Chris Words #75-77

three more kings that’s a triple crown!! i promise that’s the last king joke i’m doing!! click here and here and here for the puzzles!!

lots of catching up to do, so i’m going to be somewhat short-winded – which is a shame, because the puzzles i’m here to review are truly top-notch and deserving of all the verbacious accolades one blog post can hold. “payment” for us free indie constructor types comes in the form of solver emails and acknowledgment (and sometimes tips); i hope that you’ll solve the puzzles if you haven’t already and sound off in the comments / on sosh medes.

anyway, as the man said, “@#$% all that, let’s get to it.”


#75: PARTY LIKE IT’S 1776
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here, mr. king promised us an easy meta to atone for his recent brainbender over at matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, and he delivered. the hardest part of solving the meta was cracking the theme entries, which are themselves clues:


MIKEY’S BREAKFAST: didn’t know the reference, so i went to…
LADY INNY CHARBOR: so hard to parse! ok let’s try…
JADEN SMITH DEBUT: this one i knew.


the clue for the latter clue instructs us to “change a letter for this one,” so the pursuit of happyness becomes the pursuit of happiness – and, you guessed it, mikey’s breakfast is life, and the lady in the nyc harbor is lady liberty. there’s our well-known trio and our meta answer. pleasantly easy and timely (the puzzle ran the day before the anniversary of that trio’s debut, july 4th).


i’m about to yell “next!” and delve into some more intricate puzzles, puzzles that may more readily evoke, say, puzzle of the month consideration (ahem!) – but don’t sleep on the level of artistry, finesse, and restraint it takes to make a puzzle (especially a metapuzzle) this easy and this good at the same time. salute.




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basically what happened was:


some answers on the sides were missing some letters/words. those answers were:


[Paving material] = (MAC)ADAM
[Turkish neighbor] = (ARM)ENIA
[Coat on a canine?] = (TOOTH) ENAMEL
[Stroke where you might use a nine iron] = (CHIP) SHOT
[Good thing to end on] = (HIGH) NOTE
(hey, the first letters on the left spell out MATCH!)
[Wiry-coated dog] = AIRE(DALE)
[Mani-pedi target] = HANG(NAIL)
[Mascot who wears a green and purple shirt] = CHUCK E. (CHEESE)
[“I Write the Songs” singer] = BARRY MANI(LOW)
[Spillane tec] = MIKE (HAMMER)


so, though it made the solve a lot trickier, i fairly quickly figured out that these side answers were missing bits, and figured out what the bits were. then i saw that the missing bits matched up with each other – hence the title! (i have never seenmatch game, and was relieved that i was not going to need to scour the wiki page for inside knowledge.) MAC & CHEESE, ARM & HAMMER, TOOTH & NAIL, CHIP & DALE, HIGH & LOW.


you can probably guess what i did next:


i thought to myself, “hey, maybe if i draw some lines between the matching bits, it’ll do something!”


then i thought to myself, “self, that’s ridiculous, that would never work.”


then i stared at it for 80 more seconds, had no new ideas, and gave up forever.


then! i was on twitter, reading tweets, as i am wont to do, when friend-of-the-blog neville fogarty tweeted at mr. king that he, too, was stumped. king tweeted back: try microsoft paint. oh! i was right!


so then i read like 80 more tweets. social media is a blessing and a curse. it’s a blurse.


eventually i returned to the puzzle, full of resolve, and created the ugly bare-bones diagram you see above. it took me an additional minute to remember there were two starred entries in the puzzle: RAYBAN and LARKIN, down the middle. reading the letters in those entries that get crossed by the matching lines, in order of the matches, spells out BLANK, the meta answer. (i gather this has something to do with match game after all; i assume i am the only person here who has not seen it, so i am not going to bother explaining it.) sheer genius. howdeedodat!?


all i can say (besides all the other stuff i already just said) is that i hope the orca committee won’t forget this one come spring.


and that brings us to one more puzzle… ish!


#77: WE GOT ONE!
Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 11.08.36 AM


hey, it’s a ghostbusters puzzle! timely once again – this is opening weekend for the 2016 version; i saw it a few hours after solving the puzzle, and loved it. (i have not seen the original. i did see like 6 minutes of ghostbusters 2 in an indian restaurant once. it was aight.)


names of the original ghostbusters can be found at the starts of the theme entries: EGON SCHIELE, RAY PARKER JR. (cool!), WINSTON CHURCHILL, PETER O’TOOLE. pretty standard easy theme; nice clean grid facilitates a smooth solve.


as i solved, i found myself thinking, “hey, someone should do this theme but with the new ghostbusters!” so it’s a good thing i noticed the clue for REMAKE: [, for one]. hey, that’s weird, i wonder what’s behind this li- HOLY @#$%, SURPRISE SECOND PUZZLE!?!?


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he literally remade the puzzle with the new roster! ERIN ANDREWS, PATTY HEARST, JIILLIAN MICHAELS, ABBY WAMBACH. boom.


i’m a sucker for concept, or levels, or whatever, and this really hit the spot for me. i can’t remember the last time one constructor (or one venue, even) hit me with so many WTF-no-they-didn’t moments in such a short span of time. this dude is really operating on all cylinders.


i just. look. i want to take time and highlight the great entries and clues but like. i need to go to my fainting couch. this is the end of the review. this might be the last thing i ever write. i’m ruined
  1. I loved the secret second puzzle. alas, I totally gave up on the match game meta. I am a shame.


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