Here’s a quick write-up of Brendan’s contest puzzle from last week, now that he’s posted the answer to the meta. I can get most of the metas for Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest, but this one stymied me.
In Brendan’s answer grid, you can see what happens when you “pull the top down” in the convertible placed at the middle of the puzzle: ARI slides down into KIMONO and covers up the MON, turning the 6 into KIA RIO. Those two answers kind of look like a car, too. Long front with KI, body of the car with MON, top/windows in ARI, trunk in O.
I went slightly less literal in my approach, viewing each word in the grid as a potential candidate in which one might pull the first letter (“top”) to the end of the word (“down”), although I was eyeballing the Across answers for this treatment too. I came up with the fusty old crosswordese car, the REO, lurking in ORE this way. I don’t know if Brendan intended that as a red herring right there next to the near-twin RIO trick, but it seems dastardly. In any case, even though I won nothing, I’m glad the answer didn’t play on a super-boring crossword answer being transformed into another super-boring crossword answer. Brendan’s too clever to stoop to that, right?
Looking to the crossword itself, I like WRONG MOVE. And I always like seeing KD LANG in the grid (especially since she prefers lowercase letters but has a voice that cries out for ALL CAPS). I could swear some commenter this week singled out KD LANG as an example of horrible/obscure fill but I can’t find it.
Were you one of the lucky/clever 36 people who submitted the correct answer? If you submitted a wrong answer, what did you try?