AVCX Contest, “Tag Team”,

untimed (Ben) 


The AVCX’s submission window for last Wednesday’s contest puzzle from Paolo Pasco and BANKSY* is closed. Here’s the answer!

AVCX 7/7/21 – “Tag Team”

Last week’s AVCX was only available as a PDF, and in true Banksy style, the middle was graffiti’d over with the word SOCIETY.  I remedied the situation by solving that part of the grid in silver sharpie, but for maximum readability, made a mixed-media composition before uploading the screenshot at right by applying some post-it notes, graphite, and packing tape.  In addition to tagging the grid in his typical style, Banksy has also tagged the clues in typical fashion.

Various clues in the grid are italicized, with a revealer smack dab in the middle of the graffiti’d section:

  • 19A: Dessert whose name means “cooked cream” — PANNA COTTA
  • 21A: Style for Selena and Shakira — LATIN POP
  • 34A: Perils for some soldiers? — ANT TRAPS
  • 47A: Flatbread snack bit — PITA CHIP
  • 60A: Battle that led to the Emancipation Proclamation — ANTIETAM
  • 63A: With everything in its place — NEAT AS A PIN

That revealer is 39A’s PAINT THINNER – “Stuff that could clean up the center of this grid, as well as the answers to the six italicized clues”.  Using this as a suggestion to “thin” the letters P-A-I-N-T from the italicized answers, you’re left with the meta answer:


COLOR SCHEMES, which is a perfectly “pithy way to describe [Banksy’s] little pranks”

Solving the puzzle didn’t take too long, but this was a really fun presentation for this idea, and all props to Paulo and Ricky Cruz, who provided the Banksy-esque art.


This is what plays in my head every time I see “JFMAMJJASOND”, as in “JFMAMJJASOND makeup, for short” at 45D.

Elsewhere in the grid, it was nice to find Rita ORA (who closes out the podcast Who Weekly every week with their “What’s Rita Up To?” segment), RENEE Elise Goldsberry, who’s “Angelica to Philippa’s Eliza” and also fantastic on Girls5Eva, PISAN, COAT AND TIE, and TUNNEL (“You can dig it!”)

Take care, all!

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9 Responses to AVCX Contest, “Tag Team”,

  1. Matt Gaffney says:


    • Pete Muller says:


    • Kristin-G says:

      After completing that puzzle, I actually thought one of you two (Matt or Pete) might be Banksy given the skill with which it was created. Maybe Paolo? Guess their identity is still a mystery! :) Very well-done puzzle!

  2. Sheik Yerbouti says:

    Really innovative puzzle. The meta was not so hard once I finished the grid, but neat to involve the solver in actually making the grid and figuring out the structure as part of the solving process.

  3. Craig says:

    I’m new to AVCX but I always thought a theme was distinctly different than a meta. Like for this puzzle there I think anything particularly hidden with the italic clues. I’d call that the theme. A meta would be something like all the theme clue numbers are also number codes for valid colors that make the rainbow. Or that the two letter things are also initials of graffiti artists. Something like that.

    • Daniel Barkalow says:

      A meta is where part of the solved puzzle acts as a clue to some particular answer. You take the italicized clues and get their (regular) answers, and the revealer clue and get its (regular) answer, and then these answers form another puzzle (apply PAINT THINNER to PANNA COTTA, …) that has an answer. Because it’s an answer about answers, it’s a meta answer. The defining characteristic isn’t the subtlety or referentialness of the hidden elements, it’s that they clue an answer.

  4. Me says:

    I may just need more coffee, but what is the connection between COLOR SCHEMES and Banksy? A lot of his work is in black and white. I don’t think of color as playing a role very much.

  5. david glasser says:

    Would this be a diagramlessish puzzle?

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