puzzle about 20 minutes
hi, everybody! this week's episode of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest, "Pick Up Lines," was a challenging crossword with a not-too-tough meta that took me way too long to solve. let's have a look at the theme answers:
of course, that's exactly the transformation being used in each theme answer. one letter is gaining a stroke (in its capital form, sans serif) to make a new one: P to R in ERIC FAILURE, I to T in KOSHER DELT, O to Q in CRACKLIN' QAT BRAN, P to B in BRAY FOR A MIRACLE, and F to E in MY LEET FOOT.
so about this meta... the contest instructions tell us that This week's contest answer is a famous arcade game of the 1980s. fine. i know my classic arcade games, but even so i pored over the list matt cited from wikipedia. looked for anything that involved "gaining a stroke." looked for anything that might look like a version of an answer in the grid, with one more or one fewer stroke in one of the letters. nothing. thought about a possible moon landing connection, what with the apollo 11 anniversary, but neither moon patrol nor lunar lander seemed to have anything to do with anything.
after all that, i did what i should have done from the very start: look at which letters got changed in the theme answers. the set of removed letters is PIOPF, which doesn't really do much. but look at the new letters: RTQBE. does that spell anything? hell yes! it spells Q*BERT, that's what. i spent hours playing this game as a kid, so i should have known it earlier. anyway.
lots of stuff in the grid gave me trouble. stuff i just plain didn't know:
clues i liked:
the only thing i didn't like about the grid was the ugly-ass crossing of the odd partial A BUMP with the nasty suffix -ATION.
that's all for me. tune in next week when it gets really hard.
July 21, 2009