Celebrate Xmas (Meta)

· By benchen71 · Published 2022-12-20T05:00:04.667Z

Meta Prompt
The answer to the meta is what X replaces
Happy holidays, everyone! Here's a puzzle that will, I trust, help you focus on the reason for the season. The answer to the meta is what X replaces. The following note may help after you've started completing the grid: The tricksy squares can be filled with Xs, following the Xmas theme. Answer & explanation:
Check out "The MOAT MEOW Mashup Pack" here: 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...

Leaderboard (updated hourly)

  • kieranjboyd solved 2022-12-20T05:11:35.090Z
  • SeamusOL solved 2022-12-20T05:13:17.677Z
  • Dow Jones solved 2022-12-20T06:50:26.093Z
  • woozy solved 2022-12-20T06:58:02.214Z
  • markhr solved 2022-12-20T08:38:57.721Z
  • Hector solved 2022-12-20T11:33:45.169Z
  • edestlin solved 2022-12-20T12:22:34.058Z
  • rjy solved 2022-12-20T12:42:10.657Z
  • Ergcat solved 2022-12-20T13:32:03.948Z
  • Capn Rick solved 2022-12-20T13:33:40.047Z
  • MrTheHan solved 2022-12-20T13:53:20.825Z
  • Cindy Heisler solved 2022-12-20T13:54:17.253Z
  • Dave C solved 2022-12-20T14:05:59.014Z
  • Cindy Weatherman solved 2022-12-20T14:31:50.912Z
  • boharr solved 2022-12-20T14:35:11.490Z
  • dplass solved 2022-12-20T15:38:15.406Z
  • Darth solved 2022-12-20T15:51:48.826Z
  • Bird Lives solved 2022-12-20T16:01:38.897Z
  • Meg solved 2022-12-20T16:15:14.942Z
  • DIS solved 2022-12-20T16:30:19.498Z
  • Tyrpmom solved 2022-12-20T16:42:46.146Z
  • spotter solved 2022-12-20T16:53:50.726Z
  • Carolyn solved 2022-12-20T16:59:36.691Z
  • CPJohnson solved 2022-12-20T16:59:41.748Z
  • heidi solved 2022-12-20T17:51:33.452Z
  • DrTom solved 2022-12-20T17:54:48.485Z
  • kymike solved 2022-12-20T18:11:47.253Z
  • hoover solved 2022-12-20T18:42:22.096Z
  • Gutman solved 2022-12-20T19:14:37.165Z
  • HeadinHome solved 2022-12-20T19:24:58.107Z
  • KayW solved 2022-12-20T19:47:30.830Z
  • imontoo solved 2022-12-20T20:30:56.206Z
  • Jaclyn solved 2022-12-20T20:40:24.212Z
  • ajk solved 2022-12-20T20:55:10.494Z
  • jbird solved 2022-12-20T20:59:33.776Z
  • lbray53 solved 2022-12-20T21:11:23.745Z
  • Laura M solved 2022-12-20T21:16:57.162Z
  • DebbieC solved 2022-12-20T21:30:23.603Z
  • ReB solved 2022-12-20T21:49:49.041Z
  • Darrell solved 2022-12-20T23:25:14.232Z
  • BarbaraK solved 2022-12-20T23:26:05.342Z
  • SJMcK solved 2022-12-20T23:31:28.922Z
  • Mikey G solved 2022-12-21T02:07:48.227Z
  • I K Snamhcok solved 2022-12-21T04:28:46.023Z
  • Abide solved 2022-12-21T04:45:38.753Z
  • whimsy solved 2022-12-21T05:06:58.456Z
  • Alex Sisti solved 2022-12-21T15:16:04.819Z
  • Johnny Luau solved 2022-12-21T19:01:52.189Z
  • Charles Montpetit solved 2022-12-21T20:09:46.232Z
  • wendy walker solved 2022-12-21T22:27:18.668Z
  • ChrisCross solved 2022-12-22T02:44:44.423Z
  • Spid4567 solved 2022-12-22T05:01:03.796Z
  • Jeremy Smith solved 2022-12-22T07:12:04.679Z
  • Jim Dean solved 2022-12-25T05:43:32.757Z
  • amy nelson solved 2022-12-29T12:15:04.628Z
  • Samik solved 2022-12-30T14:24:13.762Z


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  • Dow Jones 4s · 2022-12-20T07:04:23.550Z
    That was an outstanding grid and meta (one of your best). Have a Merry Christmas, Ben.
    • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-20T07:32:18.978Z
      Thanks! And right back at ya re the Chrissie greetings!
    • woozy 18:33 · 2022-12-20T06:58:46.707Z
      Okay. THat was fun. For a very light and easy one for a change.
      • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-20T07:32:43.264Z
        Consider it my Christmas present to you! ;)
        • dplass 5:41 · 2022-12-20T15:38:38.932Z
          Totally disagree... but at least after revealing the grid I was able to get the meta...
          • woozy 18:33 · 2022-12-20T17:27:55.435Z
            Oh, the grid was tricky but once you got the hang of it it was fun. The meta itself was a little bit on the too easy side, though... but just a little. Still fun.
        • markhr 26:38 · 2022-12-20T08:44:17.925Z
          Well done, Ben. Merry Christmas!
          • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-20T10:36:18.612Z
            And to you!
          • Hector 3s · 2022-12-20T11:34:14.218Z
            Thanks, Ben, enjoyed this one (again)!
            • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:11:16.381Z
              You're welcome!
            • Ergcat 18:26 · 2022-12-20T13:35:09.716Z
              Very nice! Gets me in the Xmas spirit for sure! I love the “Reason for the Season”!
              • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:10:45.910Z
                You're welcome!
              • Capn Rick 10:59 · 2022-12-20T13:34:54.332Z
                Great job, Ben! Enjoyed the rebuses! Merry Christmas!
                • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:10:35.536Z
                  Merry Christmas to you, too!
                • Cindy Heisler 2s · 2022-12-20T14:01:34.575Z
                  Perfect puzzle for this holiday week. Merry Christmas, Ben!
                  • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:10:19.066Z
                    Merry Christmas to you, too, Cindy!
                  • Dave C 3s · 2022-12-20T14:07:00.902Z
                    Nice for Christmas week.
                    • Bird Lives 4s · 2022-12-20T16:02:29.116Z
                      Solved it. Hallelujah, he chorused.
                      • Darth 🤓8:33 · 2022-12-20T15:52:15.915Z
                        Loved it! Thanks, Ben! Merry Christmas!
                        • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:10:00.043Z
                          You're welcome. Do they have Christmas on the Death Star? Or should I wish you a happy Life Day?
                        • Tyrpmom 2s · 2022-12-20T16:43:49.179Z
                          Merry Christmas. Thanks Ben.
                          • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:09:10.641Z
                            Merry Christmas to you, too!
                          • Carolyn 3s · 2022-12-20T17:00:39.903Z
                            Very nice! Have a wonderful Christmas.
                            • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:08:54.036Z
                              Thanks, and the same to you!
                            • woozy 18:33 · 2022-12-20T17:32:30.739Z
                              47A47ASome people prefer this on their Xmas pudding instead of custard[------] Ah, the great custard/ice cream debate....
                              Neither! Hard sauce! Butter, brown sugar, and rum whipped to an icing consistency.
                              • hoover 6s · 2022-12-20T18:43:13.750Z
                                I think the problem is not with the custard/ice cream; it's with the pudding.
                                • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:08:23.384Z
                                  I'm a big fan of Chrissie pud!
                                • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:08:42.544Z
                                  I had some of that hard sauce just the other day: extremely yummy!
                                • DrTom 4s · 2022-12-20T17:56:32.043Z
                                  Well you Handled that nicely! Merry Xmas; I turned the X upside down because of the different hemisphere, but it seemed to make no difference?
                                  • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:08:05.732Z
                                    You are absolutely right: our Xs look just like the ones in the US! And a happy Christmas to you, too!
                                  • kymike 3s · 2022-12-20T18:12:07.913Z
                                    Merry Christmas!
                                    • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:07:15.912Z
                                      Same to you!
                                    • hoover 6s · 2022-12-20T18:42:41.345Z
                                      Enjoyed the grid!
                                      • HeadinHome 🤓4:02 · 2022-12-20T19:27:22.736Z
                                        Thoroughly enjoyed! I don’t remember ever using the rebus button on Crosshare… nifty! Also, my recollection of John 10 was “ that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter…”. That’s Hanukkah? Huh. Cool.
                                        • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:07:09.939Z
                                          Yes, I believe that Hanukkah is also known as the Feast of Dedication, that is, when the Temple was rededicated following Antiochus Epiphanes' earlier defilement.
