FIFA Match Fixing 2022, Part 2

by Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.5/5

n.b.: If you’re confused or at all pissed after you finish today’s puzzle, I invite you to check out the solution and/or read the explanation below the jump.

I published Part 1 of this series as a bonus grid this past Wednesday, but didn’t email that puzzle out to avoid spamming subscribers with inbox notifications about, you know, soccer. But seeing as I’m just incandescently excited about team USA’s games this week, I’m going all-in on the footie content, with apologies to those of you who don’t dig on sports ball.

My gratitude to SpellingBeelieber, Jo, and Slugbiker for test solving today’s puzzle. I appreciate you guys! Spoilers and notes for “FIFA Match Fixing 2022, Part 2” below…

Okay, so it’s back-to-back puzzles with the same gimmick. Sue me. I just *love* the unique challenge that goes into constructing these types of puzzles. As I noted on Wednesday, they’re known as Quantum Crosswords, the most famous example of which melted the brains of NYT solvers back in ’96. I’ve made about a dozen of these over the years, including one that featured the Will Smith/Chris Rock awards ceremony spat. I’ll allow myself a moment of authorial pride here when I say that this particular example is probably the most elegant that I’ve been able to render. The relevant answer pairings are:

LEONORA / LEONORE [19th century opera heroine]

THE METS / THE NETS [New York City pro squad]

EMAIL / GMAIL [Digital messaging used by billions]

ART / ALT [___ rock (music genre)]

PART I / PART A [First section]

BLACKED / BLANKED [___ out (redacted, in a way)]

AC POWER / DC POWER [Option offered by one side of the Tesla/Edison “Current Wars”]

Of course, the solving software requires me to designate only one of the viable answers as “right,” so these puzzles always play just a bit better solving on paper, but hopefully the payoff gave you some good mental cookies.

Happy solving, friends.


14 thoughts on “FIFA Match Fixing 2022, Part 2

  1. A playoff payoff! Or a payoff playoff?
    Letter for letter of the 7 flipable pairings, I initially picked ENGLAND as the winner. Fortunately I seldom wager on sports, however its always a sure bet that your clever, humorous yet exquisite puzzles always make for a rewarding solving experience.

  2. Well done! I don’t care at all about soccer, other than patriotically rooting for Team USA, so that was my election in each of the squares and didn’t notice til later that it was a quantum puzzle. (In fact I got confused by ART rock, a genre I’d never heard of.) Well done [dude][mate]!
    Btw can’t there be ties in soccer? What would happen to your puzzle?

  3. Uh, Ross. There aren’t any 11Ds on the Beeb. ITV or Channel Four, yes.

    And I object that the grid accepts only one 48A as the actual, correct solution—-which is to say, not my preferred answer.

    Nonetheless, well done, sir!

    • Blaine- I had the same thought about the beeb. I assumed like PBS it has no ads. I was just proud I could remember the rubbish word you all use for commercials. I had the same problem with the grid btw not accepting my theme answer. And it was only then that I realized there was an alternate answer. And it elicited a big ‘aha moment’. But for a free online interface, I can live with that technical shortcoming. Like you I am so appreciative we have Ross. -RjR

      • Thanks, Reed, though I have to fess up that I’m Canada, and even though we’re in the World Cup, too, this year for the first time in many, that wasn’t an option for 48A—and we’d be a long, long, long shot anyway. Hence my preference for an original colonist. All best.

  4. I couldn’t care less about soccer or fifa. But this was a brilliant puzzle. Reminded me immediately of the Clinton/Dole election puzzle of ‘96. Bravo and thank you. Keep them coming please!

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