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PCC#15 "It's a Numbers Game, so They Say"

· By Philip Chow · Published 2023-11-14T00:26:30.981Z

Meta Prompt
[Level 2] Meta prompt: The answer to the meta is the name of a crossword constructor
Hint 1: the three grid spanners have a part of their clue italicized and bold
Hint 2: The italicized/bold clues relate in some way to their respective entries... "numbers" from the title gets us thinking about numbers... can you match each answer to a number?
Hint 3: for example, the entry "par for the course" has the clue "PGA Masters"... when you google "PGA Masters par, you'll find that the par for the entire course is 72
Hint 4: similarly do the same for "playing the field"... you can google how many players are on an American football or soccer team (use the number for one team on the playing field, not both teams combined), and for "why am I so unlucky?," googling "fear of Triscuits Friends" yields a very specific word
Hint 5: "so they say"... instead of first letter extraction, or first letter clue extraction, just say the entries aloud from the 3 relevant numbers you found... you may need to google for the correct spelling of the crossword constructor's name in case you are not familiar with this puzzle's dedicatee
Checking for previous play data...

Leaderboard (updated hourly)

  • merlinnimue solved 2023-11-14T01:04:05.373Z
  • Capn Rick solved 2023-11-14T02:37:42.537Z
  • FrankieHeck solved 2023-11-14T03:12:15.942Z
  • grandperoxide solved 2023-11-14T03:47:49.864Z
  • Larry Edelstein solved 2023-11-14T05:51:22.149Z
  • Nick solved 2023-11-14T07:44:17.257Z
  • Hector solved 2023-11-14T15:59:28.902Z
  • AxelPlays solved 2023-11-14T18:19:15.633Z
  • damefox solved 2023-11-14T21:43:25.824Z
  • Sendhil Revuluri solved 2023-11-14T23:22:07.499Z
  • kurtalert solved 2023-11-15T01:25:58.899Z
  • dooiemus solved 2023-11-16T07:21:00.641Z
  • Katiedid solved 2023-11-16T19:04:47.984Z
  • KayW solved 2023-11-16T19:20:49.734Z
  • benchen71 solved 2023-11-16T20:13:48.151Z
  • Cindy Weatherman solved 2023-11-16T21:50:06.686Z
  • Meg solved 2023-11-16T22:52:07.782Z
  • BrennerTJ solved 2023-11-16T23:14:09.967Z
  • heidi solved 2023-11-16T23:46:31.017Z
  • woozy solved 2023-11-17T00:26:00.982Z
  • Alex Sisti solved 2023-11-17T14:52:32.676Z
  • DrTom solved 2023-11-17T18:46:23.728Z
  • Mwoychick solved 2023-11-17T19:38:04.925Z
  • whimsy solved 2023-11-17T20:17:55.010Z
  • Abide solved 2023-11-20T04:01:50.129Z
  • LesY solved 2023-11-20T09:49:36.670Z
  • SeamusOL solved 2023-11-24T06:19:02.336Z
  • Rufus T Firefly solved 2023-11-24T21:25:27.824Z
  • Laura M solved 2023-11-26T20:15:03.203Z
  • hoover solved 2023-11-28T22:34:14.317Z
  • LarsCaine solved 2023-11-30T21:45:21.345Z
  • Gutman solved 2023-12-01T19:33:38.542Z
  • Darrell solved 2023-12-05T06:52:13.552Z
  • DIS solved 2023-12-08T16:16:03.602Z
  • Flora Wynn solved 2024-01-19T23:10:58.798Z
  • Pair O Ducks solved 2024-01-30T20:52:47.653Z
  • Qmark solved 2024-05-05T13:35:43.865Z


