5/27/11

MGWCC #156 -- Friday, May 27th, 2011 -- "Marginal Effort"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 156 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:

What was the common thread among the five literary works in last week's puzzle theme? 224 solvers found it: each of the five were written by authors who use two initials instead of a first name:

17-a GOOSEBUMPS (R.L. Stine)
22-a STUART LITTLE (E.B. White)
23-d RAGTIME (E.L. Doctorow)
49-a THE WASTELAND (T.S. Eliot)
58-a RUMBLE FISH (S.E. Hinton)

Is there a 10-letter book-related word you can make from those five authors' initials? Sure is: BESTSELLER, which was last week's contest answer word.

Erica Pannen writes:

A little thinking SHEW'D me the answer (Stine, Hinton, Eliot, White, Doctorow).

Christy Meisler found an Easter Egg:

We see you hiding there (last letter of 5-down through last letter of 24 down :)

Bob Lundegaard says:

I thought at first you were going for belles-lettres, but you were a TEL short.

And finally, Noam Elkies conjures up one way he might have solved the meta:

5 theme entries to get a 10-letter answer, so I guess I'll want to get
two letters from each one. Looks like they're all of even length,
so they have a two-letter center:

EB from 17A:GOOSEBUMPS,
TL from 24A:STUART_LITTLE,
ST from 49A:THE_WASTE_LAND,
LE from 58A:RUMBLEFISH

looks like it's going to anagram to BESTSELLER, which fits with the
puzzle title. But 23D:RAGTIME has odd length. OK, so I'll take
the first and last letters instead for the missing RE.

Uh-oh, this gives me one S and two T's rather than other way around.
Well, it's a good guess anyway. Maybe I'm supposed to anagram the
initials of the authors' names or something.


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 224 correct entries received, is Lance Nathan of Arlington, Mass. Lance has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

ISN'T IT IRONIC?


Ed Brody didn't submit an answer to MGWCC #154. Here's why:

Sorry I missed last week's puzzle. Was on the way to attend my daughter's college graduation in ... ST LOUIS.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is an eight-letter word. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Wednesday (note extra day) at noon ET. Please put the contest answer word in the subject line of your e-mail. [UPDATE, 2:50 PM, 5/27: Peter Gordon points out that the clue at 45-down is incomplete. It's supposed to read {Super Bowl XI winning coach}.

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 (1,505 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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

5/17/11

MGWCC #155 -- Friday, May 20th, 2011 -- "Popular Fiction"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 155 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:

Rough sailing for Week 2: Just 140 solvers -- compared to 341 for the previous meta -- found ST. LOUIS as last week's contest answer city. The only two hints in the grid came at 2-down and 30-down, which was clued as "instructions on where to meet" and yielded I WILL BE AT A CONFLUENCE.

59 solvers submitted PITTSBURGH as a major American city at a confluence of two (or three, as locals claim) rivers, but there was more to the mix. See solution grid below: the MISSOURI and MISSISSIPPI rivers flow through the center-right of the grid in geographically correct routes, meeting at the I in square 37. The I in I WILL BE AT A CONFLUENCE is literally the letter I, then, and the big city built at the confluence of those two rivers is of course ST. LOUIS.

























This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 140 correct entries received, is Becky Anderson of Roy, Washington. Becky has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

1,500 GOOGLE GROUP MEMBERS:

We just hit 1,500 members this morning. w00t!! Click on image to enlarge:













SPORCLE QUIZ...WITH META!

You just gotta play Joon Pahk's new Sporcle quiz. It has a metapuzzle...and it's already been played 37,000+ times. I solved it with 2:11 remaining from the original 8 minutes -- beat that!


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


Literary February redux! -- this week's contest answer is a ten-letter book-related word. E-mail it 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 either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,500 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here. NOTE: mysterious Across Lite issues today and I can't get it to give me a printable JPEG like normal. If anyone can get one from the AL file, e-mail it to me and I'll post -- thank you in advance! [UPDATE, 2:05 PM ET: That was quick! Thanks to Leo Stein for the JPEG, which appears below.]





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

5/13/11

MGWCC #154 -- Friday, May 13th, 2011 -- "Meeting Place"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 154 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 cruciverbal era draws to an end: the great MAURA JACOBSON has announced her retirement from New York Magazine's crossword page after more than three decades.

The meta wasn't tough -- Maura's name was simply the answer to 69-across -- but there was a gimmick, too: 341 solvers found the letters in MAURA in consecutive circles in the puzzle's theme entries:

PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY
TUPAC AMARU
AQUAMARINE
FUTURAMA EPISODES
SAMURAI WARRIOR
MASKED MARAUDER
MAURA JACOBSON
And then finally TRAUMATIZED at 38-down, clued as {What 69-across's fans are, now that she's retiring}.

Eric Berman
writes:

She’s retiring? I AM traumatized.


Jeffrey Harris
had an early theme guess:

Before I got any letters for the central down entry, I thought it was going to be D-MAURA-LIZED.

Dan White:

My wife Sue and I volunteer teach at an inner city boy’s college prep high school. Yesterday was the commitment ceremony, where students announce where they will go to college.

A young English teacher, an NYU grad, was sitting near us. Sue was working on your puzzle, which I had finished. Our colleague said, “Did you know that my favorite
crossword constructor is retiring?” I snatched your puzzle from Sue and asked our colleague to look at the clue and answer to 69 across. She was delighted.

