Matt here, blogging Dave’s puzzle on behalf of the still-Christmasing joon. We randomly had a Guest Constructor puzzle this past week from MGWCC web guru Dave Sullivan. No special reason for it but we might have to make it a regular thing — I always forget how busy this time of year is.
Our puzzle is titled: “Call to Order” and our instructions ask for a restaurant in the U.S. Let’s look at our five theme entries:
19-A [Menu item at Lima’s La Locanda (1 421 4400)] = ARROZ CON LECHE
32-A [Menu item at Bangkok’s Siam House Café (2 233 7576)] = MASSAMAN CURRY
45-A [Menu item at Tokyo’s Ginza Torishige (3-3571-8372] = CHICKEN TERIYAKI
61-A [Menu item at Naples’ di Matteo (081.45.52.62)] = PIZZA MARINARA
75-A [Menu item at Seoul’s Hanchon Selleongtang Seolleung Station (2 508-2152)] = KIMCHI PANCAKE
So while testing this I wasn’t able to crack the code, which is: if you were to call any of these five restaurants from abroad, you’d need to use their country codes. Which are:
Peru — 51
Thailand — 66
Japan — 81
Italy — 39
South Korea — 82
What to do with those 10 numbers? One well-known constructor mentioned that he’d randomly asked his mother-in-law what she thought; despite having never seen a meta before, she instantly told him: “Ten numbers? Maybe they’re a phone number themselves.”
Bingo — call (or Google, if you don’t want to bother the staff) that number — (516)-681-3982, and the person who answers will tell you that you’ve reached meta answer the BROADWAY DINER in Hicksville, N.Y. 245 solvers found it, and one took his daughter there for lunch this weekend and sent along some selfies to prove it!
I dug this one quite a bit. True, you don’t need to solve the crossword to get the meta, but you don’t know that until later. Using the country codes is a novel way to conceal meta info and having them form the phone number of a US restaurant is both elegant and logical.
4.40 stars, and thanks to Dave for the puzzle.