MGWCC #224

crossword 3:30
meta 0:40 

hello, and welcome to episode #224 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Head Games”. for this week-2-but-hopefully-easier-than-week-1 puzzle, matt challenges us to name an NFL team that should be in this grid, but isn’t. what are the theme answers? well, there are four long answers in the grid:

  • {Lucky U?} is a nice clue for HORSESHOE.
  • {Bolts into the ground} is LIGHTNING.
  • {“Sesame Street” “sponsor,” some days} is THE LETTER G.
  • {It’s on many French menus} is a FLEUR DE LIS. i dunno about this clue, as i don’t really associate this symbol with menus.

anyway, given the instructions and title, it’s pretty hard not to notice that these four things are all symbols on the helmets of NFL teams: the indianapolis colts have a HORSESHOE, the san diego chargers have a LIGHTNING bolt (and indeed, they are even nicknamed the bolts because of that), the green bay packers wear THE LETTER G, and the new orleans saints have a FLEUR DE LIS. so then it’s just a matter of noticing that the COLTS are at 62a, the SAINTS are at 9d, and the PACKERS at 25d, leaving the CHARGERS as the team that should be in the grid but isn’t (aren’t).

with the instructions as explicit as they are, this puzzle seems like a perfect week 1—there’s still a nice aha, but there’s almost no way to actually miss the puzzle. only, perhaps, if you had no idea what any team had on its helmet, and somehow didn’t make the connection from the long answers and “head games” to the idea of helmet logos.

clues that caught my eye:

  • {Semi-mythical e-mail program feature} is UNSEND. gmail has this, at least in google labs. i’ve been had it for years, and have recently (say, in the last few weeks) found myself using it a lot more. the unsend button goes away after a few seconds, but you’d be surprised how often that’s enough for me to realize i wanted to change one more thing before sending. anyway, interesting concept, and i bet UNSEND has never appeared in a crossword before.
  • {Partakes (of), as booze} is HAS AN IP, like a computer whose internet connection is up and running.
  • {Sudoku solver’s skill} is LOGIC. at the recent BAPHL 6, i did three puzzles more or less solo (and joined in team-solving of several others), of which one, “big show tonight”, was basically a pure logic puzzle. (another that i worked on, although i didn’t finish it until after the hunt, was the much tougher “ropin raisin and rushin”.) i don’t normally do those, as my skill set is a bit more optimized for word puzzles, but david ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage comes into play here. with a bunch of wordies on my team, anybody who could reasonably tackle the logic puzzles did so.
  • {World’s top-selling singer, 2000-2009 (32.2 million albums)} is EMINEM. didn’t know he was #1, but it makes perfect sense. see also RAPPER, clued non-cross-referentially as {Young Jeezy or KRS-One}.

that’s all for me. how’d this week 2 (or maybe retro-1) treat you?

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24 Responses to MGWCC #224

  1. Paul Coulter says:

    Matt was right in the first place – in my judgment, this is definitely a Week 1. With a quick Wikipedia check for non-sports fans, it would have been difficult to miss this. For a week 2, perhaps Matt should have asked for something generic like group (non-musical) rather than the very specific category of NFL team. But I did enjoy his creative definitions for the teams and emblems. Alternate title for a helmet theme: Head cases? By the way, for our younger solvers, the Chargers’ currently stylized logo once looked a lot more like lightning.

  2. Matt says:

    303 correct answers and 7 incorrect ones on the new submissions form, plus about another 20 right answers via Gmail because some people weren’t showing up on the leaderboard (or having their submissions registered at all) due to a glitch in the system that will be fixed this week. Those whose entries didn’t register will be entered manually this week, though.

    • Evad says:

      Well 20 emails is better than 320, so we’re moving in the right direction!

      Just an fyi to those using the new leaderboard, you can sort by the Name column to make it a bit easier to see if your entry was registered (and accepted by Matt).

  3. Matt says:

    Also, the submissions form is supposed to come down at noon on Tuesday but I haven’t figured the process for that yet, so it’s still up. But of course entries that come in after noon today won’t be counted.

  4. ant says:

    Smithers, I wish to partake of the internets today. Please fire up the router, ol’ chap.

  5. Matthew G. says:

    This would have been a perfect Week 1, indeed.

    BTW, Matt, your old website URL is still showing up as the link for your name on your posts here.

  6. Charles Montpetit says:

    joon, am I missing a joke of yours, or did you mean HAS A NIP at 47-down?

  7. Chuck says:

    Partakes (of), as booze -> has a nip

  8. Charles Montpetit says:

    Chuck is not me, but we seem to be of one mind about this.

  9. DR O says:

    Joon was making the answer into something else that he then clued cleverly. Same letters but read differently. (this should have been a reply…)

  10. Karen says:

    I’m not much into NFL, and this was still easy. Although I had to look up the helmets.

  11. Jimmy d says:

    I laughed, Joon

  12. Jeff G. says:

    Liked the puzzle and love the new web site. The leaderboard adds another element of excitement. Nice job Matt!

  13. Abby says:

    My only concern (I know not of this thing “football”) was the presence of the word MUSKETS in the diagram. Had to go check to make sure that wasn’t something to pay attention to. Showed it to my partner (much more NFL savvy than I) and she thought the same thing.

  14. Bill S says:

    That was fun! But before submitting I had to look up the historical logos to see if the Patriots once had a logo that included MUSKETs.

  15. Steve says:

    Didn’t “chargers” on the military battlefield once carry muskets? Was that intentional?

  16. xhixen says:

    Hmm, guess I was a victim of the leaderboard form glitch. :-/

    • Evad says:

      Please send your submission to Matt in an email and we’ll add you manually later this week – hope we’ve fixed it for Friday’s new puzzle.

  17. Dave Taube says:

    I did the same thing as Abby and Bill S. and my initial inclination was to go with the Patriots because of the centrally placed “muskets.” That idea changed as soon as I saw “lightning.”

    Who goes by Orygun Duck? I’m in Eugene too.

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