- 9d. [Map phrase … and a hint to finding this week’s final answer], X MARKS THE SPOT. You may have noticed that each of the week’s puzzles had one to three X’s in the grid, always near the top of the puzzle.
- 18d. [Certain character set … and a hint to translating this week’s final answer], ALPHANUMERIC.
My first approach was to see what letters in the Saturday grid underlie the locations of the X’s in the previous puzzles, but that proved to be a nonstarter. The ALPHANUMERIC thing prompted me to check to see if the week’s X’s were always in numbered squares, and they were. Monday’s X was in square 20, and the 20th letter is T. (Still mildly troubled that the Monday puzzle had a CENtury and TEN [years in a decade], not part of the second/minute/hour/day/week theme.) Tuesday added two X’s, 5: E and 13: M. Wednesday, 16: P and 21: U. Thursday, 19: S. A bunch of themes about time and we’re spelling out TEMPUS? I see where this is going. 6: F and 21: U arrived in Friday’s puzzle, and the 7: G, 9: I, 20: T round out our TEMPUS FUGIT, or “time flies,” in Latin.
And there you have it. Easier than a Blindauer puzzlefest or a mid- to late-month MGWCC, but still requiring some thinking outside the usual boxes of crosswords to suss it out.
How’d the contest treat you folks?