MGWCC #118

crossword 3:38 (paper)
puzzle -3:00 (approx)

mgwcc118welcome to the 118th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest. this week’s puzzle, “Outer Space,” asks us to identify a country with the help of these four punny theme answers:

  • a {Lack of desire to join this country’s empire?} constitutes NO HORDE FEELINGS, punning on “no hard feelings.”
  • a {Serious herder insult in this country?} is “YOU DON’T KNOW YAK” (jack).
  • {Talk back to one’s parents, in this country’s desert region?} is to ACT AS A GOBI TEEN. this one puns further afield, moving the word break one syllable to the right from the original “go-between.”
  • {This country’s national house, about to be struck by lightning?} is a YURT IN FOR A SHOCK (you’re). now, i didn’t know there were national houses, but YURT is one of my favorite words. it almost made it into my word-guessing game, but i chickened out because i thought there might be a lot of guessers who didn’t know it.

anyway, all this points towards the country in question being mongolia, the home of the golden horde, yak herding (although this is true of most of asia, actually), the gobi desert, and yurts. although i kind of wanted the answer to be the buryat republic (!), part of siberia, due to the presence of 9d {Ulan-___, Russia} UDE and 59a, {World’s deepest lake} BAIKAL. plus, siberia has yurts too, and presumably yaks. but it does not have the gobi, or the golden horde. plus, the title, referring to outer mongolia, doesn’t make much sense with any other answer.

i teased matt about not being able to pun on “ulan bator.” his reply: “You think you’re bator than me?” and i guess ulan did sneak in there, in the UDE clue. and … yeah, i can’t think of any ulan bator puns either. what else is there to pun on? khan? KHAAAAAAAAN!

clue roundup:

  • other geographical clues included {Bangkok buck} BAHT, {It’s played in Maui} UKE, {Boston touchdown locale} LOGAN airport, {World Chess Champion called “The Wizard of Riga”} mikhail TAL, {River the Koreans call “Amnok”} YALU, {Sister city to Chicago, Melbourne and Milan} OSAKA, {War, in Wiesbaden} KRIEG, {Birthplace of Galileo and Fermi} PISA, {City on the Rhone and Saone} LYON, {Cork cash} EURO, {Its HQ is in Armonk, N.Y.} IBM (did you know that? i thought they were in almaden, CA), and {Dundee “don’t think so”} NAE. whew.
  • i like the word DENOTATIVE, {Literal, as a definition}. but i’m going to dock matt a point for the duplication with {Webster’s entries, briefly} DEFS in the grid.
  • i don’t know the {“Here It Goes Again” band} OK GO. does this violate the rule about not having part of the answer in the clue?
  • {Larry’s producer on “The Larry Sanders Show”} is, apparently, ARTIE. is this clarinetist ARTIE shaw? that’s the only ARTIE i know.
  • {“American Pie” or “Pi”} is a MOVIE. cute clue.
  • {Otto or Jessica} is HAHN. otto discovered nuclear fission. who’s jessica?
  • {CIA agent Philip or author James} is AGEE. AGEE wrote a death in the family. who’s philip?
  • {Popular college “major”} is UNDECLARED. ha!
  • {He swing from vine} clue TARZAN. me chuckle.
  • {Ludwig von Mises’s field: abbr.} is ECON, but i persistently misread this as referring to ludwig mies van der rohe, and i couldn’t figure out how to abbreviate “architecture.”
  • {Like coins} clues TWO-SIDED, but in eight letters, this could have been a lot of things. my first thought was METALLIC. speaking of coins, i got shiny new 2010 pennies as change the other day. the 2010 lincoln cent has a spiffy new design, but let me just ask: why do pennies still exist at all? crikey, just round to the nickel already.
  • the {Large ___ Collider} HADRON has not yet destroyed the earth. my college roommate finally landed a postdoc there and is headed out to geneva later this month. congrats, paul.

that’s all for me. see you next week!

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to MGWCC #118

  1. Karen says:

    With all that geography, this seemed a harder puzzle (not meta) than usual for a first week. Not that I’m complaining.

    Jessica HAHN was one of the sex scandals of the eighties, for being raped by televangelist Jimmy Bakker.

    Here’s the treadmill video for Ok Go which catapulted them to e-fame.

    But did you come up with a pun for Khan? I think you Khan if you try.

  2. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    Useless, half-remembered factoid: I read somewhere that the preferred word in Mongolian is “ger”; “yurt” is a Russian word. Anyone know the whole story?

  3. Garrett says:

    Punny clue for Ulan Bator: baseball player on a Mongolian red team who hit all home runs?

    Ulan Bator means “red hero”

  4. Pete M says:

    I kahn believe it’s not Bator.

  5. Pete says:

    I submitted Mongoli-ugh

Comments are closed.