# Puzzle #73 Solution and Puzzle #74, “Team Players”

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Last week we had a mashup of meta mechanisms, each of which gave you a five-letter word.

Each theme entry featured a word which, with a letter added, makes a Starbucks size; the added letters spell out LATTE:

TAL(L)
TRENT(A)
SHOR(T)
VEN(T)I
GRAND(E)

Most solvers figured out at this point that the intended meta answer was CAFFÈ LATTE, but it took some more work to figure out how to derive “caffè.” The secret was in the title – size (in ounces) mattered. The letters in the boxes with numbers matching the number of ounces in each of the given sizes (12, 31, 8, 20, 16) spelled out CAFFÈ.

Note that even though trenta means “thirty,” apparently the official size of the Starbucks Trenta is 31 ounces. To avoid confusion/controversy here, I just stuck As in box 30 and box 31. But I missed the opportunity to avoid the same confusion with the Venti, which is 20 ounces (as that’s what the word means) in the hot version but 24 for iced drinks. I wish I’d realized this because that’s an easy fix – 1-down could be CAME FAR, 31-down ADE, 35-across READ (or something like that). Oh well …

Next up is puzzle #74, “Team Players.”

074_teamplayers.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a Major League Baseball team. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, August 24. I’ll publish 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 #72 Solution and Puzzle #73, “Size Matters”

Quick post this morning, here’s last week’s solution image:

The letters in the boxes whose numbers make up the first twelve entries in the Fibonacci sequence (disregarding F0 = 0, and using square 1 twice, as F1 = F2 = 1) spelled out the meta answer, AARON RODGERS.

Next up is puzzle #73, “Size Matters.” ***Update – the puzzle originally posted missing the clue for 80-down. That’s been fixed below. Nothing to do with the meta.

073_sizematters2.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a familiar phrase made from two five-letter Italian words. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, August 17. I’ll publish 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 #71 Solution and Puzzle #72, “Let’s Twist Again”

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Last week’s puzzle answer was RAISE. I’ll let a solver explain:

The 7 cards are 4 of hearts, 4 of clubs, 3 of hearts, 8 of diamonds, 2 of diamonds, 6 of spades, and 5 of spades.
Taking the indexed letter from each suit, we get R-B-A-S-I-S-E.
The best hand that can be formed is a 6-high straight, so we discard the 8 and one of the 4s.
This leaves R/B-A-I-S-E, so we discard the 4 of clubs to get RAISE.
And we should definitely raise, as the only hole cards that can beat us are 7-4 or 7-9.

Up next is puzzle #72, “Let’s Twist Again.”

072_twistagain.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is someone associated with spirals. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, August 10. I’ll publish 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 #70 Solution and Puzzle #71, “Texas Hold ‘Em”

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Last week’s puzzle featured what a solver informed me are called letter banks. The way that works is you have a long word with repeated letters, all of which are found in a shorter word (the “bank”) which does not have any repeated letters. So our five theme entries could be reduced down to the following letter banks:

NONRECURRENT -> COUNTER (or recount or trounce)
CAPITALISTIC -> PLASTIC
INCONSISTENCIES -> NOTICES (or section or noetics)
ANTIAIRCRAFT -> FRANTIC (or infarct or infract)
NONPERTINENT -> POINTER (or protein or repoint)

Next thing to notice was that the letter banks were themselves used as clues for other grid entries (and in a few cases the clue was a bit forced):

71a. Counter = RESIST
68a. Plastic (as in “fake”) = ERSATZ
50a. Notices (as in “bits of news”) = ITEMS
18a. Frantic = GO-GO
14a. Pointer = NEEDLE

The first letters of those grid entries (in order of associated theme entry, not grid order) spell out REIGN, itself a promising letter bank. And indeed if you reverse the process you can find, using only those five letters, an 11-letter scientific discipline as the prompt requested – it’s ENGINEERING.

Up next is puzzle #71, “Texas Hold ‘Em.” ***Update*** – I was in a hurry this morning and left a clue unfinished; corrected version below.

071_texasholdem2.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is what you might be thinking after seeing the river. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, August 3. I’ll publish 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 #69 Solution and Puzzle #70, “Reduction Potential”

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For last week’s solution I’m gonna lead with the image:

That’s five things that are spirals, both in real life and in the grid (CORKSCREW, ORGAN OF CORTI, NAUTILUS, CYCLONE, HURRICANE), arranged in a larger spiral to spell another thing that’s a spiral, a CONCH.

