8/31/12

MGWCC #222 -- Friday, August 31st, 2012 -- "Creature Feature"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 222 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:

140 solvers grokked last week's meta. I'll let Brett Rose explain:

Just so you know that I fully figured it out...it's the traditional
anniversary presents in each of the numbered clues (all across except
where noted):
5 - Wood
10 - Crystal
15 - Tin (down)
20 - China
25 - Silver
30 - Pearl
35 - Jade (down)
40 - Ruby
45 - Sapphire (down)
50 - Gold
55 - Emerald
60 - Diamond

Somehow this stayed hidden to me for like 4 days...now it's like one
of those things I can't unsee....


Bob Kin asks:

Why does my wife think every anniversary is our 60th?

Jimmy Dale writes:

65A: I need a Blue (Bombay) Sapphire on the rocks after spending all weekend on this one!!!

[Singer Diamond] and the like were of course the most common entries, and perfectly fine. But some solvers got creative, a selection of which follows:

Brent Holman:

[____ Armstrong Elementary (Diamond Bar, CA distinguished school winner)]

Philip Chow:

[60. On "How I Met Your Mother" Barney (portrayed by ____ Patrick Harris) buys a diamond suit with his Christmas bonus money]


Ross Beresford:

[____ Thrasher (singer-songwriter who co-wrote Diamond Rio's 1996 single "That's What I Get for Lovin' You")]

Giovanni Pagano:

[Diamond whose name is composed of two state abbreviations]


David Plotkin:

[Diamond heard at a Boston diamond]


Jason Shapiro:

[Governor Abercrombie you might find on Diamond Head]

Abby Braunsdorf went for a cryptic crossword clue:

[Musician Diamond (one I'll cover)]

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 140 correct entries received, is Regina Cassidy of Staten Island, N.Y.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's meta a 10-letter word beginning with C that describes this puzzle's theme. Submit answer to crosswordcontest@gmail.com by WEDNESDAY at noon ET. Please put your clue in the subject line of your email.

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 (1,847 members now!) here.





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


8/24/12

MGWCC #221 -- Friday, August 24th, 2012 -- "At the Present Time"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 221 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:

"Compound Interest" read the title of last week's MGWCC, and chemical compounds were the things to be interested in. Each of the four theme entries contained the common name for a chemical compound, and the compound's formula was hidden in the theme entry itself. They were:

17-a [Good use for laughing gas in a dentist's office?] = END ANNOYING PAIN (laughing gas = nitrous oxide, N20)

25-a [Good use for a disinfectant out on the lake?] = CLEAN FISHHOOKS (hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant, H2O2)

43-a [Good use for fool's gold in geology class?] = PROFESSOR'S JOKE (iron pyrite, FeS2)

57-a [Good use for salt while dining in New England?] = SEASON A CLAMBAKE (sodium chloride, NaCl)

Contest instructions asked for two entries that constitute "a good use for water in the driveway," and everyone knows that water is H20. So we need two entries that contain HHO and would put water to good use in a driveway, and there they are at
64-a and 14-a: WAS(H HO)NDA, found by 206 solvers.

Two notes on the puzzle:

1) To lead meta-guessers astray I put CAR in the grid at 23-a, and it worked like a charm: 94 solvers submitted CAR WASH or WASH CAR as their answer (insert "evil grin" emoticon here).

2) The clue to 25-a is slightly inconsistent with the other three, since "disinfectant" is a generic term, hydrogen peroxide being but one of several compounds that fall under its umbrella, while "laughing gas," "fool's gold," "salt" and "water" each reference one specific compound. While writing the puzzle I was under the impression that "liquid bleach" was a term used specifically for hydrogen peroxide, but while test-solving the guru pointed out to me that there are a few compounds that go by that name, so I had to punt with a generic term. Definitely a small blot, though HHOO is right there in the answer so most solvers figured out where I was going.

Christopher Jablonski says:

This contest submission was scrawled into the dirt on the window of a 1988 Civic.

