6/25/11

MGWCC #160 -- Saturday, June 25th, 2011 -- "Plot Device"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 160 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:


Difficult month of metas here at MGWCC: in Week 3 just 91 solvers found DAY as the contest answer word. Let's have Bob Klahn explain:

This one took a while, Matt! I was going, I was stopping, I was going, I was stopping ... I must've put this aside a dozen times.

Then it dawned on me! So to speak.

NICE MEAN: L -> N
SWEET BITTER: U -> I
TAKE GIVE: F -> G
HERE THERE: W -> H
SHORT TALL: B -> T

Now it's time for a nightcap!




See what he did there? Bob noticed that he could change one letter in a word in each theme entry to leave himself with a pair of antonyms. Guided by the parenthetical numbers appended to the theme clues you spell out NIGHT, whose opposite DAY was last week's contest answer.

Michael Sylvia writes:

That meta was definitely the hard sort.

A BEAUTIFUL FIND:

For the second week in a row a solver significantly improved the meta with a flash of inspiration. Although the crossword was well received at Crossword Fiend with 4.71 stars out of 5, solvers did pick a couple of (legitimate) nits with one theme entry, WE'RE THERE at 16-across. The complaints were: 1) you change a letter in the first word of this theme entry to get the opposite pair, while it's the second word changed in the other four; and 2) the apostrophe in WE'RE is slightly odd, since you drop it when changing to HERE.

My attitude in comments was essentially "I follow you, but tough noogies," since a replacement phrase was extremely unlikely to exist. You'd need it to be a) exactly 9 letters long, b) with no apostrophe as in WE'RE, c) the replacing letter would need to be an H, and d) the second word would need to be changed instead of the first.

Since I'd only been able to come up with about 15 candidate phrases for the entire theme, it was naturally impossible for a phrase I'd missed to satisfy all four constraints. That's when Peter Abide uncorked GUEST POST in comments, which amazingly does just that! You can GUEST POST on a blog, and a GUEST and HOST are indeed opposite functions. Wow.

If I use this one in the next book I'll do some surgery in the NW, and maybe sneak ABIDE in the grid as a tribute.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 91 correct entries received, is Sean Trowbridge of Redmond, Wash. Sean has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sports Crosswords.


SPECIAL PRIZES OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS:


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, weekly prizewinners this week and next will receive a copy of Brendan Quigley's new 21x21 freestyle crossword. I'm solving it myself this afternoon and I'll post my time here once I'm done. [UPDATE, 6/25, 8:45 PM ET: I finished BEQ's freestyle in 17:43. Very fun -- buy it at the link above.]

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is a six-letter literary term.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Wednesday 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 either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,528 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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

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