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  • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-11-14T00:37:19.241Z
    answer explanation: there are 11 players on an NFL or soccer team for PLAYINGTHEFIELD... triskaidekaphobia alluded to in the Triscuits clue is fear of the number 13 which is considered an unlucky number for WHYAMISOUNLUCKY... and PARFORTHECOURSE is 72 for the Masters golf tournament... Sound out the answers for 11D, 13A, 72A in order and we get the meta answer of MAT GAFFE KNEE = Matt Gaffney, the father of meta puzzles and a crossword constructor I admire and draw inspiration from. You can check out Matt's weekly crossword contest here:
    Why the oversized grid? That's so I can fit in a 72... The numbers I chose correspond to a date (so the title and the three grid-spanners are somewhat 'dating' related)... I thought it would cute to string together 11/13/72 to wish Matt Gaffney a happy birthday! 🎉
    • DrTom 19:23 · 2023-11-17T18:49:31.413Z
      What a cool Easter Egg and tribute!
    • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-11-14T01:29:15.425Z
      some just for fun links:
      scene from "Friends" for 39A:
      scene from "The Simpsons" for 34D:
      how Justin Trudeau's butt went viral for 36D:
      Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name):
      the song references to "call me by your name" and "when you call my name" were supposed to be nudges to call out the name of the meta answer (by reading the correct numbered entries aloud)
      and since Carvel isn't nationwide, not everyone got to grow up with the magic of Fudgie the Whale... here's an old commercial: and the wiki page:
      • hoover 7s · 2023-11-28T22:36:19.137Z
        Thank you for explaining Justin Trudeau's butt. I kinda wondered about that one.
      • Capn Rick 14:40 · 2023-11-14T02:39:45.404Z
        Nice job, Philip. Matt is one of my idols too.
        • Nick 🤓9:56 · 2023-11-14T07:44:41.158Z
          Loved this!! Very fun meta and a great puzzle throughout.
          • Hector 🤓9:20 · 2023-11-14T16:00:30.156Z
            How meta! Thanks, Philip.
            • Sendhil Revuluri 4:50 · 2023-11-14T23:23:19.565Z
              Another very impressive puzzle — clever meta and clean and fresh underlying grid!
              1A reminded me of this poem:
              • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-11-15T00:36:48.690Z
                thank you for sharing the spoken word piece... I'm not familiar with Guante but I'm a fan now - that was so eloquently done and such a powerful message
              • KayW 🤓8:29 · 2023-11-16T19:24:24.852Z
                I confess I needed the hints (and had never heard of the "fear of triscuits" so I learn something new every day). But a fun solve - thanks for sharing the puzzle and the links. Hope to see more from you.
                • Philip Chow constructor · 2023-11-16T20:01:11.937Z
                  thank you for solving! no shame in using hints - i include them upon release of all my puzzles for instant gratification 😈
                • woozy 🤓12:22 · 2023-11-17T00:27:55.281Z
                  Great debut! I went with letters first but a double check and it was clear and clean. Great job.
                  • Alex Sisti 3s · 2023-11-17T14:53:07.309Z
                    Loved it... Where have you been!! And come back often!
                    • DrTom 19:23 · 2023-11-17T18:48:16.988Z
                      It does help if you spell correctly. I got the meta, entered MATT GAFFNET by mistake and then spent another 10 minutes trying to see what else the answer could possibly be. Fun puzzle Philip.
                      • hoover 7s · 2023-11-28T22:34:45.372Z
                        Your spelling is fine; it's your tpying that needs owrk.
                        • DrTom 19:23 · 2023-11-30T02:39:36.939Z
                          Su Troe!!
                      • whimsy 🤓15:23 · 2023-11-17T20:26:28.153Z
                        Oversized is great -- more to enjoy -- especially since it allowed you to put in all those terrific components! Thanks, Phil!
                        • Laura M 🤓8:37 · 2023-11-26T20:15:52.506Z
                          • DIS 🤓6:52 · 2023-12-08T16:16:34.360Z
                            Great puzzle! Looking forward to seeing more.
                            • Flora Wynn 🤓6:37 · 2024-01-19T23:15:19.853Z
                              Loved this puzzle—but fell down a slight rabbit hole because of all the clues marked (2 words), (3 words), etc.
                              • Philip Chow constructor · 2024-01-20T00:59:09.339Z
                                Thank you for solving! I only realize now that that can be confusing especially since the title referenced “numbers”… by convention, I usually don’t add those to my puzzles but sometimes I do when I feel like the puzzle difficulty (not the meta difficulty) is on the harder side… I really should be more consistent
                              "Grow ___!" ("Man up!")
                              1. 1A
                                "Grow ___!" ("Man up!")
                              2. 6A
                                Palindromic emoticon representing a cute anime face
                              3. 9A
                                Bullets, bombs, and shells, for short
                              4. 13A
                                Social blunder
                              5. 14A
                                Condé ___ (magazine publisher)
                              6. 16A
                                Amphibian sometimes licked to induce hallucinations
                              7. 17A
                                Home to Deception Island
                              8. 19A
                                Feed the kitty, in poker
                              9. 20A
                                Spanish verb sometimes confused with "estar"
                              10. 21A
                                Small batteries
                              11. 22A
                                Super Mario ___ (Nintendo racing game)
                              12. 24A
                                Not tied down [NFL or soccer team]
                              13. 29A
                                Warning on flea market merchandise
                              14. 30A
                                "___ et amo" (opening line of a Catullus poem that translates to "I hate and I love")
                              15. 31A
                                Caviar source
                              16. 32A
                              17. 35A
                                Polearm used by British Army officers at the Battle of Culloden (which becomes a flat-bottomed boat if you chop off the first letter)
                              18. 37A
                                Short-lived castle material
                              19. 38A
                                "Them's fightin' words!"
                              20. 39A
                                Perpetually single person's lament [not a fear of Triscuits as Ross guessed on "Friends"]
                              21. 45A
                                Had ___ in flames (had failed catastrophically)
                              22. 46A
                                ___ worthy (consider to be suitable)
                              23. 47A
