MGWCC #232

crossword 3:21
meta 1 minute 

hello, and welcome to episode #232 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “And the Winner Was…”. this week, matt challenges us to name a movie that won the Best Picture Oscar. okay, i actually know these—it’s the one list i made sure to memorize before going on jeopardy. so, what have we got? there are five 15-letter answers in the grid:

  • {The first nominee} DECISION IN COURT.
  • {The second nominee} BEFORE POP OR ROLL.
  • {The third nominee} NOT ACCOUNTED FOR.
  • {The fourth nominee} SALT MARCH LEADER.
  • {The fifth nominee} CAEN CONJUNCTION.

okay, so what have we here? it looks like these answers are actually clues. the last one spoke to me first: caen is in france, and the most common conjunction is “and”, which in french is “et”. so i was kind of thinking that five clues might each clue part of a movie’s title, ending with “et”.

but no, the next one that i noticed was the second nominee, BEFORE POP OR ROLL, which could really only refer to “tootsie”… which i know was a movie from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s that involved dustin hoffman in drag. so it was off to look things up, and i quickly found that it was the 1982 oscars (awarded in 1983, at the 55th academy awards):

  • {The first nominee} DECISION IN COURT = the verdict
  • {The second nominee} BEFORE POP OR ROLL = tootsie
  • {The third nominee} NOT ACCOUNTED FOR = missing
  • {The fourth nominee} SALT MARCH LEADER = gandhi
  • {The fifth nominee} CAEN CONJUNCTION = et, or as the movie is styled, E.T.

which of these five nominees won best picture? gandhi, so that’s the answer. now, i didn’t know about the salt march, so i was happy to learn about that. maybe i’d know about it if i’d seen the movie, which i hear is pretty good. the sequel looks more interesting, though.

as far as the puzzle construction goes, it’s pretty neat that he was able to come up with 15-letter clues for each of the five best picture nominees in a given year. 30 years on, i don’t know that i’ve ever heard of the verdict or missing (is that like taken? or even taken 2?), but the other three have stood the test of time.

in the place of a fill round-up, i’ll leave you with two announcements: one, i’ll be attending an evening of puzzles next tuesday in the boston area, at the burlington barnes & noble. the event is at 7 pm and is hosted by a guy named joon pak, who sounds interesting. if you’re in the area, do come out and hang with us.

secondly, and i’m not sure if i’m allowed to out this, but today is the birthday (a round-numbered one, too) of one matt gaffney, who runs a fine weekly crossword contest. happy birthday, matt!

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21 Responses to MGWCC #232

  1. Paul Coulter says:

    I second Joon’s motion of a rousing birthday cheer for Matt! I also wonder if some of us will fluff easy metas by racing for a fast time on his new leader board. I nearly did this week – at 12:01, after solving the first themer, I asked Siri, “What movie won Best Picture in 1982?” With no further investigation, I almost submitted Chariots of Fire. But I could imagine my grand-daughter’s warning, “Poppy, don’t risk our streak.” I finished the puzzle, then went to Wikipedia. Sure enough, I’d phrased the question wrong – of course, it should have been, “What movie released in 1982 won Best Picture at the 1983 Oscars?” Phew. That’ll teach me not to solve while Genevieve’s in school. And while the streak’s at stake, I vow to not meta-race in future. Anyway, Matt picked a superb year for cinema – Tootsie, E.T., and Missing all would have made fine laureates, and might well have won in any other year. For those who’ve never seen it, The Verdict was outstanding, too. That year also saw Sophie’s Choice, The World According to Garp, An Officer and a Gentleman, Das Boot, Victor/Victoria, Annie, Frances, Diner, Blade Runner, the perennial crosswordese favorite Tron, and appropriately enough, My Favorite Year.

    • sandirhodes says:

      I don’t understand how one can submit a meta answer one minute after the puzzle is posted. What am I missing, please?

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        Sandi — the puzzle is available on Thursday nights (I think around 11 pm ET) on PuzzleSocial. I’ll mention this on the site on Friday since you’re not the first person who’s wondered about it.

