MGWCC #218

crossword 3:24
meta 0:01 or so 

hello, and welcome to episode #218 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “World Series”. this week, matt reverts to the norm after a fun guest constructor month, challenging us to discover a geographical term. we get five theme clues:

  • {Cold wind} is an ARCTIC BLAST. that may also be a dairy queen product. (if it’s not, it should be.)
  • {Where you’ll find Baltic Avenue, St. James Place and Boardwalk} is ATLANTIC CITY, even before they were all properties on a monopoly board.
  • {“The Love Boat” boat} is apparently the PACIFIC PRINCESS. never watched it.
  • {Shortfall cause, as it were?} is an INDIAN SUMMER. cute clue—it’s really about a “short fall”, not a deficit. also, indian summer is the name of my favorite album of this millennium. here’s one prairie outpost. good song.
  • {1970 Neil Young song in response to which Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama”} is SOUTHERN MAN. i don’t know this song.

so there’s not much to this meta, is there? the arctic, atlantic, pacific, indian, and (to some) southern are the five oceans.

curiously, matt has used this title before. i thought it was for a previous MGWCC, but it turns out i was instead remembering a puzzle he did for the daily beast back in 2009, when the daily beast had a (weekly) crossword. the link there goes to jeffrey “crosscan” krasnick’s review.

fill tidbits:

  • {Magazine with an entertainment-themed crossword} PEOPLE. hey, speaking of crosswords in other venues, this is a cute way to clue an otherwise-boring answer.
  • {Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder} is BILL W. little-known fact about bill W: he was the oldest of seven siblings, all brothers except for the youngest, who married harry P. oops, spoiler alert.
  • {One of the Muses} is URANIA. yup, she’s the muse of astronomy. i wonder why none of the other sciences had muses? if you have a good suggestion for what the muse of physics should be called, leave it in the comments. best entry wins, uh, *incoherent mumbling*.
  • {1960s U.K. band with the hit “Itchycoo Park”} is SMALL FACES. never heard of ’em, or that song. (what a terrible song title!) i had a bit of a holdup where the F and C crossed FUSER and PACIFIC PRINCESS.
  • {Chess pair — one white, one black — that start the game in front of the king’s knights} are G-PAWNS. why yes, this is fairly arbitrary as fill goes. how about the alternate clue {They have to be pushed to fianchetto on the kingside}? eh, you like that?
  • {Miami Jai-___ (venerable Florida sports facility)} ALAI. ha, now that is going out of your way to clue ALAI. venerable, really?
  • {Joon of “Jeopardy!” fame} PAHK. shameless self-promotion: the 2011 tournament of champions is in reruns this week and next. you can catch me on TV again tomorrow.

that’s all for me this week. i enjoyed seeing many of you, including matt himself, at lollapuzzoola 5 this past saturday. if you weren’t there and haven’t ordered the puzzles for the at-home division, well, what are you waiting for? they were terrific puzzles, each one a joy to solve. (and i’m not just saying that because i won.)

overall, i’d have to say this one was {Easy as pie} A SNAP. how about you?

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29 Responses to MGWCC #218

  1. Scott says:

    Should be a new record this week, I would suppose.

  2. Jeffrey says:

    So easy I delayed sending my answer in until this morning becasue I thought I may be mising something.

  3. *David* says:

    It was so easy that I sent in the wrong answer. Check out how many Cs are in the theme answers and see where my mind went.

  4. bob says:

    I sent in the seven seas also. I never even considered “Oceans” as that was a difficult as a one piece puzzle.

  5. Aaron Brandes says:

    I forgot all about the puzzle until 11:51.
    I’m not speedy enough to do the whole puzzle in that time, but I got far enough to get the theme, filling in the long answers as a check.
    I guess the Southern Ocean was declared while I wasn’t paying attention.

  6. JanglerNPL says:

    The muse of Physics should be Inertia.

  7. Paul Coulter says:

    Congratulations to Joon for his exciting victory at Lollapuzzoola, and to Matt for a terrific puzzle … [spoilers excised] It didn’t help much that our young friend Eric was at my table and had finished his grid about the same time I was figuring out the trick up at the top. Congratulations to him for leading through the early rounds. With all that talent, I can see him unseating Dan when the master finally slows down in, oh, say ten or fifteen years.

