Puzzle #25 Solution and Puzzle #26, “Occupational Hazards”

Again I’m in a rush and will keep it short …

Last week’s puzzle featured six people – some pretty obscure! – with the last names GONZALES, GILMORE, HOWARD, LUCIANO, McCALLA, and GILLESPIE. Solvers noticed that there are others with these last names (some fictional, and one still somewhat obscure) whose first names or nicknames are adjectives that describe them (or ironically don’t.) Ordered and repeated to match the parenthetical numbers in the clues, the first letters of those adjectives – Curly, Happy, Irish, Lucky, Dizzy, Irish (again), Speedy, Happy (again) – spelled out CHILDISH suggesting our meta answer Donald Glover, whose musical stage name is CHILDISH GAMBINO.

Reactions were in some sense mixed – some felt that Irish McCalla was not well-known enough, and that her nickname also stuck out because it doesn’t end in Y and/or is a nationality rather than a character trait or physical attribute – but as I said I’m in a hurry so I’ll leave it there.

This week:

026_occupationalhazards.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a six-letter word. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, September 9 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.



Puzzle #24 Solution and Puzzle #25, “How Are You?”

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Quick post, I’m sick –

Last week’s 19×19 grid had five longish surnames. Obviously those could have fit in a smaller grid, and hopefully that clued solvers in that there was more to look for in the grid. The trick was each name could be broken into two smaller words that had synonyms appearing elsewhere in the grid (and clued in the sense that made them synonymous.) (Example: Washington = washing + ton = laundry + lot.) For each name, the two synonyms crossed, and the five crossing letters, in grid order, spelled out the five-letter meta answer LASTS (as in, last names):

This week’s puzzle is called “How Are You?” It’s below:

025_howareyou.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an Emmy- and Grammy-winning performer. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, August 19 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.



Puzzle #23 Solution and Puzzle #24, “Name Game”

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A couple weeks ago I was solving Matt Gaffney’s Week One puzzle for this month and I noticed that the clue/entry pair “Two tablets, maybe”/DOSE had a curious feature: the beginning of the clue (specifically, its first word) was a good clue for the beginning of the entry (all but its last letter). Probably I noticed this because dose and dos are homophones, but anyhow, it seemed like the basis for a reasonable metapuzzle.

The grid above has lots of entries that would be fine without their final letter, but only nine of them – pictured above – were clued such that the clue’s first word(s) clued the shortened version:

5a: Fair or circus, for example – EVENT
15a: Diet coke size – LITER (oops, I neglected to capitalize Coke …)
13d: “Hey ___!” – YOU
4d: Gravel sorting device – SCREEN
28d: Wise men don’t believe in it – MAGIC
48a: A little bit of interpersonal intrigue, in contemporary lingo – DRAMA
46d: Arrange in advance, as a participatory audience member – PLANT
68a: Two pills, often – DOSE (continuing in my tradition of ripping off Matt …)
69a: Expense item for a dairyman – FEED

In grid order, those ending letters we cut off appropriately spell out TRUNCATED, which was the meta answer.

A little over 30 people solved this one. Next up is a 19×19 called “Name Game.”

024_namegame.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a five-letter word. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, August 26 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

Bonus mini non-meta puzzle! I don’t usually create puzzles that aren’t metas, but a while back I came up with two made-up words of a similar nature, both 14 letters long, and they weren’t really useful for a meta … so I did what a normal person would do and made a 14×7 crossword out of them. Solve it if you like:

idlepursuitcases.puz

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #22 Solution and Puzzle #23, “Cut the Ending”

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Pretty easy last week – the puzzle (like its title) had a limited number of three-letter entries, all of which are pronounced like the name of letters of the alphabet. Most figured this out QUICKLY, which was the answer (KEW-YEW-EYE-SEA-CAY-ELL-WHY).

Up next is puzzle #23, “Cut the Ending.”

023_cutending.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a nine-letter word. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, August 19 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #21 Solution and Puzzle #22, “Gee, What Could I Have Been Thinking? … Ohh!”

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Quick writeup this week, I’ll just let the visual aid do the talking:

The central “mountain” of black squares helped solvers get on the right track toward the answer, which as shown above was POWER.

I had a nice idea the other day and wanted to get it finished by today, but I’ve been on the road. Should have it ready next week. So for the second week in a row I am mining the archives:

022_whatthinking.puz

This week’s instructions are a little unusual; I’ll just let you read them in the puzzle. Whatever answer you think I’m looking for, submit it using the contact form by Monday, August 12 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.



Puzzle #20 Solution and Puzzle #21, “In Tip-Top Shape”

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Last week’s puzzle “Stand-Ins” had a pretty obvious 3×3 mega-grid in its regular 17×17 grid. And while there were a bunch of long entries, good luck to you if you tried finding a theme in them. Instead, the idea was to look to the central five-letter across entry in each of the nine squares of the mega-grid:

Each of these was clued referencing a person (most of them reasonably famous, but a few obscure), and the grid didn’t feature any surnames outside of the list below:

19a. Children’s author Marc BROWN (his work is well known, but who?)
20a. Serial killer Ted BUNDY
21a. Multiple Pro Bowl honoree Merlin OLSEN
47a. Comedic actor Brian HOOKS (who??)
48a. Short story writer H. H. MUNRO (a.k.a. Saki)
49a. Hollywood Walk of Fame honoree Chuck LORRE
75a. Longtime New York Post columnist Joey ADAMS (weird way to clue him)
76a. Heavyweight TYSON Fury (this one’s not a surname in the grid, but wait for it …)
77a. U.S. Open winner Steve JONES

These people don’t have anything to do with one another, but it turns out they were “standing in” for others who could also fit the clue:

MARCIA Brown also wrote children’s books
CAROL Bundy was also a serial killer
GREG Olsen also has gone to multiple Pro Bowls
JAN Hooks also was a (much better-known) comedic actor
ALICE Munro also wrote short stories
PETER Lorre also has a Walk of Fame star
CINDY Adams (Joey’s wife) also had (and still has) a longtime Post column
MIKE Tyson was also a heavyweight
BOBBY Jones also won the U.S. Open (and is way more famous)

As you have probably noticed by now, you’ve almost certainly seen a group of people with those names, arranged in the grid’s 3×3 pattern and “standing in” their respective squares:

So the answer was BRADY. (Not Alice’s surname, of course, but she’s family!)

I wanted to use CLARK instead of Brown in the NW, as Marcia Clark is well known to me whereas I had to google for Marcia Brown. But even though Clark is a very common name, I couldn’t find another Clark for whom I could write a straightforward clue fitting both. (Best I could do was Lewis Clark, who like Marcia is associated with a very well-known Simpson – he’s a classmate of Bart – but I just couldn’t find suitable wording. “Simpson associate” doesn’t really work for Marcia …)

Up next is Puzzle #21, “In Tip-Top Shape.” I ran out of time this week to finish any of the various works in progress I’ve got at the moment, so this is one that’s been gathering dust for a while (you’ll see about how long in one of the clues). Some of the fill maybe suffers from my inexperience at the time I constructed it, but I like the meta …

021_tiptopshape.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a five-letter attribute a mountain climber needs. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, August 5 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.

Puzzle #19 Solution and Puzzle #20, “Stand-Ins”

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Last week’s puzzle, titled “Go With Plan B,” asked for a five-letter category and featured five long across theme entries:

HAND GRENADE
LOUSY CAR
COMPUTER MAKER
FIVE-HOLE
QWERTY PHONE

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.”

020_standins.puz

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.

To keep up with the puzzles: Twitter @pgwcc1; follow the blog for email reminders; rss feed if you’re set up for that.