MGWCC #107

crossword 20ish
meta 5ish

Welcome to week #107 of Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest, “Go, Go, Go.” Evad here for the generous joon who gave in to my insistence that he spend more time with his new daughter while I tackle Matt’s second World Cup-inspired meta.

mgwcc For me, solving Matt’s puzzles is all about the meta payoff, so I quickly jump to the clues for the longer theme entries (which today had asterisks to make them even easier to find…thanks, Matt!) The three theme clues and entries were:

  • 17 A. “Accompany for, as a joyride” for GO ALONG ON. Both the clue and the entry seem a bit tortured to me, but I went along with it as I trusted it best served the meta-gods.
  • 35 A. “Group of 50 legislators” for CHICAGO ALDERMEN. What with SHEDD Aquarium in the CS a couple of days ago, I’m learning a lot about Amy’s hometown. Is Chicago the only city with 50 aldermen? Here in Boston, we have a city council, with an unlucky thirteen members.
  • 58 A. “1968 Masters winner” for BOB GOALBY. A big “who?” from me on this one, and I’m pretty familiar with the names of famous golfers from the past thirty years. I watched a lot of the US Open last weekend and was sad to see the complete unraveling of Dustin Johnson.

So it’s not too hard once you get these theme entries to see the word GOAL imbedded in each. I also like how it shifts across the grid from the beginning of the first entry to towards the end of the last, as goals tend to hit the net from both sides and dead center. Moving on to the meta, we’re told that we’re looking for a familiar term used in soccer, which is the anagram of two of the entries in the grid. Short of trying to put together any random entries in the grid and search for anagrams, I started to think of what terms in soccer have to do with scoring goals–HEADERS, BICYCLE KICKS, SET PIECES, PENALTIES, STRIKERS, etc.

The epiphany came for me when I realized that there were both three “Go’s” in the title and GOALs in the grid. And, as an avid World Cup fan, I recalled watching Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina score three goals in their game against South Korea (sorry, joon!). This was called a HAT TRICK, a term I’m more familiar with from hockey than soccer, perhaps because they happen more frequently in that sport.

That left me to try to hunt down two words in the grid that anagrammed to HAT TRICK. It helped that there were only a couple of K’s in the grid, so I had to choose among I’M OK, KIT, KATT, COOKIE, ALT-KEY, TOKLAS and SKULKS. Only KIT and KATT worked, which left me to find a 5-letter entry with the letters H-A-T-R-C or a 4-letter entry with the letters H-R-I-C. Strange to find RICHES in the plural, but then I saw good old CHART just two rows below KIT, and I was done.

Couple of other soccer-related clues of note:

  • 20 A. “They came back to tie Slovenia today” were our boys in blue, USA. This happened mere minutes before the puzzle was published. Talk about timeliness!
  • 13 D. “Give a red card” is PENALIZE. I’m finding the officials are giving out too many yellows and reds this World Cup; in particular the second yellow to Kaká in Sunday’s Brazil-Ivory Coast game after an obvious dive was an atrocity.

And finally, two entries that were new to me were the NEGRONI drink, made from gin and vermouth and named after a 1930s Italian nobleman and ANGSTY as an adjective. (The latter is even in the bloody OED.)

Looking forward to seeing USA in the knockout round and Matt’s final puzzle to finish off the month of June!

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19 Responses to MGWCC #107

  1. joon says:

    thanks for filling in, dave. and higuain’s hat trick was probably my fault; right before the game, i emailed an argentinian buddy of mine to say that higuain had been pretty wasteful in front of goal against nigeria, and wondered if we might see milito start up front in his place. so much for wasteful! at any rate, the thrashing was well-deserved, but we can still advance with a win or draw today against nigeria as long as argentina take(s) care of business against greece.

    i did the same thing on the meta, looking for a K first. of course, i thought HAT TRICK had to be the contest answer, and since we didn’t need to say which entries anagrammed to it, i almost sent in my answer before looking for the anagram.

  2. Tony says:

    I was reasonably sure the answer would be Hat-trick since I had BOBGOALBY and most of CHICAGOALDERMEN entered. I verified with KIT and CHART. Wow – 3 for 3 in June. This makes May-hem almost a distant memory….

    I just hope that Higuain takes it easy on Greece, although us Greeks already consider this WC a success because we both scored a goal and won a game. A tie or (gasp!!) a win against Argentina would be a hat-trick of sorts for us.

