Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: Witch Hunt

Last week's puzzle was apparently pretty doable, as many people did it successfully. If you didn't quite figure it out yet, here are a few comments we got in e-mails:

K.H. in Golden, CO: Whether you decide to include me as a "winner" please: I don't expect some kind of Spanish Inquisition.

J.D.F. in San Francisco, CA: Beautiful plumage!

J.H. in Lake Forest, CA: Not really sure of this week's theme, but I'm wondering, "Do you have any albatross?"

D.D. in Carversville, PA: See, this contest is not dead yet.

A.C. in Columbus, OH: The answer exploded in my head like the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch once I saw "parrot" in the last headline.

P.L in Skövde, Sweden: I tried to ask ChatGPT whether a certain British comedy group had any connection to piranhas and got this answer: "I'm not aware of any specific connection or recurring theme related to piranhas in their work." So much for AI's understanding of comedy...

In case you still don't have it, here's the full rundown from F.Y. in Ann Arbor, MI, who has applied to be our Staff Assistant, Mood-Lightening (seemingly forgetting that the Staff Mathematician already has a pretty good handle on strategies for lightening the mood):

There's a reference to a Monty Python sketch in each headline: The Spam piece immediately brought that particular classic to mind, and after the next clue, well, what could I say, but "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK. I sleep all night and I work all day."

This theme certainly helped raise the mood, giving me an excuse to revisit the library of Monty Python gems. My all-time favorite is "Argument Clinic." Oh wait, no it isn't...

Thanks, yet again, F.Y.! Note that the excised headline we mentioned last week, "To Tweet, or to Twit?", would have added "Upper Class Twit of The Year" to the list. The headline for this item, meanwhile, is a little bit of a cheat, since it refers to a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail rather than a sketch from the show.

Here are the first 10 readers to get it correct:

  1. J.W. in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
  2. J.O. in Cleveland, OH
  3. K.H. in Golden
  4. F.W. in Franklin, WV
  5. L.B. in Veldhoven, Netherlands
  6. P.F. in Las Vegas, NV
  7. J.N. in Zionsville, IN
  8. J.M. in New York City, NY
  9. A.W. in Pittsburgh, PA
  10. D.C. in Teaneck, NJ

Congrats, all! To celebrate, you might want to go see the aforementioned Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the theater; after all, next month is its 48½th anniversary.

As to this week's theme, we'll tell you four things. First, the Maine headline is not part of this week's puzzle. We are not going to turn a mass shooting into a game. Second, readers are considerably more likely to get the general idea than they are to get the precise answer (though the general idea is good enough to get credit). Third, and this is the hint, even if you figure out the general idea, it's very, very hard to figure out how one of the six non-Maine headlines fits with the theme (but It does!). Fourth, and finally, this theme fits in the category of Sports & Leisure.

Send your guesses here. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates