8/26/10

MGWCC #117 -- Friday, August 27th, 2010 -- "Twin Tweaks"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 117 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:

He appears frequently in crossword grids, but never this prominently! Garfield's slow but lovable cartoon pal ODIE was last week's contest answer animal, found by 94 dogged entrants. Solution at left.

ODIE was the odd animal out because the other nine had homophones of their type concealed in clues. Z was an ant, for example, and "aunt" appears in the clue to 36-across. Similarly:

BULLWINKLE --> moose ("mousse," 34-down)
YOGI --> bear ("bare," 65-across)
BAMBI --> deer ("dear," 15-across)
DOLLY --> lamb ("lam," 1-across)
SHAMU --> whale ("wail," 32-down)
TOM --> cat ("Katt," 16-across)
NALA --> lion ("Lyin'," 19-down)
MR. ED --> horse ("hoarse," 63-across)

Only "dog" didn't have a homophone, which makes ODIE our doggie of the week.

Julian Lim
writes:

The title toad me what to look for.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 94 correct entries received, is Miss Kali of Brooklyn, N.Y. Miss Kali has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

LAST WEEK'S WINNER:

I managed to completely miss last week's winner's e-mail until yesterday, so let's do it now: last week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 341 correct entries received, is Holden Baker of Greenfield, Mass. Holden has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Literary Crosswords.


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


Something funny's going on with five squares in this puzzle grid! This week's contest answer is the grid entry that spells out the trick. E-mail this entry to me (the actual entry in the grid, not its clue number) at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer in the subject line of your e-mail. [UPDATE, 2:10 PM, 8/27: the clue for 15-down should reference 12-down, not the nonexistent 12-across]

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 (1,309 members now!) here.



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

8/19/10

MGWCC #116 -- Friday, August 20th, 2010 -- "Missing Lynx"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 116 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:

Ding ding ding -- new record! 341 entrants (old record was 327) correctly found JETBLUE hiding in the seven circles in last week's grid. That was the airline on which flight attendant Steven Slater recently blew his top -- cursing out passengers on the P.A. system, grabbing a six-pack of beer, then deploying and sliding down the plane's emergency chute at JFK airport.

The names of five other airlines began last week's theme entries:

DELTA HOUSE
UNITED FRONT
AMERICAN DREAM
VIRGIN DRINK
PAN AM GAMES

Peter Gwinn
even found a seventh airline in the mix:

I was hoping that the answer would be TED (26D), the recently departed United spinoff, and one of the silliest ideas in the history of aviation.

While Adam Gale notes an inelegance among the theme entries, and suggests an improvement:

The clue for 60-Across is not consistent with the other theme clues. The other theme answers use the name of the airline in a non-airline sense, but PAN AM GAMES is used solely as a reference to the airline.

Instead, maybe something about jumping down the emergency chute being a good way to train for the next Pan Am Games?


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 341 correct entries received, is H.B. of whereabouts unknown.

LOLLAPUZZOOLA:

Congratulations to Jeffrey Harris, Joon Pahk and Jon Delfin for their 1-2-3 finish at Lollapuzzoola 3 last weekend.

Hear all the gory details in tournament organizers Ryan Hecht and Brian Cimmet's entertaining podcast here:

http://bemoresmarter.squarespace.com/blog/2010/8/17/fill-me-in-115-a-complete-success-for-the-most-part.html

BEQCC:

A rather spectacular -- and hitherto unnoticed, AFAIK -- piece of wordplay forms the basis of Brendan Quigley's crossword contest this week. Really wish I'd thought of this meta! Check it out.

WILK ON THE WILD SIDE:

You already know that Matt Jones and Ben Tausig grace the pages of alt-weeklies across the country with their syndicated hipster crosswords. But there's a third self-syndicating edgy kid in that mix, too: David Levinson Wilk, who made me laugh while solving his puzzle this week in Charlottesville's C-Ville Weekly.

The puzzle's not available online, but David sent me the Across Lite file so you can enjoy its sheer goofiness as I did. It's in the MGWCC archives under the filename "wilk". NOTE: if the file is corrupt when you click on it in my archives, try saving it to your desktop and opening it there (right-click on the file in the archives, then copy and paste to the desktop).

