On to this week's recap: did you get thrown by 14-Across in Monday's puzzle? The clue was [With 1-Down, actor who played Martin Luther King in the 2000 miniseries "Parting the Waters"] and the answer, split among two words, was COURTNEYB/VANCE. That middle initial might've thrown you off, even if you knew the actor's full name.
Indeed, ends-in-a-single letter entries like COURTNEY B are some of the trickiest to appear in puzzles. They fool our brains with their one-letter-ness; we're on the lookout as solvers for two- or three-word entries, but a one-letter finale like that -- whodathunkit? Celebs with full stage names who fit this bill include JAY-Z, KENNY G, CARDI B, and LIL NAS X.
It's not just last-letter proper names that are tricky, either -- it happens with standard words and phrases as well. Take a five-letter entry clued as [Backup operation]. Even with PLAN?, it can take a minute to realize it's PLAN B. That NB finish is a surprise for the brain!
Other entries like this have multiple options: you could be a TYPE A or TYPE B personality, for instance, so you might need to get that last letter from the crossing answer.
Fooled by a one-letter word at the end? Tweet it to #beastxword and we'll run the alphabet together.
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