Solution: META: Finding Myself

Written by Level 51, betaveros, kt3, lydian, Idontknow, and wolf

The answers in this meta:

As a dragon-phoenix, Dippy’s element is fire. Each answer is closely related to a word or phrase that contains the substring FIRE. In almost all cases, Googling the answer with “fire” will produce the result.

Answer“FIRE” phraseExplanation
ADAM SUTLERNORSEFIREIn V for Vendetta, Adam Sutler is the head of the fictional political party Norsefire.
ASKING FOR TROUBLEPLAYING WITH FIRE“Asking for trouble” and “playing with fire” are idiomatic synonyms.
BLUE ON BLUEFRIENDLY FIRE“Blue on blue” is a term for friendly fire.
BROWSERFIREFOXFirefox is a major internet browser. (It is possible to associate it with “Mozilla Firefox”, but that fits in none of the blanks.)
FATESFIRE EMBLEMOne of the Fire Emblem games is subtitled Fates.
I’M NOT A RAPPERSUPA HOT FIRESupa Hot Fire is the meme rapper with this meme lyric.
LEIPZIG TRIALREICHSTAG FIREThe Reichstag Fire led to the Leipzig Trial.
NABOKOVPALE FIREPale Fire is one of Nabokov’s most famous books.
OWL CITYFIREFLIES“Fireflies” is one of Owl City’s most famous songs.
PACIFIC PLATERING OF FIREThe Pacific Plate is part of the Ring of Fire.
PACKET FILTERFIREWALLA packet filter is a type of firewall.
ROBERT FROSTFIRE AND ICE“Fire and Ice” is one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems. (He also wrote “Fireflies in the Garden”, but it is much more obscure and does not fit in any of the blanks.)
SAMANDARINFIRE SALAMANDERFire salamanders secrete samandarin.
TRIWIZARD TOURNAMENTGOBLET OF FIREThe Goblet of Fire determines who participates in the Triwizard Tournament.
VANGELISCHARIOTS OF FIREVangelis is most famous for his score for Chariots of Fire.
WAKE UPARCADE FIREArcade Fire has a famous single titled “Wake Up”.
WRATH OF GODFIRE AND BRIMSTONE“Fire and brimstone” is an idiomatic expression for the wrath of God.

All the FIRE phrases fit into exactly one row in the puzzle, with the center fiery column corresponding to the FIRE substring. After putting them in, read the boxed letters to produce the answer, PYROTECHNICAL FOWL.

Author’s Notes

betaveros: I think this is actually the first widely published metapuzzle I contributed to. More importantly, it's my first published meta pun!

The original meta I proposed was a meta flavored around the whole phoenix rebirthing thing with the property that an experienced puzzler could likely solve it with zero feeders. We scrapped it because the other people on the team convinced me it was a sufficiently big flaw in the metapuzzle, but we kept the pun. (Admittedly, I'm actually not sure if this meta might actually still have this property. I am imagining that you might be able to guess the meta mechanism entirely from context and priors on how simple the meta mechanism has to be to fit in this hunt. Then, many of the actual FIRE phrases we used are the most obviously clueable phrases with their enumeration and FIRE location: for example, (7, 4, FIRE) is pretty unambiguous. Even when ambiguous, you can get a small list of likely candidates in most positions, and that might be enough to error-correct to the answer. If any of you know somebody who is unspoiled on this entire puzzlehunt very good at metas, it would be cool to try this out! Of course, mechanically, we ended up gating the meta harshly anyway to encourage people to look at most of our feeders.)