Fireball Contest Puzzle October 12, 2017

Puzzle 6:41 (Jenni) 
Meta: DNF  


Peter Gordon’s contest puzzle, “Makeshift,” takes us on an automotive journey. The contest question was “What four-letter word is hinted at by this puzzle?” The four longest answers have something in common:

FB 10/12 puzzle – solution grid

  • 17a [Underground shelter] is a STORM CELLAR.
  • 27a [Where the plane crashes in “Airport ’77”] is the BERMUDA TRIANGLE.
  • 42a [Cheese lover’s pizza] is QUATTRO FORMAGGI, which tripped me up because I know French but not Italian, so I wanted it to be FROMAGGINope.
  • 54a [What an amputee might feel] is PHANTOM PAIN although, as one suffer said to me, the pain is pretty damn real.

Each answer begins with the model of a car: the Geo STORM, the Edsel BERMUDA, the Audi QUATTRO, and the Rolls Royce PHANTOM. The first letters of each car type spell GEAR, and that’s the meta answer. I didn’t realize that Edsel was a marque – I always thought there was just one car called Edsel but there were a number, including the infamous Corvair.

So that’s the theme and the meta. Entirely do-able if I had been able to devote more time and energy to it.

A few other things:

  • 11a [Singer Grande’s first perfume] gives us a new clue for the crossword perennial ARI.
  • 21a [Sixth Floor Museum locale] is in DALLAS, and is the site from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy.
  • I like the central line of SASSSPOOKS, and SNOB. No good reason; I just find the idea of sassy, snobby spooks quite appealing.
  • Old-word alert: “vig” in the clue for BOOKIE and “shmoo” in the clue for AL CAPP.
  • 61a [Head of government?] is GEE. Would that clue always have a question mark?

What I didn’t know before I did this puzzle: that Ringo STARR released an album in 1970 called “Sentimental Journey.” Yes, that “Sentimental Journey.”

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6 Responses to Fireball Contest Puzzle October 12, 2017

  1. Ryan says:

    Eventually got there for the right reason, but my first rabbit hole saw triangle, Quattro, phantom pain and thought 3,4,5 (Phantom pain being the 5th in the Metal Gear games). That plus the title made me think gears and I really want to put a number (or perhaps P or R) to the first themer but never could. Ironically gear was the correct answer for a totally different reason.

  2. Eric M says:

    Took a while for me, because a search for a model called the Bermuda came up with (, and while GWAR is an, er, interesting band, it didn’t seem to be hinted at by the puzzle…..

    • GlennG says:

      I thought it was a good puzzle (save the little bit of Naticky action towards the SW), but Mr. Google led me to the same place with no reference of Edsel anywhere else – more references to other things Bermuda than to Edsels. Another meta I can say I got, but didn’t get for a complete obscurity.

    • D. Talvacchio says:

      I also got Willys when I googled “Bermuda car model” (and only Willys — no Edsel results on the first page), saw GWAR, and then figured one had to “shift” the letters. Shifting each letter one space backward (which shoves the G back around to the end) gives WARG, which at least in Game of Thrones is a creature that isn’t quite a shape-shifter but one that does shift perspective at will. Submitted WARG pretty confidently as a result.

  3. Matthew G. says:

    I, too, had long been under the mistaken impression that the Edsel was a model, not a make. But a minute of googling was sufficient to correct my error and the meta was solved.

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