Toe the Line

· By Wendy Walker · Published 2023-07-02T12:00:43.285Z

Meta Prompt
The meta answer is a summer hazard.
Welcome to this week's Summer Sunday Substitute! I don't want to tell you too much about its origin right now, as that would provide a big hint. Thanks to Abide for the title and a little reworking. I hope you have fun with it -- just don't get carried away! Nudges will appear early this afternoon. Deadline is Saturday morning.
Checking for previous play data...

Leaderboard (updated hourly)

  • Capn Rick solved at 14:15 on 7/1/2023
  • THC solved at 12:33 on 7/2/2023
  • lbray53 solved at 12:59 on 7/2/2023
  • Meg solved at 13:31 on 7/2/2023
  • Cindy Weatherman solved at 13:34 on 7/2/2023
  • boharr solved at 13:53 on 7/2/2023
  • MatthewL solved at 14:34 on 7/2/2023
  • whimsy solved at 14:38 on 7/2/2023
  • Qmark solved at 15:48 on 7/2/2023
  • Tyrpmom solved at 15:49 on 7/2/2023
  • Hector solved at 16:51 on 7/2/2023
  • Carolyn solved at 16:54 on 7/2/2023
  • KayW solved at 17:38 on 7/2/2023
  • Bird Lives solved at 17:40 on 7/2/2023
  • woozy solved at 17:46 on 7/2/2023
  • Katiedid solved at 17:57 on 7/2/2023
  • Cindy Heisler solved at 19:11 on 7/2/2023
  • BarbaraK solved at 19:57 on 7/2/2023
  • CPJohnson solved at 20:03 on 7/2/2023
  • HeadinHome solved at 20:18 on 7/2/2023
  • GR solved at 20:25 on 7/2/2023
  • markhr solved at 20:58 on 7/2/2023
  • rjy solved at 21:34 on 7/2/2023
  • ReB solved at 22:07 on 7/2/2023
  • Ergcat solved at 22:23 on 7/2/2023
  • heidi solved at 22:36 on 7/2/2023
  • Gutman solved at 0:55 on 7/3/2023
  • David Clyde solved at 1:50 on 7/3/2023
  • michaelm solved at 2:31 on 7/3/2023
  • Dow Jones solved at 3:59 on 7/3/2023
  • Schmeel solved at 4:06 on 7/3/2023
  • BethA solved at 16:55 on 7/3/2023
  • Alex Sisti solved at 17:16 on 7/3/2023
  • ajk solved at 17:26 on 7/3/2023
  • andeux solved at 21:41 on 7/3/2023
  • DrTom solved at 3:14 on 7/4/2023
  • Rufus T Firefly solved at 16:37 on 7/4/2023
  • DIS solved at 17:19 on 7/5/2023
  • hoover solved at 17:37 on 7/5/2023
  • Matt A solved at 18:29 on 7/6/2023
  • Abide solved at 21:52 on 7/6/2023
  • Sanne solved at 21:15 on 7/7/2023
  • Julie bookworm solved at 3:40 on 7/8/2023
  • Tane solved at 6:51 on 7/8/2023
  • SJ solved at 18:39 on 7/8/2023
  • Flora Wynn solved at 22:02 on 7/10/2023
  • sledge solved at 13:20 on 7/12/2023


