puzzle about 30 hours
hey everybody. the 58th episode of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest, "A Couple Coupled Couples," was a fun little puzzle that plays on the fact that crossword answers have had their spaces removed. the theme answers each take an expression including a pair of two-letter words and fuse them into a four-letter word:
a nice little theme. there was a jonesin' some time ago that had the same theme, including DOOR DIE clued as [Yell directed at a much-hated portal?], and (my favorite) YOU HAD MEAT? HELLO? clued as [Vegetarian's "Duh!" response to why they hate their formerly vegan pal?]. but i enjoyed this one, too.
so... about that meta. the contest instructions were straightforward enough: This week's contest answer phrase consists of two symmetrically-placed grid entries that, taken together, form the clue for the theme answer at 38-across. what could clue DOOR DIE? well, right off the bat, 1a is JAMB, a [Deadbolt's resting place], which is part of a door. i should have had this one solved in 5 seconds. i checked the last across answer: CUBE, clued as [More than square] (great clue, btw). "nope, doesn't fit." i moved on. i looked at every pair of symmetrically-placed answers. twice. thrice. fice. backwards and forwards. acrosses and downs. even the theme answers. i found some compelling combinations:
and so forth. anyway, you all figured this out, right? a lot faster than me? the answer is indeed JAMB CUBE, using the sense of DIE as "one of a pair of dice." sigh. i eventually had to put the meta down and came back to it the next day. the very first thing i looked at, of course, was JAMB CUBE. it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. and it makes perfect sense—everything in the middle of the grid crosses (or is very close to) another theme answer, so the "bonus" theme answers would be easiest to place in the corners.
fill/clues i enjoyed:
OVER and out. or should i say, EXIT WEPT?
July 14, 2009