Fireball Contest – Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Puzzle 9:02 (Jenni)
Meta: DNF  


Victor Barocas’s Fireball Crossword, “Pentagrams” – Jenni’s writeup

There’s nothing Satanic about this puzzle. Thanks to Amy for help with the meta. The contest asks us to identify the Spanish city that could have been a theme answer. First, of course, we have to suss out the theme.

Fireball 2/2 contest puzzle, solution grid

We have five theme answers (you’ll notice a pattern here) and each one has a familiar-looking group of five letters.

  • 17a [Gatorade and Sprite, according to their ads] = THIRST QUENCHERS.
  • 23a [Climactic scene in the Laurel and Hardy film “The Battle of the Century] = PIE FIGHT. Another fine mess, etc, etc.
  • 38a [Author of “The Carrie Diaries”] = CANDACE BUSHNELL. This is the prequel to “Sex in the City” and could be called “Not Much Sex in Connecticut.”
  • 54a [Dairy supply] = MILK JUGS. I had to get the crossing for J before I figured out it was “jugs.” I think of milk bottles or milk cartons or maybe milk pails.
  • 60a [South American creatures with nonprehensile tails] are SQUIRREL MONKEYS, which is a fun answer all on its own.

Each five-letter set, which spans the two words of the answer, is a mixed-up alphabet sequence, so we are looking for a Spanish city that also has a mixed-up alphabet sequence. If we mentally flip the pages in a Spanish atlas, we’ll find PAMPLONA. This was blindingly obvious once it was pointed out to me. It’s been a long week.

A few other things:

  • 3d [Sister brand of OpenTable] is PRICELINE. I’m really glad William Shatner doesn’t pop up when I’m making dinner reservations.
  • 21a [Diamond on wax] is NEIL. I don’t think my seventeen-year-old would recognize this usage of “wax,” which was dated when I was seventeen. Cute clue, though.
  • 35a [Tiger known for his swing] is a baseball clue, not a golf clue. The answer is COBB. Ty Cobb played for the Detroit Tigers.
  • Our trademark Peter Gordon very long clue is found at 66a [Unit whose symbol includes two parallel lines that represent its stability], which isn’t even that long. The answer is EURO.
  • 69a [He played James opposite Honor’s Pussy] is SEAN. I used to wince at the word “pussy.” Not anymore. Frequent exposure has extinguished that reaction. This clue doesn’t sound all that racy these days.

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that the movie “Popeye” was filmed on (in?) MALTA.

This entry was posted in Daily Puzzles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fireball Contest – Wednesday, February 1, 2017

  1. Mac says:

    I submitted Pamplona when I could not find a two-word Spanish city with the letter sequence but I am disappointed that all theme answers in the grid are not only two words but the theme letter sequence spans both words and Pamplona is/does neither. Am I missing something?

  2. Justin says:

    Congrats Victor, great concept!

Comments are closed.