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Not Quite Shakespeare (Meta)

· By benchen71 · Published 2024-05-14T06:00:44.810Z

Meta Prompt
The answer to the meta is a Shakespearean play
As I write this "The Aristocats" is trending on TikTok for people mimicking the goose-waddle scene. But the line that stuck in my mind was when Duchess says to Thomas O'Malley, "Oh, c'est tres jolie, monsieur. Very poetic. But it is not quite Shakespeare." That wasn't the seed for this meta puzzle but it will do for the introduction! The answer to the meta is a Shakespearean play. Answer & explanation: https://www.xword-muggles.com/viewtopic.php?p=167168#p167168
Check out "The MOAT MEOW Mashup Pack" here: https://www.ephesusscroll.com/about/interest4.html. US$10 gives you access to 14 metas that don't always abide by the "rules" of the game. You won't quite know what to expect: asymmetry, 2-letter words, uncrossed letters, sometimes all of those, and sometimes none! One thing is for sure, these are some of the more creative metas my brain has been able to come up with. And there's more: this time there's a mega-meta!
Checking for previous play data...

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Comments

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  • benchen71 constructor · 2024-05-14T06:00:44.810Z
    The seed for this puzzle was encountering CAPLET in someone else's crossword and thinking, "Oh, that's one letter short of CAPULET. That could be a meta puzzle!" But it wasn't until I was on a school camp accompanying 10 high schoolers as we canooed down the Murray River, sleeping in tents on beaches at night, that I started working on the puzzle properly. What was significant about this was that there was absolutely no internet. So I had to dredge my mind for Shakespearean character names that still formed valid words when you drop one letter. Pretty early on I worked out I wanted to spell MUCH ADO with ZIP/NIL in the centre of the grid. Of course I already had the U. PU(C)K came pretty easily, as did VIOL(A) and ROME(O). But I was stuck on M, H and D. Then one restless night (I didn't sleep very well on the wafer-thin semi-inflatable microscopic "mattress" I had been given) I came across (D)UNCAN and its clue involving whoop-ass. I considered (H)ORATIO, but could only think of ORATORIO so dismissed it. It wasn't until I was back in civilisation (somewhere with internet) that I was able to confirm ORATIO as a (Latin) thing and discover that (M)ARIA was a Shakespearean character, albeit somewhat obscure.
    • woozy 14:02 · 2024-05-14T06:21:15.429Z
      Ha! That was a breeze.
      Very enjoyable.
      • DrTom 5s · 2024-05-14T15:39:13.024Z
        No the breeze (or technically the wind) is called Mariah not Maria.😂
      • Ergcat 11:27 · 2024-05-14T12:07:24.328Z
        Very nice puzzle! I didn’t even connect the zip/nil in the center as the rest of MUCH ADO! Clever!
        • boharr 3s · 2024-05-14T12:16:13.666Z
          Thanks, Ben.
          • MatthewL 🤓8:09 · 2024-05-14T13:11:36.947Z
            Very nice. Love the ZIP/NIL in the middle. Thanks for the puzzle, Ben!
            • lbray53 4s · 2024-05-14T13:33:02.549Z
              I also loved the "nothing" crossed combo in the center. Nice puzzle.
              • Dave C 3s · 2024-05-14T13:53:14.898Z
                Fun
                • ajk 8:16 · 2024-05-14T15:26:21.740Z
                  Nice one. As a big Shakespeare fan I didn't need the asterisks except for M ARIA, who is indeed a bit obscure (though once pointed to ARIA I got it immediately). Tumbled to the mechanism basically immediately upon entering CAPLET, but still fun to complete. Also missed the ZIP/NIL (but did notice the news on the RIALTO). Fun stuff, thanks.
                  • Meg 2s · 2024-05-14T13:31:57.315Z
                    Pronunciation is everything. I kept pronouncing MUCHADO like MUCHACHO. Ha ha!
                    • Philip Chow 🤓9:08 · 2024-05-14T17:56:04.457Z
                      me too!! i forgot about the prompt as i was doing the puzzle and thought the answer was a shakespeare character... so i was like who is muchado?? must be some character from a play i'm unfamiliar with... great puzzle ben thanks!
                    • woozy 14:02 · 2024-05-14T15:33:26.217Z
                      Oh! ZIP, NIL in the center! I get it!
                      As soon as did the grid so far as ORATIO I had figured what it had to be with MU?H...........
                      • Carolyn 2s · 2024-05-14T15:29:54.772Z
                        That was delightful, especially the middle!
                        • DrTom 5s · 2024-05-14T15:37:54.856Z
                          I was Leary at first but I Shrewdly found the way to the Hamlet of Verona and across the bridge. Unfortunately I got a spot on my tunic Bottom. Luckily I was able to find a cleaner who, in a Tempest, yelled "out, out damn spot!' and it miraculously disappeared. Thanks for the puzzle but I have to go now, it is thundering, lightning and raining and I have two friends to meet...my turn to bring the cauldron. Cheers Ben.
