Three initial things to notice about last week’s puzzle: (1) the prompt asked for a phrase consisting of two eight-letter words; (2) the grid had eight seven-letter entries (and nothing longer); and (3) the title was “Cut Out the Middle, Man.” The middle letters of those seven-letter entries appropriately spelled out S-A-N-D-W-I-C-H. So far so good … but you need another eight-letter word. To get it you had to look to the clues, which contained eight six-letter words/phrases formed from the letters left over from the theme entries after you took out their middle letters. So, for example, the clue for 9-across, FBI, was “U.S. agency concerned with the law,” corresponding to 53-across THE CLAW. The first letters of the entries whose clues contained those six-letter words/phrases, in the order in which they appear in the grid, spell out F-I-L-L-I-N-G-S, so your meta answer was SANDWICH FILLINGS.
Though it was several steps, most of you found this one on the easier side. I don’t have final numbers as I write this – I will be on the road by the time this posts – but at least 47 people solved it.
Next up is #17, “Combo Platter.”
The answer to the metapuzzle is a two-digit number appearing in the grid. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, July 8 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll be returning from vacation that day – maybe late – so I can’t guarantee the solution and next puzzle will be up as usual on Tuesday morning. We’ll see what happens.