(It has been suggested that the site maybe shouldn’t have the most recent solution as the first thing you see, so that new solvers can try their hand at older puzzles. I’m trying out a simple solution to that problem above; I will see if I can put together some kind of archive page as well, with links to the puzzles in chronological order for newbies who want to play catch-up.)
Last week’s puzzle didn’t have any obvious theme entries but it had a conspicuous row of nine black squares in the middle, referenced in one of the clues; the puzzle itself was called “Blackout;” and we were looking for a nine-letter word. This all suggested that that row of nine squares was important, and that the idea (not uncommon in metapuzzles) might be that the black squares were hiding letters somehow. Et voila:
25-D Green edible = PEA(R); 42-D Amazon or Overstock for example = (R)ETAILER
43-D Half of an iconic TV duo = (E)BERT
22-D You can do it with your teeth = GRIN(D)
6-D Sort of nerve pain = SCIATIC(A); 44-D Reborn = (A)NEW
26-D Possibly legendary 10th-century king = ERI(C); 45-D Carefully crafted lines = (C)ODE
27-D IGO based in the Hague = ICC(T); 46-D Phrase used in describing a bullshitter = (T)ALL TALK
47-D Handheld items you can take notes on = (I)PADS
24-D Man’s name from the Greek for “love” = PHIL(O)
10-D Term in a science textbook = ELECTRO(N); 48-D Where to hear a whisper = (N)EAR
39-A Something a bishop might do = SAC(RED ACTION)
and, finally, spelling out the meta answer,
40-A What you might call the nine black squares to the left of this entry = (REDACTION) BAR
I had fun making this puzzle and was especially fond of finding the Bert/Ebert and all talk/tall talk pairings, as well as the clue for code/ode. I know some of these are a tad forced (Eri/Eric is the worst, but the clues for ear/near and grin/grind are … meh), but I think there was enough to get you started and allow these relative clunkers to be backsolved, and solver comments suggest this one was both enjoyable and pretty accessible to most of you.
Finally I seem to have made it a week without embarrassing myself with a wrong or unfinished clue or something like that! But, in retrospect that northwest corner of the grid could be filled better. I was a Q short of a pangram and wanted to work one in for no particular reason, and I talked myself into entries like AASE and CMO that you probably could have done without.
83 solvers submitted the right answer. And now on to puzzle #5, “Can You Give Me Directions?” As always, you can either download the .pdf below, or click on the link for the .puz file which is shared from Google Drive.
The answer to the metapuzzle is a (somewhat stilted) ten-letter phrase describing something you’re likely to do on a road trip in unfamiliar territory. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, April 15 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.