Fireball Contest — January 24, 2019

Puzzle: 8:38 Meta: about a half-hour  


Peter A. Collins’s Fireball contest, “Give Me an Example” — Laura’s review

The Fireball contest is back! After a brief holiday hiatus!

This month we’re asked: What aquatic creature can be linked to an answer in this grid to make an additional theme pair?

Fireball Contest - 1.??.19 - Solution

Fireball Contest – 1.??.19 – Solution

Well. The flavortext gives us a hint right away: our themers are paired entries. At first, I looked at the longest entries — EEL LEATHER and ERLENMEYER — thinking, hey, they both start with E, and they end with ER — that’s gotta be something? But, no.

After a bit of flailing, I checked in with the solving group. Turns out a couple folks were around, in the sense of “around” = on the internet at that moment, so we started sharing notes. I’ve mentioned this before in these contest write-ups, but often the very act of writing down or describing to someone else your initial ideas can get those lateral thinking gears going.

Hey, wait! INTERNIST and EYE DOCTOR … isn’t an INTERNIST a kind of EYE {I} DOCTOR??? Why, yes, and we were on our way. There are six pairs of entries that follow this pattern:

11d: CUE {Q} CARD == 1d: QUEEN
5d: TEA {T} PARTY == 29a: TORIES
53d: YOU {U} TUBE == 24d: URETHRA (I LOL’ed at this one)
63d: BEE {B} DANCE == 74a: BOLERO
66d: PEA {P} COAT == 81d: PARKA

All beautifully symmetrical in the grid, and right there in the center is:

[52a: Budweiser beast]: CLYDESDALE

which is, of course, a SEA {C} HORSE — an aquatic creature, and our answer. You don’t really need all six theme pairs to solve the meta; that center set of EYEDOCTOR and INTERNIST arguably is enough evidence, since CLYDESDALE is right there between them. But the full set is pretty magical. For difficulty, I’d measure this one at 2.5 metaweeks on the Gaffney Scale — a little tough to crack at first, but a fun and lovely mechanism that makes for a very satisfying solve. The solving buds and I thought it was GEE {G} WHIZ == GENIUS.

When you’re solving a metapuzzle and you feel like you’re playing [42d: “Without ___” (1990 Grateful Dead live album)]: A NET, just remember that help is on the way.

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fireball Contest — January 24, 2019

  1. david glasser says:

    I found it impossible to avoid focusing on the fact that 55D “Young sheep” crossed 77A “LAMB”…

    • Reid says:

      And that a Clydesdale is an example of a Roan…and a queen is an example of a bee…

      No chance I was getting off of those three connections, so I sent in a random eel.

  2. ===Dan says:

    Fun! I was red-herringed by NOSE and EYE at the beginning of words, and a second EYE and EAR hidden inside others. Kept trying to complete the pair of ears.

Comments are closed.