puzzle 49 hours
anyunghashimnika, and welcome to the 42nd episode of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest, "this town has changed." it took me damn near forever to figure out this week's metapuzzle; hopefully it won't take quite as long to explain it. what are the theme answers?
what's going on with the theme? my first thought was that NOISE LOVER was a play on NOISE LEVEL. and ... maybe BACON BITES, and ... OLDEN TIMES? i had no ideas for the first one, though. let's see, do the instructions help? they tell us that This week's contest answer word is an American city with eight letters in its name. hmm. because there are four theme answers, we might guess that we are getting two letters from each one, somehow.
let's have another look. each theme answer consists of two five-letter words. what if they're not puns on some base phrase? TEMPI is one letter off from TEMPE, which is a U.S. city, and i know the theme involves cities somehow. in fact, another look at the title, "this town has changed," suggests that the names of cities are being played on. okay, what else is there? BITTE is one letter off from BUTTE (hat tip to my wife for noticing this). GLINT could be FLINT, and LOVER from DOVER... we're getting somewhere. what have we got so far?
those eight letters don't seem to suggest much. but wait! there are four more five-letter words in these theme answers, each one also concealing a city:
what can we do with these sixteen bold letters? it turns out that the original 8 (FDEUMBGM) don't really do much. but the 8 new letters (GLIISNLB) anagram to form BILLINGS, montana--which is this week's answer word. whew.
it wouldn't be an MGWCC without some fun clues and fill, so let's take a look:
that's all for now. tune in next week for the killer puzzle of the month (maybe).
March 24, 2009