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“Tech Revolution” Contest Results

Last week’s bonus metapuzzle asked for solvers to find a bygone TV show which has since been adapted to the big screen. Which one was it?


There were four seemingly bizarre theme answers:

  • 17-Across: [Popular cocktail featuring a shot glass inside a Guinness] = IRISH BENDER BOMB
  • 30-Across: [“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” band] = ROSIE HALEN
  • 48-Across: [Sewage-disposal unit] = SEPTIC DATA
  • 63-Across: [High-altitude air currents] = TOM SERVO STREAMS

Solvers first had to decipher the base phrases to each of these answers:


The next step was to determine how the inserted words (BENDER, ROSIE, DATA, and TOM SERVO) were related to one another. This may have required some Googling, but they’re all robots from famous, bygone TV shows (BENDER from “Futurama,” ROSIE from “The Jetsons,” DATA from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and TOM SERVO from “Mystery Science Theater 3000”). The final step was to understand why these robots replaced the words that they did. What do CAR, VAN, TANK, and JET have in common? They’re all vehicles, of course. And which famous bygone TV show since adapted into a big screen movie prominently featured vehicles which turned into robots? That would be “TRANSFORMERS,” the answer to the meta which 135 solvers correctly submitted.

Before I posted the meta in its final form, the answer which worried me more than any other was “KNIGHT RIDER,” the 1980s-era series featuring David Hasselhoff and a talking robot car named KITT. I tried to prevent that answer from leading solvers astray by specifying that the TV show in question had been adapted to the big screen. Hollywood has since made several “Transformers” big-screen films, from the animated version in 1986 to the various (and, I’m told, terrible) live-action versions from the past decade, while “Knight Rider” has only made it as far as a few made-for-TV movies — although rumor has it that there is an actual film adaptation of “Knight Rider” in the works. Technically the answer doesn’t work because one of the transformations in the puzzle is JET to TOM SERVO, which is not quite the same as a simple car-robot switch. Still, it was a close enough connection that I felt I needed to cover my bases.

Some reader comments:

Peter Gordon submitted the right answer but suggested that another possible answer could have been “CHALLENGE OF THE GOBOTS,” a Hanna-Barbera series developed around the same time period as “Transformers,” with the same vehicles-to-robots motif, and with a 1986 feature film adaptation called “GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords.” Indeed, I would have accepted that, although no one else even mentioned it. One other solver, Chris Baker, submitted “ROBOTECH,” an anime TV show also from the “Transformers” school of robots in disguise. This one was a little iffier since American movie theaters pulled the film version after a very limited release, though it did receive wider play in theaters in other countries. So I accepted that one too, thus my final tally is 136 correct solutions.

Louis Ah writes, “Your puzzle more than META eye!”

(I got several responses like that.)

Amy Hamilton writes, “It kind of makes me laugh how every reference to your site/puzzles gives a warning about language. When I saw that you had sent me an email [upon getting the right answer] I half expected you to say “Correct, good job. Bitch.”

(If I can become the Jesse Pinkman of crosswords, I’ll be set.)

And now for the big moment! The winner of the contest, randomly selected from all 136 correct answers, is Jill Staunton. She’ll receive a Devil Cross t-shirt. Congrats, Jill!

Some More Exciting Puzzle News (with a possible tinge of bad news?)

I have two puzzles coming up in the newspapers soon: the first one will be tomorrow’s Washington Post Puzzler, and the second will be in the New York Times on Wednesday, March 5.

And the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is fast approaching — March 7-9 in Brooklyn, New York. If you’ve never gone, go. It’s a blast. I am all signed up — however, there is a chance that I won’t be able to make it. Life has come up — it happens. I’d be sad to miss the tourney, but there’s always next year.

Today’s Puzzle

Oh, right. I have a new puzzle today. It’s a 72-word themeless, and I decided to go pretty tough with my cluing. At least I think it’s tough, so I’m dubbing it my first Super-Spicy puzzle of the Devil Cross era. Get on it, everybody.

Enjoy! There will be a new puzzle on March 15.