MGWCC #105

crossword 4:10 (paper)
puzzle 0:02

right, so i totally forgot to write up the MGWCC this week. it’ll be up in a couple hours. grid and meta answer after the jump. meantime, feel free to discuss the puzzle in the comments, and the full post is now written. don’t forget that matt’s tip jar is open this week.
mgwcc105greetings, and (a belated) welcome to the 105th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “So That’s Your Game!” sorry for getting the post up late. it was a combination of procrastinatiousness, forgetitude, and falling asleep at 8 pm last night. anyway, this week’s puzzle asks us to identify a popular board game. what are the theme answers?

  • {Title that must be earned by age 18} is EAGLE SCOUT.
  • the MEXICAN FLAG {flies over the Yucatan Peninsula}, not some sort of migratory bird.
  • {1990s phrase of approval} is IT’S DA BOMB.
  • a COAL MINER is an {Underground worker} of a sort.
  • {1986 John le Carre classic} is A PERFECT SPY. never heard of this.
  • a {Student on stages} might be a DRAMA MAJOR. at my college, drama wasn’t a major. most of the drama types ended up majoring in english.

so what’s the meta? check out the last word of each phrase: SCOUT, FLAG, BOMB, MINER, SPY, and MAJOR are all STRATEGO pieces. i don’t remember all the others: lieutenant, general, colonel, marshal? the opponent’s flag is what you’re trying to “capture” (while protecting your own). bombs are stationary, but if you move one of your pieces onto an opponent’s bomb, he dies… unless he’s a miner. the spy is the one piece who can capture an opponent’s marshal. something like that. i haven’t played this game in literally decades, but it jumped right out at me as soon as i looked at the theme answers as a set.

the crossword wasn’t hard at all by MGWCC standards. i guess we’re back to a regular monthly schedule, so this is the first (and easiest) puzzle for june. noteworthy bits:

  • {Second baseman Lenn Sakata, in the early 1980s} clues ORIOLE, hearkening back to last week’s “jailbreak” puzzle, in which lenn sakata helped you dig a tunnel out of prison.
  • going even further in the way back machine, OMAN was again clued as {Oil manufacturing Arab nation}, a reminder of the acrostic FIRST DOWNS puzzle from the week before last. elsewhere in southwest asia, we’ve got IRAQ and the LEVANT, but DESERT is clued with respect to australia, not arabia.
  • {Left money on the table} is a nice literal clue for TIPPED, as opposed to a metaphorical expression for “didn’t maximize one’s winnings.”
  • i was working the crossings for {“Semper Fidelis” composer}, but of course it’s john phillip SOUSA, and semper fi is the motto of the marines. the march in question was written for the marine corps in 1889.
  • {Steppe child?} is an interesting clue for WOLF CUB. is this supposed to remind us of steppenwolf, the band? or the hesse novel?
  • {Genesis woman} could be a lot of people, couldn’t it? i tried SARAH first, thinking i might need to change it to SARAI. but no, it turned out to be TAMAR. i needed a bit of a refresher on her story.
  • ODIN, however, was a gimme from the clue {His horse is called Sleipnir}. sleipnir is notable for two reasons: he had eight legs, and his mother was loki (who is not, strictly speaking, female). funny story, that. and if it reminds you of mike mulligan and his steam shovel, well, that probably means you have a two-year old.
  • {“Straight Out of Brooklyn” director ___ Rich} is MATTY. never heard of it or her.
  • {Game designer Meier} is SID, of the “civilization” games. ah, i can still remember the joys of having my battleship sunk by a well-fortified phalanx unit.
  • {He kills Hamlet} is one way to clue LAERTES. the father of odysseus would be another.
  • {Sexy middle-aged woman}? well this is surprising. MILF is an acronym. if you haven’t run across it before, i’ll warn you that it’s rather vulgar.
  • {Transfix} clues IMPALE, much the gorier meaning of transfix. matt has used this clue/answer pair before, back in MGWCC #6 (i think). i remember it because IMPALE crossed IMPALA, which seems iffy but there’s no etymological relationship between the two, as IMPALA comes from a zulu word for “gazelle.”
  • {King or Hong follower} is KONG. if you ever run into the clue {___ Kong} in a puzzle, with a four-letter answer, try HONG before KING. there’s an infinite number of ways to clue KING, and very few ways to clue HONG. NB: advice does not apply if the puzzle was constructed by matt gaffney or henry hook. and if the answer is six letters, it’s DONKEY.

that’s all for me. again, sorry for the late post. and don’t forget to hit up the tip jar if you’ve enjoyed the MGWCC over the past year.

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12 Responses to MGWCC #105

  1. ML says:

    Ouch – I just knew it was a board game that I wasn’t familiar with! Duh…one I’ve never even played!

    Do I get any points for knowing MILF? lol

  2. Ugh, totally forgot to mail this in, oh well. I got the meta, but the crossword as a whole seemed slightly more difficult for the first puzzle of the month… hope that’s not a sign of things to come.

  3. Spencer says:

    Yeah, never played Stratego. Ah well. Google probably could have helped.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    A long time since I played Stratego but it came to me at once. 100% in June so far!

  5. joon says:

    indeed, this is a meta that google can solve for you.

  6. Russ says:

    Easy puzzle, easy meta, as expected for the first week of the month.

    After I figured out the meta, I saw that the puzzle title (So That’s Your Game) contained the letters needed to spell “Stratego”. I couldn’t make any sense of the remaining letters, though. Did anybody else see a clue in the title? Maybe it was just a coincidence that it contained the letters in “Stratego”?

  7. abide says:

    Magnus PYM is a good guy to know from “A Perfect Spy”

    “So That’s Your Game!” = You Stratego hams?

  8. abide says:

    wow, Russ, while I was anagramming that I saw your message…the other one I had was “Oh my, USA Stratego!”

  9. john farmer says:

    TIPPED is what every good solver should have done when visiting Matt’s site this week. I don’t think Matt is rich but MATTY Rich is a him, not a her. He was 19 when he made the movie, a very good debut. He’s only made one movie since.

  10. peechy says:

    Could it be a coincidence with Mothers Day so close that the letters to spell MONOPOLY are all in close conjugation to MAs?

  11. Karen says:

    I think I only played the game a couple times at my cousins house, but I was still able to pull it out of my head. Classic game.

  12. sharpelbows says:

    Finished the puzzle in about 5 minutes or so. But did not have the meta when I went to bed Friday night. I was mad at myself for not being able to figure it out. I felt completely dumb. I woke up Saturday morning, opened up my AcrossLite file, and within 20 seconds it hit home. I think my mind was trying to find MONOPOLY, CLUE or RISK which seem to be the three big board games when it comes to crosswords.

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