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Puzzle Solution #14: Lost Bearings


Greek liquor bottleHave you had a chance to solve my latest crossword puzzle? It is entirely free of calories, gluten, preservatives and politics. Of all the things you could be doing to avoid work, my puzzle is among the safest. I can’t really recommend you spend all of your cubicle time reading The Onion. Most of it, sure, but not all. My puzzle should help to diversify your work day.

If you have not worked this puzzle and fear the reaction of your friends if you were to admit such a thing, there is still time for you to steer your browser to Take Turns where you can make things right.

Spoiler space

The following video has absolutely nothing to do with this puzzle. No hint to any of its “head scratchers.” Just a great song. It was first recorded in 1974 by the British pub rockers Brinsley Schwarz. This live version features the man who wrote it and sang the original (Nick Lowe) and the man who popularized it (Elvis Costello). It will serve to provide spoiler space and something to think and dream about:

The solution

(Image courtesy XwordInfo.com.)
Puzzle solution.

That’s it. A ho-hum theme with a ho-hum execution. I hardly need to point it out, I’m sure, but just in case there is someone out there who ran out of caffeinated coffee more than a week ago, here is the reveal …

The four circled answers are anagrams of the four cardinal directions. Thus, COURSE CHANGES are necessary to solve these clues: NORTH becomes THORN, etc. The four clues are, if you squint your eyes (ears?), MISDIRECTIONS.

As I look back at this puzzle one week after I hurriedly published it, I think that maybe I should have gone with my original clues for the four highlighted answers:

    7D – Go north to make a point

   40A – Go east to find a place to rest

   52D – Go south to raise your voice

   35A – Go west to get a hot meal

Ron CeyI changed them to the slightly more opaque clues you probably saw (“7D – Go toward the Arctic to make a point,” e.g.), but in the revision currently available I have restored these original clues. I’m still not convinced they are an improvement, but I’m no longer concerned they make the theme too transparent. It’s pretty transparent either way.

If the theme was underwhelming, I do hope you enjoyed some of the fill (a few of the long downs are pretty decent, I think) and maybe some of the clues.

One of the reasons I rushed this puzzle is that I have had another puzzle languishing in a sort of purgatory. I was eager to have something to post. Good news is, the other puzzle will be offered here on Monday, March 7. I do think you will like it: especially if you are geeky.

Errata

Jimmy WynnSharp-eyed fans of the 1970s Los Angeles Dodgers may have spotted an error in the clue for 62-down. The clue: Bygone Dodger Ron, the “Toy Penguin”.

My normally steel-trap-like mind failed me here. (It is steel-trap-like when it comes to 1970s/1980s Dodger trivia and sieve-like when it comes to most anything else.) Ron Cey was the “Penguin” not the “Toy Penguin” as I thought I remembered. It seems a brain cramp injected part of 1974 Dodger hero Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn’s nickname into my clue. Shame. This error has been corrected in the currently-available puzzle.

Thanks for playing along and remember to come back here two weeks from today for a fun puzzle.

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