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: 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 at 1:04 on 11/14/2023
  • Capn Rick solved at 2:37 on 11/14/2023
  • FrankieHeck solved at 3:12 on 11/14/2023
  • grandperoxide solved at 3:47 on 11/14/2023
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  • Nick solved at 7:44 on 11/14/2023
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  • Alex Sisti solved at 14:52 on 11/17/2023
  • DrTom solved at 18:46 on 11/17/2023
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  • Laura M solved at 20:15 on 11/26/2023
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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 PLAYINGTHEFIELD24ANot tied down ***[NFL or soccer team]*** (3 words)[---------------]... triskaidekaphobia alluded to in the Triscuits clue is fear of the number 13 which is considered an unlucky number for WHYAMISOUNLUCKY39APerpetually single person's lament ***[not a fear of Triscuits as Ross guessed on "Friends"]*** (5 words)[---------------]... and PARFORTHECOURSE55A"Not great but it's what I expected" ***[PGA Masters]*** (4 words)[---------------] is 72 for the Masters golf tournament... Sound out the answers for 11D11DWelcome ___ (item outside a front door)[---], 13A13ASocial blunder[-----], 72A72ATarget for a little rubber hammer, in reflex testing[----] in order and we get the meta answer of MAT11DWelcome ___ (item outside a front door)[---] GAFFE13ASocial blunder[-----] KNEE72ATarget for a little rubber hammer, in reflex testing[----] = 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 39A39APerpetually single person's lament ***[not a fear of Triscuits as Ross guessed on "Friends"]*** (5 words)[---------------]:
      scene from "The Simpsons" for 34D34DComputer "key" that Homer Simpson couldn't find on the keyboard to start working from home[---]:
      how Justin Trudeau's butt went viral for 36D36DCanadian Prime Minister Justin with a nice butt[-------]:
      Lil Nas X - MONTERO10DLil Nas X song subtitled "Call Me by Your Name" with the lyric "tell me you love me in private"[-------] (Call Me By Your Name):
      John Hiatt - MARLENE49DWoman of whom John Hiatt sang "when you call my name... I'm in love with you"[-------]:
      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!
              1A1A"Grow ___!" ("Man up!") (2 words)[-----] 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
                          "Grow ___!" ("Man up!") (2 words)
                          1. 1A
                            "Grow ___!" ("Man up!") (2 words)
                          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] (3 words)
                          13. 29A
                            Warning on flea market merchandise (2 words)
                          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!" (2 words)
                          20. 39A
                            Perpetually single person's lament [not a fear of Triscuits as Ross guessed on "Friends"] (5 words)
                          21. 45A
                            Had ___ in flames (had failed catastrophically) (2 words)
                          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] (4 words)
                          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?" (2 words)
                          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 (2 words)
                          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) (2 words)
                          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) (2 words)
                          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 (3 words)
                          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 (2 words)
                          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