6/24/10

MGWCC #108 -- Friday, June 25, 2010 -- "I Have Zero Interest in the World Cup"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 108 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:

Like Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain in the World Cup last week, 137 solvers scored a HAT TRICK in last week's MGWCC. They saw that the puzzle's three theme entries (starred for clarity, as two of them were the same length as fill) each contained the word GOAL:

GO ALONG ON
CHICAGO ALDERMEN
BOB GOALBY

Three goals in one game is a HAT TRICK, which solvers formed from 52-across (KIT) abd 61-across (CHART).

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 142 correct entries received, is Carolyn Emold of Glendale, Wisc. Carolyn has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

"142 correct answers? I thought you said 137 people found HAT TRICK!" Well, that's true...but five solvers also found an alternate solution -- the most remarkable alternate solution in MGWCC history!

I sometimes lard metapuzzles with a "beta-blocker" -- that is, an extra requirement whose purpose is to preclude unintended ("beta") answers. Three GOALs across the grid were certainly suggestive of a hat-trick, but not conclusively suggestive enough for a satisfying meta. So I put CHART and KIT in the grid and added the stipulation to last week's instructions that the contest answer "can be formed by anagramming the letters in two of this puzzle's entries."

Naturally I didn't spend any time looking for alternate solutions, since that very specific beta-blocker obviously precludes any...except that it doesn't! Five solvers submitted GOAL STREAK as their answer, formed from TOKLAS and AGER at 45-down and 53-down. Rather amazing, no?

As you might guess, a GOAL STREAK occurs when a player has scored one or more goals in a series of consecutive games. And the three GOALs in the grid to seem to streak across the screen, edging further right with each entry. It works with the title, too, so I'm happy to accept it as a correct alternate answer.

I told Todd Dashoff that he was the first person to submit GOAL STREAK, overlooking until just now that Jason Feng beat him by a couple of days. For this discovery a pair of MGWCC pens go to Todd and Jason, who both advance to the knockout round (unlike France and Italy!).

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is the two countries who competed in the 2010 World Cup game referenced by this puzzle's theme. If you have zero interest in the World Cup or just aren't following it, you'll find this page useful. E-mail these two countries 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 (1,255 members now!) here.



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

6/18/10

MGWCC #107 -- Friday, June 18th, 2010 -- "Go, Go, Go!"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 107 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:


297 solvers found the back of the net last week, unfooled by the following riddle:

THE INITIALS / OF WHAT QUARTET'S / NATIONS COMPRISE / SOMETHING PUT ON / A SOCCER BALL?

Was it LOGO? Or VOIT? Or FIFA? No, it was the more idiomatic SPIN, formed by the first letters of the four countries in contest answer GROUP F:


SLOVAKIA
PARAGUAY
ITALY
NEW ZEALAND

What about that Z in New Zealand -- isn't that an initial? Maybe. I'd've preferred to use a phrasing like THE FIRST LETTERS OF WHAT QUARTET'S NATIONS COMPRISE SOMETHING PUT ON A SOCCER BALL, but the letters didn't work out.

I saw that some might interpret the riddle to include the Z, but three factors persuaded me to run with it anyway: 1) it's really cool that the first letters of one of the World Cup groups spells something to do with soccer; 2) there were no other plausible guesses formed by the first letters of any other group's nations, and 3) I could always accept the answer SPINZ! Though no one submitted it as their main answer, 17 did mention it in jest in their e-mails.

Submitting his correct answer a couple of hours after the deadline, Peter Washington writes:

I guess this is a late entry...um...stoppage time?

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 297 correct entries received, is Lee Sammons of Denver, Colo. Lee has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

TIP JAR HAUL:

Thanks very much to all who hit the tip jar. Still a couple of checks en route, but the grand total now stands at $2,875 from 112 tippers. This is about 50% higher than last year's total, which is fantastic.

Couple of stats: 1) last year I received one $100 tip and five $50 tips; this year two $100 tips came in, along with 16 (!) $50 tips. 2) The average donation last year was $18.11; this year it was $25.67. So thanks again to all who chipped in.


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is a well-known term used in soccer. It can be formed by anagramming the letters in two of this puzzle's entries. E-mail your answer 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 (1,244 members now!) here.



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

6/11/10

MGWCC #106 -- Friday, June 11th, 2010 -- "Bend It Like Beckham"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 106 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 got easier after May-hem, eh? A healthy 271 solvers noticed that the last words of last week's six theme entries were STRATEGO pieces, making that board game the correct contest answer. Solution at left; the six pieces are SCOUT, FLAG, BOMB, MINER, SPY and MAJOR.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 271 correct entries received, is Joe Sampson of New Hampton, N.H. Joe has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

Everyone else is writing crosswords about it, and here's my contribution: this week's contest answer is one of the eight groups in the 2010 World Cup. Click here for a list of the eight groups, each of which consists of four countries. E-mail your answer to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer in the subject line of your e-mail. NOTE: please phrase your answer simply as "GROUP A" or "GROUP B" or whichever group you think the answer is; you don't need to list the four countries in the group.

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 (1,233 members now!) here.




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

6/3/10

MGWCC #105 -- Friday, June 4, 2010 -- "So That's Your Game!"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 105 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.

THE MGWCC TIP JAR IS OPEN!

Like a delicate flower, the MGWCC tip jar opens just one time each year. And now's that time -- the site's 2-year anniversary! Scroll down for more details, or click the "donate" button to tip:





LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:

84 solvers successfully busted themselves out of prison last week. If you can't bribe the guards (64-across), can't climb the walls (11-down) and can't go through the doors (30-d), then you may want to DIG A TUNNEL, which was last week's contest answer. Solution at left.

