9/30/10

MGWCC #122 -- Friday, October 1st, 2010 -- "Double Time"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 122 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:

An impressive 279 solvers found contest answer word TANG (or TAXING) last week. I'd been expecting fewer that half of that number, but solvers weren't fooled and set a new last-of-the-month MGWCC record.

Seven clues in the grid made little sense with their given clues. Only when a certain Roman numeral was inserted did they match up correctly:

2-d {Geometry spokes} yielded the illogical RAD, but with the addition of the Roman numeral II it became the correct RADII. Similarly:

4-d {Not deceased} = ALE +IV = ALIVE
16-d {Football player such as Fran Tarkenton or Randy Moss} = EKING +XVI = EX-VIKING (the favorite theme entry of almost every solver who expressed an opinion)
20-d {"Put a Tiger in Your Tank" company} = EON +XX = EXXON
56-a {Working, as a crossword puzzle} = SONG +LVI = SOLVING
58-d {Very difficult, like dealing with the IRS?} = TANG + XI = TAXING
59-a {Fancy word meaning "overly wordy"} = PRO +LIX = PROLIX

Which of these seven was "located in the wrong place in the grid," as contest instructions stipulated? In six of these seven cases the inserted Roman numeral matches the word's clue number, such as XX inserted at 20-down. But TANG takes a Roman 11 to make TAXING, not its clue number (58). That makes TANG/TAXING last week's contest answer.

Geoff Mitelman
writes:

Because Talviiing doesn't seem like it's a word!

Was the meta too easy? Rocky Schwarz thinks so:

Not as taxing as last week's puzzle!

Too easy for a month ender, though solvers experienced a nice aha moment. Lorraine Barg writes:

While staring (and staring) at EON and wondering what to do with the missing XX, my eyes fell on the 20, and I got that awesome rush of adrenaline that accompanies sudden realization.

While Noam Elkies speculates:

I expect solvers will find this one DE[VI]LISH.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 279 correct entries received, is Nancy Fay of Garden City, N.Y. Nancy has selected as her prize an autographed copy of TV Crosswords.

MONTHLY PRIZES:


52 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of September's puzzles (MONGOLIA, JOKER, PRIUS and TANG/TAXING). The following ten lucky winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Jan Bruce -- Bristol, Tenn.

Steve Gunter -- Raleigh, N.C.

George & Katie Hill -- Grand Junction, Colo.

Thomas Hunter -- Ridley Park, Penna.

Patrick Leech -- Corvallis, Ore.

John Mangrich -- Orange, Calif.

Amy Reynaldo -- Chicago, Ill.

Matt Sandler -- Philadelphia, Penna.

Brent Warren -- Statesville, N.C.

Spencer Thomas -- Ann Arbor, Mich.


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

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is one of the most famous American comedians of the 20th century, who would have made an excellent theme entry in this puzzle. (If you're not up on your comedians, this week's contest answer is on this list). E-mail this comedian 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 (1,331 members now!) here.



SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, this week's winner will receive a copy of Peter Gordon's new book Sunset Crosswords.

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

9/24/10

MGWCC #121 -- Friday, September 24th, 2010 -- "Innumeracy"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 121 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:

So my new car is a PRIUS, which elicited both cheers and jeers from the 84 solvers who figured it out. Cheers for its environmental sensibilities, jeers for the alleged snootiness of PRIUS owners (made famous on shows like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "South Park").

Hey, I'm just in it for the gas mileage and because it feels like something the Jetsons would ride around in, so let's move on to the meta...

...which was hidden rather sneakily right in the six theme clues, all of which began with the letters P-R-I-U-S in whatever order:

17-a {U.S. prison on a bay}

21-a {Purist's activity}

32-a {IRS punishments} (the most oddly-worded of the six, which many solvers mentioned as their gateway to the meta)

40-a {Spurious reasoning}

52-a {Uprising}

60-a {Rips up}

Richard Chauviere found something interesting in the grid:

The first letters of down answers 4 through 9 spell recall. I've got no other prospects. Recall covers a multitude of models.

While Michael Marcus one-upped my palindromic title:

A Toyota? Sir, a Yaris!

