Last week’s puzzle, titled “Go With Plan B,” asked for a five-letter category and featured five long across theme entries:
Some of these evoked a certain category fairly readily: a lousy car is a LEMON, a leading QWERTY phone is a BLACKBERRY, and (going back to the well) a top computer maker is APPLE. With a little extra thought (maybe) you could land on either PINEAPPLE or POMEGRANATE for hand grenade, and NUTMEG for five-hole. (And yes, while it isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, nutmeg is a fruit! Most of us are familiar with consuming the ground-up seed, or [I didn’t know this] the red seed-covering aril, which is what makes the spice mace – but the internet tells me there are those who make jams and candies and whatnot with the fruit itself.)
The twist was that instead of extracting one letter from each theme entry as one might have expected, it turned out that when you put these in grid order their first letters spelled out PLAN B as mentioned in the title. So the answer was just FRUIT, which is five letters by happenstance, and is the unifying category for how to “go with plan B” in terms of what you call the five themers.
39 people submitted the correct answer. Next up, Puzzle #20, called “Stand-Ins.”
The answer to the metapuzzle is a common surname. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, July 29 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.