Let’s jump right into last week’s contest puzzle. (If you haven’t solved it, look away! Spoilers abound!) In the puzzle, there were five starred clues. Tipped off by the title of the puzzle, “No Holds, Bard,” observant solvers noticed that the answers to each of these clues contained the name of a character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet mixed in with another letter:
- T + LAERTES = ALERTEST
- H + YORICK = HICKORY
- O + CLAUDIUS = ACIDULOUS
- R + HAMLET = THERMAL
- N + OPHELIA = APHELION
In order, those extra letters spell THORN, which is something that certainly discourages holding, so that’s the answer to the contest. (That’s the “No Holds” part of the title.) As an extra hint, the photo from that post was taken from the classic Twilight Zone episode “Five Characters in Search of an Exit.” (If you didn’t recognize the photo, clicking on it would’ve taken you to the episode on YouTube.) This is a double hint. Not only are there are five of the bard’s characters hiding in the grid, but there are five characters (i.e., letters) that you need to extract from the grid to come up with the contest answer.
So how’d you do? There were 93 correct submissions of THORN, and 4 incorrect submissions, most of which were last ditch efforts. Among those efforts and other first thoughts inspired by the prompt of “something that’s meant to discourage holding” were: QUILLS, RED CARD, PENALTY FLAG and CAPITAL GAINS TAX.
Our randomly selected winner is Steve Williams of Holbrook, MA. Congratulations, Steve! If you want to get in on the spoils, there’s still time to reserve your own copy of Matt Jones’s “No Holds Barred”. Maybe the next contest will be in less than a year’s time?
Anyway, themeless crossword today. You’ve got it under control.