Puzzle #79 Solution


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Last week’s puzzle had complicated instructions – two answers, both with something in common with the theme entries (which you had to find), and one that was closely related to the first theme entry.

First step was to notice that there were several entries – six, to be exact – that ended with a standalone letter. In order of where their first letters appeared in the grid:

PART D
MAN U
ICE-T
CARDI B
DR. T
LOW A

Next is where the puzzle’s title comes into play. Take those final letters and send them back to the beginning, insert a new letter, and you can form new words – and not just random new words, but words that are alternate answers to the clues for other entries:

DEPART = Exit (the clue for 44a. LEAVE)
UNMAN = Emasculate (the clue for 57a. NEUTER)
TWICE = A second time (the clue for 50d. AGAIN)
BACARDI = Major liquor brand (the clue for 4d. KETEL ONE)
TL;DR = The short version, for short (the clue for 19a. ABBR)
ALLOW = Authorize (the clue for 26a. PERMIT)

Here’s where the two solving paths diverge. To get the first answer, take the new letters you inserted after moving the standalone letters to the beginning, in grid order. That’s E-N-W-A-L-L, which spells the little-used word enwall. Now reverse the meta mechanism by sending the E to the end and getting rid of the N and you get the animated movie WALL-E.

To get the second answer, take the initial letters of the secondary theme entries, again in grid order. That’s K-A-P-L-A-N, which spells the name Kaplan. Again, reverse the mechanism to get, not the word “plank,” but PLAN K, which google will tell you has something to do with Medicare/Medigap (making it closely related to the first theme entry, PART D.)

Somewhat fittingly (but totally by happenstance), the two letters you had to discard in the process of reaching the final answers were N/A.

Here’s a confusing picture that attempts to show all of that:

Puzzle #80 is in the works but not yet done. Stay tuned …

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