Humorous note: David mentions that he originally submitted this puzzle to the New York Times, which rejected it because it has too many black squares -- 57! That is a lot...


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


One of the ten famous animals listed in this week's three long theme entries is missing its mate. Which one is it?
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer animal in the subject line of your e-mail. [UPDATE: 8/20, 6:00 PM ET: Bambi is a boy, not a girl! Who knew? Apparently everyone but me (36-across). Just a mistake, not part of the meta, FYI].

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 (1,300 members now!) here.



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

8/12/10

MGWCC #115 -- Friday, August 13th, 2010 -- "Air Hysterica"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 115 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:


Many were stirred by last week's meta, but few were shaken: 320 solvers -- seven shy of the MGWCC record -- found a MARTINI hiding in the grid. That contest answer drink's three classic ingredients were found at the end of the three theme entries:

RIVER MOUTH

TUCKING IN

WILL TO LIVE

Solvers also noted a little more chicanery (Moore chi-Connery?) at 72-across, where a certain martini-drinking spy finished off the grid with a twist.

320 correct answers compared to 68 the previous week -- that's quite a spread! Jeffrey Harris writes:

Ah, that whiplash feeling one gets when going from a 5th-week puzzle to a 1st-week puzzle.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 320 correct entries received, is Andrew Silikovitz of West Orange, N.J. Andrew has selected as his prize an autographed copy of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Super Sudoku.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is the name of an airline. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer airline in the subject line of your e-mail. [NOTE: Rather straightforward "circles meta" this week; there's a reason for it, which I'll write about in the near future. For now, please consider its relative simplicity a little Friday the 13th gift from me to you.]

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 (1,295 members now!) here.



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

8/5/10

MGWCC #114 -- Friday, August 6th, 2010 -- "Drinking Game"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 114 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:

A "magic eye" meta last week -- some saw it right away, others stared at it for days and nothing happened. In the end just 68 entrants pegged E FLAT as the off-note in last week's puzzle, and about 25% of those were lucky guesses who hadn't noticed the meta trick.

Seven clues in the puzzle read {Notable note} leading to the answers B FLAT, A SHARP, G SHARP, D NATURAL, E FLAT, MIDDLE C, and HIGH C. Instructions asked solvers to determine which of these notes was off. Musically-inclined solvers followed a variety of musical meta ideas, such as humming the notes (or playing them on the piano) to see if they formed a familiar song with one off-note.

But the meta turned out not to have any relation to music at all; rather, the seven notes served as literal descriptions of the words they crossed at the note letter. So we had:

a BOARD is a B FLAT (i.e., a flat thing that begins with B)
an AXE is an A SHARP
a GENIUS is a G SHARP
DIRT is a D NATURAL
CORE is a MIDDLE C
CHEECH Marin is a HIGH C (the favorite theme entry of almost all solvers who expressed an opinion -- and mine, too)

Our round EARTH, however, is famously not an E FLAT, which made this the "off-note" -- and last week's contest answer.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 68 correct entries received, is Barbara Hartwell of Framingham, Mass. Barbara has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

MONTHLY PRIZE WINNERS:

52 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all five of July's puzzles (YES, DEAR, BAD MOOD, PHONETIC, 1066 and E FLAT). The following ten lucky winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Abby Braunsdorf -- Lafayette, Ind.

Ed Brody -- Cambridge, Mass.

David Graham -- Portland, Ore.

Garrett Hildebrand -- Irvine, Calif.

David Howorth -- Oxford, Miss.

Geoff Mitelman -- New York City, N.Y.

Garo Sassouni -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Rebecca Soble -- Istanbul, Turkey

Leo Stein -- Cambridge, Mass.

Mark Taylor -- Seattle, Wash.


Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 5-for-5 in July.

PATRICK BLINDAUER'S NEW SITE:

Here's the clever inaugural crossword from Patrick Blindauer's new site. He'll be posting an original puzzle there each month. A welcome addition to the Crucisphere!


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is a popular cocktail. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer drink 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 (1,288 members now!) here.



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