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A Practical Joke

· By Devoid · Published 2024-04-01T15:25:35.479Z

Meta Prompt
Four thematic across entries have one letter omitted in the grid. Two down entries have the same four-letter word omitted in the grid. Once all clues have been solved, this word appears in the grid and should be replaced by the four letters absent from the thematic across clues. This completes the puzzle and reveals the theme (5,5). The meta answer is the paradoxical phrase which describes the removal of the four-letter sequence from the puzzle (5,2,2,4). All cross-references use answers to the clues, rather than grid-entries.
Since this is a bit complicated, here are some optional hints:
Hint 1: none of the thematic across clues mentioned above have cross-references. Hint 2: however, some of them are cross-referenced by other clues. Hint 3: you’ve probably already seen the word that gets removed from those down entries today. Hint 4: those down entries are placed in the grid symmetrically. Hint 5: the thematic word that gets revealed appears on a diagonal.
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  • kurtalert solved 2024-04-02T16:50:46.778Z

Comments

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  • Devoid constructor · 2024-04-01T17:04:22.403Z
    There is a mistake here: it’s not possible to know whether you should remove the F or the I in 16A. It’s still easy to deduce once you look at the diagonal, but it would have been more satisfying if the ambiguity had been avoided.
    • Sendhil Revuluri 5:45 · 2024-04-02T23:30:48.578Z
      That and 36A were what got me stuck on the first layer. (Very clever overall though!)
    • benchen71 9:43 · 2024-04-01T22:45:02.328Z
      Not sure I would have ever got the answer, but the diagonal reveal was a nice moment!
      • Hector 22:10 · 2024-04-02T01:50:20.369Z
        I couldn't think of anything the answer could be except THERE IS NO META, but I figured that can't be right because THERE is only 4 letters long. I think I need more sleep. Thank you!
        1A
        Strongly criticise
        1
        2
        3
        4
        5
        6
        7
        8
        9
        10
        11
        12
        13
        14
        15
        16
        17
        18
        19
        20
        21
        22
        23
        24
        25
        26
        27
        28
        29
        30
        31
        32
        33
        34
        35
        36
        Across
        1. 1A
          Strongly criticise
        2. 6A
          Digits found on a back cover? (abbr.)
        3. 10A
          One might be played today
        4. 11A
          Gilels, Soviet pianist
        5. 13A
          Central London borough created in 1965
        6. 14A
          Eyes wide with anticipation
        7. 15A
          Take ____ from, be inspired by
        8. 16A
          A gullible French person might receive one of these
        9. 17A
          Owns
        10. 18A
          Island in the West Indies
        11. 22A
          1066 and _______, comedic history book
        12. 27A
          Onomatopoeic sound of an explosion
        13. 29A
          One might be deceiving today
        14. 30A
          Bad smell
        15. 31A
          Onomatopoeic sound of an owl
        16. 32A
          Up to ______, how a 10A-ster might be today
        17. 33A
          A trick or a parody
        18. 34A
          Nobleman
        19. 35A
          Where some 16A might live
        20. 36A
          Onomatopoeic sounds of a snake?
        Down
        1. 1D
          Secrets
        2. 2D
          Extent
        3. 3D
          Beckett or Barber
        4. 4D
          Range in South America
        5. 5D
          Rula, British actress who appeared on Coronation Street
        6. 7D
          Sound made after being taken in by a 10A or 33A today
        7. 8D
          Get larger
        8. 9D
          Labels for identification
        9. 12D
          _-__, reduplicated tropical 16A
        10. 19D
          Marvel character who’s up to 32A
        11. 20D
          Family of British monarchs
        12. 21D
          Capital of ancient Lydia
        13. 23D
          Free
        14. 24D
          Yugoslavian leader
        15. 25D
          Clothes worn by the Romans
        16. 26D
          Coastal town in Dorset, England
        17. 27D
          Comparative literary device
        18. 28D
          Authorative Catholic figure
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