(Yeah, I have no idea. This is a total guess.)


Louis Ah liked the puzzle:

Sip rum-based drink after solving, it made me want to.

Similarly, Justin Smith writes:

I pursued the answer until it finally surrendered...

And finally: David Howorth, frustrated by the meta, chose the stalker route:

I decided to try to cheat, but the God of Crosswords is a just god and I came up empty. Maybe if I'd tried harder.

The Virginia DMV does not have searchable registration info online. I don't expect any state does.

I tried to find your address in Staunton, hoping I could peek at your house via Google street view and maybe get an idea from the house of what your car preferences would be, maybe even get a look at your previous car. No luck there, either.


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 84 correct entries received, is Jeff Gellner of Westerville, O. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Jeff will also receive of a copy of Les Foeldessy's entertaining new book Gryptics.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

One of this week's seven theme answers is located in the wrong place in the grid. Which one is it? E-mail this theme answer 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.

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 (1,327 members now!) here.



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

9/16/10

MGWCC #120 -- Friday, September 17th, 2010 -- "A Toyota"


Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 120 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:

Your initial reaction to last week's puzzle might have been to wonder where the initials were. Five famous always-use-their-middle-initial people comprised the theme, but all were missing their trademark letters. They were:

MICHAEL J. FOX
EDWARD R. MURROW
DAVID O. SELZNICK
ALFRED E. NEUMAN
PHILIP K. DICK

Guided by the parenthetical numbers following each clue, 316 solvers had no problem arranging the missing initials into JOKER, which was last week's contest answer.

Jim Graham wonders:

I have no middle initial. Does that mean I am not eligible?

While Jan O'Sullivan relates this amusing story, which took me a moment to grok:

After seeing that the number of squares for MICHAEL J FOX was one short, and taking into account the title, I confidently entered MICHAE U FOX. This harkened back to my days in Jr High band when last-name-only, handwritten-in-felt-tip sticker for the clarinetist next to me, FLICKER, had an unfortunate conjoining of letters.

That trick didn't work for the other entries, though.

Or the other clarinetists, presumably.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 316 correct entries received, is Stuart Alper of Plainview, N.Y. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Stuart will also receive of a copy of Les Foeldessy's entertaining new book Gryptics.

HINMAN 2.0:

Tyler Hinman's blog has a clean new design. And guess what new type of puzzle he likes?

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is the model of Toyota I bought last week.
E-mail this model to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer car 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 (1,325 members now!) here.



SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:

Since everyone's digging the new Gryptics book, let's do it again: next week's winner will receive an autographed copy of it, along with a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.

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

9/9/10

MGWCC #119 -- Friday, September 10th, 2010 -- "Stuck in the Middle With U"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 119 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 was national pun week at MGWCC -- but which nation was punned upon? MONGOLIA, of course, which 303 solvers found from the following four groaners:

{Lack of desire to join this country's empire?}=NO HORDE FEELINGS
{Serious herder insult in this country?}=YOU DON'T KNOW YAK
{Talk back to one's parents, in this country's desert region?}=ACT AS A GOBI TEEN
{This country's national house, about to be struck by lightning?}=YURT IN FOR A SHOCK

HORDE (see here), YAK, GOBI and YURT (see photo above) could only point to one place: wild and landlocked MONGOLIA.

Again, many solvers got into the spirit of the theme in their e-mails. Mark Halpin writes:

I think you pulled that one off with a certain ulan; bator even than last week's.

Erik Agard, evidently finding the puzzle too easy, says:

You really need to steppe your game up.

And Jim Sempsrott writes that he's...

Just doing the best I Khan.

Due to the extremely low quality of these puns, Mark, Erik and Jim are hereby banned from MGWCC for one thousand years. Genghis would approve.

Some non-pun puzzle notes:

Dave Howard found something interesting the grid:

I notice that 22A - IMO and 45A - LOGAN anagram to MONGOLIA!?
I don't know WHY that is so, but you've conditioned me to look for any
extra confirmation outside of the obvious theme entries...


Easter egg or sheer coincidence? I'll never tell.

