Alex Eaton-Salners’s Fireball contest, “Read Between the Lines” — Laura’s review
Alex asks us, “What two-word phrase is hinted at by this puzzle?”
This took me a while to suss out; I was stuck seeing the capital-letter-I as a “line” and was trying to make something out with the letters in between those — C, R, NN — nope. And I knew that the title was the key, but what was I not seeing? Sometimes it helps to put the puzzle away for a while (I did that, and solved the WSJ Contest; stay tuned for my post on that to publish at midnight), and sometimes it helps to talk about where you’re stuck with a meta-solving pal (I can’t recommend that enough — even if you don’t have a group of folks to discuss these things with regularly, it can really help to describe your thought process to someone else; cats and dogs are good listeners, too). Turns out that all I really needed was for someone to ask, “do you see any other lines in the grid?” and there I went.
Step one: We have 10 words in the grid that can be paired with line to make another word or phrase (circled in red in the grid image above):
SCAN LINE was the only one that didn’t pop out to me as being a thing; but it is a term in video technology and computer graphics, referring to one line in the display (if you take a picture of a monitor, especially an older one, or of an older TV screen, you can sometimes see the scan lines).
Step two: Read between “the lines” to find a two-word phrase (circled in blue in the grid image above):
BLOOD STAG PARTY
LAND ED SKY
SIGHT IRE SEWER
TAN CT SCAN
WATER IONS WAIST
STAG ED IRE CT IONS = stage directions — something one might “read between the lines” of a script to find.
I liked this one a lot! Your thoughts?
Mark your calendars for April 29, which is [41d: Icing]: WHACKING Day.
I pointed out to Peter that STAG LINE is also in the language (and has been used in a Crosswords Club grid), thereby leaving only E DIRECTIONS “between the lines.”
His reply: “If anyone sends in E DIRECTIONS, I’ll count it as right.” I had to laugh.
(There are also CHORD LINE and THE LATEST LINE (Google it), with nothing between them either. We touched on those as well.)
That first one also has TAG line, which tripped me up a bit before going out to PARTY line, otherwise really liked it.