4/29/10

MGWCC #100 -- Friday, April 30th, 2010 -- "One Hundred Weeks of Solvitude"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 100 of my 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:

It took one fine solver 30 seconds (Joon Pahk), but took another fine solver all weekend (Bob Kerfuffle -- see here for both stories, and more -- including some fine solvers who didn't get it at all).

I'm talking about last week's metapuzzle, of course, which 198 folks sussed out in the end. Solvers were tasked with placing five seemingly unrelated theme entries in correct chronological order:

LEVI'S BLUE JEANS (A)
JUST FOR KICKS (B)
DOUBLE DATA ENTRY (C)
FIRST DOWN RUN (D)
HAVING SAID THAT (E)

The emboldened letters above give the game away: each of the five phrases sports the initials of a president known by those initials. Putting them in correct chronological order by years in the White House (FDR-HST-DDE-JFK-LBJ) yields the order D-E-C-B-A, which was last week's contest answer. Solution at upper left.

Erica Pannen writes:

Discovered Executives Consecutively By Assiduousness

Recognizing Monogrammatic Namesakes


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 198 correct entries received, is Jim Akin of Canton, Conn. Jim will receive a copy of Stand Alone's Crosswords for iPhone and a three-month subscription to Matt Gaffney's Daily Crossword for iPhone (MGDCi).

MAY-HEM IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER...

Ominously friendly reminder: everyone who goes 4-for-4 on May's metapuzzles will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set. I sent 36 stationery sets out for Hell Month last October, and my personal goal is to send out fewer than that this time around...

...perhaps far fewer...

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

Happy Centennial to me! Speaking of 100...one of 100 is missing this week -- which one is it? E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer 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 download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,188 members now!) here.



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

4/22/10

MGWCC #099 -- Friday, April 23rd, 2010 -- "Out of Order"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 99 of my 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:

Pick a card, any card -- as long as it's the 10 OF DIAMONDS, which was last week's contest answer. Solution at lower left.

211 solvers process-of-eliminationed their way via the four theme entries, each of which narrowed the search down to the parenthetical number of cards appended to each clue. They were:

REMAIN IN THE RED -- meaning we're looking for a red card, so (26) left
THAT'S NOT ORGAN-IC -- ergo it's not a heart (organ), leaving (13) diamonds
NO LETTERS, PLEASE -- eliminating A, K, Q and J, so (9) cards remain
THE ROYAL FAMILY -- indicating a royal flush component (1)...

...and the only card left satisfying all four conditions is The Big Casino itself, the 10 OF DIAMONDS.


Many solvers also noticed the big hint at 1-across, where an asterisked clue and the answer TEND (a.k.a. 10-D) nudged them -- rather redundantly, I admit -- towards the correct answer as well. Some overlooked this hint completely, while others puzzled out its meaning quickly and felt it unnecessarily gave the meta away without a fight.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 211 correct entries received, is Tim Platt of South Berwick, Me. Tim will receive a copy of Stand Alone's Crosswords for iPhone and a three-month subscription to Matt Gaffney's Daily Crossword for iPhone (MGDCi).

ERRATUM:


Five solvers pointed out that Hop-o'-My-Thumb is the name of the kid in the fairy tale of that name, not the OGRE (17-across).

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

To solve this week's contest put this puzzle's five theme entries in their correct chronological order. They're labeled A, B, C, D and E, so a sample answer would be "E-B-C-A-D". E-mail the correct order to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer 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 download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,181 members now!) here.



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

4/16/10

MGWCC #098 -- Friday, April 16th, 2010 -- "I'm Gonna Deck You"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 98 of my 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:

Ten pieces of fruit populated last week's grid; who was the odd piece out? 226 solvers realized it was the KIWI, the only fruit that couldn't combine with another grid entry to form an alliterative two-word phrase. They were:

LEMON LAWS
PEACH PITS
GILBERT GRAPE
FLYING FIG (as in "I don't give a flying fig about...")
PRICKLY PEAR
BANANA BOAT
DREAM DATE
ADAM'S APPLE
PLUM POSITION



Quite a few solvers -- perhaps a quarter -- didn't notice the alliteration in these phrases, which made nailing them down much tougher. Some thought APPLE IPAD was the intended phrase for that fruit, or APPLE APPS (both are a little awkward, and the first one is non-alliterative, but most of these solvers still wound up at KIWI).

