Friday, October 21, 2011

Campaign election analyst Silver / 10-22-11 / Strip since 1961 that's printed in black white / Narrative set in Bronze Age / Role for Young

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: The solution of the week-long metapuzzle 

Word of the Day: GUYS (40A: Insults playfully) —
tr.v., guyed, guy·ing, guys.
To hold up to ridicule; mock.
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"CROSS" WORDS CONTEST week! All the puzzles this week, from Monday to Saturday, have been created by one person, Patrick Berry. Have your solutions handy, because the Saturday puzzle conceals a meta-challenge involving the solution grids of all six. When you have the answer to the meta-challenge, mail it to: Please do not post your answers here on the blog and please do not mail them to me! Only answers e-mailed to the above address will be considered. Twenty-five correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6:00 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Oct. 23, will receive copies of “Will Shortz Picks His Favorite Puzzles: 101 of the Top Crosswords From The New York Times.” Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners’ names will appear on Friday, Oct. 28, at
• • •

Hard to evaluate a puzzle like this, which is essentially a decoder ring. Never did like instructions in my answer grid, but at least today there's a reasonable-sized payoff.

In the interest of ... I don't know what ... the integrity of the contest? Whatever the reason, I think I won't reveal the solution to the metapuzzle. I will, however, reveal the instructions provided in this puzzle, as they are the only thing that could pass for a "theme" today:

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Find contest's meta-answer by reading THE FIRST LETTERS of these clues.
  • 42A: Solvers must FILL EVERY CIRCLE in the grids to determine the grids' proper order.
If you are really trying to avoid spoilers, I would suggest you stay away from the comments section today. But then, if you were avoiding spoilers, you probably wouldn't be reading this sentence right now. At any rate, I'll reveal the meta-answer on Monday, after the contest entry window has closed.

About the grid: Biggest surprise was finding out that NATE Silver is crossworthy (13A: Campaign/election analyst ___ Silver). Good for him. I follow him on Twitter and find his statistical analyses of politics fascinating. I was surprised to find that A-ROD has only been A-ROD since '99 (16A: Nickname since 1999), even though he broke into the league (first full season) in '96. Slapped my head when I *finally* figured out what 12D: Second or sixth in a series was (ADAMS). I was thinking "ALEPH ... is first in a series ... so ... what?" Toughest part for me by far was everything around GUYS (new meaning of the word, for me) and esp. "SPY VS. SPY" (35D: Strip since 1961 that's printed in black and white) which looks *insane* in the grid. I worked and reworked that area a bunch because I was convinced that the letter sequences I was getting for that answer must be wrong. Just now noticing that that elusive [Kite part] was a BEAK. So, you know, *that* kind of "kite." I had TAIL there, at first, of course ... hmm, *that* kind of "kite" also has a tail. Couldn't process what was meant by [Astronomical appearance]—so much so that the "P" in PHASE ended up being the very last thing I put in the grid. Seven PINES???? (29A: Seven ___ (Civil War battle site)) Could've been VINES or TINES or MINES, as far as I was concerned.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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