                                English county known for its cider and Cheddar cheese, and where the city of Bath is located
                              24. 50A
                                Traditional Valencian saffron-flavored rice dish
                              25. 52A
                                "Blonde" Best Actress nominee de Armas
                              26. 53A
                                "Turning Red" protagonist with the ability to transform into a giant red panda
                              27. 54A
                                Morning TV host Kelly
                              28. 55A
                                "Not great but it's what I expected" [PGA Masters]
                              29. 61A
                                Fontanne's Broadway partner
                              30. 62A
                                Milk sources for some Himalayan cheese
                              31. 63A
                              32. 64A
                                Gazed upon
                              33. 66A
                                Popular bagel flavor
                              34. 69A
                                When repeated, a former National Zoo giant panda
                              35. 70A
                                Lego founder Ole Kirk Cristiansen, by birth
                              36. 71A
                                Sudden forward thrust
                              37. 72A
                                Target for a little rubber hammer, in reflex testing
                              38. 73A
                              39. 74A
                                Alternative to foils and sabres, in fencing
                              1. 1D
                                Audibly shocked
                              2. 2D
                                Committee appointed to judge a competition
                              3. 3D
                                SAG-___ (Hollywood union whose strike finally ended a few days ago)
                              4. 4D
                                "___ tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
                              5. 5D
                                Put a bluffer in a tough spot, perhaps
                              6. 6D
                                Removes ID from, as a Facebook photo
                              7. 7D
                                What do you call a belt made of watches? a ___ of time!
                              8. 8D
                                The Trojans of the NCAA
                              9. 9D
                                Pioneering video game company originally named Syzygy
                              10. 10D
                                Lil Nas X song subtitled "Call Me by Your Name" with the lyric "tell me you love me in private"
                              11. 11D
                                Welcome ___ (item outside a front door)
                              12. 12D
                                Work of tribute, such as Chloe McCarrick's cyanotype artwork "Enchantress of Number (___ to Ada Lovelace)"
                              13. 15D
                                Dismantle, as a Christmas tree after the holidays
                              14. 18D
                                ___ Major (constellation with Sirius, the "Dog Star")
                              15. 23D
                                "We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as ___ resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live" (line from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address)
                              16. 25D
                                Distance covered in advancing the ball, in American football
                              17. 26D
                                Energizes, in slang (and what could be punny name for a brewery)
                              18. 27D
                                ___ roll (toilet paper, to a Brit)
                              19. 28D
                                Hibernation spot
                              20. 32D
                                Direction from Tilghman Island, MD to Richmond, VA
                              21. 33D
                              22. 34D
                                Computer "key" that Homer Simpson couldn't find on the keyboard to start working from home
                              23. 35D
                                Hearty pub offering
                              24. 36D
                                Canadian Prime Minister Justin with a nice butt
                              25. 38D
                                Happy cry from someone who finally deciphers a Magic Eye picture
                              26. 40D
                                "The Book of ___" (Broadway musical comedy about missionaries attempting to preach their faith to a remote Ugandan village)
                              27. 41D
                                Put in, as coins in a vending machine
                              28. 42D
                                Single frame of animation
                              29. 43D
                                Actor Mitchell who reunited with his comedy partner Kenan Thompson for "Good Burger 2" (scheduled to be released next week)
                              30. 44D
                                Peruvian singer Sumac with an impressive vocal range whose name can anagram to another girl's name ("Back to Black" singer Winehouse), which can also anagram to another girl's name ("All My Girls" singer J.), which can also anagram to another girl's name (one-named "It's All About Me" singer)
                              31. 47D
                                Maple syrup source
                              32. 48D
                                Words before roll or streak
                              33. 49D
                                Woman of whom John Hiatt sang "when you call my name... I'm in love with you"
                              34. 50D
                                Very selective
                              35. 51D
                                Philip in the Bible, for one
                              36. 54D
                                ___ its ugly head (caused trouble after not having done so for awhile)
                              37. 56D
                                Ingredient in Carvel's Fudgie the Whale (don't overthink this one, it's in the name)
                              38. 57D
                                "Laughing" scavenger of Africa
                              39. 58D
                                River valley known for Riesling wine
                              40. 59D
                                Burn slightly
                              41. 60D
                                Easy-to-spot jigsaw pieces that most people usually start with
                              42. 64D
                                Wild animal you can hunt for in the game "Oregon Trail"
                              43. 65D
                                Yang's counterpart in Chinese philosophy
                              44. 67D
                                Large chemical container, like the one Jack Napier fell into to become the Joker
                              45. 68D
                                Start of a drill instructor's count