                                        • KayW 9:52 · 2022-12-20T19:48:18.462Z
                                          Very clever, thanks! Have a wonderful Christmas holiday, Ben
                                          • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:06:04.457Z
                                            Thanks, Kay. Hope you have a great Christmas, too!
                                          • imontoo 3s · 2022-12-20T20:31:30.657Z
                                            Fun one, Ben!
                                            • Laura M 🤓15:30 · 2022-12-20T21:18:42.011Z
                                              eXcellent meta, and Merry Christmas to you!
                                              • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:05:37.319Z
                                                Thanks, Laura. And a merry Christmas to you, too!
                                              • ReB 4s · 2022-12-20T21:54:11.011Z
                                                I had to HANDEL with care to arrive at the reason for the season. Nice light Xmas treat, no misdirection or rabbit holes.
                                                And a merry Christmas to you, Ben.
                                                • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:05:16.919Z
                                                  Thanks, and the same to you!
                                                • I K Snamhcok 2s · 2022-12-21T04:29:30.679Z
                                                  Very nice, Ben! Have your best Christmas!
                                                  • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:05:04.608Z
                                                    Thanks, you too!
                                                  • SJMcK 20:40 · 2022-12-21T04:57:21.190Z
                                                    The ‘X’ thing didn’t make sense to me. You don’t put an ‘X’ in a rebus box, and the boxes themselves weren’t arranged in an ‘X’ shape.
                                                    • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:04:26.404Z
                                                      Putting Xs in the tricksy squares follows the Xmas theme. It would have worked beautifully for those solving using the PUZ file!
                                                    • whimsy 23:51 · 2022-12-21T05:11:23.339Z
                                                      Very, very nice! Thank you Ben! I guess it wouldn't do to wish you a White Christmas, but have a good one anyway!
                                                      • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T08:04:54.154Z
                                                        A white Christmas here usually involves hail. It's not unknown!
                                                      • boharr 3s · 2022-12-21T13:32:42.239Z
                                                        Merry Christmas!
                                                        • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-22T05:29:19.796Z
                                                          And to you!
                                                        • Alex Sisti 3s · 2022-12-21T15:16:22.079Z
                                                          Good one... Merry Christmas, brother!
                                                          • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-22T05:29:11.031Z
                                                            Thanks, Al. Merry Christmas to you, too!
                                                          • Charles Montpetit 🤓3:42 · 2022-12-21T20:30:10.823Z
                                                            Abridging "Hanukkah" as "Xukkah" is an interesting take. This said, if it's not too late, you might was to fix the "opportunties" in the clue to 1a1APlant that is used at Xmas to engineer awkward kissing opportunities[------]. Also, do you always eschew the rules against unckecked squares (the central F) and two-letter entries (35d35DBout ender, for short[--] and 41d41D"I agree"[--]), yet remain a fond proponent of symmetry? I'm only asking because, in the context of a meta, any departure from the norm, might be perceived as a solving hint, including a typo in a clue...
                                                            • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-21T20:45:59.287Z
                                                              I'll fix the typo. I try to avoid unchecked letters and two letter words as much as possible. But sometimes they become impossible to avoid due to all the required meta entries!
                                                            • wendy walker 4s · 2022-12-21T22:27:45.395Z
                                                              Fun! Merry Christmas, Ben!
                                                              • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-22T01:45:31.653Z
                                                                Thanks, Wendy. Merry Christmas to you, too!
                                                              • ChrisCross 🤓10:41 · 2022-12-22T02:52:21.326Z
                                                                Very fun. I think this was the best grid for a MOAT I've done (but I always like Rebuses). I could have spent a long time on this meta, I only bothered to check the initials of the rebus blocks as a formality before planning to go full-force down a rabbit hole.
                                                                • benchen71 constructor · 2022-12-23T04:25:40.938Z
                                                                  Glad you enjoyed it!
                                                                Plant that is used at Xmas to engineer awkward kissing opportunities
                                                                1. 1A
                                                                  Plant that is used at Xmas to engineer awkward kissing opportunities
                                                                2. 7A
                                                                  Prefix meaning "equal"
                                                                3. 10A
                                                                  Public vehicle
                                                                4. 13A
                                                                  Jujitsu relative
                                                                5. 14A
                                                                  Chest bone
                                                                6. 15A
                                                                  Xmas drink made with rum or brandy
                                                                7. 17A
                                                                  One of the Wayans
                                                                8. 18A
                                                                  Da Vinci or DiCaprio or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
                                                                9. 20A
                                                                  Finish by
                                                                10. 21A
                                                                  Bitter criticism
                                                                11. 22A
                                                                12. 25A
                                                                13. 26A
                                                                  JPEG alternative with a controversial pronunciation
                                                                14. 27A
                                                                  US federal purchasing org.
