EISOPTROPHOBIC / UNTHEMELY #48

Default: 338997
Default with Spaces: 119942

Transposal: Holding one’s horses? (2 3 5) / Now playing (2 8)

DOWNLOADABLE PUZZLE: Unthemely #48  (PUZ) (PDF)

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CHU (50)

Stephen Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy up until 2013, didn’t get a whole lot of crossword exposure during his tenure despite a name with an interesting letter pattern. His crosswordese heir-apparent is Arthur Chu the current Jeopardy! phenom who polarizes viewers based on his predilection for Daily Double hunting. The popularity of Jennings references in crossword clues for KEN confirms an affinity between game show celebrity and word puzzles, so I expect to see more clues for CHU in the coming year.

EISOPTROPHOBIC (55)

There is a phenomenon in puzzling in which a solver becomes fixated on the wrong approach to an answer. Once, at the Washington Post hunt, I was on a team that got stuck on a knight’s tour chess puzzle. A teammate had a theory that resulted in our exploring a seedy part of downtown on the perimeter of the puzzle map. The theory was clearly wrong but the teammate refused to abandon it until, close to the end of the Hunt, we discussed our situation with another team that had already solved the puzzle and were given subtle indications to try a different approach. A similar situation occurred last month at the MIT Mystery Hunt as our team was trying to solve the last meta. The intended answer was the aforementioned 55-point entry that refers to a fear of one’s mirror reflection. The means of solving the puzzle was a rather basic numeric indexing into a series of puzzle answers, but out team interpreted the indexes as musical notes and tried in vain to identify the melody that they produced. The music theory had strong enough support that we never found an opportunity to backtrack and try something else. MIT Hunters might label this fixation a “BE NOISY” (a reference to a similar situation from a Hunt many years ago) but the phenomenon could use a more general name.

 

 

 

 

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