For our first crossword we had a puzzle titled “Crosswords” with an uncomplicated (but not easy!) meta that played around with the name of the genre itself:
Near the center of the grid is a 4×3 cross, with an empty square in the middle. The instructions asked for the letter that belongs in that square. The answer was U, like so: there’s a (visual) cross between 7-down JACKASS and 58-down MARE, and a (hybrid, aka) “cross” between those two things (in senses other than how they were clued) is a MULE. Similarly, a “cross” between 42-across WAGON and 43-across TRUCK is an SUV. Enter those two “crosses” in the squares of the grid’s cross, and the empty square (where our two crosses cross) will contain a U.
38 solvers entered the correct answer. I don’t have a baseline to compare that to, of course, but feedback suggested it was tough, and I was surprised by the number of incorrect answers. There weren’t a lot of duplicate wrong answers but a few solvers submitted Q because the grid had at least two of every other letter. Rest assured, folks – though I do like it when a grid achieves pangram status, I won’t hang a meta on that thin a hook. Anyhow – maybe I should have led off with an easier one; I went with this one because it plays around with the “crossword” format (and name) in a way I liked.
Without further ado, on to puzzle two. Your mileage may vary on whether you find it easier than this one, but I think it’s unlikely to leave many people at a complete loss for where to begin, which this one may have done for some. Like last week, you can either download the .pdf below, or click on the link for the .puz filed which is shared from Google Drive.
The answer to the metapuzzle is a person from Eastern Europe. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, March 25 at 11:00 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.
If you want a reminder when future puzzles come out, follow me on Twitter @pgwcc1. If you’re not on Twitter, you can “follow” the blog itself and you’ll get email reminders instead.
Oh, and one last note – you may have noticed last week’s puzzle had “clues by Kate Washington.” That’s my sister, who sometimes helps me with writing clues since that’s not my favorite part of the process. In so doing, she also serves as a kind of test solver and collaborative editor, all of which I’m very grateful for. (I should note here that last week’s cluing snafu was my fault, not hers – she wrote a clue for 65-across that I decided to change, and it was my “improved” clue that was wrong!) Kate’s a writer whose work you can find all over the place, including in the restaurant reviews for the Sacramento Bee. She’s on Twitter at @washingtonkate.