Small world.


Stephen Fineman
reminisces:

Greatly enjoyed the trivia-style clues and the many, many 80's references brought me back to the days of watching Mom solve the New York Magazine crossword every week, then helping her, and eventually splitting the crossword in half (including a dotted line in the center row or column). Perfect for Mother's Day!

And finally, Hugh Murphy sings the lady's praises:

Maura Jacobson has been a favorite of mine (and everyone else) for as long as I can remember. Her first Sunday NYT was in 1955 and she has had one puzzle in each ACPT since its inception. One of my favorite of her clues was Sex on the reservation in a puzzle entitled "Movies You May Have Missed." The answer: LUST OF THE MOHICANS. Another ACPT puzzle with a Noah's Ark theme had GNU ARK, GNU JERSEY as an entry.

I've done, and enjoyed, hundreds of her classics over the years.


Congratulations to Maura on her long and stellar run at New York Magazine. The magazine's crosswords will henceforth be written by Cathy Allis, a fine and deserving choice of successor.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 341 correct entries received, is Katie Bates of Somerville, Mass. Katie has selected as her prize an autographed copy of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Brain Games.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is a major U.S. city. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer city 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 (1,495 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.






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

5/5/11

MGWCC #153 -- Friday, May 6th, 2011 -- "New York's Finest"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 153 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:

170 solvers found a SEVEN AND SEVEN waiting as the contest answer, though many of them -- perhaps half -- solved the meta without fully understanding the trick lurking beneath the surface (BTW, long story but no solution file today; I'll have it up next week, but click here for now).

The puzzle's four theme entries each contained a successive number from two to five:

GOING TWO AT A TIME
THREE POUND ROAST
COST FOUR DOLLARS
FIVE PERCENT RULE

What's the logic of these four phrases? In each case, the number is followed by the symbol sharing its key on a computer keyboard: 2 @ A TIME, 3 # ROAST, COST 4 $, and 5 % RULE.

What next? Contest instructions asked for an alcoholic drink with thirteen letters in its name. SIX CARET something seems like a good place to start, but no drink begins that way (maybe a six-carrot smoothie?). Besides, the clue for SIX at 66-across tells the solver to skip SIX.

Which means we're looking for a 13-letter alcoholic beverage beginning with SEVEN AND, since 7 shares its key with the ampersand. Drinky types and skilled Googlers alike quickly found our contest answer, the SEVEN AND SEVEN (or, if you prefer, 7 & 7).

Doug Peterson
says:

You're a shifty one, Matt.

Jeffrey Harris writes:

You did one bang-up job on this puzzle...solid as a six-caret diamond. Eight stars!

Getting SEVEN AND SEVEN was easy for Jimmy Dale:

I had three of them last night!!

He wasn't alone. Jim Sempsrott:

Oddly enough, that is what I am drinking right now. You'll never catch me in a Starbucks!

Cory Oldweiler
:

I really hope this is right as I'm a bartender

And finally, three detailed solves. The first is Todd Dashoff:

I solved the grid and had no clue. “!@#$%^&*()”, I said. “That Gaffney, he’s done it to me again in the last week of the month! I stared @ the puzzle for a while, but still nothing came to mind. I decided to let my subconscious work on it. No success. I #ed my head against the wall – why can’t I get this meta?

I’d be better off spending my hard-earned $ on lottery tickets; I’d probably have a better chance of winning. Every month it’s the same. Get 75 % of the puzzles, and fail on the last week.

Then I had a paradigm SHIFT. I’d finally figured it out; time to reward myself with a well- deserved 7&7.


Eric Prestemon's entire solving log is worth a look:

http://solvingpuzzles.tumblr.com/post/5220352620/mgwcc-152-drinking-game


And last but not least, Robert Hartford:

Took a break and said to my wife "Gaffney has me totally stumped, I can't even get a toehold". When I came back, I wrote 3lb, 4$ and 5% on my scratch pad. Lucky for me I was sitting at my computer, happened to glance down and finally saw it. OK skip 6, so where is the AND? Well, you can sorta get an AND starting at 43 across (4+3=7) by going NE then down, but that's pretty darned inelegant. Hmm. 7 and, 7 and, 7 and .... I don't know how many times I said "7 and" to myself before I heard what I was saying - but it was a lot.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 170 correct entries received, is Jim Silvestro of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Jim has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

MONTHLY PRIZES:

87 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all five of April's challenges (BALTIMORE ORIOLES, PORTUGAL, TOXIC, STARBUCKS, 7&7). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Jeffrey Harris -- Norwalk, Conn.

Brent Holman -- San Francisco, Calif.

Don Lloyd -- Point Reyes Station, Calif.

Mike Marcus -- New Haven, Conn.

Chip Prince -- New York City, N.Y.

Dean Scungio -- Johnston, R.I.

Josh Shellman -- Fuquay-Varina, N.C.

Dan & Sue White -- Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Larry Wasser -- Louisville, Ky.

R.W.


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

CROSSWORDS L.A. PUZZLES:

Last weekend's Crosswords L.A. tournament crowned Jordan Chodorow champion and Eric LeVasseur and Eric Maddy runners-up. If you'd like to solve the event's puzzles for the nominal fee of $5 (which goes to a charity called Reading to Kids), visit this link on Alex Boisvert's website:

http://alexboisvert.com/




THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is the name of a well-known crossword constructor. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer constructor 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 (1,490 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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