I have a rogue tooth, which pops out at irregular or ill-timed intervals (such as a week before moving to New Zealand) – the result of a long-past operation to eliminate a cyst somewhere to the left of my philtrum. Nothing really to do with this puzzle, but it does mean I have been to a few dentists. A memorable example was the one, very full of himself, who told me to say nothing of my dental history, because he could determine everything by examining my mouth. When I pointed out that he’d missed something, he went a bit sulky, and said that was because it was dark down there.
And that was my first and last visit to him. He had a Dali print blue-tacked to the ceiling over the chair. That’s something dentists are increasingly doing – my current one has a TV screen mounted horizontally, on which he shows subtitled documentaries about the NZ coastline.
I think I prefer the ones with just a pattern of square tiles in a square array. You can’t help but start filling them in (which reminds me, don’t let me near checked shirts…). Back in 1990, there was the IQ puzzle Fillings (No. 103, in the days before the any resetting of the count) which originated that way.
And now here’s the Tooth Fairy. A lot of the preceding waffle has been simply to disguise the fact that there isn’t much to say about this idea. Tooth Fairy replaces tooth with coin? OK, do the same in the grid, making sure the tooth and the coin are of the same length (inspection shows that there’s not really much opening for having words before and after replacement). THE TOOTH FAIRY has 13 letters, so there’s your grid size. There aren’t that many synonyms for tooth – even so, you have to search across the currencies to find replacements of suitable length. So this becomes an internationally focused tooth fairy – and there’s your puzzle.