crossword 8:27
puzzle 4:55
mgwcc86hello there and welcome to the 86th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “My Metapsychology,” in which we are asked to identify a familiar game show host. the starred answers (seven of them!) don’t appear to have anything to do with game show hosts, so there must be some metapsychology at work. let’s have a look:

  • {“Have no fear!”*} is “BE BRAVE!”
  • {G.A. Henry’s classic history of the Hundred Years War*} is AT AGINCOURT. i don’t know the historian, but i’m familiar with the battle so this wasn’t that tough to piece together, especially when i had NCOUR in the middle.
  • {How people traveled before cars*} is BY BUGGY. true enough, but this seems like the least “in the language” of the theme phrases.
  • {Considered separately*} is IN ISOLATION. good answer.
  • to {Intentionally shed one’s journalist objectivity*} is to GO GONZO. great answer.
  • {Royal palace outside Madrid*} is EL ESCORIAL.
  • and {Now and then*} is ON OCCASION.

what do these phrases have in common? well, the first thing that jumped out at me was they all start with two-letter words (or names). the next thing i noticed was that the second word started with the same letter as the first word. the third thing i noticed was that it ended with the same letter, too! so they’re all of the form XY X___Y: BE BRAVE, AT AGINCOURT, BY BUGGY, IN ISOLATION, GO GONZO, EL ESCORIAL, and ON OCCASION. as usual, the title also fits the pattern: MY METAPSYCHOLOGY.

tytreadwayso who’s the mystery game show host? i would have had this very quickly, but on my first pass, i somehow failed to notice the two vertical theme answers and i thought i was dealing with only five. so i started by trying to anagram the ten letters: BE/AT/BY/IN/GO. my first guess was BOB YEATING, which turns out to be just as made-up a name as it sounds. i scoured the list of 200+ game show hosts on wikipedia (particularly on the lookout for the letter Y), and finally kicked myself when i came across TY TreadwaY, the erstwhile host of merv griffin’s crosswords. yes, he’s got a Y; no, he doesn’t have two Bs; but more importantly, his name also fits the theme. even better, i actually know who he is, although that’s only because i’ve seen the youtube clip of our hostess on said game show. wait, no, i would know him anyway because KMT put him in a NYS ThTh some time after that.

this crossword was tougher than last week’s, and about the same as the week before. i was definitely guessing in some places:

  • {Big root vegetable (one letter off from a game-show host’s surname)} is MANGEL, one letter off from howie mandel of deal or no deal. never heard of it, and the clue actually helped me.
  • that was a knotty area because the clue for MY MAN, {Address to a close friend}, isn’t exactly the most specific, and {Down with} for the french expression À BAS wasn’t screaming “french” to me. {Core issue} for NUB is straightforward, but i was expecting it to be unstraightforward (as in, material issued from a nuclear reactor core or something). and the across clue {1966 hit by The Who}, I’M A BOY? never heard of it. my who knowledge is fairly scant, though i like tommy and the handful of other songs that i actually know (“my generation,” “baba o’reilly,” … and a friend of mine from grad school adopted “won’t get fooled again” as his personal grad school anthem. i thought it was an apt choice.).
  • do you agree with the clue for ESC, {Key hit with the left pinky}? that’s not how i roll. i put TAB in first, because when i hit ESC, i move my entire hand and get it with my middle finger.
  • what’s your GAO clue preference, the government accounting office, as this puzzle’s {Fed. number crunchers}, or 2000 literature nobelist GAO xingjian? i’ll take the author, although it’d be way cooler to work his given name (or full name) into a grid.
  • speaking of obscure nobelists, GAO crossed the {1993 Economics Nobelist Robert} FOGEL at the G. who is this guy? he didn’t formulate the theory of DERIVED DEMAND, did he?
  • more game show content: {White in a dress} is VANNA of the price is right wheel of fortune. this clue did not fool me. (edited to add: it apparently confused me enough to write the wrong game show, though. thanks to evad for the correction.)
  • math content! ADA lovelace is the {Mathematician called the “first programmer”}. a NONAGON (figure with 9 sides) is a {Hot tub shape, sometimes}. really? octagon or dodecagon, sure, but 9? BINOMIAL is the {Word before coefficient or theorem}. pascal would be proud! if only he were still alive, spoke english, and did crossword contests.
  • i’m in a gracious mood today, so i’ll give matt a pass on ELI crossing YALE in the NE corner. next time i want to see CRIMSON crossing HARVARD.
  • obligatory geography: {England’s second-largest city, in shorthand} is B’HAM, for birmingham. did you know that? i tried MANC first. birmingham city is not the footballing powerhouse that man united (or even man city) is, but they’ve been on a roll and recently dumped everton out of the FA cup. they are now unbeaten in their last 15 matches. not bad for a mid-table team, eh?
  • more geography: the {Lofty capital} is LHASA, tibet, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. HALIFAX is the {Maritimes metropolis}. and more generically, -BURGH is a {City, in combinations}.
  • mystery spanish: SUS is {Juan’s your}. wait, is it juan’s, or mine?
  • favorite clue: {He’s not guarded like he used to be} for an EX-CON. runners up are the intersecting trying-to-hide-the-proper-name clues {Rove around the various TV channels} for KARL and {Shaggy voice} for noted voice actor casey KASEM.
  • clue i don’t understand: {Nudge} = SIGN. why?