                                                                15. 30A
                                                                  Christen with oil or water, perhaps
                                                                16. 32A
                                                                  Spanish greeting
                                                                17. 34A
                                                                  What you hope to find inside an Xmas turkey
                                                                18. 35A
                                                                  Nicole Kidman's other half, ___ Urban
                                                                19. 40A
                                                                  Former male student of a school or college
                                                                20. 42A
                                                                  National drink of England (including a serving suggestion)
                                                                21. 43A
                                                                  Xmas character based on a bishop with a penchant for secret gift-giving, informally
                                                                22. 44A
                                                                23. 46A
                                                                  Fossil fuel
                                                                24. 47A
                                                                  Some people prefer this on their Xmas pudding instead of custard
                                                                25. 49A
                                                                  Spanish gold
                                                                26. 50A
                                                                  Dye container
                                                                27. 53A
                                                                  Fall back
                                                                28. 54A
                                                                  Zeta follower
                                                                29. 55A
                                                                  Popular alternative to a star on Xmas trees
                                                                30. 57A
                                                                  Arthur Miller's salesman, Willy ___
                                                                31. 62A
                                                                  "As God is my witness!"
                                                                32. 64A
                                                                  "Stranger Things" actress, ___ Ryder
                                                                33. 65A
                                                                34. 66A
                                                                  East Berlin was its capital (abbr.)
                                                                35. 67A
                                                                  Odor-reducing plumbing fittings
                                                                36. 68A
                                                                  Works in a gallery
                                                                37. 69A
                                                                38. 70A
                                                                  Festival that Jesus attended in John 10, celebrated around the time of Xmas
                                                                1. 1D
                                                                2. 2D
                                                                  Property claim
                                                                3. 3D
                                                                  Barely managed, with "out"
                                                                4. 4D
                                                                  "30 Rock" actress, ___ Fey
                                                                5. 5D
                                                                  The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement
                                                                6. 6D
                                                                7. 7D
                                                                  Offline, briefly
                                                                8. 8D
                                                                  What you do a lot of panning for gold
                                                                9. 9D
                                                                  Instrumentalist who helps tune an orchestra
                                                                10. 10D
                                                                  Person asking for money or food
                                                                11. 11D
                                                                12. 12D
                                                                  "Me also"
                                                                13. 16D
                                                                  Game with clubs and caddies
                                                                14. 19D
                                                                  To the ___ degree
                                                                15. 23D
                                                                  Well ventilated (but expressed negatively)
                                                                16. 24D
                                                                17. 27D
                                                                  Give up the ___ (die)
                                                                18. 28D
                                                                  Answer, for short
                                                                19. 29D
                                                                  German-based supermarket chain
                                                                20. 31D
                                                                21. 33D
                                                                  Start of a 26 letter series
                                                                22. 35D
                                                                  Bout ender, for short
                                                                23. 36D
                                                                  And so forth (abbr.)
                                                                24. 37D
                                                                  "Me also"
                                                                25. 38D
                                                                  Pull apart
                                                                26. 39D
                                                                  Circle of light in many paintings of The Nativity
                                                                27. 41D
                                                                  "I agree"
                                                                28. 42D
                                                                  Robert De Niro and Al Pacino movie directed by Michael Mann
                                                                29. 44D
                                                                  Frequent collaborator of Jody Hill, Danny ___
                                                                30. 45D
                                                                  Concert souvenir, for short
                                                                31. 47D
                                                                  One of these took down the Titanic
                                                                32. 48D
                                                                  Big hit for Courtney Love's band, Hole
                                                                33. 50D
                                                                  Composer of the "Chariots of Fire" theme
                                                                34. 51D
                                                                  On the briny
                                                                35. 52D
                                                                  Babel construction
                                                                36. 53D
                                                                  Clean air org.
                                                                37. 56D
                                                                38. 58D
                                                                  About .62 mi.
                                                                39. 59D
                                                                  Person with a tonsure, probably
                                                                40. 60D
                                                                  "two turtle doves, ___ partridge..."
                                                                41. 61D
                                                                  Lead singer of the band Sixpence None the Richer, Leigh ___
                                                                42. 63D
                                                                  Uno + due
                                                                43. 64D
                                                                  City in China that was mentioned in a lot of news broadcasts at the beginning of 2020