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  • Capn Rick 🤓3:12 · 2023-07-02T12:00:43.285Z
    Hi Wendy! Nice meta! I couldn't resist. 😁
    • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T12:00:43.285Z
      Thanks, Rick! Glad you liked it!
    • THC 🤓1:21 · 2023-07-02T12:38:24.191Z
      Thanks, Wendy! Grrreat SSSubstitute!
      • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T13:33:22.968Z
        ThankSSS! Glad you enjoyed it!
      • Meg 3s · 2023-07-02T13:32:22.766Z
        Great puzzle, Wendy! I clearly made it harder than necessary.
        • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T17:23:39.707Z
          Thanksss, Meg!
        • boharr 2s · 2023-07-02T13:54:33.821Z
          Thanks, Wendy. Enjoy the 4th.
          • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T17:23:59.378Z
          • MatthewL 🤓4:22 · 2023-07-02T14:35:53.641Z
            Very nice, Wendy! Thanks for the puzzle.
            • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T17:24:14.410Z
              You are very welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!
            • whimsy 🤓6:19 · 2023-07-02T14:45:55.552Z
              Very nice! I did have to go back and reread the instructions about not getting carried away before I caught on. But in my solving travels this AM, I did learn about Queenie the waterskiing elephant and Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel, so there's always something positive. :-) Thanks, Wendy!
              • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T17:24:42.171Z
                "Don't Get Carried Away" was actually the original title!
                • ReB 3s · 2023-07-02T22:21:04.318Z
                  That title I suspect would have led me more quickly to the mechanism, once I started to think about what could carry you away. (I certainly wouldn't have been trying in vain to construct lines within the grid.)
              • Qmark 3s · 2023-07-02T15:50:22.721Z
                Thanks Wendy! A very appropriate summer solve.
                • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T17:24:53.835Z
                  So glad you solved!
                • Tyrpmom 2s · 2023-07-02T15:50:35.112Z
                  Nicely done.
                  • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T17:25:05.395Z
                    Thanks very much!
                  • Carolyn 2s · 2023-07-02T16:55:06.332Z
                    Very nice!
                    • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:24:42.844Z
                      Thank you!
                    • KayW 🤓3:41 · 2023-07-02T17:45:03.515Z
                      Another winner, Wendy! Based on your comment (about getting carried away), I was looking for that answer. But needed to be nudged into the metanism current. Thanks!
                      • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:24:34.636Z
                        Good job! Like I told Whimsy, "Don't Get Carried Away" was my original title for the puzzle!
                      • woozy 🤓13:03 · 2023-07-02T17:48:53.808Z
                        • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:23:57.172Z
                        • Bird Lives 4s · 2023-07-02T17:45:58.315Z
                          My first guess -- "Rip current undertow" -- was incorrect. I figured you can't have too many summer hazards. Then I limited it to just one.
                          (I just now looked at the nudges, and even if I'd looked at them first, I'd still have made the same mistake.)
                          • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:25:18.628Z
                            I liked your Summer & Smoke suggestion, Jay!
                          • HeadinHome 🤓1:45 · 2023-07-02T20:19:21.727Z
                            I still like my original, un-acceptable answer: STUBBED TOES! (there ARE five of them!). ( :
                            Good job, original Wendy!
                            • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:23:40.724Z
                              Thanks, Other Wendy! That is an excellent summer hazard -- but would I really have put TOE in the title?!
                            • GR 5s · 2023-07-02T20:26:33.892Z
                              full disclosure: needed the nudge since I couldn't see anything going on in the grid at first
                              • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:23:02.084Z
                                I loved finding TOTO34ABand who sang "Hold the Line"[----] as an entry!
                              • ReB 3s · 2023-07-02T22:17:03.624Z
                                First three nudges just confirmed what I'd seen; I had to do a bit of free association with the last nudge before the AHA moment hit me. Well done.
                                Regarding the title, while TOE is a homophone with the multiple TOs, I don't quite see what the phrase TOE THE LINE was supposed to lead to. I kept trying to find lines between the TOs that spelled out something (+/- "E"s). Was that phrase intended as a prompt for TOW LINE? Or something else?
                                • Abide 🤓3:51 · 2023-07-02T23:13:11.686Z
                                  "Toe the Line" was to get you thinking about pronouncing the "TO"s as "TOE/TOW". The TOTO34ABand who sang "Hold the Line"[----] clue "Hold the Line" also reinforced that.
                                  • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:26:49.893Z
                                    It was meant to jog your brain when you encountered the five TO's in the grid and also point you toward the "Hold the Line" clue.
                                  • Ergcat 5:40 · 2023-07-02T22:37:32.361Z
                                    I guess the title “under tow” would have been too obvious!
                                    • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:22:28.076Z
                                      Yeah, you guys are way too smart for that!
                                    • Ergcat 5:40 · 2023-07-02T22:25:33.345Z
                                      That was fun, Wendy! Based on the title, I went in thinking “riptide” but then it was “rip current” . You say “tomato”, I say “tomahto”! Thank you!
                                      • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-02T23:22:05.141Z
                                        So glad you solved! During our vacation in the Outer Banks the strong winds really whipped up the surf and we were warned repeatedly, every place we visited, about the dangerous rip currents -- which actually have nothing to do with the tide, it turns out!
                                      • michaelm 🤓6:17 · 2023-07-03T02:38:07.244Z
                                        Thanks Wendy! A late SSSunday solve and all TOes now safely in the sand. Have a wonderful extended holiday weekend and please keep the metas coming!
                                        • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-03T13:43:41.202Z
                                          Thank you ssso much for your kind words!
                                        • BethA 4s · 2023-07-03T17:06:38.386Z
                                          I have a big backlog of regular and meta crosswords, but hadn’t tried any SSS before, so gave it a try yesterday afternoon. A quick stress-free solve! Yay! Have to say that I got another AHA just before submitting here, when I checked to see if the answer was one or two words! Well, maybe a HA-HA and an AHA!! I hadn’t quite made the connection to undertow. Thanks for the puzzle!
