7/29/10

MGWCC #113 -- Friday, July 30th, 2010 -- "Note the Difference"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 113 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:

I slipped a conceptual red herring into last week's meta: the contest instructions asked solvers to find "an historically important year," which I hoped would lead you all to scour the grid for Roman numerals. I even scattered a few X's in there to heighten the appeal of that false path.

But no, the year / contest answer 1066 was expressed in standard Arabic numerals -- and 216 solvers located it split between 10-down (NORMAN) and 66-across (CONQUEST). Successful metapuzzlers found that historic year via three hints:

1) The two fifteen-letter entries in the grid read: TO GET THE YEAR YOU / MUST GET THE EVENT, implying that an historic event lurked about.

2) The two symmetrical eight-letter entries reading SPLITS IN / TWO PARTS, hinting that the year and/or event might be cut in two.

3) The puzzle's title, "Willpower" -- not a reference to Shortz, but to William the Conqueror.

From e-mails, I'd guess that about 25% of solvers got 1066 via spotting NORMAN / CONQUEST in the grid -- but without noticing the clue numbers of those two entries!

Jon Olsen writes:

Nice puzzle--I should Bayeux a drink!

While Stan Park wonders:

you couldn't have made 27-down EVERT? (a notable Greg Norman conquest)

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 216 correct entries received, is Andrew Ries of St. Cloud, Minn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Andrew will also receive an autographed copy of Peter Gordon's new book Sit & Solve Nice & Easy Crosswords.

SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER:

We fittingly had nine MIKEs and two CHARLIEs correctly answer last week's phonetic alphabet puzzle -- fittingly since MIKE and CHARLIE represent M and C therein. I lamented the lack of JULIETs, OSCARs and VICTORs among entrants, but Julie Stern writes:

My full name is Juliette Stern. Does that count? After all, it is a phonetic alphabet.

Considering that our two CHARLIEs actually signed their e-mails with "Charles," we can certainly count you as a JULIET.

UN ERRORE ITALIANO:

Six solvers (Cole Kendall was first) pointed out that my clue for 54-down was wrong last week. {Soft in Siena} was supposed to lead to SOTTO, but that word actually means "under" in Italian, not "soft."

What happened was: I knew that "sotto voce" is often translated as "in a soft voice," and that "voce" means "voice." So that SOTTO = soft seemed so self-evidently obvious that I didn't look it up. Mi scusi!


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


One of the seven notes in this week's puzzle is off. Which one is it? E-mail this off-note to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer note 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 (1,281 members now!) here.



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

7/23/10

MGWCC #112 -- Friday, July 23rd, 2010 -- "Willpower"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 112 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:


Bravo! 305 solvers found the aviation PHONETIC alphabet as the basis of last week's theme. The three theme entries consisted solely of words from that alphabet:

INDIA ECHO TANGO
CHARLIE NOVEMBER
OSCAR PAPA HOTEL

Anagram the eight letters those words represent to pilots, and you get...Chilean dictator Augusto PINOCHET, of course. He's not a "relevant eight-letter adjective," but PHONETIC is, which made it last week's contest answer.

Mike Nothnagel writes:

Do I get a special prize for being a member of the phonetic alphabet?

I wish I could award you that prize, Mike -- but there were a total of nine MIKEs who submitted correct answers. There were also two CHARLIEs. Well...they're both "Charles," but let's count it. Zero JULIETs, OSCARs and VICTORs, though!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 305 correct entries received, is Alex Maione of Columbia, Md. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Alex will also receive an autographed copy of Patrick Blindauer's new book Sit & Solve Fun & Easy Crosswords.

By the way: Patrick will be launching a new crossword website within the next few weeks. I will link to it here when it's up.


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is an historically important year. E-mail this year 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 (1,280 members now!) here.

SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:

In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, next week's winner will receive an autographed copy of Peter Gordon's new book Sit & Solve Nice & Easy Crosswords.



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

7/16/10

MGWCC #111 -- Friday, July 16th, 2010 -- "Zulu Nation"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 111 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:

Moos, baas and boos -- no, that's not the roster of the Dutch national soccer team. They're the sounds heard at MGWCC last week as solvers responded to a groanworthy ovine/bovine metapuzzle.


324 solvers -- three shy of the MGWCC record -- correctly found BAD MOOD at 64-across, which was last week's contest answer. That entry answers the riddle concealed in the A.J. Santora-esque grid:

WHAT ENTRY IN THIS
GRID SOUNDS LIKE
THE PAST TENSES OF
TWO NOISES WHICH
FARM ANIMALS MAKE?

The sheep baaed and the cows mooed, which put the noise-sensitive farmer in a BAD MOOD.

Bob Klahn quips:

Blue, you say? So I guess those cows mooed indigo.

While Peter Abide, representing those who rhyme "baa" with "ha," asks:

Was the sheep from Boston?

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 324 correct entries received, is Ephraim Vishniac of Arlington, Mass. (which is a suburb of Boston, though I'm not sure how our winner pronounces "baa"...)

In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Ephraim will also receive a copy of Francis Heaney's new book Sip & Solve Quick & Easy Crosswords.

Incidentally: if you happened to miss Francis' New York Times puzzle of Sunday, June 13th, find a copy somewhere. It'll be a strong contender for Crossword of the Year.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is a relevant eight-letter adjective.
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 (1,277 members now!) here.


SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, next week's winner will receive an autographed copy of Patrick Blindauer's new book Sit & Solve Fun & Easy Crosswords.



[UPDATE, 1:00 PM, 7/16 -- the clue at 10-across should reference 34-DOWN, not the nonexistent 34-across. My bad.]

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

7/8/10

MGWCC #110 -- Friday, July 9, 2010 -- "Of Course I've Heard Of Cows"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 110 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:

How did the first half of 2010 treat you? Well, I hope. Last week's crossword was published at 12 noon on July 2nd, which is also the exact midpoint of 2010 (MIDDLE OF THE YEAR, 38-a).

In a wordplay sense, last week's theme entries split the YEAR in half as well:

YELLOW CEDAR
YELL IN ONE'S EAR
YEMEN CIVIL WAR
YEN-TO-DOLLAR

What popular 2000s sitcom would have made an excellent theme entry in this crossword? The YEAR-splitting YES, DEAR, which was last week's contest answer.

"Yes, Dear" ran from 2000-06 on CBS. Was it a good show? I've never seen an episode -- but judging by solver e-mails, it wasn't too great. A (representative) sample:

This was definitely one of the worst sitcoms of all time.

...execrable...

My friend's roommate used to force him to watch "Yes, Dear" and when Greg tried to turn it off, his roommate insisted they watch and "embrace the rage."

"Yes, Dear" makes a better answer to the puzzle than it did a TV show.

Popular may be overstating things a bit -- though I see it ran for 6 years, so maybe not. I don't know a single person who's seen a single episode (and I work in television)

i think i have accidentally seen every awful episode of this sitcom from when i had no cable and it used to run at like two in the morning on the local WB affiliate.it's one of those shows where i have no idea who the intended audience was supposed to be and who watched the @#$%*! thing when it was on as a "prime time" sitcom...

And from a fan of the show:

Maybe I missed something (but I don’t think I did) but I never could get why the show was called “Yes, Dear.” It doesn’t really have anything to do with the show’s premise.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 264 correct entries received, is Susan M. James of Columbus, O. Susan ha seleccionado como su premio una copia autografiada de the Complete Idiot's Guide to Spanish-English Crossword Puzzles, que co-escribe con Gail Stein.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

Answer the riddle in the grid and you've got this week's contest answer. 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 (1,267 members now!) here.

SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:

In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, next week's winner will receive an autographed copy of Francis Heaney's fun new book Sit & Solve Quick & Easy Crosswords.



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

7/1/10

MGWCC #109 -- Friday, July 2nd, 2010 -- "Half Day"

Good afternoon, soccer fans -- welcome to Week 109 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:

For the first time in MGWCC history, last week's puzzle featured a rebus theme. The keyword was NIL, represented by the number 0 in the grid, and appeared seven times in the puzzle:

FUN(NIL)Y ENOUGH / PE(NIL)E
(NIL)LA / (NIL)ES
TEN(NIL)LE / BIKI(NI L)INES
VA(NIL)LA / MA(NIL)OW
SE(NIL)E / A(NIL)E
MA(NIL)A / CA(N I L)OOK NOW
ELGI(N, IL)LINOIS / ONE-(NIL)

Contest instructions read: This week's contest answer is the two countries who competed in the 2010 World Cup game referenced by this puzzle's theme. What game could seven NILs in the grid be referencing? Portugal's 7-0 drubbing of North Korea, by far the worst defeat in the 2010 World Cup, which made PORTUGAL and NORTH KOREA last week's contest answer.













Naturally I accepted as correct any of the various names that troubled nation goes by: NORTH KOREA, KOREA DPR, Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- and even Tyler Hinman's entry:

Glorious People's Republic of North Korea Which Never Loses

38 entrants submitted ALGERIA and HONDURAS as their answer, since neither of those hapless squads scored a goal in any of their three World Cup games. But they also didn't play against each other in a game, which the contest instructions stipulate.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 158 correct entries received, is Thomas Hunter of Ridley Park, Penna. Thomas has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

ERRATA:


Two mistakes in last week's clues:

1) The clue for 72-across (TAGS) should have been {Price holders} instead of {Price holder}. Not to be an Alibi Ike, but...I corrected this clue before publication, then didn't run the right version!

2) The Black Eyed Peas song referenced at 33-down is spelled "Imma Be," not "I'm a Bee". Yes, there is a bumblebe(e?) on the cover of the single:




















MONTHLY PRIZES:

77 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of June's puzzles (STRATEGO, GROUP F, HAT TRICK, and PORTUGAL + NORTH KOREA). The following ten lucky winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Lance Enfinger -- Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Dan Feyer -- New York City, N.Y.

Pam Fowler -- Rough and Ready, Calif.

Seth Grossinger -- Minneapolis, Minn.

Jay Hirt -- Chicago, Ill.

Mike Iglesias -- Irvine, Calif.

Mike Nothnagel -- Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Simon McAndrews -- New York City, N.Y.

Jill Palmer -- Leverett, Mass.

Aaron Riccio -- Brooklyn, N.Y.


Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in June.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is a popular 2000s sitcom whose title would have made an excellent theme entry in this puzzle. E-mail this TV show 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 (1,262 members now!) here.



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