Glutton for Pun #197 by Erik Agard


Bonus Glutton this week! Did you find the trick?

Erik is back with an extra puzzle this week! He’s hidden four arthropods across pairs of rebus squares in this grid so they look like “squished bugs”:

  • [Expensive ways to get away from the bathroom] FIRST CLASS TICKETS
  • [Generous phone plan feature] UNLIMITED TALK TIME
  • [Playing it cool] ACTING NATURAL
  • [Newspaper employee who makes a living by reproducing his own work under an alias, escaping consequences for his breaches of journalistic ethics even after being unmasked] TIMOTHY PARKER

His writeup also contains a link to this article, in which Lone Shark Games announces its boycott of USA Today and Universal Uclick over their plan to reinstate crossword editor Timothy Parker after three months while at the same time admitting he plagiarized numerous puzzles. Argh. AAAARRRRRGH.  The good thing that has come of this is some amazing gridwork by constructors like Andrew Ries and Francis Heaney (links are to writeups, but you should buy the puzzles if you haven’t yet!), and this gem by Erik.

Anyway, back to the puzzle at hand…the theme is great as it is, but there’s another amazing layer to it which at least several people discovered (including me) only after solving in Across Lite or similar software and being told there were errors. Apparently there is another solution which involves not a moth, but a particular arachnid…Glutton197_1

Instead of TIMOTHY PARKER, an alternate entry is Daily Bugle photographer PETER PARKER, otherwise seen hanging around town as Spider-Man. I love how he fits another “bug” in the grid, keeping the down entries true to their clues ([People whose noses tend to turn up all over the place] can be either SNOOTS or SNOOPS, for example), and having solid fill for both answers.

The fill in general is lovely. Overall this is a really fun solve with a great initial aha moment, followed by a “Wait a minute…oh holy heck look at what he did there” breakthrough. I wonder if anyone had PETER PARKER first, or if Erik’s following is all people who knew about Gridgate and were primed to enter TIMOTHY. Regardless, much love for this bonus bit of puzzly yumminess.

  1. Evan said:

    I had PETER PARKER first. Across Lite told me I had the right solution so I just figured that was it. Then people started raving about the puzzle and so I thought there must be more to it. So I went back and looked, and the other Parker dawned on me. I’m so glad Spiderman came to the rescue and took out the villain for many solvers. Except in my case…..I only got the a-ha after Spiderman was defeated. I feel dirty.

    Very fun. Much clap.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had about half of PETER, but figured there had to be a 4th bug theme entry so I figured out Timothy. Figuring there must be something I was missing (because the base puzzle is fantastic, but maybe not quite Mike-Nothnagel-kvelling-all-over-twitter fantastic) I looked at it for about 10 seconds and then came here 🙂 Very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tita said:

    When SNOBS didn’t fit, immediately went to SNOOPS, and only PETERPARKER could follow. I mean, I knew the guy’s last name was the same as Rex’s, but really didn’t remember his first. I did think for a nanosecond… “hmmm…isn’t that the Spiderman actor too?”, and quickly moved on.

    Loved the puzzle, loved it more after @Z directed me here

    Thanks, Mr. A.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. therealrexparker said:

    Peter never occurred to me because of the theme (and recent crossword history). So when Across Lite started rolling those “wrong” squares in, I had a real-time WHAAAAAATF!? Great.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan McConnell said:

    I had Peter first, too, and thought there was some meta spidery thing going on (the black squares kinda form 8 legs). Or maybe bugs caught in a web. Eventually I saw the MOTH in TiMOTHy and loved seeing how the other answers could fit either name. Great, great puzzle!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sheryl said:

    (I tried to post previously and couldn’t – Akismet says I’m no longer cursed. Testing…)

    I had PETER first. I kept looking for FLEA. I thought for sure there would be a FLEA. No fleas.

    Liked by 1 person

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