Thursday, May 3, 2018

"Keep Your Voices Down," by Steven Atwood

Constructor's Comments

This theme was a tough sell.  There are only a few V-to-F letter changes that result in fun phrases, and thinking of a good title was hard because there's no connection between words that are abbreviated as V and F.  "False Victories," "Forward Velocity," "End Vibrato, Begin Forte," "'Take Five' Played Loud" . . . none of these work.  Fortunately David liked the idea and went along with the "Keep Your Voices Down" title.  (V is a "voiced fricative consonant" and F is "unvoiced.")

Here are three theme entries I liked that didn't get used:

1.  Most track stars? (15 letters)
2.  Boating hazard in the Seine? (12 letters)
3.  Trying to figure out why a batter got no hits in a game? (12)

[Ed.:  Answers are encrypted below in ROT13, a simple letter substitution cipher.  To unscramble them, click here and copy each scrambled answer, paste it into the top box, click the ROT13 button or hit Return, and view the result in the bottom box.]


Editor's Comments

I feel this puzzle has a subtle elegance to it.  Letter change themes are nothing new, of course, but I don't recall seeing one with a linguistic underpinning (as Steve said, going from a voiced to an unvoiced fricative).  I'm also impressed that Steve was able to find so many strong theme entries—I certainly can't think of any more V-to-F possibilities off the top of my head!  And finally, I appreciate how Steve pushed himself to keep the grid open.  He could've just settled for one pair of long downs in the upper right and lower left, but using two pairs allowed him to work in the fun entries PLAYS DEAD and PUT A HEX ON.

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