MGWCC #123

crossword 3:44 (paper)
puzzle 0:22
mgwcc124greetings for the 124th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Pattern Test.” this week, matt asks us to find the entry in the grid that illustrates the theme gimmick. what might that be? i found six theme answers, the longest six in the grid:

  • {Not unduly harsh, as terms of a legal settlement} is NON-ONEROUS.
  • {Suddenly spring wide, as a door} is POP OPEN.
  • {Calabrian’s cry} is MAMA MIA. i’ll confess my ignorance here: who or what is a calabrian? i remember a floppy-haired white dude who played for north carolina in the 1990s named dante calabria. good 3-point shooter, no other discernible skills. is this the kind of thing he would say? it’s one letter off from the abba musical.
  • {Shirley MacLaine role of 2008} is COCO CHANEL. i don’t think i know the movie this is from. was it a biopic? they were very much in vogue then. also, shirley maclaine made a movie as recently as 2008?
  • {Habit-breaker’s admission} is (oops,) I DID IT AGAIN. but you can stop hitting me now.
  • {It has wings but can’t fly} could describe lots of things, couldn’t it? an emu, a building, a maxi pad, a toddler in a fairy costume. in this case, it’s the PU PU PLATTER.

what do all of these have in common? the first five letters alternate. i worked that part out fairly early during my solve, but only noticed the two shorter (7-letter) theme answers after i finished. anyway, the entry that explains it all is {Part of an African capital} (addis) ABABA. incidentally, if you live anywhere near me, definitely check out addis red sea, an ethiopian restaurant near porter square. (or the original in the south end, boston.) yum. we never go out to eat any more, but make an occasional exception for this.

so, was it just me, or was this easy for a 3rd-week puzzle? i didn’t find too much to trouble me:

  • {Swedish chess grandmaster ___ Grandelius} NILS is the gratuitous chess clue of the week. matt was complaining to me on friday about how hard it is to get a puzzle published while following the progress of carlson-anand online.
  • {Tribe that revolted against the Spanish in 1751} is the PIMA. did not know that. i think i’ve seen this word clued before as a kind of cotton. or am i misremembering?
  • {Fall Out Boy song “Chicago Is So Two Years ___”} AGO. certainly didn’t know the song, but the clue made it easy.
  • {___ Affair (exotic dancing company based in North Carolina)} clues the odd partial A BARE. was this desperation, or is there another way that A BARE usually gets clued?
  • {Pearl Jam’s “Don’t Gimme ___”} NO LIP is another partial i’ve never seen before.
  • {Neopagan god} is ODIN. i didn’t know people were still (back?) into him. i mean, i’m into ODIN, but not like that. although this summer, i read neil gaiman’s american gods, which i liked very much.
  • {It flowed through Jupiter} is a clue for ICHOR that echoes (if not outright copies) a clue BEQ has used some time recently. so that was an easy one for me.
  • {Crick’s shape} is a HELIX, because if you twist your neck into the shape of a famous biochemist, it will look like a corkscrew.
  • {“So frustrating!”} is AARGH. this has almost as many spellings as qaddafi, of which my favorite is probably AARRGHH (scrabble-legal, i swear!).
  • {She said “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”}? JAN, presumably of the bradys. but all i can think of is “moses, moses, moses!”. what does that say about me?

peace out. see you next week, hopefully for a tougher challenge. although i guess it’s a 5-week month, so maybe he’s ramping up slowly.

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7 Responses to MGWCC #123

  1. peechy says:

    I think Calabrian is just to get to Italian for expression.

  2. Neville says:

    I also found this easy (which was fine, as I didn’t start it until last night. Felt the same way about ICHOR, but I chalked it up to my recent love of the Percy Jackson books that made it fall in with no crosses.

  3. john farmer says:

    I wonder if a crossword editor ever was persuaded by the words “It’s Scrabble-legal, I swear.”

    Another clue for A BARE could have been “…___ bodkin.” A very different dance company.

    Shirley MacLaine’s role was on TV (not to be confused with “Coco Before Chanel”). Hey, she ain’t dead yet.

    The “Moses…” clip … a good laugh.

    Easy breezy puzzle. We’re in the post-ha/not-yet-hard part of the month.

  4. Cole says:

    MAMA MIA is not the typical Italian spelling (they typically write MAMMA); I tried to ask Matt whether MAMA was Calabrian dialect but perhaps it is how an American of Calabrian descent might write it.

  5. Matt Gaffney says:

    327 correct entries, holy cow!

    I did crib that BEQ clue, didn’t I? But not verbatim I don’t think.

  6. Joanna says:

    Never heard of a pu pu platter. Something to add to my vocabulary.

    I thought I was doing better this month cause I’ve been doing a lot more crosswords (yay Shortyz) but I think the puzzles are just easier this month :(

  7. Karen says:

    The Pima Indians live in Arizona, descended from the Hohokam people who built the Casa Grande ruins. They are medically famous for having a very high rate of diabetes. They are one of the major tribes around Phoenix AZ.

    Apparently the name for the cotton came from the tribe, who helped initially test its cultivation in the 1900s.

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