  3. Karen says:

    I had MINER for 29A, giving me the equally unknown drink MEGRONI. But I solved the meta anyway. After first trying to make the GO in the long clues go away.

  4. Meg says:

    This was a bit more challenging for those of us who have no interest in soccer (shameful, I know). I Googled a list of soccer terms and then searched for a 3. Voila! HAT TRICK. It’s not like one could easily figure this one out without some prior sports knowledge, so I have no guilt.
    I enjoyed several of the clues, including “X neighbor, often” (I thought it was about axes) and “saving yourself”.

  5. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    Amen, Karen. I was drinking the MEGRONI too.

    But I’m glad I changed 35 D from CELIBATE to CELIBACY and 37 D from IT’S ALIVE! to IT’S A TRAP or I never would have gotten the CHART needed to solve the meta!

  6. otis says:

    Like David Villa in the Honduras game, I inexplicably missed the hat trick.

  7. Faygelah says:

    Arrgh. I missed the meta totally. I spent hours laboring over STAY OPEN to find its mate and make it into a PENALTY SHOT. I kept thinking the meta answer would have either PENALTY or KICK or both in it. Stupid me never thought about the three goals.

  8. Jeffrey says:

    I was also looking for PENALTY and KICK in some combination. HAT TRICK to me is a hockey term and only a hockey term.

    Sigh. June was going so well.

  9. Jan (danjan) says:

    I raise my hand for going down PENALTY KICK Lane. Especially with ALTKEY at 53A, all I had to do was find the entry that anagrammed into PNICK!

  10. Jim says:

    I like that it was the third puzzle of the month. Getting all 3 right makes it a ….hat trick!!!

  11. Jason says:

    Hmm, dare I say I sent in an alternate solution? I used TOKLAS and AGER to put together a GOAL STREAK and sent it in before I considered HAT TRICK at all.

  12. rebecca says:

    I completely overlooked the “3” aspect of this puzzle… I assumed that the embedded “GOAL”s were intended to indicate which of the two entries should be anagrammed. I took them as an example, and combining that with the “Go”s in the title, I looked through the clues for ones that had a “go” embedded in them – and there were just two! “Gold Digger” and “2,010 years ago” – unfortunately their words NINER and ONEBCE didn’t combine to make any futbol-related terms so I was stumped. The logic I took to get there felt so right – I even had an “aha moment”(TM) when I found the second embedded “go” that I had trouble getting my brain to go in another direction.

    Also, I had no idea the phrase “hat trick” was used outside of hockey. Living in Turkey means that I’ve learned many futbol phrases in Turkish rather than English…I’ll have to ask my Turkish friends what phrase they use when someone scores three goals in a game.

    Thanks Matt! I always enjoy the process even when I’m stumped!

  13. SethG says:

    I sent in GOAL STREAK as well, and also found ORG/ALIEN RACE: “career in goal”. I think HAT TRICK is better than either of these.

  14. joon says:

    interesting. i think HAT TRICK is best, but GOAL STREAK is probably “in the language” enough that it should be a valid answer.

  15. sbmanion says:

    I wonder if Goalby was deliberate in light of the Argentine’s hat trick. Goalby won the Masters because Argentinian star Roberto DeVicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard.


  16. Matt Gaffney says:

    GOAL STREAK is a truly amazing find, and I’m accepting it as a correct alternative answer.

  17. MM says:

    You’re generous, Matt. I would never say that “goal streak” is a well-known soccer term, but it is pretty amazing that it’s the anagram of two entries.

    Go USA!

  18. Matt Gaffney says:

    MM —

    GOAL STREAK is a real term, not as well-known as HAT TRICK but still used. And it’s quite amazing to me that it comes from two grid entries, plus fits both the theme entries and title as well.

  19. Abby says:

    After screwing up May-hem due to not knowing football terms, I asked a friend for soccer terms. He rattled off the same few I thought of and then said “Isn’t soccer the same thing as hockey?” Turns out he was more right than he knew and I figured it out later that night.

    I’m very good at anagrams (I do mostly cryptics), but I’ve also made a computerized system for checking and comparing them. I had it fired up and running before I found the answer, but I don’t think I needed it. Does come in handy though if you’re looking for alternate answers, so I tried that. I didn’t find any, but “goal streak” must not be in any of the glossaries I found online (and why would it be- seems like an obvious term if you know “goal”). Good find, though!

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