12/30/08

MGWCC #030 -- Tuesday, December 30, 2008 -- "Time to Play the Piper"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 30 of my crossword contest, the last MGWCC of 2008. 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:

Major reindeer games here at MGWCC last week -- to wit, eight of Santa's nine sleigh-cows concealed themselves semi-cleverly in the puzzle grid. The only one missing was DONNER, which was last week's contest answer word. Some entrants also submitted the alternate spellings DONDER and/or DUNDER, which were also counted as correct. Solution grid at left.

So what exactly is this sleigh-cow's real name? For the record, here's how you all broke it down:

DONNER only -- 52 entries
DONDER only -- 21 entries
DUNDER only -- 0 entries
DONNER and DONDER -- 18 entries
DONNER and DUNDER -- 2 entries
DONDER and DUNDER -- 0 entries
DONNER, DONDER and DUNDER -- 11 entries

A hierarchy has emerged among the three choices -- but DONDER gets the last laugh this week, since that name alone was submitted by this week's contest winner, Mary Kazmer of Berkeley, Calif., whose name was chosen randomly from the 104 correct entries received. Mary has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

And finally, how the sleigh-cows hid themselves: each of the eight words in the four theme entries contained all the letters of one of the reindeer + one extra letter. Ergo Vixen concealed herself in VEXING, Blitzen in BLINTZES, Rudolph in UPHOLDER, Comet in COMETH, Dasher in RASHEED, Dancer in PRANCED (bit of a red herring I threw in there, one sleigh-cow hiding himself in another), Cupid in CUSPID, and the semi-legit-but-certainly-inconsistent Prancer hiding in the two-word REAP CORN (to my surprise, there was no decent eight-letter entry that uses the seven letters in PRANCER).

THREE THINGS:

1) Lots of Donner Party jokes in this week's e-mails -- you people are sick and twisted. I love it! Next time post them in comments so the whole class can see.

2) Speaking of which: reminder that you can post comments about the puzzle at any time. Comments received between Fridays and noon on Tuesdays will be published at noon on Tuesdays; comments received after noon on Tuesdays will be published ASAP after approval (I don't want to have to approve each one but Blogger makes me if I don't want them to appear pre-Tuesday).

3) The winner of last Friday's mini-contest is N.F. of whereabouts unknown (I just informed him a few minutes ago that he won; when he writes me back I'll post his name and book choice) [UPDATE, 12/30, 5:35 PM -- that winner is Neville Fogarty of Lexington, Va., who has chosen as his prize a copy of Gridlock]. The answers to the puzzle were MUSKEGON, Michigan and the TV show GUNSMOKE, which anagram well-mixedly to one another.

I was aiming to be the first human being to notice the MUSKEGON/GUNSMOKE connection (a quick Google Search didn't reveal any anticipators), but Nancy Taubenslag informs me that others got there first:

I once lost a trivia contest because I didn’t get this answer fast enough.

Oh well.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer word is a kind of soup/stew with six letters in its name (well, ten if you include the word "soup" or "stew"). E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET [UPDATE, 1/1/09: Oops, I meant Friday, January 2 by noon ET. Sorry for the late warning, but I have to stick to the 1/2/09 deadline so we're not still off next week]. 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





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

12/26/08

MGWCC #030 -- Coming Tuesday -- But We Still Have a Mini-Contest Today!



Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that next week I'll be posting not one, but two editions of MGWCC. The bad news is that I won't be posting one today. Too much Christmas activity (traveling, buying gifts, watching my two-year-old nephew tear through acres of wrapping paper) and I wasn't able to get this week's puzzle done and up.

So here's the MGWCC holiday schedule: #030 will go up on Tuesday, Dec. 30th, 2008, and, then #031 will go up on Friday, Jan. 2nd, 2009. At which time we'll all be back on the normal schedule and never speak of this lapse again. Results from #029 will also be announced Tuesday (see Joon Pahk's writeup if you want to see the answers before then).

But let no one say I left you completely puzzle-less today. Here's something: anagram one of the fifty largest cities in Michigan (here's a list) to get one of the most popular TV shows of all time. Hint: they're both exactly one word, so you know it's not Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, etc.

What the heck, let's make it a contest: e-mail me the answer at crosswordcontest@gmail.com and one winner chosen at random wins an autographed book. Please put the contest answer words (city + TV show) in the subject line of your e-mail.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season filled with materialistic overconsumption. See you on Tuesday!

12/19/08

MGWCC #029 -- Friday, December 19, 2008 -- "Eight Isn't Enough"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 29 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:

A little word puzzle awaited solvers of last week's crossword -- a hockey stick-toting, grizzly-infested, never-kicked-the-Queen-out little word puzzle involving our friends north of the border and their postal system.

The five longest entries in the grid spelled out the task:

JOIN THREE / CANADIAN POSTAL / ABBREVIATIONS TO / FORM AN NFL STAR'S / FIRST NAME




Everyone (including me) Googled the list of Canada's thirteen postal abbreviations, and even non-sports fans pieced together PEYTON MANNING, who was last week's contest answer phrase. His first name is spelled from the postal abbreviations for Prince Edward Island, Yukon Territory, and Ontario (PE, YT, ON). "Peyton" was the only recognizable six-letter sequence I could get from those thirteen abbrs. Solution grid at left.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 103 correct answers received, is Jordan Chodorow of Los Angeles, Calif. Jordan has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

ONE THING:

Due to limitations in Blogger's system, I'm going to have to do comments in kind of an odd way. Comments will be open immediately when a puzzle is posted, but moderated so that they only appear at noon ET on Tuesday, when the entry deadline passes. Any comments posted after Tuesday at noon will appear immediately.

