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:
- 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 FROMAGGI. Nope.
- 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 SASS, SPOOKS, 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.”