Puzzle #29 Solution and Puzzle #30, “Show Me a Sign”

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

P

A

C

E

Last week’s puzzle was inspired by a recent WSJ contest crossword. That puzzle was baseball-themed, and included the entry MARNER. One of the ideas I considered before finding the right path to the solution was that I could insert an I to get a member of an MLB team, so when the puzzle turned out to have nothing to do with that I decided to make a puzzle that did.

Mine, though, had nothing to do with baseball. Instead, the trick had to do with the unusually high number of words containing a letter with a circumflex (the diacritical mark that looks like a caret or ^). To drive the point home, I made sure that both the across and down entries called for the accent. While this didn’t require me to use a bunch of French words, most of the familiar words that contain the circumflex are French, so there we were …

Anyhow, the grid contained:

CRÊPES crossing À-TÊTE;
MAÎTRE D’HÔTEL crossing NÎMES and CÔTES; and
CHÂLET crossing GRÂCE.

Then there was the odd clue for 76-across: “Proofreading marks meaning ‘leave as is’ (in contrast to the one seen four times in this grid, once each letter has been filled in accurately.)” That was your cue to be mindful of the diacritical marks, and to reinterpret the circumflex as the proofreader’s caret, which is used to denote insertion:

Next, the idea was to go ahead and follow the proofreading directions and insert the letter below the ^ into the word above, creating a new word:

METING -> MEETING;
MARNER -> MARINER:
HOCH -> HOOCH; and
CRESS -> CARESS.

Since this didn’t yield a four-letter word as called for by the instructions, we kept going. The grid contains a synonym for each of the four newly-created words:

CARESS = HUG
MEETING = ASSEMBLY
MARINER = TAR
HOOCH = SAUCE

Arranged in grid order as above, the initial letters of the synonyms spell out HATS, a fitting meta answer because that’s what many people call the circumflex.

Next up is Puzzle #30, “Show Me a Sign.”

030_showmeasign.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a four letter word. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, October 7 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 #28 Solution and Puzzle #29, “Wedge Issues”

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

P

A

C

E

Like I said last week I really struggled with the right title. I gave it a long, weird one, that arguably gave away too much. Anyhow, the deal with the puzzle, which asked for a mathematical term, was that it had five isolated black squares (four 1x1s, and a 2×2, necessitating the slightly larger 16×16 grid to center it.) And if you started at the right place and read around those “blocks,” each spelled something:

Those somethings were TURMERIC, CELERIAC, RUSSET POTATO, RED ONION, and RUTABAGA – all foods that are the root of a plant. (Are the onion, technically a bulb, or the potato, technically a tuber, or even turmeric, technically a rhizome, really roots? Maybe not to a botanist but Wikipedia is here to bail me out: “the term ‘root vegetable’ is applied to all these types …” Also, no one who entered raised a fuss about this so I’m not gonna worry about it.)

Anyway, these underground edibles, whether or not you insist they aren’t all really “roots,” were spelled out in squares, so the mathematical term we were looking for was SQUARE ROOT(S). (Submissions were about 50/50 between singular and plural. I suppose it’s possible some of those who submitted the singular didn’t see the four smaller ones, but no matter, I consider either entry correct.)

Up next is a puzzle called “Wedge Issues.” I hope it won’t be controversial!

029_wedgeissues.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a four-letter word. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, September 30 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 #27 Solution and Puzzle #28, Whose Title Is Long and Strange

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

P

A

C

E

Last week’s puzzle “featured” some geographic wordplay. No clear theme entries, but several named geographic features throughout the grid, in each case crossing an entry that started with the same letter and was followed by the type of feature. For example, CALVARY is a HILL that starts with C – or if you like, a “C-HILL” – and it crossed CHILL. Like so:

The letters at the crossings spelled out SLAKE, which, reparsed as “S-LAKE,” suggested the metapuzzle’s answer SUPERIOR, sitting there at 14-across.

Longtime Gaffney solvers may remember an old meta of his that heavily featured the “D-RIVER” pun seen here at 62-across. I can honestly say I did not consciously recall that puzzle during the construction of this one, though I’m sure it was somewhere in the recesses of my memory. In fact, this puzzle didn’t start out about geography at all – I was just trying to think of things starting with [letter] that could be crossed with a seemingly unrelated word of the form [letter + type of the thing], and after several geographic features made the list I realized I could make the whole thing more cohesive. Some good nongeographic ones had to be sacrificed though – my favorite was SPOONERISM / (S)WORDPLAY, though it would have been tough to fit a lot more theme around that crossing … Anyhow, as usual I must acknowledge Matt for providing inspiration, even if I wasn’t aware of it!

Up next is a puzzle whose title I struggled with. I settled on a long-winded mixed metaphor that … well, you’ll see:

028_pgwcc028.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is a mathematical term. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, September 23 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 #26 Solution and Puzzle #27, “Distinguishing Features”

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

P

A

C

E

Last week’s grid had six occupations. There was also some pretty weird fill. Six entries in the grid were one letter different from a body part known as a common “occupational” injury for those six. For example, [artist Paul] KLEE is KNEE with one letter changed, and there’s a condition known as “housemaid’s knee.”

As shown above, the changed letters in (nursemaid’s) elbow, (skier’s) thumb, (housemaid’s) knee, (toper’s) nose, (athlete’s) foot and (swimmer’s) ear spell out the appropriate meta answer MALADY.

This week’s puzzle is called “Distinguishing Features.” PDF and .puz are below:

027_distinguishingfeatures.puz

The answer to the metapuzzle is an entry in the grid. Submit you answer using the contact form by Monday, September 16 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 #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?”

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

P

A

C

E

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”

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

P

A

C

E

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.