Dutiful solvers (or those who just cheated and looked at the answers) found the long message to read "ON WHAT COMMON / OBJECT WOULD YOU / FIND THE LETTERS / C, D, E, F, L, O, P, T AND Z?" (FWIW: I rated this baby a "hard" because of the alphabet soup that was that last entry). 83 contestants chimed in with various answers: "telephone/cell phone" and "beer/coke can" were the most common wrong answers. Even got a couple "keyboards," though I'm assuming they meant computer kind, not the Moog/Casio kind.
But no, the only answer that I was going to accept was the Snellen Eye Chart. Common? Sure, I mean, it's more common than a unicorn or a turkey (in bowling, not the bird, the bird's common). Let's look at two lovely e-mails that sum it all up better than I ever could:
Cole Kendall writes: "Who knew? But shockingly enough after trying to work through the obvious anagrams (fl. oz.) if you google the letters the eye chart links come right up." Indeed. There's nothing more frustrating than confirming a crossword entry by typing in the clue verbatim and then getting Rex Parker's and Amy Reynaldo's blogs as the 1, 2 punch. Typically, you type in the clue, and the first result staring back at you is the entry your supposed to put in. So thanks Cole for the Q.E.D.
Speaking of Amy, she opines: "I didn't have a clue about the meta, but I ran it by my husband Rene last night. He thought about it for a minute and said it was the letters on the eye chart and sure enough, that's the first four rows. The 'Now where have I seen that?' tagline--wow, that didn't help me at all!" Ah yes. When in doubt, read the instructions/blurb/title. I deliberately phrased the blurb as such that the more-correct answer had to be vision-related.
My Sunday was nearly ruined when David Rosenberg tweeted his correct answer and posited: "isn't there an N in that too? or is that a play on AND?" I could just imagine the horror of doing a "Snellen Eye Chart" Google image search and seeing the N staring right back at me. Even the Wikipedia page lists N as a character on the chart. [gulp] Anyway, I rechecked the fact in the book where I got the idea for the puzzle in the first place: no Ns. Whew. Then a Google search confirmed it. Double whew. The fact that there's no Ns on the chart might contribute to the fact my presecription is near Mr. Magoo-levels. I guarantee I've guessed Ns whilst looking at the chart. I guess every letter on the chart, but you get the picture.
Huge thanks to all who tweeted/Facebooked/started a class about puzzles and put my blog as part of the curriculum/hired a skywriter/forced people at gunpoint to do the puzzle/etc. Much appreciated. One contestant, Jimmy Dale writes: "I have attached some pics of me onstage wearing my BEQ shirt…we played for a crowd of 50-60 people that night, so hopefully that qualifies me for the 10 times bonus!" Fuck yeah it does. And kudos for Jimmy for getting one of the limited edition R-Rated t-shirts. Here's the evidence:Jimmy's band, The Lords of Hawthorne, was apparently ripping up their cover of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way" at the time the photo was snapped. Good times. Though careful observers will note this pic was taken one month ago, I say: "whatever." This whole section segues nicely to an announcement: ANNOUNCEMENT: Heretofore, if any crazed fan of this here blog wishes to snap a picture of themselves in one of the t-shirts, drinking from one of the coffee mugs, or doing one of my puzzles (preferably in a cool setting; extra bonus points for an overseas snap or historical landmark, extra extra bonus points if the picture involves a celebrity), not only will I run it here on the blog, you'll get either your choice of any book I've written or my choice of something from my condo I don't want anymore.
Anyway, that picture underneath today's puzzle is me with the bowl with the names of all the contestants who got the answer correct. Without further ado, the winners are: Tim French, Jenny Gutbezahl, George Heard, Lon Heuer and Stewart Levine. Shoot me an e-mail and we'll update the blog with your swag choices later.
Okay, back to normal. Hope y'all enjoy this themeless. See you on Wednesday.