  8. abide says:

    I only see six C’s in the theme entries.

  9. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Funny I had made the same fianchetto suggestion. (Also for later in the month:
    “they’re in front of the king after 0-0”.) “Short fall” is a much better reading than
    the implicit ethnic slur I thought the clue was going for (“summer” as in “one who
    sums”, in analogy with “Indian giver”). 63A:URANIA might also be the muse of
    nuclear chemistry, being an old name for uranium dioxide. Who is Harry P.oops,
    and why is there a period in the middle of his surname?


  10. joon says:

    paul, i edited your comment to remove spoilers about the lollapuzzoola puzzles, since a lot of people haven’t done them yet.

  11. Erik says:

    hey, thanks for that, paul.

    i suspect we’re getting this super easy puzzle now to balance a soul-crushingly hard week 4 later.

  12. RK says:

    I put in seven seas. Oceans seems to obvious especially considering the answers from the last few contests.

  13. Patrick Jordan says:

    Abide, there are definitely seven Cs in the theme entries.
    ARCTIC BLAST has two Cs.
    ATLANTIC CITY has two more.
    And PACIFIC PRINCESS has three, for a total of seven.

    Happily, I did not fall into this trap, thanks mainly to an old quiz show rerun that I saw recently in which there was a question that went something like “Earth has seven continents, but how many oceans does it have?”

  14. Neville says:

    ARCTIC BLAST sounds like a flavor of Gatorade or Powerade that’s blue in color but ambiguous in taste.

  15. Paul Coulter says:

    Joon: Oops, sorry, I didn’t think of that.

  16. klew archer says:

    I guess Matt spent so much time making that other *dang-blasted* puzzle so hard that he decided to make this one on the easy side. Although he presumably completed the other puzzle a while back so there is probably no relation.

  17. Al says:

    Oops, I guess I won’t help the quest for a record week since I forgot to send in my answer, :-P

  18. frc says:

    Isn’t this a 5 Friday month?
    Matt usually makes the first one a real gimme on a 5 Friday month

  19. John L. Wilson says:

    I went with OCEANFRONT, figuring a small ripple in the meta was more likely than dead calm.

  20. Ned Robert says:

    After a few days of poring over the puzzle looking for something I missed, I went with HYDROSPHERE, thinking it couldn’t possibly be OCEANS. Pretty smart, huh? Sheesh. At least I learned we now have five oceans.

  21. Patrick L says:

    I recall that those of us who submitted HORSE last month were somewhat chastised for stopping our searches after the first halves of the theme entries yielded an answer. It wasn’t Matt who expressed these sentiments – it was other solvers. However we were denied eligibility for the weekly prize, which suggested some agreement with their perspective.

    Surely I’m not the only one who searched for the rest of the meta this week, believing that using only the first halves was, as we have been taught, a mistake?

  22. ant says:

    I usually show my son the completed grids so he can take a stab at the meta. He took a look at this puzzle and said, “Depends. Is it a week 1 or a week 4?”
    Just goes to show the power and influence Matt has over our thinking…

  23. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    Despite the occurrence of thew word “World” in the title, I sent in my answer as “World Ocean.” Wikipedia agrees with me.

  24. Karen says:

    I solved the puzzle and meta and emailed the answer, all during the Lollapuzzoola finals (which was just a touch harder than the MGCC). I walked over to Matt and confirmed the answer. And then Bob K and I discussed our answers.

  25. I submitted OCEAN assuming that the singular was the “term.” After all, I’ve done six round trips across the Southern Ocean, back before that name was as accepted as it might be now.

    And thanks for the reminder about purchasing the puzzles…I just did, hopefully this year I’ll get some of them done in time to see the answers, unlike last year when I was late.

  26. Matt Gaffney says:

    400 correct entries this week, so no new record! Just about anything with OCEAN in it was counted as correct — OCEAN, OCEANS, OCEANFRONT or WORLD OCEAN (a term I wasn’t familiar with).

  27. pannonica says:

    “World Ocean” is both = and ≠ to Oceanus/Okeanos.

  28. M.A. says:

    “Southern Man” (1970) and Itchycoo Park” (1967) are both fantastic songs. Check ’em out!

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