                          • DrTom 5s · 2024-05-14T15:41:59.664Z
                            Wow, like others, I did not connect ZIP/NIL I just knew it was Much Ado About Nothing. An extra masterful touch. Doing this from memory must have been a labor of love, and that is not lost on us.
                            • kurtalert 🤓5:19 · 2024-05-14T16:12:49.405Z
                              OK... so, silly me found WAY more characters hidden in here. Here's my total list:
                              Maria (love's labour's lost and twelfth night)
                              deNnis (as you like it)
                              capUlet (romeo & juliet)
                              pucK (a midsummer night's dream)
                              CLown (had to add 2 letters, doesn't fit perfectly)
                              poEt (timon of athens)
                              Page (richard iii)
                              violA (twelfth night)
                              Duncan (macbeth)
                              Biron (love's labour's lost)
                              romeO (romeo & juliet)
                              There was also Duke Senior (as you like it) and Earl of Kent (King Lear) which needed a little more addition.
                              Fortunately- when I arranged MNUCHCLEPADBO or MNUCHEPADBO vertically, I was able to sort of see MUCH ADO in there- but it took me way longer than it should have. LOL.
                              • DrTom 5s · 2024-05-14T17:01:28.911Z
                                I saw a lot of words I could change as well, but I stuck with the "But soft, what light from yonder asterisk breaks..." and that leadeth me home.😁
                              • Steve M 44:00 · 2024-05-14T17:26:58.220Z
                                I really enjoyed this, despite not knowing a lot of details about Shakespeare plays. Noticed (H)ORATIO, ROME(O), and CAP(U)LET, and Google helped with the rest. Thanks for the fun puzzle!
                                • An Ephemeral Collation 🤓6:43 · 2024-05-14T18:58:07.474Z
                                  Very, very well done! My only comment even resembling criticism being that 4-D intersects 24-A in a way that if you don't know 24-A (which I certainly did not - seems to be outside of my region?), you could argue that an N in that place instead of a D would also satisfy the 4-D clue. Luckily, there are so many ways that 4-D could be clued that could avoid that alternative interpretation. Loved the puzzle and how natural the meta was. Thanks again!
                                  • kurtalert 🤓5:19 · 2024-05-14T20:42:29.260Z
                                    This is what I get for having absolutely no interest whatsoever in literature in high school, and having to rely on Google to give me a list of all 1200+ characters from Shakespeare's works- I think the only ones I spotted on my own were Romeo, Capulet, and Horatio. I was pretty sure RIALTO was going to be one, and possibly PRAC and TICS... NOPE. Sigh.
                                    • benchen71 constructor · 2024-05-14T23:04:11.804Z
                                      Sounds like you missed the asterisks in the relevant clues!
                                      • kurtalert 🤓5:19 · 2024-05-15T16:40:59.113Z
                                        Oh lord. LMAO. All that searching and I miss the obvious thing staring me right in the face.
                                    • KayW 🤓6:45 · 2024-05-14T20:36:21.275Z
                                      Bravo, Ben! That was clever and so much fun! Thanks
                                      • Laura M 🤓9:34 · 2024-05-14T21:17:18.883Z
                                        Very nice! Almost managed it without Google, but I didn't remember Maria and wanted to confirm, though with the other letters it was easy to guess. (I thought Ariel for a minute, but wrong spelling!)
                                        • HeadinHome 🤓5:28 · 2024-05-14T21:30:32.018Z
                                          No google needed (English major and former English teacher), though I did not remember Maria. I thought maybe I was misremembering how to spell Ariel, but the other letters cleared that up. Such a fan girl I named several batches of hens after Shakespearean heroines. A couple are still living (Bianca and Kate). I have had two Desdemonas suffer tragic fates so I retired that name…
                                          • benchen71 constructor · 2024-05-14T23:05:42.907Z
                                            We have chickens, too, and yes, it is very tempting to give them old-sounding names!
                                          • imontoo 4s · 2024-05-15T03:58:24.181Z
                                            Very enjoyable. Thanks, Ben!
                                            • Eric H 🤓8:36 · 2024-05-15T17:24:47.704Z
                                              I’m not sure what name is hidden in 1A. I originally thought you had misspelled ARIEL, which gave me a nonsensical meta answer. Is there a Shakespearean MARIA?
                                              Fun puzzle.
                                              • benchen71 constructor · 2024-05-15T21:02:48.927Z
                                                Yes, indeed! MARIA is in Twelfth Night.
                                              • whimsy 🤓13:57 · 2024-05-16T00:35:22.852Z
                                                Forsooth, this was delightful! Thanks, Ben!
                                                • benchen71 constructor · 2024-05-16T02:07:02.518Z
                                                  Thou art muchly welcome!
                                                • Qmark 3s · 2024-05-17T19:37:11.852Z
                                                  another great meta...thanks Ben! (no nudges needed)
                                                  • Capn Rick 3s · 2024-05-17T21:20:44.503Z
                                                    Nice one, Ben!
                                                    1A
                                                    * "O mio babbino caro", for example
                                                    1
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                                                    61
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                                                    63
                                                    64
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                                                    66
                                                    67
                                                    68
                                                    Across
                                                    1. 1A
                                                      * "O mio babbino caro", for example
                                                    2. 5A
                                                      Carnival dance
                                                    3. 10A
                                                      Pairs
                                                    4. 14A
                                                      "Other" category (abbr.)