By far the most popular incorrect answer was BANANA (40 entries), the rationale being that it's the only fruit on the list without seeds (contest instructions had stated that one piece of fruit was "missing something"). But Google tells me that bananas do indeed have seeds, they're just tiny.

Anyway, super-cool color-coded solution that took me 10 minutes to make at left.



Cheryl Faba phrases this meta answer thusly:

Kiwi needs a kompanion

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 226 correct entries received, is Bill Cascadden of High River, Alta. Bill has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

MATT GAFFNEY'S DAILY CROSSWORD FOR iPHONES (MGDCi):


OK, this is pretty cool: Monday through Friday each week I'm writing a daily mini-crossword for iPhones (also works on iPads). The size of the puzzles varies but usually they're somewhere around 9x5 squares. I write each one the night before it's posted, which makes it easy to include one or two extremely up-to-date entries -- like who won the Masters the previous day, or which country's volcano has just covered Europe in ash. Puzzles are available at 6 AM each weekday.

Is there a mini-metapuzzle to these mini-crosswords? Why, of course there is: once the puzzle's correctly solved, circled letters will form a member of whatever that month's meta category is. April is major world cities, for example, while May is going to be TV shows.

MGDCi ain't free -- but it's cheap. Subscriptions are $1.99 for one month or $4.99 for three months. You also need to have Stand Alone's Crosswords for iPhone app ($9.99) in order to solve my puzzles.

You can sign up for MGDCi directly on Stand Alone's Crosswords for iPhone app (click on the gear icon in the lower right, then click "Select Puzzle Providers," then click on my name) or go here:

https://www.standalone.com/crosswords/matt_gaffney/subscribe


We've been beta-testing MGDCi for the past two weeks now and having a good time with them. Here's a sample from April 6th -- I feel especially badass about the long central entry, of course. Across Lite version is in the MGWCC archives, plus you should have received it in the Google Group mailing earlier today.



E-mail me if you have any questions/comments about MGDCi or are having trouble
subscribing. We're still getting a couple of minor cosmetic details nailed down, so your feedback is important.


SPECIAL PRIZES FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS:

Instead of a book written by me, weekly contest winners for the rest of April will receive a copy of Crosswords for iPhone and a three-month subscription to MGDCi. Plus, of course, a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This puzzle's contest answer is one of the 52 playing cards in a standard deck. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer card 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 download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,173 members now!) here.



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

4/9/10

MGWCC #097 -- Friday, April 9th, 2010 -- "Friday Fruit"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 97 of my 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:

We had a SNOW STORM here last week -- not literally, but in cryptic crossword style.

All five of last week's theme entries began with the letters in SNOW jumbled around as if they'd been hit by a storm -- get it? Almost everyone did, since 325 correct entries came in (just two shy of the MGWCC record). Solution at top left.

Those entries were:

17-a WON SUPPORT
25-a ON SWITCHES
35-a OWNS THE MOMENT
48-a NOW SHOWING
58-a S'WONDERFUL

The contest answer components were found at 53-a (SNOW) and 62-a (STORM).

Abby in comments here writes:

No sweat. :-)

Two weeks ago Amanda Yesnowitz noted that her Y-Z surname could have worked instead of YUTZ as a key component of that puzzle's meta. This week she writes:

yeSNOWitz :-)

hehe...it's the name that keeps on giving...


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 325 correct entries received, is Kyle Osborne of Erlanger, Ky. Kyle has selected as his prize an autographed copy of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Kaidoku.

2ND ANNUAL BOSTON CROSSWORD PUZZLE TOURNAMENT:

This Sunday, April 11th! Visit the site here to learn more:

http://www.bostoncrosswordtournament.org/


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This puzzle's three long theme entries contain ten pieces of fruit. One of those ten is missing something, though -- which one is it? E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer fruit in the subject line of your e-mail. [IMPORTANT UPDATE, 3:00 PM ET -- an hour after posting I have not received any correct entries, so I'm thinking this meta might be too tough for the second week of the month. So here's a BONUS HINT: It may look like this puzzle has only three theme entries (17-a, 38-a, 61-a), but in fact there are a total of twelve entries relating to the theme.--MG]

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit "print" on your browser. To solve using Across Lite download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,157 members now!) here.



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

4/1/10

MGWCC #096 -- Friday, April 2nd, 2010 -- "Warm-Up Puzzle"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 96 of my 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:

Late Monday evening I set a bonfire in the forest behind my house and chanted late into the night: "They'll never guess the contest answer is ... RUMPELSTILTSKIN!"

But it was, and 242 of you creepers must've been spying on me because that's how many got it right. Or maybe you just solved the crossword and noticed the four theme entries were crossword clues whose answers spell out that gold-spinning dwarf's name:

17-a: MEAT CUT IN ROASTS = rump
26-a: AFRICAN GOLF STAR = (Ernie) Els
45-a: PINBALL MISTAKES = tilts
59-a: RELATIVE BY BLOOD = kin

Another little hint lay at the central down entry, where the grim GRIMM Brothers nudged solvers towards one of their famous characters.

Many solvers commented that while the puzzle itself was very tough, the meta was quite simple for a month-ender. The numbers back them up: 220 correct answers the first week, 162 the second, and 124 last week before jumping back to 242.

So why wasn't last week's puzzle a major league toughie? I usually have four or five MGWCC puzzles in various states of completion, and decided Friday morning to shelve the (brutal) puzzle I had planned in favor of the easier RUMPELSTILTSKIN idea. I had received a lot of e-mails lamenting that all three puzzles in March so far had been fairly challenging (the HEINLEIN and YUTZ metas in particular were no cakewalks), so I decided to take my foot off the gas a bit for last week.

(But enjoy the relatively mild metas while they're here, for May beckons soon enough...see note beneath the monthly prize winners for more information, if you dare...)

Andrea Blumberg sent in RUMPELSTILTSKIN and added:

Phew!! My first-born child is mine to keep!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 242 correct entries received, is Morris Pelzel of Ferdinand, Ind. Morris has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

MONTHLY PRIZES:

The following 10 solvers were selected at random from the 52 who submitted all four correct answers in March (ALL ABOUT EVE, ROBERT HEINLEIN, YUTZ, RUMPELSTILTSKIN):

Ben Bass -- Chicago, Ill.

James Dale -- Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Mark Diehl -- San Jose, Calif.

Stephen Fineman -- Morristown, N.J.

David Howorth -- Oxford, Miss.

Eric Maddy -- Huntington Beach, Calif.

Matt McMullen -- Columbus, O.

Annette Otis -- Alexandria, Va.

Joon Pahk -- Somerville, Mass.

Pete Rimkus -- Ashford, Conn.


Congratulations to our 10 winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in March.

Speaking of which...everyone who goes 4-for-4 in May will win a pen, pencil and notepad set. But May's puzzles will make Hell Month feel like a trip to Disneyland...

GOOGLE GROUP E-MAIL ISSUES:

For some reason I can't discern, a number of solvers aren't receiving the weekly Google Group e-mails alerting them that a new puzzle's been posted. I'm not sure what's going on -- not doing anything differently -- so if you have any ideas on how to fix this please shoot me an e-mail at crosswordcontest@gmail.com.

If you're one of those not receiving the puzzle via e-mail, note that you can still download it from the Google Group page (under either "Discussions" or "Files").

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer would have made a good title for this crossword. You can find it by combining two entries somewhere in this puzzle's fill. Bonus hint: it's something most of us recently endured. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer 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 download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,152 members now!) here.



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