AV Club Contest – Wednesday, July 13

untimed (Ben) 


Time’s up on this week’s AVCX contest puzzle.  Here’s what’s going on.

Brendan Emmett Quigley’s American Values Club contest crossword, “Cloud Storage”

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 2.48.46 PM

“Cloud Storage”

There was a lot going on in this week’s AVCX Contest puzzle.  I solved the puzzle one day, slept on figuring out the final meta (more on that later), and really ended up enjoying what’s going on here.

To start out, here’s the note from BEQ that came attached to this week’s puzzle:

I left my computer outside last night, and now my crossword software’s fried!  Something’s gotten into all my theme answers, and on top of that, data got dumped from my cloud storage and messed up my clues somehow.  I’m going to need some tech support to figure out what caused the problem.  When you’re finished solving the puzzle, shake out any excess data from the clues and send it back up to the cloud (I only have 4×4 bits of memory, but try to make it all fit.)  Maybe there’ll be an answer up there…

Let’s take a look at the main grid and its theme answers first and come back to the “cloud” that appears beside the puzzle.  Once they’re all stacked up together, it’s easy to see what got into all of the theme answers:

  • 20A: “Look! On the horizon! Fairylike Tolkien creatures speaking their language with silky smooth perfection!” — VELVET ELVISH HO
  • 27A: Vacuum with commercials featuring Siouxsie and the Banshees? — GOTH HOOVER
  • 45A: Jerk who ruined the 43rd president’s old-timey social dance? — BUSH HOP ASS
  • 53A: Cudgel carried around by caddies when following golfer Vijay? — SINGH HOLES CLUB

Yep, some water (or, more correctly, H2O) worked its way into some perfectly normal phrases.  I don’t think this is the first (or even second) time I’ve seen this theme, but there was some lovely finds here – VELVET ELVISH HO got a solid laugh out of me while working with the grid.

That’s not the answer here, though.  As the instructions call out, something got into the clues as well.  Working through the puzzle to see which entries don’t quitematch their clues reveal the following “data” dumped from the cloud:

  • 9A: REAPpear with greenish-yellow skin — BOSC (Pear with greenish-yellow skin)
  • 33A: “WEAVE” director Oliver — STONE (“W” director Oliver)
  • 38A: StREAMy — PEN (Sty)
  • 60A: AVIAtor — CRAG (Tor)
  • 66A: MalARIAl rats, perhaps — TEENS (Mall rats, perhaps)
  • 1D: DeMEANed — ACT (Deed)
  • 40D: BEARLike maneuvers — WHEELIES (Bike maneuvers)
  • 63D: PLANe alternative — LSD (E alternative)

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 2.50.45 PMI stopped after finding two across and two down hidden words and couldn’t understand why the meta made sense.  Once I combed through the clues another time and found I had eight clues, not four, everything fell into place.  The nice thing about these four-letter words is you can arrange them into a word square like so:

Reading down the diagonal (whether you had REAP or REAM going across) gives you the final four-letter solution to what got into BEQ’s crossword software: RAIN.  A little underwhelming?  Maybe, but the construction on this one was really lovely.

4.5/5 stars

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6 Responses to AV Club Contest – Wednesday, July 13

  1. David Steere says:

    AVC (from BEQ): A bit too complicated for its own good and–to quote the write-up–with a solution that is “a little underwhelming.”

  2. Tony says:

    Not underwhelming for me as I have struck out mightily this month on metas.

    All kidding aside, the only underwhelming part the “messed” up clues really weren’t needed, but it did help reinforce the answer. Once I saw that HHO was inserted in the themers and the title was cloud storage, the answer fairly screamed RAIN, which is stored in clouds and can easily fry a computer left on and open outside. It took a minute to figure out how to piece the extraneous clue words into the secondary grid.

  3. Dan McIntyre says:

    Huh. My girlfriend and I figured out the meta answer correctly, but only discerned five of the eight clues (neither of us watches Oliver Stone movies). The word square we ended up with was diagonally symmetrical, using REAP, EARL, ARIA, PLAN, and ignoring the one that we couldn’t fit

    So I’d like to apologize to Ben for the snarky comment in my e-mail, attempting to be clever by “ream”ing him out for leaving an extra meta clue in the puzzle.

  4. Gene says:

    I missed the second, seventh and eighth “data dumps”; I was just happy with director STONE, convinced myself that bears rear up on their hind legs like a wheelie, and just couldn’t figure out the LSD clue, except for crosses.

    But I loved how the HHO got into the answers.

  5. crossword says:

    i love this blog !

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