"X Marks The Spot" by benchen71

Can you storm the castle by getting across the MOAT? A weekly meta crossword constructed by forum member Ben (aka benchen71). These metas range from relatively easy to more challenging, depending on how many Australianisms he puts in them! Puzzles are posted in a new thread every Tuesday, with nudges appearing on Saturdays, and the solution coming out on Mondays. (At least, that's the plan. Given he lives in Australia, and they are so far ahead of the US time-zone-wise, things may get posted early!)
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benchen71
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"X Marks The Spot" by benchen71

#1

Post by benchen71 »

Welcome to...

benchen71's Metas on a Tuesday (MOAT)

Can you storm the castle by getting across the MOAT? Meta number 3, and we're in pirate territory! Aargh, me hearties! But it's a bit different this time, because you know where the treasure is - you just don't know where you have to start from. Good luck!

PM me with your submissions or submit on Crosshare. Either way, I'll compile a list of those who successfully solve the meta.

Play online here: https://crosshare.org/crosswords/DCzbPnGGqGkutJrFBlHS

PDF LINK

PUZ LINK

EXCEL LINK

Nudges have arrived early.

The solution is available here.

havefun.gif
Last edited by benchen71 on Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
madhatter5
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#2

Post by madhatter5 »

Tough but fun grid! I see the obvious thing but no clear leads on the meta
ʻAʻole pono e unuhi i kēia
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RPardoe
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#3

Post by RPardoe »

madhatter5 wrote: Tue Sep 07, 2021 3:05 pm Tough but fun grid! I see the obvious thing but no clear leads on the meta
Been there all day. About this close | | to shelving the puzzle until the nudges.
Meta Nudges - If you need some help, please feel free to PM me with what you have tried and where you are stuck.
Cryptic Puzzles - If you are stuck or want to understand how to parse a clue, please feel free to PM me.
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ChrisKochmanski
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#4

Post by ChrisKochmanski »

I also believe I know basically what this puzzle is after. But the pirates’ path isn’t presenting itself. I’ll keep looking off and on, but this may be a case of “wait for the nudges and spoilers” for me too,
boharr
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#5

Post by boharr »

Ditto
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whimsy
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#6

Post by whimsy »

I do believe the prompt has changed a bit...
Wonder if that will help? ---
boharr
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#7

Post by boharr »

whimsy wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 4:32 pm I do believe the prompt has changed a bit...
Wonder if that will help? ---
The prompt on Crosshare has always been:
Meta Prompt: X may mark the spot, but the answer to the meta is what you have to traverse to get there

Which is different from the prompt above.
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benchen71
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#8

Post by benchen71 »

The meta clue has never changed. But Crosshare allows for a "blog post" for each puzzle. I've basically cut and pasted that blog post into the initial post. There is no harm in referring to both!

For those who are finding this difficult, can I add that the answer to the meta is a four letter word.
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ChrisKochmanski
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#9

Post by ChrisKochmanski »

benchen71 wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 5:56 pm For those who are finding this difficult, can I add that the answer to the meta is a four letter word.
Thanks!

Now back to the puzzle. But if I'm still stumped, I'll watch for the hints on Saturday.
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benchen71
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#10

Post by benchen71 »

Since there have been no solvers of the meta yet, I'm bringing the nudges forward. I did not anticipate this puzzle being this hard, so I apologise profusely! There are also a couple of misleading entries/clues in the grid, which have been causing rabbit holes to open up more quickly than is right. So...

Nudges, in order of increasing blatancy:

1. Four entries are important.

2. The important entries are FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, and FOURTH, which sound suspiciously like a series of steps. (Apologies for the fact that LEY appeared right in the centre of the puzzle with a clue about connecting significant places; and for "III" at 26 across - that, from the clue, was an entirely unintentional double-up of "third". The clue for 42 down, and it's reference to a trail, was not supposed to be significant either!)