And finally, Jonathan Porat notes the timeliness of the theme:

Appropriate meta considering all the barbecuing done this weekend.

He means this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_barbecue

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 303 correct entries received, is Drew Applefield of Carrboro, N.C. Drew has selected as his prize an autographed copy of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Kaidoku.

AMUSEMENT PAHK:

Joon Pahk has a very simple and very amusing dictionary game up here.

New words loaded daily, and note the coolest feature: after you've figured out Joon's mystery word of the day, you can track the words other players guessed to get there as well.


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is a word meaning "unknown factor."
E-mail this word 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 download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,321 members now!) here.

SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:

In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, this week's winner will receive an autographed copy of Gryptics, the debut book from Toronto puzzle writer Les Foeldessy. I'd never heard of Les or Gryptics before last week, but I zipped through my copy in about an hour -- they're kinda addictive. Check out samples at his site.



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

9/3/10

MGWCC #118 -- Friday, September 3rd, 2010 -- "Outer Space"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 118 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:

W or T? That was the question successful metapuzzlers asked themselves last week. They'd noticed that five squares in the grid could take either a W or a T to satisfy both the across and down clues. These ten ambiguous entries were:

8-A {Made a decision (to)} led to either VOwED or VOtED.
10-D {From which point} = wHENCEFORTH or tHENCEFORTH
16-A {Set aside} = ALLOw FOR or ALLOt FOR
17-D {Like an old shirt's fabric} = wORN or tORN
22-A {They move big things around} = TOwERS or TOtERS
24-D {Approximate location} = wHEREABOUTS or tHEREABOUTS
37-A {Enveloped entirely} = wRAPPED or tRAPPED
37-D {Enclosed space at one end of the human life cycle} = wOMB or tOMB (favorite theme entry pair/clue of almost all solvers who expressed an opinion)
57-A {Dominate, in a way} = wALK OVER or tALK OVER
53-D {Ground rule double, e.g.} = SwAT or StAT

Contest instructions asked for "the grid entry that spells out the trick," which led 147 solvers to contest answer WORT at 63-across. Parsed correctly, that spells out the relevant question for this theme -- W or T? Solution at left, with the numeral 3 in the W/T spaces (how do you put two letters in an Across Lite file again? I used to know, but forgot).

Many solvers got into the spirit of the thing. Jared Dashoff asks:

Wherein lies the rub? Therein.


While Tim Tebbe writes:

Hunched over my laptop, I worked on your crossword #irelessly.

And Stephen Fineman opines:

Your use of black squares this week was quite _asteful.

Finally, Garrett Hildebrand sends in this account of his solve with MGWCC veterans Mike Iglesias and John Lenning:

I was sitting at lunch with John and Mike and we were
separately working the grid when this conversation happened:


John - "What would this be on 22A for 'They move big things
around'... I have TO_ERS?"

Mike - "It is TOTERS"

John - "That's kind of lame."

Me - "Not toters, but TOWERS, I think.

John - "Ah, I like that better"

Mike - "Not me. I like TOTERS"

Me - "Yeah, okay, but don't you think that WHEREABOUTS
makes more sense?"

Mike - "No, I like THEREABOUTS better."

Me - "Well, I think that is a W, but if it makes you
happy, just keep your T. It won't really matter
anyway unless these words are somehow involved in
the meta.


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 147 correct entries received, is Mike Lewis of Cedar Falls, Ia.

MONTHLY PRIZES:

47 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of August's puzzles (MARTINI, JETBLUE, ODIE, and WORT). The following ten lucky winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Jared Banta -- Superior, Colo.

Russ Cooper -- Phoenix, Ariz.

Rich Dobkin -- Chatsworth, Calif.

Peter Gordon -- Great Neck, N.Y.

Craig Harman -- Alexandria, Va.

John & Lisa LaFianza -- Glen Rock, N.J.

James Layland -- Blue Springs, Mo.

Pete Rimkus -- Ashford, Conn.

Nancy Taubenslag -- Yonkers, N.Y.

Chris Williams -- Cambridge, Mass.

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


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is the name of a country.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer country 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 (1,312 members now!) here.



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