Dan Sadoff writes:

it's about time 3 years of chemistry paid off.


Bob Johnson wasn't going to miss this one, either:

I'm a chemist so this was right up my alley. Interesting that dry ice, solid carbon dioxide, is often used to keep things COOl.

And neither was Nancy Pilla:

The Cl at the beginning of cleanfisHHOOks was a nice touch, although not the entire compound. Maybe "disinfect a pantry?" for cleaNACLOset? Anyway, great meta for this former chemist!

Chemist/biomedical engineer Victor Barocas suggests an alternate theme entry:

Shame that you couldn't get "Ahhhhh, chocolate" in there. I hear it's good with alcohol.

(OK, not quite in the same order as the others -- but all the atoms for C2H6O are there!)

And finally, Amy Hamilton laments:

My fourth grade teacher wrote on my report card that I tend to rush through things and fail to check my work, thus causing careless errors. Forty-four years later, her advice remains unfollowed as evidenced by this week's submission. My former profession is as a molecular biologist and I KNEW I was looking for H2O, yet I submitted HydroHonda anyway...

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 206 correct entries received, is Eric LeVasseur of Seal Beach, Calif. Eric has selected as his prize an autographed copy of While You Wait 20-Minute Crosswords.

NEVILLE WORSHIPING:

8:43 for me on today's Fogarty, a fine freestyle. Took me 8:43, and 36-a is a great seed entry.

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

To solve this week's meta, write a clue for 60-across that completes the theme.
Submit answer to crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put your clue in the subject line of your email.

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 (1,847 members now!) here.




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

8/17/12

MGWCC #220 -- Friday, August 17th, 2012 -- "Compound Interest"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 220 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:


Many crosswords require you to put letters inside circles, but last week's MGWCC switched that formula around, requiring solvers to put circles around four letters. The letters in question are the A, C, K and R that began the four theme entries; when circled, these letters stand for the first word of the theme entries:

20-a ANARCHY IN THE U.K.
25-a COPYRIGHT LAWS
42-a KOSHER KITCHEN
47-a REGISTERED MAIL

Which makes ACKR (any order was accepted as correct) our meta answer.

John L. Wilson writes:

Is having to RACK your brain worse than wracking it?

Probably, but you know what's even worse than that? About an hour after posting I realized I could have made the meta an erstwhile model of automobile, messed with the order of theme entries and had K-CAR be the answer, with the four circles you add as its four wheels. D'oh!

ANARCHY IN THE U/K?

226 solvers submitted ACKR as their answer, but 25 sent in ACUR instead. The logic is that a circled U is more common than a circled K to indicate that a food is kosher, and there are plenty of U's in the grid to circle (though not one in the answer KOSHER KITCHEN).

At first I thought this was a close call and intended to kick it up to the panel, but an argument from Crossword Fiend commenter CY Hollander persuaded me that they need not be summoned:

only K should be accepted: the theme is “answers whose first letter, when circled, can take the place of the entire first word”. Changing this to “random letters in the puzzle which, when circled, can take the place of the first word of some other answer” makes for a much, much looser theme.

Also note that the contest instructions read: This week's contest answer is the four letters in the grid that you must circle to highlight the puzzle's theme. So the question is not whether the circled U is more common than the circled K to represent kosher (it is), but which one highlights the theme, which only K does. So still sort of a klose kall, but only the K is truly kosher in this meta.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 226 correct entries received, is Erin Milligan-Milburn of Bala Cynwyd, Penna. Erin has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

GRYPTICS CONTEST:

You know the drill!

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's puzzle contest answer is the two grid entries that, when combined, form a good use for water in the driveway. E-mail them to me (the entries themselves, not their clue numbers) 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 either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,844 members now!) here.




