11/28/08

MGWCC #026 -- Friday, November 28, 2008 -- "My Pleasure"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 26 of my crossword contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.

Crikey -- have we been doing this for half a year already? Tempus fugit!


LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:


It was 45 years ago last Saturday that a bullet, probably from the gun of this professional assassin, killed president John F. Kennedy (it sure as hell wasn't this guy who did it).


102 solvers correctly deduced my assessment of the Warren Commission's findings, GARBAGE, which was last week's contest answer word. To get there, they changed one letter in the puzzle's seven theme entries to get a phrase from the JFK hit: "Jack Ruby" became JACK RUBE, "lone gunman" became LONG GUNMAN, "magic bullet" became MAGIC BALLET, "grassy knoll" became BRASSY KNOLL, "Dealey Plaza" became DEALER PLAZA, "three tramps" became THREE GRAMPS, and "Howard Hunt" became HOWARD AUNT. See solution grid showcasing my mad Paint skillz at left.

The seven replaced letters from the original phrases yielded, when properly anagrammed, the word GARBAGE.

I thought this puzzle would be more controversial than your e-mails suggested. The vast majority of solvers who voiced an opinion on the Warren Commission agreed with the sentiment of last week's contest answer word, and several offered more colorful terms I might have used instead. Quite a few responses, encouragingly, came from solvers who were adults at the time of the assassination and voiced decades-long doubt at the official story.

Last word on the Kennedys for now: I got two emails expressing some doubt at my contention that LBJ was in on, if not the primary organizer of, JFK's assassination. I offer in response one of the most intriguing videos you'll ever see: a 2001 interview with the late Madeline Duncan Brown, a woman who had a 21-year-long affair with Lyndon Johnson, and who was with him in Dallas on the night of Nov. 21, 1963. She has some very interesting things to say about that evening.

Watch the 5-minute video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79lOKs0Kr_Y

And if that piques your interest, which it will, watch the whole interview here (81 minutes):

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6962062879996612313


...and then tell me whether you think 11/22/63 was a lone nut -- or a palace coup.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 102 correct entries, is T.T. of whereabouts unknown (I only notified T.T. yesterday morning that he was this week's winner and haven't heard back from him yet. Will update with his full name and prize selection when his turkey coma wears off). [UPDATE, 11/29, 5:00 PM ET -- this week's winner is Tim Tebbe of Minneapolis, Minn. Tim has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.]

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer phrase is two words that are a total of twelve letters in length. Hint: it also includes an apostrophe. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer phrase in the subject line of your e-mail.

On the road until tomorrow so I'll put the printable JPEG up then; for now, please solve the Across Lite version at the Google Group here:

http://groups.google.com/group/mgwcc


[UPDATE, 12/01, 1:15 AM ET: Gaaaah! Nick Meyer writes to remind me that I didn't post the printable JPEG yet. Now I have -- damn you, turkey coma!]



Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.

11/22/08

MGWCC #025 -- Saturday, November 22, 2008 -- "That's Not What Happened"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 25 of my crossword contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:

106 solvers realized that last week's puzzle grid was a little off-kilter -- it was ASYMMETRICAL, in fact, which was last week's contest answer word.

A few people noticed the asymmetry right away (the two diagonally-attached pairs of black squares in the center of the grid don't match up with proper 180-degree rotational symmetry), but most discovered the contest answer word through the 4 1/2 theme entries: ASEXUAL DEVIANCE, AMORAL HAZARD, APOLITICAL PARTY, ATYPICAL MALE, and the half-entry ASOCIAL at 23-down. These entries consisted of two-word phrases whose first word becomes an antonym of itself with the addition of an initial A. Along with the final 15-letter entry in the grid, LIKE THIS DIAGRAM, these theme entries pointed most solvers to the ASYMMETRICAL aspect of the grid.

Best incorrect answer of the week goes to a solver whose name I won't print (but if this was you and you want your name printed, let me know). This solver anagrammed ASYMMETRICAL to get the A-bashing phrase ARTICLE MY ASS. Which was not the correct contest answer word (and the anagram is a letter off) but it did make me laugh.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 106 correct entries, is Rose Nickodemus of Saginaw, Mich. Rose has selected as her prize an autographed copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crossword Puzzles & Word Games.