                                          • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-03T20:29:34.695Z
                                            So glad you solved my puzzle, Beth!
                                          • ajk 🤓3:24 · 2023-07-03T20:49:36.656Z
                                            So nudge 4 got me to TOW, and that plus summer hazard got me to undertow, which got me to under TO. Is that how it was supposed to work? :)
                                            • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-05T12:22:17.840Z
                                              Pretty much!
                                            • kurtalert 🤓2:44 · 2023-07-03T21:31:03.974Z
                                              Argh. Saw all the TOs, but foolishly was focused just on the letter below the T for some reason, didn't see anything obvious there, and moved on. What a dummy!
                                              • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-05T12:23:03.351Z
                                                Yeah, but you solved eventually!
                                              • DrTom 3s · 2023-07-04T03:22:08.022Z
                                                Red faced I admit I needed all the nudges and more. I got stuck with trying to move the words to the end of the line. and then putting TO and summer hazard together (particularly in light of the recent QB death in Florida) and coming up with UNDERTOW. Stupidly I did NOT think to look under TO. My other guess was TOENADO!
                                                • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-05T12:23:36.687Z
                                                  Well done, Dr. Tom!
                                                • hoover 3s · 2023-07-05T17:37:56.389Z
                                                  Lordamighty. I entered every variation of STUBBED TOE(S) I could think of. Then entered UNDER TOW. And then finally thought to look UNDER the TOs. Headslap!
                                                  • Wendy Walker constructor · 2023-07-08T11:35:58.642Z
                                                    So glad you solved!
                                                  Hiker's map, for short
                                                  1. 1A
                                                    Hiker's map, for short
                                                  2. 5A
                                                    Cover with buttercream or ganache, say
                                                  3. 10A
                                                    "Je ne regrette ___"
                                                  4. 11A
                                                    Compartmentalized lunchbox
                                                  5. 12A
                                                    Soothing succulent
                                                  6. 13A
                                                    Some 1980s desktops
                                                  7. 15A
                                                    One who "knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing" (Oscar Wilde)
                                                  8. 17A
                                                    She has played Elle, June, and Madeline
                                                  9. 18A
                                                    Crème ___ crème
                                                  10. 20A
                                                    Even score
                                                  11. 21A
                                                    Infamous square in Beijing
                                                  12. 24A
                                                    Unit of resistance
                                                  13. 25A
                                                    It's known as pop in some places
                                                  14. 26A
                                                  15. 28A
                                                    One-___ (slanted, as a newspaper story)
                                                  16. 32A
                                                    Uses elbow grease
                                                  17. 34A
                                                    Band who sang "Hold the Line"
                                                  18. 35A
                                                    Ed who played Mary's boss
                                                  19. 36A
                                                    Broadway version of "La Bohème"
                                                  20. 37A
                                                  21. 38A
                                                    Periods of history
                                                  1. 1D
                                                    ___ II (discontinued Gillette razor)
                                                  2. 2D
                                                  3. 3D
                                                    Worker at the bottom of the pecking order
                                                  4. 4D
                                                    Lake near Syracuse, NY
                                                  5. 5D
                                                    J. Edgar Hoover's org.
                                                  6. 6D
                                                    Creates a new marketing strategy, say
                                                  7. 7D
                                                    "That's ___" ("Mea culpa")
                                                  8. 8D
                                                    Fla. city
                                                  9. 9D
                                                    Alarm sounded with bells
                                                  10. 14D
                                                  11. 16D
                                                  12. 19D
                                                    Philosopher ___-tzu
                                                  13. 21D
                                                    Kick ___ down the road (pass the buck)
                                                  14. 22D
                                                    With "on," take advantage of
                                                  15. 23D
                                                    ___ d'hotel
                                                  16. 24D
                                                    Photo ___ (grip-and-grins)
                                                  17. 27D
                                                  18. 29D
                                                    One who pitches in
                                                  19. 30D
                                                    Volcano in Sicily
                                                  20. 31D
                                                    Brand of gummy candies
                                                  21. 33D
                                                    Last year's jrs.