Solvers learned at 41-across (YOU) that they themselves were the inmate to be freed. But what did the rest of that clue mean -- "or what the inmate must use to escape this mayhem, in a way"?


Well, YOU = U in wordplay circles, while that TAGID entry and clue at 45-across also seemed rather bizarre. And therein lay the escape path: place a U in the black square separating the entries TAG ID and LENN, and you've got your road to freedom: DIG A TUNNEL.

The prisoner gets outside the walls and the four guards are none the wiser, since the new entry UPRAISE works as well as PRAISE at 49-down for the clue {Place on a pedestal}. It's the crossword equivalent of Clint Eastwood putting that papier-mache head in his bed in "Escape from Alcatraz."

Nine solvers mentioned (and two submitted as their answer) PALS DIG A TUNNEL, using SLAP at 47-across. While there's no similar justification for tunneling under the relevant black square as exists for the U in DIG A TUNNEL, I'm nevertheless counting these two entries as correct since it's such an odd coincidence (and both entries did include the full DIG A TUNNEL, after all).

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 84 correct entries received, is Walt Blue of St. Paul, Minn. Walt has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

Several solvers who overlooked the tunnel devised elaborate escape routes of their own. Entries submitted include CLUB THE GUARDS, Take a U LADDER, and You sic the DOG on them and get the H out. But none was so intricate as this plan from Mike McCormick:

YOU are sitting in cell#41 and you TIP OFF MARTHA STEWART, LIVING nearby in cell#45 (on the insider trading rap), that there will be a jailbreak. You start a FIRE in the north part of the cell block. When the 2 north guards come in to check things out, the two of you leap from your hiding spots - "AHA, UHR in trouble". You beat them up and steal their uniforms. Reinforcements are on the way, so you DIG AT the westwardly wall....You then must get over to the south east side of the cell block but it's a snap since you have the guard uniforms with the TAG ID's on them. But getting out of the entire compound isn't so easy - you must sneak on the DHL truck heading south on the road to freedom. When the guards finally figure out what happened, they only thing they can tell the boss is "EXEUNT"...

MONTHLY PRIZES:

Congratulations to the following 36 May-hem winners, each of whom will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set. Twelve solvers went 3/3, submitting correct contest answers to the final three puzzles of the month, while 24 solvers went 4/4 in May. They are:

3/3:

Joel Alderson -- Andover, Kan.

Howard Barkin -- Hillsborough, N.J.

Martin Cobern -- Cheshire, Conn.

John Farmer -- Woodland Hills, Calif.

Pete Mitchell -- Bow, N.H.

Ned Robert -- Los Gatos, Calif.

Brett Rose -- Chicago, Ill.

Marcia Rose -- Mequon, Wisc.

Christopher Shaw -- Washington, D.C.

Peter Washington -- Oakland, Calif.

Mike Weepie -- Cedar Rapids, Ia.

David Wild -- Washington, D.C.



4/4:

Peter Abide* -- Biloxi, Miss.

Don Albright -- West Chester, Penna.

Jared Banta -- Superior, Colo.

Ross Beresford -- Kingsley, Penna.

Alex Boisvert -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Meg Duvall -- St. Petersburg, Fla.

Anne Erdmann -- Champaign, Ill.

Stephen Fineman* -- Morristown, N.J.

Anna Gundlach* -- Olympia, Wash.

Jeffrey Harris -- Hoboken, N.J.

Craig Kasper* -- Winnipeg, Man.

Bob Klahn -- Wilmington, Del.

Karen Horn -- Centennial, Colo.

Jeff Louie* -- Cambridge, Mass.

Nick Meyer

Timothy Mitchell -- Snohomish, Wash.

Hugh Murphy -- Wilmington, Del.

Mike Nothnagel -- Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Joon Pahk -- Somerville, Mass.

Justin Smith -- Germantown, Md.

Ken Stern -- Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dave Sullivan -- Boston, Mass.

Tim Tebbe -- Minneapolis, Minn.

John L. Wilson -- Shoreview, Minn.


Asterisked names above indicate the five winners of an autographed copy of Crosswords to Make You Sweat. Their names were chosen randomly from the 24 solvers who went 4 for 4 in May (as specified in the results for May-hem Week 1).

MINI-CONTEST RESULTS:

Last week I challenged solvers to come up with their own crossword clue-style acrostics, a la Week 103's theme. Many funny ideas, which you can skim through here; entries begin about about halfway down through comments.

The winning clue, submitted by Michael Farabaugh, flows nicely -- so nicely that I probably would have used it instead of {Where every sunset terminates} had I thought of it myself:

Woman intending to cook Hansel

Michael will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set for his winning clue.

MGWCC TIP JAR OPEN:

It's that time of year -- this week only, the MGWCC Tip Jar is open for business. At midnight next Friday it shuts tighter than a venus flytrap, not to reopen again until summer 2011.

Preferred tipping medium is PayPal at the link below, but you can also send a check (e-mail me for details). NOTE: you don't need a PayPal account to send money to the MGWCC tip jar. You can donate with a credit card even if you don't have a PayPal account; click the "donate" button below for instructions, and e-mail me if you run into trouble with it.

There's no obligation to tip, so if you're not in a position to do so or simply don't care to, then that's fine. But if you've enjoyed my site over the past year and really want to make me feel good about myself -- why then, go right ahead.




THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is a well-known board game. 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 (1,222 members now!) here.



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