MEOW #27: Gordian Knot

A weekly meta crossword constructed by forum member Josh (aka madhatter5), these creative puzzles feature metas that trend toward the difficult side. Puzzles are posted in a new thread every Wednesday, with the solution appearing the following Tuesday.
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KayW
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#21

Post by KayW »

:arrow_up: me too. Although I required an extra nudge to get across the finish line. Fantastic puzzle!
madhatter5
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#22

Post by madhatter5 »

Solution:

There were an inordinate number of across entries to the left of the knot which began with KN:

KNOTGRASS
KNICK
KNOW
KNOT
KNIGHT
KNEED
KNIT


Successful solvers emulated the great Alexander by cutting off the first letters of these entries and finding "associations" (to use Wendy's term) to the right of the knot:

NOT GRASS -> TURF
NICK -> SNAVEL
NOW -> PRESENTLY
NOT -> HARDLY
NIGHT -> EVENING
NEED -> DEMAND
NIT -> BLOCKHEAD


But hang on - the clue for 28D said we would need to cut fourteen entries, not just seven. That is to say, we need to cut the first letters of these "associations" and take the first letter of what remains:


TURF -> URF -> U
SNAVEL -> NAVEL -> N
PRESENTLY -> RESENTLY -> R
HARDLY -> ARDLY -> A
EVENING -> VENING --> V
DEMAND -> EMAND -> E
BLOCKHEAD -> LOCKHEAD -> L

This gives us UNRAVEL, which is the answer.
Nudges: I charge $1.99 per nudge on weekdays, $2.99 per nudge on weekends and holidays. Tax not included. Terms and conditions apply. Please send in sequential unmarked bills. No fingerprints.
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Bird Lives
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#23

Post by Bird Lives »

I highlighted all the KNs but got no further. I wonder if I would have solved it if I had remembered to read the nudges on Saturday. Probably not. But it's a great puzzle. Kudos to the solvers, especially the pre-nudgers.
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RPardoe
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#24

Post by RPardoe »

My biggest stumbling block was attempting to do all 14 cuts to start rather than in 2 steps of 7 each.

There are 14 entries in the grid that can be decapitated to make new words.
I also found 14 entries that can be cleaved into two words as well (eg PERTEST into PER & TEST).
Even when on the right path, I attempted to cut a letter out of the associations resulting in a word (eg HARDLY = HARDY + L).
I was figuring the second set of cuts would spell out the answer (not reveal it as the remaining lead letter).

By happenstance (happen chance?) after the first / last letter trims didn't work, I decided to look at middle letters or other letters in the associations and got the answer. Then I realized the second decapitation step was the intended solution.
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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Wendy Walker
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#25

Post by Wendy Walker »

I got a couple of the KN's but didn't finish solving. One that I did get was NOTGRASS = TURF, which made me LOL! Well done, solvers!
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday. Just send me a PM and tell me what you've tried so far.
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Hector
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#26

Post by Hector »

NIT as BLOCKHEAD isn't really in my vocabulary, so I was looking for something like CAVIL or PARASITE, to no avail. Then I saw AN, which is clued as, "It gets salty if you turn it around," meaning the metal Na, or sodium, of the table salt NaCl and other sodium salts. Well, just as there are sodium salts, there are tin salts, and NIT is tin reversed. That gives "associated" entries that anagram to HEPTADS, groups of seven, which isn't entirely irrelevant to the puzzle, despite having nothing to do with knots. But tin salts are esoteric even for a madhatter puzzle, and having to anagram to get an answer is usually a red flag, so I kept looking.
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RPardoe
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#27

Post by RPardoe »

Hector wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:18 am NIT as BLOCKHEAD isn't really in my vocabulary, ......
I see the reverse (Dunce, Blockhead, etc) to NIT (as a shortened form of NITWIT) often in British cryptics.
This helped me make that connection .... eventually.
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.
madhatter5
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#28

Post by madhatter5 »

RPardoe wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:35 am
Hector wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:18 am NIT as BLOCKHEAD isn't really in my vocabulary, ......
I see the reverse (Dunce, Blockhead, etc) to NIT (as a shortened form of NITWIT) often in British cryptics.
This helped me make that connection .... eventually.
As a fellow addict of British cryptics this is likely why I thought NIT was more common than it probably is. Sorry. (No apologies for SNAVEL though, that's a word we all need to be using).
Nudges: I charge $1.99 per nudge on weekdays, $2.99 per nudge on weekends and holidays. Tax not included. Terms and conditions apply. Please send in sequential unmarked bills. No fingerprints.
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Al Sisti
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#29

Post by Al Sisti »

Hector wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:18 am NIT as BLOCKHEAD isn't really in my vocabulary, so I was looking for something like CAVIL or PARASITE, to no avail. Then I saw AN, which is clued as, "It gets salty if you turn it around," meaning the metal Na, or sodium, of the table salt NaCl and other sodium salts. Well, just as there are sodium salts, there are tin salts, and NIT is tin reversed. That gives "associated" entries that anagram to HEPTADS, groups of seven, which isn't entirely irrelevant to the puzzle, despite having nothing to do with knots. But tin salts are esoteric even for a madhatter puzzle, and having to anagram to get an answer is usually a red flag, so I kept looking.
NIT was the one that did me in. I never considered BLOCKHEAD... instead, the two entries/clues I was waffling with were 54D It's over your head (gross, but fitting) and 67D "The grid was too tough!" (abbr), as in a solver's nit-picking.
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Wendy Walker
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#30

Post by Wendy Walker »

I didn't get NIT = BLOCKHEAD, either -- I was actually leaning more toward, umm, 40D (STDs).
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday. Just send me a PM and tell me what you've tried so far.
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