3. Is there some significance that the four important entries are all clustered way up near the top of the grid?

4. The important entries all have clue numbers that are quite low.

(I've deleted the last two nudges. I was told I was giving the game away!)
Last edited by benchen71 on Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RPardoe
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#11

Post by RPardoe »

And with a good nudge - Solved, submitted, and confirmed (@ Crosshare).
Meta Nudges - If you need some help, please feel free to PM me with what you have tried and where you are stuck.
Cryptic Puzzles - If you are stuck or want to understand how to parse a clue, please feel free to PM me.
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ChrisKochmanski
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#12

Post by ChrisKochmanski »

Hey, that wasn’t so hard — with spoilers!🙂

Seriously, I think this puzzle maybe would have been very do-able for me, without spoilers, if I hadn’t gotten hung up on something I shouldn’t have gotten hung up on, but maybe had pretty good reason to get hung up on … if you know what I mean.

I’ve shared notes on this with Ben. Even with my own frustrating misguidedness, I enjoyed pondering the puzzle, and finally solving it — with some serious spoiler help.

UPDATE: Ben has confirmed!
Last edited by ChrisKochmanski on Wed Sep 08, 2021 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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KayW
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#13

Post by KayW »

It took nudging but I got it :european_castle: Thanks Ben!
boharr
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#14

Post by boharr »

Like others, I needed nudging. In my case, a lot. But I enjoyed this puzzle. It had a couple of interesting twists I wasn't prepared for, but should have been.
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whimsy
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#15

Post by whimsy »

Waah! -- I'm still outside the gate with young Sir Arlo.
Capturewarwick.PNG
It's OK - I'm getting a tad distracted from puzzling as we get ready to travel to the West Coast.
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benchen71
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#16

Post by benchen71 »

Here's the solution to "X Marks The Spot":

X Marks The Spot (solution).png

It was only some time after completing the puzzle that I noticed that the starting square you have to find by running the steps backwards from the X is rotationally symmetric to the X square, and the clue for 21 across (the first letter of which is the start square) actually references solving the meta!

This puzzle caused a lot of grief. There was the unfortunate placement of LEY in the very centre of the puzzle with its significant-sounding clue. The word MAZE can be tracked going down and across from the X (but not in a way that matches the directions of the four ordinal entries). Mostly, though, no one seemed to know what to do with FIRST, SECOND, THIRD or FOURTH given that there didn't appear to be anything else connected to these words. But there was: their clue number and direction. I thought the fact that these entries were all clustered up at the top of the grid would be a dead giveaway. Ah well, best laid plans and all that...

Actually, I had initially intended to do a five letter word answer: BEACH (which would have been a much better meta answer than SOIL). But it proved impossible to get FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH and FIFTH up into the top of the grid in a way that resulted in five steps that stayed within a 15x15 grid! But then much later my wife complained about the repeated "third" in the puzzle: "III" but clued in such a way as to mean "third". So maybe five steps might be possible, after all!

Finally, here's the leaderboard:
1. KayW
2. ChrisKochmanski
3. RPardoe
4. hoover
5. Abide
6. Meg

There may have been other solvers, but these are the ones I know of.

Stay tuned for the MMM this week, which will be another (hopefully easier!) puzzle of mine...
Last edited by benchen71 on Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lbray53
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#17

Post by lbray53 »

This one was a never for me, even with the spoilers and a private nudge. In fact, I did not even understand the solution until I figured out that benchen71 transposed 21 across to 12 across in the first paragraph of the explanation. I never would have figured out to run the steps backwards.
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Dplass
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#18

Post by Dplass »

I kept trying to use every letter along the "path", and it spelled gibberish...
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KayW
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#19

Post by KayW »

My first "detour" on this puzzle was that I tried to START at the X rather than finish.
Using: first down, second across, third down, fourth across I applied those directions one square at a time.
I was stubbornly sure I was on my way to MAZE but the grid just as stubbornly insisted on giving me MAZA :lol:
X Marks The Spot Wrong.png
I was eventually nudged to the correct path.
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Darth
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#20

Post by Darth »

Tough puzzle, mate...or matey! ARGGH! Finally got it working through the nudges, but hardly storming the castle. More like, "Could ya lower dat der bridge, good sir!" :lol: (Thanks, Ben.)
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