The deadline on the latest contest from the AV Club is up! Here’s how it all works out.
Brendan Emmett Quigley’s American Values Club contest crossword, “Cuts Short At The Head”
My, but this was a nice, straightforward meta puzzle from BEQ. As noted in the instructions, we’re looking for and “alternative cut.” There’s also a bonus alternative cut that “pairs up with the meta answer in the style of the theme answers”, but we’ll get to that later. Here’s this puzzle’s theme answers:
- 17A: One who’s never bought a Klippan or an Ektorp? — IKEA VIRGIN
- 20A: Keep one’s copy of the “Magic Man” single in a cage, for safety? — PEN YOUR HEART
- 35A: Take one’s gibbon to a pawn shop? — HOCK THE MONKEY
- 53A: Like tusks? — BONY AND IVORY
- 58A: Pleasant, bountiful, and totally free of demons? — UNLIKE HELL
The title of this puzzle is “Cuts Short at the Head”, which seems a little odd until you realize that all of the theme answers are song titles missing their first letter. There’s “LIKE A VIRGIN”, “OPEN YOUR HEART”, “SHOCK THE MONKEY”, “EBONY AND IVORY”, and “RUN LIKE HELL”. Taking this first letters in order from top to bottom, you get LOSER, which definitely counts as an alternative cut. I’d dare say it’s an alternative classic.
Now for that bonus cut: looking for a related song by Beck, “Devil’s Haircut” seems thematically related (all of these answers got a haircut), AND it becomes Evil’s Haircut if the same process as the theme answers is applied. I have no clue if this bonus part is right – if you found something else, place it in the comments below.
Overall, I thought this was a nice intro meta – enough of an AHA to get what’s going on and hopefully get you hooked on puzzles with hidden messages. Well done, BEQ!