# 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

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:

TRUMPET VINE
BUSHY TAILED
PIERCED EARS
GRAN TORINO
POLKA DOTTED
FOR DUMMIES

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
PIERCE — 14
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:

USA! USA!

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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