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

8/10/12

MGWCC #219 -- Friday, August 10th, 2012 -- "Circular Reasoning"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 219 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:

Feels good to be back! 401 solvers found OCEAN as the relevant geographical term in last week's puzzle. The five theme entries were:

18-a [Cold wind] = ARCTIC BLAST
23-a [Where you'll find Baltic Avenue, St. James Place and Boardwalk] = ATLANTIC CITY
37-a ["The Love Boat" boat] = PACIFIC PRINCESS
50-a [Shortfall cause, as it were?] = INDIAN SUMMER
58-a [1970 Neil Young song in response to which Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote "Sweet Home Alabama"] = SOUTHERN MAN

The first word of each theme entry are the world's five OCEANs, making that our contest answer. Variations were also accepted (OCEANS, WORLD OCEAN, OCEANFRONT, etc).

Cindy Follick writes:

There was no Southern Ocean when I was in school...

Me neither, but it's gained recognition for some reason. Read all about it here; my favorite line is: "Geographers disagree on the Southern Ocean's northern boundary or even its existence..."

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 401 correct entries received, is Myron M. Meyer of Sioux Falls, S.D.

LOLLAPUZZOOLA LAST WEEKEND, PITTSBURGH TOMORROW:


I had a blast at Lollapuzzoola 5 last Saturday in Manhattan! You can buy all six puzzles from the tournament (including one I wrote) here, but only until this Sunday.

And though I won't be at the 3rd Annual Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament tomorrow, I did write a meta-crossword for it -- so drop by if you're in the area!

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is the four letters in the grid that you must circle to highlight the puzzle's theme. E-mail these four letters to me (just the letters themselves; I don't need their location in the grid) 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 either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,835 members now!) here.




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

8/3/12

MGWCC #218 -- Friday, August 3rd, 2012 -- "World Series"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 218 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:

Subtle meta from Erik Agard to wind up Guest Constructor Month: five long answers that look like theme entries, but aren't (evil); unhelpful title, since it doesn't make sense until you've gotten the meta anyway; and six chameleon squares concealing themselves with only the easiest-to-miss hints to suggest their presence.

The six chameleons were:

[JFK posting] = ETD/ETA, crossing [They may be chilling] = COLDS/COLAS
[Drone on, perhaps] = ORATE/GRATE, crossing [Easily shattered thing] EGO/EGG
[State of disorder]= MUSS/MESS, crossing [Icon of Wall Street] = BULL/BELL
[Barnes & Noble purchases] = BOOKS/NOOKS, crossing [Apple’s head?] = CRAB/CRAN
[Husband, e.g.] = MALE/MATE, crossing [Roast, often] = MEAL/MEAT.
[Platte River tribe] = OTOE/OTOS, crossing [Psychics’ supposed sights] AURAE/AURAS.

Line those chameleons up side-by side and you spell this week's contest answer, DOUBLE AGENTS, which those six squares certainly are.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 62 correct entries received, is Justin Weinbaum of Minneapolis, Minn. Justin has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

MONTHLY PRIZES:

42 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of July's challenges (LEAD FOOT, HORSESHOES/H-O-R-S-E, CHARLES or AUGUST FEY, DOUBLE AGENTS). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Abby Braunsdorf -- Lafayette, Ind.

Jeremy Conner -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Sean Effinger-Dean -- Chicago, Ill.

Noam Elkies -- Cambridge, Mass.

Sam Ezersky -- Fairfax, Va.

Joe Fendel -- Berkeley, Calif.

Peter Gordon -- Great Neck, N.Y.

Robert Kern -- Carlstadt, N.J.

Doug Peterson -- Pasadena, Calif.

Scott Weiss -- Walkersville, Md.



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

GUEST CONSTRUCTOR MONTH IS OVER, BUT WILL RETURN:

Solvers dug Guest Constructor Month a lot, so let's make it a July tradition. Big thanks to Messrs. Pahk, Muller, Blindauer and Agard for making the 1st Annual Guest Constructor Month what it was, which was varied and very fun. We'll do it again next year for certain.

LOLLAPUZZOOLA 5 IS TOMORROW:

Perhaps I'll see you there!

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:


This week's contest answer is a geographical term.
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 either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,830 members now!) here.




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