10/29/10

MGWCC #126 -- Friday, October 29th, 2010 -- "Halloween Party"



Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 126 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:

Off with their heads! Ten clues in last week's puzzle were missing their initial letters (more clearly so in some cases than others). Guided by the parenthetical numbers following those clues, 235 solvers noticed that those missing letters spell out GUILLOTINE, which was last week's macabre contest answer. They were:

(1) {GLoved singer who passed away last year} = MICHAEL JACKSON
(2) {U.S.A. part} = AMER
(3) {iPhone downloads} = APPS
(4) {LEarn a trade} = APPRENTICE
(5) {LOne wolf} = HERMIT
(6) {OPossums pretend to be this} = DEAD
(7) {TUrban location} = HEAD
(8) {IMan's man} = DAVID BOWIE
(9) {NArrow route} = PATH
(10) {EGo tripping} = HIGH ON YOURSELF

Jim Kaye guillotined three clues of his own:

(b) Rig's milieu = SHIP
(o) Range animal in Asia = TIGER
(o) Berlin specialty = MUSIC


And the BOO is for Halloween, not my opinion on the puzzles!!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 235 correct entries received, is Jenny Meyer of Cambridge, Mass. Jenny has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

SPELLET:

Entertaining new iPhone/iPad application from Patrick Berry, Patrick Merrell and (Patrick's brother) Douglas Merrell: Spellet, where you shoot pellets out of cannons to form words.

The app costs 99 cents (and runs on the iPod Touch as well). Check it out here:

http://threebarrels.net/

GOOGLE GROUPS ISSUES:

Irritatingly, Google Groups is still not letting me upload new files this week. So if you for some reason can't use the .puz file I send in the weekly Google Group e-mail, please let me know and I'll resend.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:



It was an extravagant Halloween Party -- you rented the Red Herring Mansion out on the deserted island, ignoring the mainland villagers' claims that it was haunted. Your dozens of guests came dressed in an array of costumes and disguises -- a princess, a pirate, devils and goblins and gladiators and such. A grand time was had by all.

At the break of dawn your guests (finally!) took the morning ferry back to the mainland, leaving you alone on the island for the day. You woke up around noon to a violent thunderstorm -- so violent that you find, to your slight panic, that the mansion's phone is out. Just the weather, you tell yourself. Surely.

It worsens outside. Thunder and lightning crash around the island and you begin to feel a presence somewhere in the house -- a sinister presence. Perhaps a guest sleeping off one too many in a distant room? No, it feels much less harmless than that. Something -- someone -- who was not invited to the party is here in the mansion with you. And somehow you innately understand that they intend you harm...

Yes, there is somebody close by -- a sinister creature -- and you realize that you must rid yourself of it...before it rids itself of you...


This week's contest answer is 1) the identity of your uninvited attendee and 2) the method you used to rid yourself of it. E-mail both of these 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 (1,345 members now!) here.

SPECIAL PRIZE THIS WEEK:


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, next week's winner will receive a copy of Patrick Blindauer's new Puzzlefest. I enjoyed last year's Puzzlefest suite greatly and I'm setting aside an afternoon (or two) to solve this year's as well. A copy costs $9.99; read more about it or buy yours here.



Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive. [UPDATE, 10/29, 2:55 PM ET: Erica Pannen points out tense issues in the clue for 49-across: it should read {Fighting (it out)}, not {Fought (it out)}.]

10/22/10

MGWCC #125 -- Friday, October 22nd, 2010 -- "You're Cut Off"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 125 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:

Pattern Recognition Month continues here at MGWCC, and solvers continue to experience little trouble spotting those patterns. 328 entrants correctly submitted ABABA at 5-across as their contest answer last week, noticing that the puzzle's six theme entries begin with that letter pattern:

NON-ONEROUS
I DID IT AGAIN
PUPU PLATTER
POP OPEN
MAMA MIA
COCO CHANEL

Big miss on my part: three solvers (Tim Tebbe was first) pointed out NO-NONSENSE, a far superior theme entry to my NON-ONEROUS (and the same number of letters, critically). I was so focused on NON-ON... words that I didn't even take into consideration the unusual NO-NON... beginning of NO-NONSENSE. Excellent find -- I certainly would have used it had I seen it, and I'm kicking myself for missing it.

While submitting his correct answer ABABA, Andrew Ries writes:

Addis all, my friend.

