We start with Ben Acker (a writer from Virginia!) and Tan Dobson (a substitute teacher from California).
Ben gets the first two right for $200 and a mini-vacation to San Diego. He then runs it up to $600 before finding the first Extra of the day. He wagers $500 on the following:
E _ _
It’s the second largest living bird. He gets EMU quickly for $1,100! That’s how he ends the round. Tan has $100.
Today’s Spoilers are Stew Watson (NY), Diadra Radcliffe (Illinois) and Ron Caplan (Connecticut).
1. (Nine letters)($300)- Inflamation of the joints. Stew tries to spoil right away but messes up with ARTHIT. Diadra takes too long, so Ron gets a free shot at it. He says ARTHRITIS…correct for $1,400!
2. (_ I _ _)- What Don Johnson on TV, and Jamie Foxx in film, policed against. Ron gets VICE from the title “Miami Vice” to go to $1,600.
3. (_ R _ _)- Kilmer said only God can make one. Ron says it’s a TREE…and he now has $1,800 and puts the other mini-vacation in his bank, to Lake Tahoe.
4. (_ E _ _)- This is where sides are probably on the side. Tan messes it up with MENN, dropping her to a hundred in the hole. Ron spells MENU correctly to hit the two grand mark!
5. (_ _ A M _)- Cowboys and Indians. Tan is wrong again with GAMES, dropping her to -$300. Diadra tries to spoil but has nothing, so she’s locked out again. It was TEAMS.
6. (Four-letter word)- Chamber for curing tobacco. Tan rings in at the last second with PIPE…three misses in a row. It was OAST, dropping her to -$500.
7. (Five-letter word)- Fletch. Stew tries to spoil with CHEVY…thinking of a car, that’s incorrect. Ben gets a free shot with CHASE…and he gets his podium and lead back at $2,200!
8. (_ _ _ _ _ E _ _)($300)- Marked by wise self-restraint. Stew blows another spoil attempt with RESERVED. It was DISCREET.
9. (Four letters)- Bros and sis, to bro and sis. Ben says they’re SIBS…they sure are to go to $2,400!
10. (_ _ S _ _)- In bridge columns, they’re the players on the right. Diadra goes for the spoil with EASTS…right for $2,600!
11. (_ _ I _ _)- How twins often dress. Diadra knows that’s ALIKE to go to $2,800 and find the second Extra of the game. Her wager is $800:
_ _ _ _ E _ S
Clue: Red table wines produced in the Bordeaux region of France. She guesses CLARETS…another good guess to go to $3,600!
13. (_ _ B _ T)- “The Roof of the World”. Tan says the mountain peak of TIBET…right to move to -$300.
14. (_ _ _ _ L _)- Spanish entrée flavored with saffron. Stew tries again to spoil with PAELLA…this time, he comes through and now has $3,800! That’s all for the round.
1. (_ _ _ P)- Catch-22, essentially. Tan says that’s a TRAP…she’s back at -$100.
2. (T _ _ _ _)- It’s shaped like a horseshoe and fit for a queen. Tan rings in with TIARA…she’s now a hundred on the positive side.
3. (I _ _ A)- 29th U.S. state, named after Native Americans. Tan nails IOWA to triple her money.
4. (_ _ _ _ A)- Prefix meaning “on the far side of”. Tan says AWAY but that means $200 will go away from her score, so she’s back at $100. Answer: ULTRA.
5. (Six-letter word)- To register for. Stew says ENLIST…good guess, but incorrect. To steal his prized possessions, Ron says ENROLL…right!
6. (_ _ _ E _)- The Jackson who appeared in “Good Times”. Tan goes with JANET…she recently released “Discipline” - that’s correct to back to $300.
7. (A _ _ _)- Words after “Diamonds” in a Marilyn Monroe song title. Ron says ARE A…yes indeed to hit four thousand!
8. (_ R _ N _)- Hoops building. Ron gets ARENA for a new total of $4,200!
9. (J A _ _)- Some are jam-packed. Ron goes with JARS…$4,400! And he gets the last Extra of the game. His wager is…two grand.
R E _ R _ _ _ _ _ _
Like some computer CDs and DVDs. He says RETRIEVEDS…nope, so he’s down to $2,400. It was REWRITABLE.
11. (Five letters)- Comes to a snail’s pace. Tan guesses SLOWS…correct to go to $500.
12. (Five letters)- Type of gas such as helium, krypton, xenon or radon. Tan’s in once more with NEONS…incorrect, dropping her back to $300. Ron says INERT…also incorrect, dropping him to $2,200. It was NOBLE.
13. (Six letters)- Steps over obstacles. Stew says AVOIDS…nice try, but incorrect. That gives Diadra a chance to spoil with EEVADE, which also is wrong. It was STYLES.
14. (Four-letter word)- Softest mineral. Tan says IRON…nope. To steal her $300, Ben says LEAD…no, but it was a free shot. It was TALC. The game’s over, so Ron wins $2,200 and the mini-vacations!
Crossfire: If Ron can fill in the remaining 29 blanks, he’ll now have $4,200 and a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico…no.