ONE THING ABOUT LAST WEEK'S PUZZLE:

I noticed only yesterday, though I'm sure some solvers must have noticed it sooner, that I missed an easy opportunity to weed an abbreviation out of the grid last week, namely the suboptimal MTN at 19-across. The obvious fix was to turn RUST at 2-down into RUSE, which makes MTN the much better MEN (or even better, I could have changed 1-down to PRAY, yielding RUSE and YEN instead of PRAM/RUST/MTN).

I have no logical explanation why I didn't do that; when the book comes out, rest assured I'll use the PRAY/YEN/RUSE interlock. Come to think of it, I do in fact have an explanation for how this lapse came about: I spent several hours on the NE and SW corners (I believe each human being's social status in the afterlife will be determined by the number of 5x5 blocks they worked into their crossword grids and live my life accordingly) and was a little tired when I got to that relatively easy corner, so I wasn't mentally alert enough to maximize the possibilities there. Anyway, let us move on.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer word is seven letters in length. It is a fair, reasoned assessment of the findings of the Warren Commission's report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a deep event which occurred 45 years ago today. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET [UPDATE, 11/22/08, 3:40PM ET -- Al Sanders writes to remind me that the deadline for this week's puzzle is Wednesday at noon ET, not Tuesday]. Please put the contest answer word in the subject line of your e-mail.

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit "print" on your browser. To solve using Across Lite, join the Google Group here:

http://groups.google.com/group/mgwcc




Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.

11/14/08

MGWCC #024 -- Friday, November 14, 2008 -- "A Is for Antonym"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 24 of my crossword contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:

Ding ding ding -- we did it, kids! This week we've set a new record for total number of entries received (116) and, for the first time, I received triple-digit correct entries (107, to be precise). Terrific -- now let's aim for four digits!

The five 15-letter grid entries in last week's puzzle contained a riddle:

WHICH WORD IN THIS / DIAGRAM CAN LOSE A / LETTER TO BECOME A / SHORTER WORD WITH / ONE MORE SYLLABLE?

The riddle's answer -- and last week's contest answer word -- was found at 65-across, FINANCE, a two-syllable word which drops its first N to become the three-syllable "fiance." Five entrants submitted "fiance" instead of FINANCE, which was technically incorrect but I decided to count it anyway (they'd clearly solved the riddle as intended). Solution grid is at left.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 107 correct entries, is Kevin Ashworth of Los Angeles, Calif. Kevin has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer word is 12 letters in length. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer word in the subject line of your e-mail.

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit "print" on your browser. To solve using Across Lite, join the Google Group here:

http://groups.google.com/group/mgwcc



Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.

11/7/08

MGWCC #023-- Friday, November 7, 2008 -- "+/- 1"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 23 of my crossword contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:

"I didn't get the theme," solver Andy Blumberg wrote me about last week's puzzle, "until I read the answers out loud to my wife."

Reading them aloud did the trick, since the five theme entries -- LANCING A BLISTER, ROLLIE FINGERS, JUNO MACGUFF, PEER PRESSURED, and CONQUERED NATION -- all begin with a homophone for a U.S. state capital. For the record, those would be Lansing, Raleigh, Juneau, Pierre (betcha didn't know it's correctly pronounced "peer") and Concord (double or nothing you didn't know it's correctly pronounced "conquered" -- do I owe anyone money?). Solution grid is at left.

The band that fits the pattern from the wikipedia list I attached is LINKIN PARK, which was last week's contest answer phrase. But there were some interesting almost-correct alternatives, too: several solvers mentioned (and four submitted as their answer) Boyz II Men, which was on the list I supplied, but whose first word falls one tiny syllable shy of being a true homophone for Idaho's capital (the group's name is pronounced "boys to men," incidentally).

Other semi-close calls solvers mentioned were Rick Springfield, Jefferson Airplane and the Jackson 5, all of which had one or more issues disqualifying them (Springfield and Jackson are actual state capital names, not homophones, for example). A special shout-out to solver Nick Meyer who writes that a good close call is 1990s one-hit wonder Biz Markie, just a syllable away from North Dakota's capital. OK, he's not a band and sure didn't sell "tens of millions of albums" but it's worth a mention.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 68 correct entries, is Candy Hoff of Aurora, Colo. Candy has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

Solve the puzzle and you'll know what to do! E-mail this week's contest answer word to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer word in the subject line of your e-mail.

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit "print" on your browser. To solve using Across Lite, join the Google Group here:

http://groups.google.com/group/mgwcc





Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.