hell month is over at matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest, and i won't say it ended with a whimper, because this was a very cool puzzle, but it was nowhere near as tough a meta as last week's. the puzzle, "65 to Stay Alive" (a reference to speed limits, no?), asks us to find a five-letter common halloween costume. let's have a look at the theme answers:
pretty nifty, eh? all four of this month's earlier contest answers, in order, are theme answers in the grid this week. now what's this about UNLUCKY ALL MONTH? lest you fear that only solvers who have gotten every meta wrong so far are eligible this week (now that would be a dastardly way of making sure nobody got all five right, eh?), it's a relatively straightforward reference to triskaidekaphobia, the belief that the number 13 is somehow unlucky. so all we need to do is go look at the letter in square 13 from all five of this month's crosswords:
well, this is definitely the most meta of any of the metas, what with referencing both contest answers and crossword answers in four previous puzzles (and itself). but it wasn't so hard, was it? there it is, spelled out in order: SHREK. i can't say i've ever seen anybody dressed up as shrek for halloween, but i could certainly imagine it. my son sam dressed up as a cowboy; his friend grace (also going on 2) was a fairy; and we saw a buzz lightyear in their building. but no shrek.
so how about the crossword? it was tough, all right, but i think not quite as tough as last week's. i did have to guess/google two squares, and went 1 for 2:
okay, that's all for me. i hope everybody else enjoyed hell month as much as i did...
November 03, 2009