Thanks for solving one or both of the puzzles, and for tackling the respective metas. We hope you had as much fun working these puzzles as we did in creating them.
About the Puzzles:
Both the Master and Open division puzzles share:
Theme entries that have A, C, P, and T eliminated in order from top to bottom. In the Open puzzle, one incidence of each is removed from the themers, yielding a different word/phrase. In the Master puzzle, multiple instances of the letter are removed, yielding nonsense.
In the spirit of eliminating the ACPT competition, there are also no As, Cs, Ps, or Ts anywhere else in the puzzles.
Except for A, C, P, and T, no other letters are eliminated, making both grids quasi-pangrams.
In the Masters puzzle, the meta answer in the bottom right corner, MHU, is "matchup" with all four letters removed. While not a normal reveal, it sits in a place where a reveal might go and ties up the theme answers, which each have only one of the letters removed. MATCHUP is the only synonym for “competition” that we could find that includes all four letters. Can you think of another?
Open puzzle theme answers:
They are left over after division
REMaINDERS—A is eliminated
Lack of affection, say
cHILLINESS—C is eliminated
A cylindrical utensil used to flatten dough
ROLLING_pIN—P is eliminated
They're often found in churches or on campuses
BELL_tOWERS—T is eliminated
Several Open solvers found ways to torture the clues into working for the resulting answers also. For example from one, "Remainders could be reminders that you need to convert your answer to a fraction." Very clever, but not our intention.
Master puzzle theme answers:
Competition that has eliminated Barkin and Erdmann
FEYER_HINMaN_RIVaLRY—A is eliminated
Place, after eliminating the competition?
cOMING_IN_SEcOND—C is eliminated
Possible headline describing a gaffe that might lead to elimination from World Series competition?
pRO_DROppED_pOpUp_FLY—P is eliminated
Query about an enigmatologist shushing a spectator at a Westchester Table Tennis Center double-elimination competition?
WHO_WILL_SHORtZ_QUIEt?—T is eliminated
MatcHUp—all four letters are eliminated.
Of the themers, pRO_DROppED_pOpUp_FLY proved to be the hardest to parse. Several solvers saw "A-Rod dropped ..." as part of the answer. Of course, that couldn't be, because there's only one D, and because there's an A in that phrase, as well as the Ps.
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