Peter Gordon’s Fireball contest, “What a goof!” — Conrad’s review
This month, we are asked, What TV character is the apt final answer to this puzzle? The theme entries all have pairs of O’s:
- [17a: Common car feature]: MOONROOF
- [19a: Hairnets]: SNOODS
[40a: Song with the lyric “If you don’t get a letter then you’ll know I’m in jail”]: TOOTTOOTTOOTSIE
- [61a: Billing Partner]: COOING
- [64a: “Fun to wear” garments with superhero motifs]: UNDEROOS
Additionally: 4d (‘Write “Make a goof” instead of “Make a go of,” say’ – ERR) and 2d (‘Eager student’s shout’ – OHOH) seem important.
The clue for ERR really threw me off. I kept trying to put spaces between the O’s (such as “MO ON ROOF”, wondering if a TV character named MO (No “E”) was featured on a roof in a famous episode. That approach went nowhere. I spun my wheels for a while, sensing a simple meta that I simply was not seeing. I finally asked my solving pal Gideon for a nudge, and he told me to simply look at the grid and focus on the O’s. Ignoring ERR was key: I had previously looked at the letters before and after the O’s; I finally looked at the letters above and below the O’s and saw it: the letters below the O’s spell HANNA BARBERA BEAR. Yogi Bear comes to mind first, but that has no real connection to the meta. BOO-BOO BEAR fits the theme, and is our (apparent) meta answer.
This is a simple mechanism; I feel like I must be missing some nuance in 4d that lead me deeply astray. Readers: please let me know what I missed. I am unaware of any Boo-Boo Bear-relevant songs, so I’ll end with the Screaming Blue Messiahs‘ I Wanna Be a Flintstone.