Typing this just a few minutes after I solved Brendan Quigley’s meta-crossword from last week, “Parklife,” so the adrenaline is still coursing through my triumphant self. Such a simple idea once you’ve seen it, yet seeing it took me over an hour.
Instructions asked for a “famous person in the news,” and it appeared at first glance (and later turned out to be the case) that we got only three theme entries: I KNOW, RIGHT?, WHAT CHILD IS THIS? and ROGER EBERT. WATERCRESS and WORD SQUARE going down I briefly considered as theme, but there was no forced fill in the area so I leaned away from that theory. Scanned the clues, diagonals and a few other usual suspects, but nothing looked hinky there, either.
Stepping into the evil mind of our constructor, I noticed that the word HATCH was concealed in WHAT CHILD IS THIS, and that the surname of actor Richard GERE hid inside ROGER EBERT (in fact, it hides inside the name ROBERT, though that has nothing to do with the meta, as it turns out).
WRIGHT is a last name, too, though, and takes up most of the first themer’s real estate. HATCH, too, can be a last name, so I typed those three into Google. Maybe someone surnamed Wright, Orrin Hatch and Richard Gere had just campaigned on behalf of the Dalai Lama or something? But Google said no.
This was all a few days ago, after which I put the meta aside. Picked it up again today (Tuesday) and within 5 minutes noticed that novelist Richard WRIGHT, “Survivor” winner Richard HATCH and the aforementioned Richard GERE are all there. 3 Richards can only refer to the recent discovery of the bones of meta answer RICHARD III OF ENGLAND, a monarch so old-school that Shakespeare wrote a play about him.
His bones were discovered under a parking lot, or “car park” as the Brits refer to it. But wait — there’s more! Peter Gordon just pointed out to me on the phone that each of the three Richards is hidden under a CAR in the grid. Now that’s funny! And explains the puzzle’s title. Love it. See solution diagram above.
Topical, sly and funny — classic BEQ. 4.80 stars and a tip of the crown to the constructor.