## Solution - Lesser Works

by Dave Shukan

Solve and concatenate the crossword-style clues and, per the instructions, remove all vowels (including Y). You will be left with strings, many of which have some rather apparent words that are missing vowels to help give the main idea, and some of which may be a little harder to interpret at first.

The strings are all well-known titles (of books, songs, films, and TV shows) that contain numbers, except the number given will be less than the number in the actual title &endash; for example, CATCH-22 is given as CATCH NINETEEN. There is also always an extra letter somewhere in the string (though never breaking up the spelled-out number). The extra letters appear in positions 1-20, once each, in the strings, yielding an ordering mechanism.

Take the extra letter, which per the instruction is “more (which itself is more) ... than you expect.” Since the extra letter itself is more than you expect, and to give purpose to the amount of the title-number decrease, decrease the extra letter by the same amount that the number in the title was decreased. Thus, CATCH-22 becomes CATCH NINETEEN by losing 3 from its number, so decrease the extra W in the string by 3 alphabet places to get T. Order these new letters by the string positions of the surplus letters, to get the clue TIME IN SONG NEED YOU NOW. A search for the lyrics to the song Need You Now (by Lady Antebellum) reveals the singer to repeatedly reference QUARTER AFTER ONE, which is the solution. (For definiteness of form, the instructions specified that the solution contains exactly three words.)

The solutions for the individual lines of clues, reordered in the correct final order, follows.

