Last Wednesday’s AV Club was a meta contest – here’s what was going on.
Pardon the unusual grid photo – I did this week’s AVCX contest on paper (and took my time with it Saturday afternoon) and it seemed to work with the theme of the puzzle
I missed the deadline on submitting an answer for this one since I overthought the meta. 26A’s clue, “Like those who return, in a ceremony marked throughout Asia (on September 5th this year)” provided the hint to what was going on with this week’s theme: the DEAD, passing over the River Styx.
Treating the big black path down the middle of the grid as the river, it’s possible to find five pairs of answers where the addition of one extra letter fills out the space between them and passes over:
- 14/15A: LAG H OSTEAL
- 23/26A: FLESH A DEAD
- 37/39A: GUNG HO U LIPIDS
- 48/51A: SOBA N SHEEN
- 62/63A:ON SPEC T ERE
This, of course, gives us the final answer of HAUNT. Hopefully you didn’t overthink this one like I did and sent that answer in.
(Please to enjoy this blatant rip-off of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”)
I had the same reaction to this puzzle that I did the last AVCX meta puzzle – this is a very nice grid, that I could totally see in a larger venue like the NYT, LAT, or WSJ (since they do meta puzzles), with a few AVCX-style clues. It’s nice, but also kinda bland. I liked the use of defining ASH and ELMS with the characters from Harry Potter that used those woods for their wands, and fill like RAP BATTLE, POLYOMINO, GUN-TOTIN’. Being reminded that even Alyssa MILANO released an exercise video in the 80s (hers was “Teen Steam”, according to 57A) was nice, but again, this felt a little more pedestrian that I tend to see the AVCX go.
A fine grid, but an underwhelming puzzle for the venue.