good evening, friends. the 49th episode of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest. this week's puzzle, like puzzle #21, asks us to find the title hidden in the grid. what are the theme answers?
what do these answers have in common? the first thing to check in cases like this is hidden thematic material across the word breaks, and that's what we've got here. a RIB, ULNA, ANVIL, and STERNUM are hiding out in HENRI BECQUEREL, BEAUTIFUL NAME, GERMAN VILLAGE, and REGISTER NUMBER. those are all bones. the ANVIL is also called the incus, and it's in your ear. the STERNUM (you guys know this, right?) is the breastbone.
so what's the metapuzzle answer? well, the instructions tell us that This week's contest answer consists of two entries in the puzzle grid which total eleven letters. Together, they form a phrase which is a perfect title for this week's puzzle. looking around, we have BONES at 9a, clued as [Dice, in slang]. what 6-letter entry goes with it? ah, here it is at 41a: [Kaput], or BROKEN. BROKEN BONES is the answer to the contest and the title of this week's puzzle. it was also the title of ben tausig's puzzle from a couple of weeks ago, with a similar-but-not-quite-the-same theme: bones that were hidden sequentially but non-consecutively in long theme answers. ben's ULNA, for instance, was in the chekhov play UNCLE VANYA.
i found this puzzle surprisingly difficult for the second week of the month. (i shudder to think what it's going to be like the fourth, or even fifth, week of may!) despite knowing HENRI BECQUEREL, the upper left corner stymied me for quite some time:
and why did the metapuzzle take me so long? literally the first thing i noticed when trying to work out the theme was the RIB in HENRI BECQUEREL, but then for some reason when i looked at the other word breaks i didn't see ULNA... or ANVIL... or STERNUM! 1 for 4, ouch. so i dismissed the idea and started looking for other things. it took me a while to come back to it.
let's see, what else was in the grid?
that's all for me this week. see you next time.
May 12, 2009