Again, no rules on comments -- anything about the puzzle can be discussed there, including that week's contest answer word. [UPDATE, 12/23, 12:05 PM ET -- Comments section now open! I think I'll go post there myself.]

I lied, there's another thing: due to illness and then sloth, I'm about four weeks behind on sending prize books out. They're going out this weekend, though, so if I owe you book loot, hold on -- it's comin'.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

Somebody is missing from this week's crossword. His (her? not sure) name, which is six letters long, is this week's contest answer word. 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.

12/12/08

MGWCC #028 -- Friday, December 12, 2008 -- "Mystery Mailman"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 28 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:


Last week's puzzle chronicled my themed, exciting, and apocryphal trip around the world. The grid featured eight countries I'd visited and challenged solvers to find the two that I missed: listed were MADAGASCAR, PARAGUAY, NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA, MOZAMBIQUE, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, and AUSTRALIA. Most solvers noticed the Southern hemispheric clustering, but what precisely was the common thread there?


The big hint showed up with BRAZIL at 10-down, which was the only asymmetrically-placed country in the grid. Look at the clue to its corresponding entry, MILLER at 44-down, and you see the sign: {"Tropic of Capricorn" novelist Henry}. The countries listed were eight of the ten nations that lie on the Tropic of Capricorn; the only two missing were CHILE and SOUTH AFRICA, which were last week's contest answer words. Solution grid at left.

A few solvers thought from the puzzle's title that the combined number of letters in the 10 countries I fake-visited might be 80, but no: the 80 in the puzzle's title just refers to the total number of entries in the grid.

Doug Peterson alertly writes:

As a constructor, I'm curious: did you try to fit Chile into the grid also?

Yes indeed, and thereby hangs a semi-embarrassing tale, which is the best kind: when I began the puzzle, I had CHILE neatly crossing NAMIBIA in the center of the grid, and my intention was to have SOUTH AFRICA alone be the contest answer phrase. But somewhere in the process of trying to squeeze PARAGUAY and BOTSWANA in, I removed CHILE...just temporarily, of course...and then never replaced it.

So last Friday afternoon I'm giving the puzzle one last look-see before posting and suddenly it strikes me: "Hey, where the !@#$% did CHILE go?" After a few panicky moments trying to stuff it back into the center of the grid (didn't work), I took the easy way out and made both CHILE and SOUTH AFRICA the contest answer words.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 90 correct answers received, is Steve Fineman of Morristown, N.J. Steve has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

TWO THINGS:

#1: All hail Brendan Quigley's new puzzle site, which is, as one would expect, extremely gangster. New 15x15's by the master himself are posted each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 51-across in puzzle #1 could be the entry of the year! Bookmark this baby.

#2: Inspired by/envious of the rollicking comments section on BEQ's new site, I've decided to open comments here at 12 noon ET each Tuesday, right as the contest deadline ends. No rules except be nice -- anything and everything about the puzzle may be freely discussed there, including the contest answer word.[UPDATE, 12/15, 3:25 PM ET: I can't figure out how to open the comments section -- I've done everything intuitive on the Blogger "Comments" page but this sucker still won't open. Anyone able to help me out on this?][SECOND UPDATE, 3:50 PM: looks like Blogger doesn't let you open comments on a post after it's posted, so I'll have to open comments on Friday when I post or not at all. I'll get it straightened out -- but for now, check out Joon Pahk's write-ups on the puzzle, which he'll be doing each Tuesday at Amy Reynaldo's blog: http://crosswordfiend.blogspot.com/2008/12/mgwcc-28.html]

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer phrase is a famous person's first and last names, which total thirteen letters. E-mail them 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.

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.

12/5/08

MGWCC #027 -- Friday, Dec. 5, 2008 -- "Around the World in 80 Grid Entries"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 27 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.

Note: I'm headed out to a doctor's appointment at 3, so I'm only going to post this week's puzzle right now. When I get home later this afternoon I'll post last week's results. Nothing serious...and I think it's even given me a theme for next week. How's that for dedication? My head feels like a cantaloupe wedged in a vise and I'm still thinking of crossword themes.

UPDATE, 4:50 PM: It's not strep, so out the window with my theme idea. Just a virus going around.



LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:


A "poultry" 58 solvers managed to deduce last week's contest answer phrase, YOU'RE WELCOME, appropriate for a Thanksgiving-week puzzle. Solution grid at left.

They got there two ways: by noticing that the puzzle's four theme entries ended with the words/phrases ANYTIME, NOT AT ALL, SURE THING, and YOU BET, all of which stand in frequently for YOU'RE WELCOME. Confirmation came at the puzzle's equator, where the words YORE/WHELK/HAIM steered solvers again, a tad obliquely perhaps, toward the correct phrase.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 58 correct answers, is Richard Kalustian of Tacoma, Wash. Richard has selected as his prize a copy of Literary Crosswords, and becomes the second two-time winner of MGWCC.

Those solvers who haven't been fortunate enough to win once might be justified in feeling a wee mite miffed at those who've won twice, but help is on the way: now that I'm consistently getting over 100 entries per week, I'll be adding new, non-book prizes early in the new year. Merit-based, too! So bear with me and keep sending those entries in.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

I recently took a trip around the world -- a themed trip, naturally. When I got home, though, I realized I had neglected to travel to two countries on my list. This week's contest answer words are the two countries I forgot to visit. E-mail them to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer words 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.