                                                    5. 15A
                                                      Stop following on YouTube, say
                                                    6. 16A
                                                      Garment edges
                                                    7. 17A
                                                      Experiment in sci. class
                                                    8. 18A
                                                      Patron saint of France
                                                    9. 19A
                                                      Southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes
                                                    10. 20A
                                                      "Oui, monsieur" (but south of the border)
                                                    11. 22A
                                                      * Oval-shaped pill
                                                    12. 24A
                                                      * 8-digit code unique to a SIM card
                                                    13. 25A
                                                      Seal's ex, Heidi ___
                                                    14. 26A
                                                      Time machine in a 2010 movie
                                                    15. 29A
                                                      * Public speech in Latin
                                                    16. 33A
                                                      Nervous twitches
                                                    17. 34A
                                                      California wine region
                                                    18. 37A
                                                      Utterly defeat (in sports)
                                                    19. 38A
                                                      Fangorn, for example (OK, he's also known as Treebeard)
                                                    20. 39A
                                                      Move quickly
                                                    21. 40A
                                                      Middy in Melbourne
                                                    22. 41A
                                                      Number that inexorably increases each year
                                                    23. 42A
                                                      Hoodwinked
                                                    24. 45A
                                                      El ___ (weather phenomenon)
                                                    25. 46A
                                                      Shooting star
                                                    26. 48A
                                                      Imperfection
                                                    27. 50A
                                                      * Baroque stringed instrument
                                                    28. 52A
                                                      Evergreen tree
                                                    29. 53A
                                                      Commercial center of Venice
                                                    30. 55A
                                                      Line in baseball jargon for a .200 batting average, the supposed minimum threshold for competence at the Major League level
                                                    31. 59A
                                                      Character on "Scrubs" with a penchant for innuendo and high-fives (with "The")
                                                    32. 60A
                                                      * Open some whoop-ass, perhaps
                                                    33. 62A
                                                      Monopoly token replaced by a cat
                                                    34. 63A
                                                      42 down alternative
                                                    35. 64A
                                                      Blue and red aquarium fish
                                                    36. 65A
                                                      Do, re or mi played backwards for learning purposes?
                                                    37. 66A
                                                      Loch ___ monster
                                                    38. 67A
                                                      Bagpipe reed that plays the tonic of the chanter
                                                    39. 68A
                                                      * The Eternal City
                                                    Down
                                                    1. 1D
                                                      Ammeter units, for short
                                                    2. 2D
                                                      Headliner of the Super Bowl LVII halftime show, to fans
                                                    3. 3D
                                                      "Stupid ___ stupid does" (Forrest Gump line)
                                                    4. 4D
                                                      Goes along with
                                                    5. 5D
                                                      Japanese number puzzles
                                                    6. 6D
                                                      Male ant (in older sources)
                                                    7. 7D
                                                      Web portal for Windows and mobile devices
                                                    8. 8D
                                                      LeSabre maker
                                                    9. 9D
                                                      David's long-haired layabout son (and he wasn't lazy, if you know what I mean!)
                                                    10. 10D
                                                      Louise's partner in a 1991 movie
                                                    11. 11D
                                                      Prefix for "rabbit" in an Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit movie
                                                    12. 12D
                                                      Leave out
                                                    13. 13D
                                                      Direction with bearing 157.5 degrees
                                                    14. 21D
                                                      Bolt fastener
                                                    15. 23D
                                                      Aqua ___ ("pure water" in Latin)
                                                    16. 26D
                                                      Pivotal mechanism
                                                    17. 27D
                                                      Eight-piece band
                                                    18. 28D
                                                      Clown with his own TV show
                                                    19. 30D
                                                      Debate issue
                                                    20. 31D
                                                      "You can't make me!"
                                                    21. 32D
                                                      Suspicious of
                                                    22. 33D
                                                      Side in a sport
                                                    23. 35D
                                                      Lowest score in soccer
                                                    24. 36D
                                                      Columnist's piece
                                                    25. 42D
                                                      63 across alternative
                                                    26. 43D
                                                      Resonant and imposing (of a person's voice)
                                                    27. 44D
                                                      "Attack is the secret of ___" (Sun Tzu, as translated by someone from the US)
                                                    28. 45D
                                                      More into geeky interests
                                                    29. 47D
                                                      Eludes
                                                    30. 49D
                                                      Shark presence give-away
                                                    31. 51D
                                                      Solitary type
                                                    32. 53D
                                                      Coil on a sailboat
                                                    33. 54D
                                                      Mid-month date
                                                    34. 55D
                                                      Sean Penn's sister-in-law, Aimee ___
                                                    35. 56D
                                                      "___ put it another way..."
                                                    36. 57D
                                                      Close-up lens
                                                    37. 58D
                                                      Second or fourth of six (Henry the 8th reference)
                                                    38. 59D
                                                      Perfect score in gymnastics
                                                    39. 61D
                                                      Mimic a dove
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