I think I’ve probably mentioned that I’m not good at metas. I’m never good at them, and when I’m as distracted and preoccupied as I’ve been lately I’m really not good at them. The contest question is “What brand of cookie could have been a theme answer in this puzzle?” The puzzle itself was easy and I identified the theme answers:
- Concern for an uninsured cancer patient – BIOPSY COST
- Close to running out – ALMOST EMPTY
- Gets a head start, eg – BEGINS FIRST
- Temperature in Fahrenheit that is the same in Celsius – FORTY BELOW
- “Dead Alive” and “Hostel”, for example – GORY FILMS
What do those have in common? I tried recombining answers – nope. I tried looking for hidden words that had something to do with cookies – nope. I tried looking for pairs of – anything. Nope. So I waited for the answer to land in my inbox. The trick is that each word in the theme answers has letters in alphabetical order, and the cookie that has the same property is CHIPS AHOY.
Again, I’m distracted and preoccupied and maybe it’s me. I am distinctly underwhelmed.
- I didn’t know that Dan UGGLA hit the last home run ever at Shea Stadium; it was pretty much a gimme for me anyway since I know he played second base for the Marlins.
- Ambrose Bierce. Such a kidder. He shows up at 6A with a quote from the Devil’s Dictionary – “A temporary insanity curable by marriage.” The answer, of course, is LOVE.
- 22a may have been my favorite clue/answer pair in the whole puzzle. “What is ____ ?????” (response by the “Jeopardy!”-playing robot Watson to the clue “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle” in the category “U.S. Cities”) Watson’s answer was apparently TORONTO, which we humans know is not in the US. The correct answer for Jeopardy! was “Chicago” – O’Hare and Midway, respectively. This also wins the Peter Gordon Clue prize for wordiest and most complicated clue for a straightforward answer. This time it was worth it.
- I forgot that General Alexander HAIG ran for President in 1988. I also initially misread the clue and thought it said 1868, which I thought was a little late for GRANT, and also he didn’t fit. (I was right – he died in 1885.)
- Another 80s reference with ABSCAM at 5D, clued as the “Operation that inspired the movie ‘American Hustle’ “, for you young ones that don’t remember the hearings.
- The “Damn Yankees” clue for LOLA doesn’t reference the most familiar song from that show, I presume because that includes her name. She also has “A Little Brains, A Little Talent.” Great show, even though I’m a Yankee fan.
- Peter also gives us an unusual clue for that old standby OTOES – “Chiwere speakers.” I don’t know anything about the Chiwere language, but I’ve done a lot of crosswords and I knew we were looking for an American Indian tribe, so that wasn’t hard.
What I didn’t know before I did this crossword: see above about the Otoes speaking Chiwere.