Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest, #578: “Double Stuff”–Laura et al’s review
Your usual correspondent Joon is still in France with his family watching the Women’s World Cup, so Laura is subbing this week and last week with the collaboration of various folks.
This week’s contest answer is a 5-letter word.
There do not seem to be any stand-out themers, although we’ve got UTTAR PRADESH and RIO DE JANEIRO as long entries, and they’re both geographic areas. There are lots of entries with doubled letters, tho:
Some of these words make new words when you eliminate one doubled letter (on the principle of Oreo Double Stuf having only one F) and some don’t:
If you write out the doubled letters singly, nonsense: MLENLOETMTNLEDOXX
If you eliminate the doubled letters, and write out what’s left in those entries, gibberish: GRAASRESEAITITLY etc
Are there other entries/clues that could correspond with those? Or with the double-letter words?
If we alphabetize those doubled letters, we get DEEELLLMMNNOOTTXX. Eliminating repeated letters, we’re left with DELMNOTX — Delaware, L, Minnesota, O, Texas?
[Here’s where I sent up a beacon for help … and was rescued by a friend who requested anonymity but gave me the tiniest nudge.]
That SE corner is just … bad, with XXLI, WXY, etc — why? Okay, there’s 1D, 3E, 3L, 2M, 2N, 2O, 2T, 2X — maybe some of these these are supposed to correspond? The two XX entries are:
Wwhhooaa! MAXXXXLI! or … XXLIMAXX! MALI and LIMA are both places, like RIO or UTTAR PRADESH … I sense a breakthrough. Wonder if we can make new words with the other paired entries, particularly the ones with “bookended” double letters?
MMA + GRAMM = AGRA
OOZES + TOO = ZEST
EELY + RESEE = LYRES
LLAMA + TILL = AMATI
As frequent crossword solvers are quite aware, the entry for a clue like [28a: The Taj Mahal is there] is more often AGRA, but in this grid, the entry is UTTAR PRADESH (AGRA’s state). Are there other clues that could also be satisfied by the double-letter-bookend-generated words?
[19a: Brand of bar soap]: OLAY == ZEST
[49a: One of ten largest cities in South America]: RIO DE JANEIRO == LIMA
[9d: Stringed instruments]: FIDDLES == LYRES
[52d: Big name in violins]: STRAD == AMATI
Put the new words in grid number order and you get L Z A L A which is … not a five-letter word, and not our answer — but the first letters of the original entries spell out F O U R S — which is indeed a five-letter word, and is indeed “Double Stuff” (i.e. double the doubled letters in the entries) and our answer.
Wwheww. Definitely a satisfying conclusion to the solve, tho the final result felt a little shaky. Your thoughts?