Did I expect you to know “organ of Corti” without looking it up? Not unless you’re an audiologist or something. Instead I thought it would be backsolvable once you found the other four, as you’d strongly suspect you needed an O to complete a thematic answer and the NE corner would be the most obvious place to look. But this one definitely played difficult – congrats to those who solved it.

Up next is puzzle #70, “Reduction Potential.”

070_reductionpotential.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an eleven-letter scientific discipline. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, July 27. I’ll publish 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 #68 Solution and Puzzle #69, “Do the Twist”

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Last week’s theme guys were “men of letters” in the sense that they are best known by their first two initials. The long entries referenced, in order:

R.L. STINE (who wrote the “Goosebumps” books)
A.C. GREEN (a member of the “Showtime” Lakers)
J.R. EWING (Larry Hagman’s long-running character on “Dallas”)
B.B. KING (a master of the blues guitar)
G.E. SMITH (the SNL bandleader from ’85 to ’95)
H.G. WELLS (“The Invisible Man” author)

Then the grid contained entries that change one of those initials, like so:

The changed letters spell out ALBINO, which was the (somewhat forced) clue for 44-down, WHITE. That hints at well-known children’s author E.B. WHITE, your meta answer. (A couple solvers also mentioned T.H. WHITE, a guy I wasn’t familiar with who wrote “The Sword in the Stone” and its sequels.)

One quick note – I did not set out to exclude women from this puzzle. The title only came at the end when I realized that this was, unfortunately, an all-male affair. I may have missed someone but I simply didn’t find any well-known women who went by X.Y. Lastname that I could play this letter-substitution game with.

Up next is puzzle #69, “Do the Twist.”

069_dothetwist2.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a five-letter word. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, July 20. I’ll publish 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 #67 Solution and Puzzle #68, “Men of Letters”

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Last week’s puzzle, “Tree Rings,” asked for a type of tree. The idea was that each of the “rings” (the letter O) in the grid was located at the center of a tree, like the growth rings in a real tree trunk:

That’s six “rings” where the two crossing entries can be combined to spell:

PONDEROSA
LODGEPOLE
KNOBCONE
OREGON
SOUTHERN YELLOW
LOBLOLLY

Those are all types of PINE trees. (Things I learned making this puzzle: Oregon Pine is another name for what’s better known as a Douglas Fir – even though it isn’t really a fir, it’s a pine after all! Also, Loblolly and Southern Yellow are pretty much the same thing – Southern Yellow seems to be a lumber industry term which can refer to several species, Loblolly among them.)

Up next is puzzle #68, “Men of Letters.”

068_menofletters.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a writer best known for children’s books. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, July 13. I’ll publish 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 #67, “Tree Rings”

A day late, here’s Puzzle #67:

067_treerings.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a type of tree. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, July 6. I’ll publish a new puzzle next Tuesday (or will I? I failed to do so this 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 #66 Solution

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Last week’s solution went like this:

The first letter of each theme entry anagrams to a fancy-schmancy animal adjective – in order, that’s URSINE, CANINE, LUPINE, AVIAN and FELINE. In the clues there are several more “low English” kind of words that, while not necessarily synonyms for the above, can be thought of as such – bearish, doggy, wolfish, birdy, and cat-like. The entries for those clues, highlighted above, acrostic to COLTS (in both grid and theme-entry order). And, returning to our nose-in-the-air words, what are colts? They’re EQUINES, of course, which is split in the grid between 74d. EQUI and 21a. NES.

I’m not ready with a new puzzle right now; I’ve got some grids filled but have not clued them yet. I will try to get something out late tonight but it might have to wait until tomorrow. We’ll see …

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Another quick solution post. Last week’s was pretty accessible; the six theme entries hid the names of the symbols on the keys 1 through 6 on a QWERTY keyboard:

BANG (another name for !), AT, POUND, DOLLAR, PER CENT, CARET … what comes next is AMPERSAND. So the phrase formed from two grid entries hiding the “seventh sign” was the (only theoretically sensical) DAMPER SANDBOX. (In retrospect there was an actual in-the-world thing I could have used.)