Remember last week’s AV Club contest puzzle?
Francis Heaney’s American Values Club contest crossword, “Pile Up”
Last week’s AV Club Contest puzzle was a lot of fun – I ended up forgetting to time myself during the main solve, but it was pretty straightforward, and the meta only took me about 5 minutes afterwards.
Last week’s contest got all touchy-feely with the theme answers, as the name “Pile Up” might lead you to think it would:
- 18A: Laparoscopy souvenir — SCAR
- 19A: GI jokers? — USO
- 20A: Event to which crashers are invited — DEMOLITION DERBY
- 31A: Suffix for many towns — VILLE
- 35A: Tourist destination at the end of many flights? — OBSERVATION DECK
- 46A: Dancing ___ (old Jay Leno running gag that, in the “People vs. O.J. Simpson” era, seems crossword-usable again) — ITOS
- 49A: The moral universe’s is long, but bends towards justice, hopefully — ARC
- 50A: “___ Petite” (Jackie Wilson song) — REET
- 51A: Update an outdated process with new technology, in business-speak — PAVE THE GOAT PATH
I’d recommend looking at the screenshot of the grid I attached to catch what’s going on, but each set of shaded squares reveals a type of “pile”, when read top-to-bottom and left-to-right: CORDUROY, VELVET, and SHAG CARPET
We’re not quite done yet – there’s still a meta to be solved! The instructions mention that two entries in the puzzle, after both being reversed, combine to form a two-word phrase (one word in some dictionaries) that could serve as an alternate title for the puzzle. Luckily, there’s a finite set of entries that also form words when reversed. Looking at 58A and 59A, you can turn PAN and EMIT around to get, NAP TIME, which could serve as an equally lovely title to the puzzle.
I’d quibble about ITOS (even with the current FX show digging back into the OJ case), but I’m going to trust there were grid constraints that made that necessary. I’ve taken a bajillion software project management classes/seminars/whatnot at have never heard desire paths described as PAVE THE GOAT PATH either, but maybe I’m not going to the right conferences.
I’m missing something, and it must be so obvious I’m staring right past it. How is NAP TIME a fitting title for this puzzle? I don’t see a connection between it and any of the theme entries.
All of the theme entries contain fabrics or surfaces (CORDUROY, VELVET, and SHAG CARPET) that have a raised texture, often referred to as a pile (as in “Pile Up”) or nap (as in “Nap Time”).
Ah, thank you. I was not familiar with the textile-related meaning of “nap.”
The dancing Itos were actually seen on the last episode! I could’ve worked that into the clue if it had just aired one night earlier, but whatcha gonna do. Here’s that otter video for anyone who didn’t look it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsRlO4dQJGI