Fireball Contest — April 20, 2022

Grid: 10 minutes; Meta: 15 more 


Peter Gordon’s Fireball contest, “Number Two Number” — Conrad’s review

This month, we are asked, What four-letter word is hinted at by this puzzle? I spotted the themers/theme right away: each long horizontal entry contained a US vice president:

  • [Jazz guitarist in the Quintette du Hot Club de France]: DJAN(GORE)INHARDT
  • [Title vampire hunter in a 2012 movie]: ABRA(HAMLIN)COLN
  • [Téa Leoni TV series of the 2010s]: M(ADAMS)ECRETARY
  • [Partner of “caviar dreams” in Robin Leach’s sign-off]: CHAMP(AGNEW)ISHES

Now: to find step 2. My first rabbit hole was mapping each vice president to their president, and then map the number of each president back to the respective grid square. That worked for John ADAMS (George Washington was the first president, and grid square #1 is a “C”), but started breaking down because we’ve had more vice presidents than presidents: Joe Biden is the 46th president, and Kamala Harris is the 49th vice president. Also: George Clinton and John C. Calhoun served under multiple presidents, further skewing the numbers. I found this handy numbered list of vice presidents, and everything fell into place:

FB Contest – 4.22.2022 - Solution

FB Contest – 4.22.2022 – Solution

  • Al GORE: 45 -> V
  • Hannibal HAMLIN: 15 -> I
  • John ADAMS: 1 -> C
  • Spiro AGNEW: 39 -> E

The mapped grid squares spell VICE, our contest solution. A surgical meta by Peter, mapping perfectly to the title, with a 100% click. It may be a well-known trivia factoid to others, but I was today years old when I learned that ABRAHAM LINCOLN contains his own vice president as a substring, which is pretty neat.

We’ll end with a live version of Tina Turner’s Better Be Good to Me, which was featured on the Miami Vice Soundtrack.

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