Fireball Contest — February 15, 2019

Puzzle: 7:54 Meta: about 10 minutes  


Peter Gordon’s Fireball contest, “Executive Order” — Laura’s review

FIreball contest - 2.15.19 - Solution

FIreball contest – 2.15.19 – Solution

Peter asks, “What chant is hinted at by this puzzle?” Let’s start with the longer theme entries and see if they have anything in common:

  • [16a: Climbing plant of the bignonia family]: TRUMPET VINE
  • [55a: Alert, figuratively]: BUSHY TAILED
  • [6d: Things that might have a certain ring to them?]: PIERCED EARS
  • [10d: 2008 Clint Eastwood film]: GRAN TORINO
  • [24d: Like Minnie Mouse’s dress]: POLKA DOTTED
  • [26d: Reference series with more than 300 million copies in print]: FOR DUMMIES

The first thing to notice, given the puzzle’s title, is that the sames of six presidents are embedded in the beginnings of the long themers:


The question then becomes, what do we do with them? (What indeed.) Trump, Bush, Ford, and Grant were Republicans; Polk and Pierce were Democrats. That doesn’t seem to hint at a chant. Remembering the metasolving principle of “when you have a list of things that suggests another list of things, make that other list of things,” I made a list of the presidents’ numbers in sequence:

TRUMP — 45
BUSH — 41 or 43
GRANT — 18
POLK — 11
FORD — 38

Another principle of metasolving: “when you have a list of numbers, try matching them to letters in the grid.” Following that, we get:

TRUMP — 45 = A
BUSH — 41 or 43 = S or S {hmmmmm….}
PIERCE — 14 = S
GRANT — 18 = A
POLK — 11 = U
FORD — 38 = U

Put those in grid order, and you get:


Which is a patriotic chant one might hear, or participate in reciting, at a sporting event or other assembly. I find mass displays of nationalism a little frightening, so wasn’t crazy about the meta answer, but sure, this works.



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1 Response to Fireball Contest — February 15, 2019

  1. Masked & Anonymous says:

    I guessed a different chant…
    Lock em up, Lock em up.

    Wrong again.

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