Different approach to hint blog this week. Writing as I solve. Still just hints, not answers. This week’s puzzle is by Emmett Quigley, one of my personal favorite puzzle creators. So it’s likely to be inventive and interesting to solve. Notice the grid itself. Whenever you see circles in a grid consider whether they are in a pattern or form a shape. So what we have here is horizontal (across) circles of varying length.
Initial questions to ask oneself: What’s the title of the puzzle: “Who’s Left?” This raises several possibilities about how the circles come into to play. We’ll keep keep coming back to this as we solve the non-theme clues to begin to fill in the grid.
Second immediate question: Is there a specific clue that refers to the circles or some other aspect of the puzzle. I didn’t see any in a quick scan of the clues, but I might have missed something.
Now onto solving as many of the clues as I can. In across lite, the tab key it easy to move through all the acrosses and all the down, so that’s my usual approach.
I often skip the long answers entirely the first time through, but I don’t think that’s a good strategy here. My first look is that it might be possible to get one of these without many of the letters.
Some of the long answers begin to come into focus. Hmmm. The role of the circles still isn’t clear to me.
Being a Quigley puzzle not many of the answers are obvious “gimmes” or crossword-ese (the words, places, animals, etc. that only seem to exist in crossword puzzle land.
I got quite a bit of this puzzle filled without being completely sure about anything.
But a couple specific hints as I go along
64-Across Vodka with a Chocolate Razberi flavor: It’s really what this brand is nicknamed rather than the word on the label that very few Americans (including me) could spell correctly without looking at a bottle of it.
53-Down Cry from a balcony: No, not O,ROMEO. 2 words, though.
50-Across Icon on Amazon: this clue should have an e.g. on the end. Amazon is one of a zillion sites with this icon.
123-Across Dishwasher, at times: Well, I certainly hope so!
108-Down Raspberry: No, not the fruit kind of raspberry
71-Acrosss Great leveler: This clue could have a question mark at the end, though it is literally accurate
39-Across Dotty? : Keep the question mark in mind. Don’t think “crazy,” though “drunk” could be the clue
By the way, 2-Down is nothing like CB RADIO. It’s something I’d never heard, I’ll tell you that.
Meanwhile, the theme? Well, it’s kind of a meta-puzzle: Meaning you can solve the whole puzzle without ever figuring out what’s going on with the circles. If that’s happening to you, take another look at the title at what it might refer to.