Resolution to Evan Birnholz’s Nov. 27 crossword, “The Lengthy and the In need of It”


Thanksgiving is now previous us, however the December holidays are arising quickly, so right here’s a present suggestion for the puzzle lover in your loved ones. The movie firm A24 has launched a book of 99 movie crosswords, edited by Anna Shechtman and constructed by a number of puzzle writers (a few of whom are entertainers within the movie and TV enterprise). It options puzzles that vary from simple to exhausting and it touches on completely different areas of movie data, however understanding the oldsters concerned, I’d say you’d be in for time.

The directions to the meta say we’re on the lookout for a five-letter American firm. There are 5 starred solutions to get you began:

  • 23A: [*Key term in many EPA publications] is HAZMAT.
  • 43A: [*NYC film festival locale] is TRIBECA.
  • 72A: [*Annual Nov. challenge for aspiring authors] is NANOWRIMO.
  • 103A: [*Military org. that’s part of the U.S. Department of Defense] is CENTCOM.
  • 126A: [*Gummy candy company that expanded to the U.S. in 1982] is HARIBO.

So, simply 5 apparent theme solutions, totaling solely 35 letters between them. That’s not a whole lot of actual property for a Sunday-size grid, in order that should imply there’s extra at work on this puzzle than simply these entries.

Step one is to note that each one 5 of those solutions are made up of abbreviated phrases, and their clues trace at that with abbreviations of their very own. Really, there’s a useful time period for this sort of phrase: a syllabic abbreviation, which strings collectively syllables of various phrases to type a single phrase.

What would possibly the second step be? Properly, since you could have abbreviated phrases in these 5 solutions, what in the event you wrote out these abbreviations in full? It might take some Googling in the event you don’t know them off the highest of your head, but it surely’s simple sufficient to search out what all of them stand for:

  • HAZMAT → Hazardous Supplies
  • TRIBECA → Triangle Beneath Canal
  • NANOWRIMO → Nationwide Novel Writing Month
  • CENTCOM → Central Command
  • HARIBO → Hans Riegel Bonn

The third step is the true key to fixing the meta. Do you keep in mind seeing a few of these longer phrases whereas fixing the puzzle? They’re not within the grid, however you’ll discover them within the first phrases of 14 completely different clues. Right here they’re in thematic order:

  • 112D: [Hazardous blanket] is SMOG.
  • 32A [Materials used in basketry] is REEDS.
  • 11D: [Triangle after gamma] is DELTA.
  • 2D: [Below the correct pitch] is FLAT.
  • 66D: [Canal in the folk song “Low Bridge, Everybody Down”] is ERIE.
  • 59A: [National emblem of Wales] is LEEK.
  • 111D: [Novel on a Nook] is EBOOK.
  • 105A: [Writing implements] is PENS.
  • 47A: [Month for the Boston Marathon] is APRIL.
  • 87A: [Central Chinese city] is XIAN.
  • 12D: [Command from a monarch] is EDICT.
  • 7A: [Hans attends her coronation in “Frozen”] is ELSA.
  • 119A: [Riegel who provided the voice of Donatello on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”] is SAM.
  • 109D: [Bonn river] is RHINE.

Now what? The primary letters of these solutions in that order seem to type gibberish. However there’s one other logical means you may get them organized. Take those self same entries in grid order, from prime to backside:

  • 2D: FLAT
  • 7A: ELSA
  • 11D: DELTA
  • 12D: EDICT
  • 32A: REEDS
  • 47A: APRIL
  • 59A: LEEK
  • 66D: ERIE
  • 87A: XIAN
  • 105A: PENS
  • 109D: RHINE
  • 111D: EBOOK
  • 112D: SMOG
  • 119A: SAM

Now, take the primary letters of these 14 solutions in that order, and also you spell out FEDERAL EXPRESS. That’s the lengthened title of the five-letter American firm (and syllabic abbreviation) FEDEX. There’s our meta reply.

One of many starred solutions has private significance for me in that I did NaNoWriMo as soon as, again in Nov. 2009. The problem is to jot down 50,000 phrases of an authentic novel in simply 30 days. For most individuals it’s not possible to start out and end a well-written and totally polished novel in that brief a time frame, so that you simply let go of no matter nervousness you could have in regards to the story’s high quality and simply write as a lot as you may. I made it to the 50,000-word objective, although I’d say I used to be possibly solely one-third of the best way by way of the novel I used to be engaged on. I by no means acquired round to ending it and it in all probability wasn’t what you’d name a “good story” or “one thing that has a distant probability of ever getting printed,” however that’s not the purpose of NaNoWriMo. The entire objective was simply to get artistic and have enjoyable within the course of, and it was remarkably enjoyable to jot down. Maybe at some point I’ll strive it once more if I’ve the time. For anybody who’s collaborating this yr, you solely have a number of days left, so good luck on making it to 50,000 phrases … and in the event you can’t get there, give your self a pat on the again for nevertheless a lot you have been capable of accomplish.

The one potential theme reply I used to be saddest to depart out of the puzzle was BIMONSCIFICON. Longtime followers of “The Simpsons” will acknowledge that because the Bimonthly Science Fiction Conference, which had a hilarious gag when it was first launched in 1998. I didn’t depart it out of the grid as a result of it will be a complete thriller for readers who don’t watch “The Simpsons.” I left it out as a result of I didn’t know what to do with the primary two syllables. The phrase is rendered on the present as Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con, and that makes 5 syllables from 4 phrases. I wasn’t positive if I ought to use one clue beginning with “Bimonthly,” or two clues beginning with “Bi” and “Month-to-month.” The previous can be extra correct for the abbreviation, however it will even be inconsistent with the opposite theme solutions since none of them use two syllables hinting on the similar phrase.

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