Puzzle #77 Solution

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When I had my sister test-solve last week’s mini-puzzle “Matters of Taste,” I correctly predicted that its difficulty level would vary for solvers. It was based on anagrams, which some people seem to see almost automatically, while others struggle to find them even if they know to look. Here, there was nothing very obvious to prompt you to look for anagrams. Once you figured it out, though, you might have noticed that anagramming one word in the title would also yield an in-the-language phrase, matters of state. And indeed what we had were anagrams for the names of countries:

Those three celebrities stacked in the center are, as far as my research revealed, the only three well-known* people (to Americans, anyhow) whose names anagram to country names:

AL B. SURE! -> BELARUS
INA GARTEN -> ARGENTINA
MEG RYAN -> GERMANY

Take the initial letters of the three countries, in order, and you get BAG, which is in the grid at 1-down (and was given a travel-related clue.)

(* I did find others with Wikipedia entries – Mel Davis (Maldives), an NBA player in the ’70s; Anna Miros (San Marino), a member of the Polish national volleyball team; and Iain West (Eswatini), a British forensic pathologist who worked on some high-profile investigations, including the drowning of Robert Maxwell, most recognizable today as Ghislaine’s father.)

It is not looking good for a new puzzle this week, as my attention has been elsewhere. Hopefully I will be back with a new offering next week.

Puzzle #76 Solution and Puzzle #77, “Matters of Taste”

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Last week’s solution was TROLLS. The long entries (FAIRNESS, SCRAPING BY, OCCURRENCE, SELF-ESTEEM, GIVE RISE TO, and WEAR DOWN) were synonyms of words you could form by adding a long e to the front of a single-word clue for a different entry, in a nod to the lazy nomenclature of many online things. So “quality,” the clue for 2-down TRAIT, becomes “equality” which is a synonym for FAIRNESS. And so on (king -> eking; vent -> event; go -> ego; licit -> elicit; rode -> erode.) The first letters of those secondary theme entries spell out TROLLS.

And hey, I came up with a puzzle #77 for this week after all. It’s a mini!

077_mattersoftaste.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an entry in the grid. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 21. We shall see what, if anything, next week brings.

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

Puzzle #76, “Extremely Online”

A day late, here’s Puzzle #76:

076_extremelyonline.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a group found online. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 14.

Based on my recent track record I’m not gonna promise a new puzzle next week … I might be a little burned out, to be honest. I haven’t had a new idea in a while, and always seem to spend free time on other pursuits lately. Hopefully inspiration will strike before long.

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

Puzzle #75 Solution

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Last week’s solution was pretty straightforward, but took research for most. We had six people as long entries, and their first names suggested tree varieties:

Bing Crosby -> BING Cherry (C)
Garry Trudeau -> GARRY Oak (O)
Jack Nicholson -> JACK Pine (P)
Jeffrey Wright -> JEFFREY Pine (P)
Dutch Schultz -> DUTCH Elm (E)
Dawn French -> DAWN Redwood (R)

The first letters of the tree types spell out COPPER, which is a type of BEECH tree. (It is also apparently a type of birch, so that was an acceptable alternate answer.)

I’m not ready with a new puzzle right now; I’ve got a grid filled, but not yet clued. I have some work to do this afternoon but I will get it out soon, hopefully.

Puzzle #74 Solution and Puzzle #75, “Wooden Idols”


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Sorry for the missed week – it was a busy one.

I’ll let a solver explain the solution to puzzle 74:

Answer: SEATTLE MARINERS
================
The 7 theme answers can each be described by the singular of an MLB team’s nickname. The cities for those teams are found in various clues.
JUNIPERO SERRA -> PADRE -> SAN DIEGO -> 1A
PRINCESS ANNE -> ROYAL -> KANSAS CITY -> 112A
BLACKBEARD -> PIRATE -> PITTSBURGH -> 46D
ASHLEY OLSEN -> TWIN -> MINNESOTA -> 70A
PAUL BUNYAN -> GIANT -> SAN FRANCISCO -> 20A
THOMAS WOLSEY -> CARDINAL -> ST LOUIS -> 114A
ADOLPHUS BUSCH -> BREWER -> MILWAUKEE -> 12A
The letters in those numbered squares spell LORD JIM, who can be described as a MARINER.

Next up is puzzle #75, “Wooden Idols.”

075_woodenidols.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a kind of tree. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, September 8. Will I publish a new puzzle next week? I hope so …

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

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.