that’s all for me. see you in the comment box.

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21 Responses to MGWCC #86

  1. *David* says:

    I needed about four Googles to finish this puzzle off with AGINCOURT, ELENOR and FOGEL. I felt pretty good about putting BOOZ and KASEM in with no crosses.

    The meta I noticed 75% right away but never caught on to the last letter of the second name. No worries it still led me to Ty who face it, is an obscure gameshow host (maybe American Idol post-show host). I had never heard of him but once I saw that he hosted the Crossword show I knew, I had the right answer.

  2. Annette says:

    Can someone elaborate on how to get Ty Treadway from BEATBYINGOELON? I submitted Art Linkletter thinking that the the two letters of the first word linked all the letters of the second. And there is a crossword show? Oh man, to borrow a word that shows up twice in the puzzle, I am out of the loop.

  3. joon says:

    it’s not the letters. TY TREADWAY could have been a theme answer in this puzzle. that’s why he’s the answer.

  4. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Ah, Ty Treadway. He’s most congenial in person, and has dreamy eyes.

    Evad and I were both wondering about [Nudge]/SIGN too.

  5. Annette says:

    Oh Omigosh, now I feel silly, thanks for clueing me in!

  6. Matt Gaffney says:

    Re Nudge/Sign, my thought was along the lines of “If you want to leave the party early, give me a nudge.”

    Maybe a little tenuous.

  7. *David* says:

    What’s up with this “Evad and I” thing, when did this start? Why isn’t it Crosscan and I or Joon and I or even *David* and I? Sheesh…

  8. Evad says:

    Hey, I think it should be all of us, the more the merrier. I’m into group solving experiences. (I’m also a Taurus if anyone wants to know.)

    I also struggled with ABAS and had BLAT instead of BLAM for the gun sound, so MST meant nothing but a timezone to me.

  9. joon says:

    oh, i should have commented on MSM. it’s “mainstream media,” a term used (often derisively, by political bloggers) to denote large, creditable news sources like CNN or major papers.

  10. Evad says:

    And joon, if you were reading my post from a couple of Mondays ago, you’d remember Vanna White is on “Wheel of Fortune.” Double Sheesh.

  11. joon says:

    i knew that. did i really write the price is right? sheesh. slip of the mind.

  12. MM says:

    I thought of SIGN as a “nudge in the right direction.” The fact that Ty Treadway hosted a crossword game show is a sign or hint or nudge (in the right direction) that this is the correct answer.

  13. Meg says:

    I learned A BAS in a previous puzzle, either Matt’s or BEQ’s. It’s like “Down with the king” I think.
    Never heard of Ty Treadway or the Crosswords show, but got the answer just the same. This meta seemed somewhat similar to last week’s.
    I learned a new acronym. MSM = mainstream media.
    The puzzle was fun, but honestly, I have more fun when I have to struggle!

  14. Thomas says:

    I actually solved this meta without even looking at the puzzle. As soon as I saw the title, I noticed the MY around MetapsychologY and I knew — I just knew — that would be the key. So I went through the list looking for two-letter names, expecting to find an Ed or an Al or maybe even a Bo. Instead I found Ty, and he was so obviously my man that I sent the answer in right then and there.

  15. Judy says:

    Still can’t get two clues from Sat WSJ Hex Criptogram – “Cry of Dismay” and “Piggish”. Anyone out there who can help?

  16. joon says:


    1. it’s not a criptogram, or even a cryptogram
    2. it’s not by hex (mike shenk)
    3. it was blogged three days ago in a separate post

  17. Evad says:

    @joon, trying to make up for the price is right gaff aren’t you?

  18. joon says:

    gaff = fishhook. gaffe = mistake.

    must … keep … correcting …

  19. Evad says:

    I did mean fishhook! ;)

  20. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Joon, the Shenk puzzle was a hex puzzle—hexagonal!

  21. Jeff says:

    Meh – I put Ben Bailey, because I only noticed the first letters, not the last letters, and because he also happens to host a show named Cash Cab.

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