_occupationalhazards.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a six-letter word. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, September 9 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and 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 #24 Solution and Puzzle #25, “How Are You?”

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Quick post, I’m sick –

Last week’s 19×19 grid had five longish surnames. Obviously those could have fit in a smaller grid, and hopefully that clued solvers in that there was more to look for in the grid. The trick was each name could be broken into two smaller words that had synonyms appearing elsewhere in the grid (and clued in the sense that made them synonymous.) (Example: Washington = washing + ton = laundry + lot.) For each name, the two synonyms crossed, and the five crossing letters, in grid order, spelled out the five-letter meta answer LASTS (as in, last names):

This week’s puzzle is called “How Are You?” It’s below:

025_howareyou.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an Emmy- and Grammy-winning performer. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, August 19 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and 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 #23 Solution and Puzzle #24, “Name Game”

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A couple weeks ago I was solving Matt Gaffney’s Week One puzzle for this month and I noticed that the clue/entry pair “Two tablets, maybe”/DOSE had a curious feature: the beginning of the clue (specifically, its first word) was a good clue for the beginning of the entry (all but its last letter). Probably I noticed this because dose and dos are homophones, but anyhow, it seemed like the basis for a reasonable metapuzzle.

The grid above has lots of entries that would be fine without their final letter, but only nine of them – pictured above – were clued such that the clue’s first word(s) clued the shortened version:

5a: Fair or circus, for example – EVENT
15a: Diet coke size – LITER (oops, I neglected to capitalize Coke …)
13d: “Hey ___!” – YOU
4d: Gravel sorting device – SCREEN
28d: Wise men don’t believe in it – MAGIC
48a: A little bit of interpersonal intrigue, in contemporary lingo – DRAMA
46d: Arrange in advance, as a participatory audience member – PLANT
68a: Two pills, often – DOSE (continuing in my tradition of ripping off Matt …)
69a: Expense item for a dairyman – FEED

In grid order, those ending letters we cut off appropriately spell out TRUNCATED, which was the meta answer.

A little over 30 people solved this one. Next up is a 19×19 called “Name Game.”

024_namegame.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a five-letter word. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, August 26 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

Bonus mini non-meta puzzle! I don’t usually create puzzles that aren’t metas, but a while back I came up with two made-up words of a similar nature, both 14 letters long, and they weren’t really useful for a meta … so I did what a normal person would do and made a 14×7 crossword out of them. Solve it if you like:

idlepursuitcases.puz

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

Puzzle #22 Solution and Puzzle #23, “Cut the Ending”

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Pretty easy last week – the puzzle (like its title) had a limited number of three-letter entries, all of which are pronounced like the name of letters of the alphabet. Most figured this out QUICKLY, which was the answer (KEW-YEW-EYE-SEA-CAY-ELL-WHY).

Up next is puzzle #23, “Cut the Ending.”

023_cutending.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a nine-letter word. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, August 19 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and 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 #21 Solution and Puzzle #22, “Gee, What Could I Have Been Thinking? … Ohh!”

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Quick writeup this week, I’ll just let the visual aid do the talking:

The central “mountain” of black squares helped solvers get on the right track toward the answer, which as shown above was POWER.

I had a nice idea the other day and wanted to get it finished by today, but I’ve been on the road. Should have it ready next week. So for the second week in a row I am mining the archives:

022_whatthinking.puz

This week’s instructions are a little unusual; I’ll just let you read them in the puzzle. Whatever answer you think I’m looking for, submit it using the contact form by Monday, August 12 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and 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.