Last week’s title was fitting, though I thought it would be a bit of a giveaway. Turns out it was more complicated than I realized …
There were no obvious theme entries other than a 15-letter entry across the middle, STYLIZED LETTERS clued as “Feature of some personal or corporate branding.” Around the rest of the grid were some names of music performers, brands, and one other thing that might have been a touch harder to find. Some of these things feature stylized letters and some don’t, and it was up to you to find them. The image below shows them, in their stylized form:
Some of the clues referenced certain album covers, logos, etc., which if you looked them up, would reveal exactly one stylized letter in each bit of branding. (The “resist” bumper sticker was the trickiest to find – there are many such stickers without any strange letters, but an image search will turn up at least one with an upside-down T.) Here’s a picture of all six:
The I in P!NK is an exclamation point, and the A in SΛMSUNG looks like a capital lambda. The rest are just upside-down or backwards versions of the letters they’re standing in for. Anyhow, if you flip each one (in the direction in which each thing appeared in the grid, incidentally) and take them in grid order, you get something that looks like iNVERT, a fitting answer (and also, interestingly, inverted in terms of capitalization from a normal way you might type the word, Invert.)
Okay, so that was how it was supposed to go, and how it did go for many of you. But there were a few pitfalls:
First, many solvers had trouble finding RESIS⊥. (A few had some trouble with the others, but not in significant numbers.) Second, my terrible clue for the already-terrible entry at 26-down caused problems. The entry is terrible because, well, just look at it. The clue was terrible because TESL is not, in fact, the stock symbol for Tesla (it’s TSLA) – the right clue would have been about Teaching English as a Second Language, which, I know, isn’t the best crossword fill. And it caused problems because the Tesla logo has some stylized letters. Anyway, moving on from that, the third problem was that a lot of solvers simply looked at the six stylized letters, INAERT, and when that wasn’t a word, anagrammed them. That set of letters has two valid anagrams, RETAIN and RETINA. That would be a pretty sloppy meta mechanism – why not put them in a reasonable order in the grid? – but many solvers were tripped up by the fact that RETINA is a thematically appropriate word, because what your eye’s lens projects onto the retina is an inverted image.
So, a nice idea but with some significant flaws, I think.
Up next is Puzzle #44, “Shuffling Papers.”
Update – oops, I left the end off a clue! Nothing to do with the meta, but here’s the updated puzzle:
The answer to the metapuzzle is a part in a printing press. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, January 13 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.