joon is probably tied up with Christmas celebrations with his family, so here’s a brief commentary of Matt’s weekly crossword contest and I’m hopeful joon will add more when he’s done putting bikes or baby carriages together. (Particularly about his affinity (or not) for the men of MAN U.)
So the title of this one was “December 21st, xx13” and the grid was a surprisingly small 10×10. Two 10-letter answers spanned the grid and I was led to assume these two entries and the title were all the help I was going to get to the meta.
Those entries were:
- [100-year anniversary, like today is for the crossword puzzle] or CENTENNIAL
- And probably the most helpful (from a meta-grokking perspective): [Living without modern technology — or where most of the letters in this puzzle have to go to reveal our meta answer] or OFF THE GRID
I’ve solved a few “off the grid” puzzles and what they have in common is that letters are placed outside of the grid to complete entries. (I think there was a Fireball with the revealer “MAN OVERBOARD” with “MAN” being these common letters placed outside a grid to complete entries within.) Here, though, I didn’t see any clues that implied the entries were incomplete, although I did notice entries like HIC, PAW, ARI, REES, etc. could become CHIC, PAWN, SARI, FREES (or TREES), with the addition of a letter outside the grid. I also noticed some very strange entries like the partial PAID A, KEARN and the German surname VOGEL, which implied some pretty serious constraints on the fill, such as diagonal entries.
These didn’t seem to be a fruitful avenues to solve the meta, since I was confident that 72 of the 82 letters in this grid had to be removed (put “off the grid”) to reveal our 10-letter Brit’s name.
I went back to the title and thought more about the timing of this puzzle being exactly 100 years to the day of the original Arthur Wynne puzzle of 1913. The “xx” of the puzzle title also implied the connection between the 1913 puzzle and this one of 2013. So I went searching for the solution of that original puzzle and found this on the ACPT site:
My first thought was to in some way overlay this grid over Matt’s (or vice versa) and perhaps see 10 letters “off the grid” or not covered. But the overlaying process did not work well, especially thinking, as I originally did, that NARD was the common entry between the two and would overlay each other.
Finally, I decided to count the letters of the Wynne grid, came up with the magic 72 and it wasn’t long after that I followed the path of removing these 72 letters from Matt’s grid, leaving these 10:
Anagram that, and you get KING ARTHUR, which was the correct solution to this week’s meta. Not only was Arthur Wynne British-born, but one could even call him the “King” of crosswords for his original invention.
Very tough week 3 in my estimation, and appropriately, just over 100 correctly solved it this week.