MGWCC #162

crossword 4:38
puzzle 0:21 

surprise! you weren’t expecting matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest on a thursday, were you? well, our chief weapon is surprise. the 162nd episode, “Right Between the Eyes”, has us searching for an eight-letter kind of container. to guide us, we have four wacky theme answers:

  • {Go-between who gets no respect?} is a MIMICKED LIAISON. the clue feels a bit imprecise to me. obama gets plenty of respect, but of course people also mimic him.
  • to {Comment on a cook’s cumin and cardamom?} is to CRITIQUE SPICING.
  • {Drop nuclear bombs on the Balearics?} no, don’t do that. that would ANNIHILATE IBIZA.
  • {Southern politician in the pocket of drug companies?} is an OPIOID DIXIECRAT. that would be 1940s drug companies, i guess. but the song remains the same.

with the nudge from the rebus-style title (and no, i don’t mean rebus in the crossword sense), and perhaps the hint from the instructions that we want 8 letters, suggesting perhaps that we get one from each word of the theme answers, we notice that each of those eight words has two non-consecutive i’s. taking the letter bracketed by each pair of i’s gives us matchbox, which is indeed a container. and because i’m a great guy, i will spare you any links to youtube clips of rob thomas’s whiny voice.

edit: after i wrote up this post, i solved yesterday’s CS puzzle by patrick blindauer, “Write Between the Y’s”. very similar theme, though not quite the same.

odds & ends:

  • {Zend ___ (sacred text)} AVESTA. whoa, high-falutin’! that’s zoroastrianism we’re talking about. and let’s see, “zend avesta” is 33% of everything i could possibly tell you about zoroastrianism.
  • {Home to many Joshua trees} is UTAH, even though joshua tree national park is in california. but because i’m a great guy, i’ll share this clip.
  • {Late Washington Wizards owner Pollin} is ABE. do people not from washington know this guy? i remember when he renamed the bullets. fine with me, but i could’ve gone with something a little less klannish for the new name. the speculation now is that the team will be renamed the monuments.
  • {Pop pal} is SNAP, of the rice krispies elves. this one had me going. devious clue!
  • {South African region, with “The”} KAROO? whoa, never heard of it. has ANG lee ever been in the KAROO?
  • {“___ Swimming” (Malachy McCourt book)} clues the odd partial A MONK. i think i have vaguely heard of this, but i needed every crossing.
  • {Isn’t airtight} LEAKS. i was just reading an article earlier today on salon about bradley manning. i don’t really know what to say about this or even what to think, but i thought it was an interesting read.
  • {Anne and John} are TYLERS, anne the writer and john the president. {Largest first family} would be another way to clue this one, as john tyler managed to sire 15 kids, 8 by letitia tyler and 7 more by second wife julia, including one when he was 70.
  • {Microsoft product} is XBOX. now that’s the kind of microsoft product i can get behind.
  • {___ Vista, Calif.} is CHULA. i don’t believe i know this town.
  • {Baltimore bird} is RAVEN. admit it: you wanted ORIOLE there. so did i. i don’t think ravens are even particularly associated with baltimore itself, except indirectly through poe. of course, there’s now the football team, too, but they’re blokes, not birds.
  • {With hands on hips} is the awesome word AKIMBO.
  • {Not how Romulus and Remus built their city} is a whimsical clue for IN A DAY. how did they build it, then? not on rock & roll, i hope?
  • {What a Portuguese store’s “aberto” sign means} OPEN. another whimsical clue, i guess to remind us that matt went on vacation to portugal last week (hence the unusual schedule). i don’t know portuguese, but it’s a cognate of the spanish abierto. and actually, i don’t know spanish either (although i do know that word), but the french ouvert is also related, and i do know french.

peace out.

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9 Responses to MGWCC #162

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    337 correct answers this week. Note also that the 16 theme I’s are the only I’s in the grid.

  2. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Noted. Wondering how much extra work it took to avoid a 17th I sneaking into the grid.

    Also noted (in Wikipedia) that the unfamiliar “A MONK swimming” is a mondegreen of “amongst women”, as in “blessed art thou…”, from common English translation of Ave Maria.

    There are actually two nods to Portugal in this puzzle (OPEN and EELS), plus two Spanish entries (SEÑORA, UNA).

    First thought about “Zend ____”: IN THE CLOWNZ!


  3. Karen says:

    Joon, you know 33% more about Zoroastrianism than I do.

    Did not know ABE either.

    I had not noted the paucity of I’s, thank you Matt.

  4. Matthew G. says:

    “{Late Washington Wizards owner Pollin} is ABE. do people not from washington know this guy?” Nope. Needed the crosses.

    Two very easy metas to start the month. I worry about what will show up in my inbox tomorrow afternoon.

  5. pannonica says:

    MIMICKED LIAISON made me think of Magritte’s painting “The Menaced Assassin.”

  6. cybergoober says:

    No stray I’s except for use in the meta.

    Ergo, “I Only Have I’s for Use.” Ba-da-bing.

  7. Laura says:

    Question – could someone explain 5 down to me? It seems like the answer is just part of the clue.

  8. sandirhodes says:

    Matt amended his website to inform us of the error.

  9. Laura says:

    Ah, I missed that, thank you.

Comments are closed.