7/29/11

MGWCC #165 -- Friday, July 29th, 2011 -- "Island Time"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 165 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:

OK, so maybe that should have been Week 5 instead of Week 4! Just 84 solvers found the COLOSSUS OF RHODES as last week's contest WotAW, and about 15 of those were 1-in-7 shots taken successfully without grokking the meta.

The difficulty came not from the complexity of the meta -- it can be described in a single sentence -- but from the unusual pattern solvers were asked to find. Normally meta-hunters look for either wordplay patterns in the theme entries or some commonality in meaning among them. This meta was different: the common thread among the theme entries was nothing they shared in wordplay or meaning, but simply that their last words were members of a well-known set of seven:



BLACK FRIDAY --> 7 days of the week
GREEN WITH ENVY --> 7 deadly sins
KIND OF BLUE --> 7 colors of the rainbow
WEST AFRICA --> 7 continents
DON'T BE BASHFUL --> 7 dwarfs
BLAME CANADA --> G7 countries

Contest instructions asked for one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but which to choose? Crafty metapuzzlers noticed that each of these six septet members is first alphabetically within its septet. Completing the pattern with a 7th septet member is the first WotAW alphabetically, the COLOSSUS OF RHODES.

I was slightly concerned about some of the sins having alternate names, since greed is sometimes labeled as "avarice" and wrath sometimes as "anger," either of which would have knocked envy off the top spot. I decided to use the list sanctioned by both Wikipedia and, more importanly, the classic 1995 movie "Se7en": gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride and lust. If it's good enough for Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey then it's good enough for MGWCC:

Also, it'd be a thousands-to-1 shot for the other five septet members to be first in their sets by coincidence, so it seemed mathematically clear that these placements had to be the meta key -- especially since envy is placed first alphabetically on many contemporary lists.

Jed Scott writes:

I especially liked the red herring of colors in the first three theme entries -- I had WEST ORANGE written in for a long time in the fourth entry!

Lively and lengthy comments section here.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 84 correct entries received, is Daniel W. of Kirkland, Wash. Daniel has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

E-MAIL I MEANT TO RUN LAST WEEK:


Refreshing your memory: MGWCC #163's meta was formed from the eight silent letters used in theme entries, which spelled out (in order) TALK SHOW.

Mark Manuel writes:

Do you ever have those moments where you feel just a little bit stupid? I figured out that each word had a silent letter and then highlighted them in the puzzle. I went to an on-line anagram solver and started typing t - a - l - k - s - h - o - w then looked at the screen to see what was returned to me.

Just laughed out loud...what can you do...



THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is a Caribbean island.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer island 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 (1,546 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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

7/22/11

MGWCC #164 -- Friday, July 22nd, 2011 -- "Seven Wonders"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 164 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:


Silence was golden in last week's puzzle -- and the key to the meta. 288 solvers noticed that each of the eight words in the four theme entries contained a silent letter:

GLISTENING BREAD
SALMON KNOB
DEBRIS HOUR
LEOPARD ANSWERED

Take those eight silent letters in order and you've got TALK SHOW, which was last week's contest answer.






















Marie desJardins writes:

Scent build often clue.


The last theme entry contained a slight inelegance pointed out by Noam Elkies in Crossword Fiend comments: "answered" contains not one but two silent letters, the W used in the meta and the second E. I somehow managed to overlook this, but fortunately no one submitted TALK SHOE.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 288 correct entries received, is Steve Tolopka of Portland, Ore. Steve has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer wonder 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 (1,539 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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

7/15/11

MGWCC #163 -- Friday, July 15th, 2011 -- "You Don't Say..."

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 163 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:


16 I's were the key to last week's meta: they came in an octet of pairs, one letter separating each pair's components. Look "right between the I's," as the puzzle title suggests, and those eight letters spell our contest answer, MATCHBOX.


















This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 338 correct entries received, is Jim Kaye of Scarsdale, N.Y. Jim has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Brain Games.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is an eight-letter environment where silence is not a virtue. 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. [UPDATE, 7/15, 2:05 PM: the clues at 51- and 52-down should reference themselves, not the nonexistent 51- and 52-across.]

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 (1,538 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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

7/11/11

MGWCC #162 -- Monday, July 11th, 2011 -- "Right Between the Eyes"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 162 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:

DELTA was the Greek letter that served as last week's contest answer, found by 294 solvers. Three Δ's showed up at 35-across, referencing the DELTA DELTA DELTA sorority of a 1990s "Saturday Night Live" sketch. And three DELTAs are exactly what solvers needed at 16- and 60-across to make six phrases: DELTA BLUES, DELTA FORCE, DELTA DAWN, DELTA AIRLINES, DELTA WING and DELTA RAY.

Crossing the rebus answers we had:

35-d ΔHOUSE
28-d MOΔNK (that's MODEL TANK)
17-d RIVERΔ

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 294 correct entries received, is Wayne Mesard of Belmont, Mass. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Wayne will also receive a copy of Brendan Quigley's entertaining new 21x21 freestyle. Next week we return to regular book prizes.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is an eight-letter kind of container. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Thursday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer container 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 (1,533 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here. [UPDATE, 7/11, 2:35 PM ET: Oops, 5-down should have ended one word sooner...}





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