Aaron Riccio is 3-for-3 so far this month:

Though the dodo died, I'm not yet extinct for October.

While Eric LeVasseur wrote a poem using the relevant rhyme scheme:

If you had wanted solvers to explain
The rhyme scheme that you'd ultimately see
By taking all the letters you obtain
From spelling out the meta, they would be
responding with "SICILIAN QUINTAIN".


I didn't know it had a name, but he's right:

http://www.thepoetsgarret.com/2007Challenge/oneten.html


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 328 correct entries received, is Ben Guderian of Boulder, Colo. Ben will receive as his prize an autographed copy of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Brain Games.


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is something you might see at a macabrely-decorated Halloween party. 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 (1,341 members now!) here.



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

10/14/10

MGWCC #124 -- Friday, October 15th, 2010 -- "Pattern Test"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 124 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:


Is it "Ha Month" or "Pattern Recognition Month"? For the second week in a row, 300+ solvers spotted the common thread among theme entries to arrive at the name of a famous comedian. This week is was LOUIE ANDERSON, whose name contains the five main vowels in consecutive (though non-alphabetic) order. This odd quality he shares with the four theme entries:

MINUTIAE OUTLINE
MAUI OENOPHILE
UNDERSEA OUIJA
SEQUOIA ENGINEER

Mike Buckley says:

My cat just miaoued.


Referencing an e-mail published in last week's post, Amy Reynaldo writes:

I'm doing a Delfin: 59 seconds of solving, plus a few seconds to click the link. While the page was loading I thought of Louie Anderson, so I checked to see that he was on your list.




















And finally, Steve Blumenthal notes an amusing coincidence:

Did you know that "The Louie Show" was set in Duluth?

Amusing since "The Louie Show" was Anderson's short-lived 1996 sitcom, and DULUTH is 10-down.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 302 correct entries received, is Neil Gibson of Arlington, Va. Neil has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


MY FACEBOOK PAGE:


It's still bare-bones, though that will change in coming weeks. Join up here:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Matt-Gaffneys-Weekly-Crossword-Contest/146357902074099


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is the entry in the grid that illustrates the theme gimmick. E-mail this entry (the actual entry in the grid, not its clue number) 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 (1,339 members now!) here.



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

10/7/10

MGWCC #123 -- Friday, October 8th, 2010 -- "This Is the Big One"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 123 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 record 361 entries pegged REDD FOXX as the comedian of the week. They'd noticed that all four theme entries (starred for clarity, since there was fill longer than theme) consisted of two-word phrases wherein each word ended in a double letter:

DASHIELL HAMMETT
BOSS HOGG
FREE JAZZ
DANDRUFF SHAMPOO

Aided, if necessary, by Comedy Central's "100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time" list I provided, successful solvers found the man whose name fits that pattern: REDD FOXX, whose double D and X made him last week's contest answer.

Some solvers questioned the need for linking to the Comedy Central list. I linked not because I thought anyone would be unfamiliar with REDD FOXX, though several younger solvers were, or had only heard of him through crosswords. Rather my real motive was that a couple hours before publishing I realized that someone might submit WILL FERRELL (or several other comics, such as Bill Engvall or Todd Glass).

Ferrell's names do both end in double letters, which could reasonably be argued to fit all contest requirements. REDD FOXX is a more elegant solution, since his DD and XX do not repeat any of the eight double letters already used (LL, TT, EE, ZZ, SS, GG, FF and OO). But one might still reasonably claim that WILL FERRELL meets the threshold of acceptability, so I linked to that Comedy Central list on which he is absent.

John Reid
thinks the byline should have read:

“Double Time” by Matt Gaff


And Scott Weiss says:

I guess I'm not a well-known comedian, huh? There goes my chance to be a MGWCC crossword answer.

Joe Fendel quips:

I was trying to think of some American comedians named "Jeff", but then realized none of them are Foxx-worthy.

And finally, Jon Delfin didn't need much of the puzzle to deduce the contest answer (click image to enlarge):

I reserve the right to submit a different answer once I fill in more
of the grid....












This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 361 correct entries received, is Brendan Sullivan of Pittsburgh, Penna. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Brendan will also receive a copy of Peter Gordon's new book Sunset Crosswords.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

A companion puzzle to last week's: once again, 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 (1,335 members now!) here.



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