  2. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    With my well-developed lack of knowledge of French, I looked on the net for French conjunctions, and the first one that caught my eye was “car”, so for a short time I toyed with the idea that the movie cartoon “Cars” was part of the key to the meta. But I am old enough that SALT MARCH LEADER could have only one meaning, and the meta came quickly.

  3. Matt Gaffney says:

    Yeah Joon I’m in the 40 club now! 475 right answers this week, 22 incorrect.

  4. Toby says:

    Happy Bday, Matt! I imagine the foliage must be *lovely* in your neck o’ the woods right about now.

  5. Norm says:

    Happy Birthday, Matt! And thanks for the mental workout every week. Helps keep my almost-60-years-old brain cells fresh.

  6. Happy Matt-day! If it weren’t for your “40 club” remark, I’d wager you were born in 1982.

    Also, it took me way too long to realize that the second theme entry was NOT talking about a “popo roll.” I don’t even know what it is, but it sounds kind of delicious.

  7. Barbara says:

    Happy Into Another Decade, Matt! You deserve a ton of rewards and brain cells for all the challenges you supply us to gnaw on through the week. Almost 72, and I believe I’ve gained a few brain cells from your metas, but lost quite a slew wrestling with them. Thanks for the agonies!

  8. Howard B says:

    Happy Birthday Matt!
    I can confidently say that solving your metas has made my mind stronger and more resil… resil… cupcake snuffle blurgle hmfffffzzzzzzzz.

    Looking forward to the next.

  9. sps says:

    Happy birthday, Matt! Your puzzle is the highlight of my week—even if I over-thought this week’s (Poof! there goes my streak)–and it’s been great getting to know you over the years. The 40’s ain’t so bad. It’s these 50’s that are killing me.

  10. Christopher Jablonski says:

    Since it hasn’t yet been said, joon, I’m sorry, but Gandhi 2 is no Conan the Librarian. (Speaking as a 12-year-old, of course.)

  11. Donna k says:

    My first break past week one. The French connection was my answer to Caen conjunction but I couldn’t make it work. The verdict saved me. Never knew it was nominated.
    I’d march 24 days to be 40 again . Happy birthday Matt You have provided hours of great entertainment.

  12. ===Dan says:

    I was wondering if the CAENCONJUNCTION might get any solvers to go for the FRENCH CONNECTION, Best Picture winner in 1972. 40 is the second nominee for “best score” (but I am rapidly approaching my third, which I hope will be the winner).

    • sps says:

      Um, that was me. I convinced myself, partly b/c French Connection was the first title I got, that it had to be right. Oh well.

  13. Joan says:

    Got ET, Tootsie, Missing. If I’d had power, I would have had internet and been able to Google. So I congratulate myself that I was on the right track and would have got the answer after finding out about Salt March. What a strange 2 weeks it’s been….back on line with electricity finally, but still no Internet, phone, tv, except at public wi-fi spots. Glad I downloaded a bunch of puzzles before the storm and printed them out.

  14. Matt Gaffney says:

    Joan — e-mail me your username and I’ll credit you for last week’s answer. As I said on the site last week, I don’t want Sandy-related powerlessness to ruin anyone’s leaderboard position.

  15. John says:

    I add my congrats to Matt! note: physically, its all down hill from here. ;v)

    Also, I’ll add to Paul’s vote for The Verdict. I once owned several hundred films on video tape (I know, dating myself here). When i threw them all away, i vowed i’d never try to amass a film library again – with constantly changing technology, what’s the use? But i, as everyone else, require owning a few films that are simply must-haves. The Verdict is one of these. It was the real best picture that year. Gandhi and ET (worthless tripe) never even made my tape collection.

  16. Joan says:

    Matt….very kind of you to offer give me puzzle credit last week not to ruin my standing! Not necessary…..although sweet. My leaderboard standing isn’t too hot.
    Now that I JUST got my internet back today, I will have to work my way up to good standing!

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