Clues Answers Vowelless string Title (and original number) Extraction
Home of the Hawkeyes (2 wds) / Country, or what you might find on a dinner table / Titular “Merchant Of Venice” IOWA CITY
CHINA
ANTONIO
(W)CT CHN NTN CATCH 19 (22) 01
W-3 = T
Windowed ceiling hole / More than one P / Relativity or evolution SKYLIGHT
RHOS
THEORY
S(K)LGHT RHS THR SLAUGHTERHOUSE 3 (5) 02
K-2 = I
Resident of Addis Ababa, for one / Peruvian range / Microfilm sheet / Cooks over boiling water again ETHIOPIAN
ANDES
FICHE
RESTEAMS
TH(P)N NDS FCH RSTMS THE 9 (12) DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 03
P-3 = M
Someone who’s both your bestie and your worstie / Word with measles or shepherd FRENEMY
GERMAN
FRN(M) GRMN 4 (12) ANGRY MEN 04
M-8 = E
This and Soldier Of this are magazines / Word before party or bottoms / Presumptuous success story, or newly formed business (the latter often heard the other way round) FORTUNE
PAJAMA
UPSTART
FRTN (P)JM PSTRT 14 (21) JUMP STREET 05
P-7 = I
States or periods of being a creature like Tinkerbell (one such state was the title of an episode of the web series The Legend Of Neil) / Replace a number with the closest integer or multiple of ten, perhaps (2 wds) / His ditty about several women, Mary being the only one whose name did not end with an “A,” was a hit more than a dozen years ago (2 wds) FAIRYHOODS
ROUND OFF
LOU BEGA
FRHDS (R)NDFF LBG 4 (8) HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG 06
R-4 = N
Successful realization, such as of a plan or an apple tree / Animal with an eye out for an infamous brew / 1960’s tabletop game involving sliders, marbles, and holes (2 wds) / Pitcher who takes the place of the starting pitcher FRUITION
NEWT
STAY ALIVE
RELIEVER
FRTN NW(T) STLV RLVR 49 (50) WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER 07
T-1 = S
The N in NICU / Mixed drink consisting of banana liqueur (creme de banane), Blue Curacao, pineapple juice, and rum (2 wds) / Monopoly Avenue (in the standard U.S. version) statistically landed on most often, according to most sources on such matters NEONATAL
FAT BOX
ILLINOIS
NNTL FTB(X) LLNS 90 (99) LUFTBALLONS 08
X-9 = O
Fourth in a sequence that starts with “Rich Man” / The state of having died without leaving a will / Trainwreck director THIEF
INTESTACY
APATOW
THF NTSTC (P)TW THE FANTASTIC 2 (4) 09
P-2 = N
Worry, perhaps about part of a guitar / Separate wheat from chaff by beating / Aphrodite’s hunk who gets killed by a boar / Typically numbered illustration or diagram in a set of instructions FRET
THRESH
FIGURE
FRT THRSH D(N)S FGR 43 (50) SHADES OF GREY 10
N-7 = G
Having no worries (perhaps because one is a fan of sugarless gum?) / Hard to cut or chew, like overcooked steak / Bird with a long tail, such as one of Abert’s / More lachrymose CAREFREE
TOUGH
TOWHEE
TEARIER
CRFR TGH TWH (T)RR CAR 48 (54) WHERE ARE YOU 11
T-6 = N
Dark meat chicken part / Port city south of Seattle / Its center is about 10 inches high and about 60 feet from the plate / They lose effectiveness when heated to the Curie point THIGH
TACOMA
MOUND
MAGNETS
THGH TCM MND M(G)NTS THE 8 (10) COMMANDMENTS 12
G-2 = E
Island destination of The Bounty / Marx without words / Clue professor / Sinh/Cosh / Accepted fact, such as a seed in a sudoku TAHITI
HARPO
PLUM
TANH
GIVEN
THT HRP PLM TNH (G)VN THE 3 (5) PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN 13
G-2 = E
Pepperidge Farm cookie named after a Northern California town / Without face value, like some stocks (2 wds) / Egotism, or in another sense, overarching idea / Dance found in the NATO Alphabet SAUSALITO
NO PAR
CONCEIT
TANGO
SSLT NPR CNCT TN(G) ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 10 (13) 14
G-3 = D
Release or let go, perhaps most often heard as part of a command to the bad guy holding a maiden in distress / Pungent vegetable with an exterior that is not white, yellow, or green (and that is more purple than its name suggests) (2 wds) / Period or state of occupancy, such as of an apartment / Eat in a pasture / Film for which Hoffman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar between his two Oscar wins UNHAND
REDONION
TENANCY
GRAZE
TOOTSIE
NHND RDNN TNNC GR(Z) TTS 199 (200) CIGARETTES 15
Z-1 = Y
Ibis-headed god of wisdom / Approve, as with a Constitutional amendment / Wildly popular, social-media-wise / Like the series 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 ... or the series 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/5 + 1/7 ... but not the series 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 ... or the series 1/1 + 1/4 + 1/9 + 1/16 ... THOTH
RATIFY
VIRAL
DIVERGENT
THTH RTF VRL DVRGN(T) THE 35 (40) YEAR OLD VIRGIN 16
T-5 = O
Construction purchased for ascending to Heaven on foot, lyrically / In heraldry, diminutive horizontal line or stripe 1/20 the width of the field / Alliterative, and predictable, nickname for Ann Arbor, Michigan (2 wds) / Restaurant recommendation app from Lei Zhang (2 wds) STAIRWAY
BARRULET
TREE TOWN
EAT NOW
STRW BRRLT TRTWN TN(W) STRAWBERRY LETTER 21 (23) 17
W-2 = U
Cancelled or postponed due to weather, as a baseball game (2 wds) / Product manufactured by the company having the following problems in a The Far Side cartoon: "Machine No. 5 has jammed, several of the larger spools have gone off track, the generator's blown, and, well, everything seems to be you-know-what." / Competitor of Halls and Ricola / Culture and fashion magazine that shares its name with a classic 19th century novel (2 wds) / Sinatra album or Paltrow film RAINED OUT
HAYWIRE
LUDENS
VANITY FAIR
DUETS
RNDT HWR LDNS VNTFR D(T)S AROUND THE WORLD IN 74 (80) DAYS 18
T-6 = N
Like a rabbit’s foot or hung horseshoe / Matt Damon film or Lionel Richie song (3 wds) / Fraggles’ workaholic counterparts / Vietnam river with a prominent delta / Genre of largely 17th century music or architecture / Chart-topper that Weird Al parodied with “Foil” LUCKY
STUCK ON YOU
DOOZERS
MEKONG
BAROQUE
ROYALS
LCK STCKN DZRS MKNG BR(Q) RLS LOCK STOCK AND 0 (2) SMOKING BARRELS 19
Q-2 = O
Batman villain played by a star of The Honeymooners (2 wds) / One who calculates and sets insurance tables / Taste or sight / Otitis pain, perhaps / Not unlimited / More vague, unclear, or overcast THE ARCHER
ACTUARY
SENSE
EARACHE
FINITE
HAZIER
THRCHR CTR SNS RCH FNT H(Z)R 3 (6) CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR 20
Z-3 = W