MGWCC #292

crossword 3:14
meta -1:00 (approx.) 

mgwcc292happy new year, and welcome to week #292 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Hiding Place”. glad to be back with you after two weeks away (both from the blog and from the mgwcc); i offer my thanks to evad and andy for holding down the fort during my leave. i hope everyone had a happy and restful holiday season—but let’s get down to business. this week’s instructions tell us that the contest answer is described in the four long theme entries.. so what are these theme entries? they spell out A NINE-LETTER WORD / THAT FULLY EMBEDS / THIS YEAR’S WINTER / OLYMPIC HOST CITY. the city in question, of course, is sochi, russia, where the winter games will be starting in a month.

this one came to me more or less immediately upon uncovering enough of the fourth theme answer that i knew what was being asked: masochism (or masochist, both nine letters). a quick grep reveals one other possible answer, frightfully obscure: isochimes. apparently these are weather map lines connecting points of equal mean winter temperature. (i’d love to see the map with the isochime connecting winnipeg to mars.) rather appropriate, thematically, but yikes, i’d never heard of that one.

quick fill roundup:

  • {U.S. state that sounds like the Japanese for “good morning”} OHIO. cool! did not know that.
  • {Candy cane color} RED. if you haven’t done francis heaney’s “seasonal staff” AVX puzzle from last month, you’re missing out on what i thought was the best puzzle of 2013, bar none. (here’s the link; you can buy the puzzle for $1.)
  • {Palindromic Canadian city} LAVAL, a suburb of montreal. i used to know a very fine bridge player from LAVAL, but i’m highlighting this answer just because i’m getting excited about next week’s mystery hunt, which will be my fourth hunt with the palindrome team. and to cement the french connection, our team name this year is engage le jeu que je le gagne, or “start the game so that i may win it”.
  • {Guy with a carrot nose and coal eyes} SNOWMAN. brr.
  • {Avail oneself (of)} MAKE USE. what do you think—is this a 7-letter partial? does anyone care?
  • {Next to last item in a series} PENULT. never seen this form, but it was inferable as a back-formation from “penultimate”. is “ult” a word?
  • {Quick source of energy} POWERBAR. never eaten one of these things. i actually think of this term more as a video gaming concept, like in guitar hero where hitting enough right notes in a row fills up a meter and kicks in your star power.
  • {Stevenson who was vice president under Grover Cleveland} ADLAI. that’s adlai stevenson i, grandfather of the AES who twice lost to eisenhower in presidential elections.
  • {Not done by honorable people} UNSEEMLY. great word.
  • {Its Y stands for “York”} NYSE. probably true of lots of acronyms containing Y.

that’s all from me. glad to be back!

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16 Responses to MGWCC #292

  1. Debbie says:

    Re: OHIO, Joon, clearly you have not seen Big Bird in Japan, the greatest movie to teach Japanese, ever.

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon. 643 correct entries this week.

    • joon says:

      how many isochimes?

      • Evad says:

        Looks like about 10 entered ISOCHIMES and another 10 mentioned it as an alternative in their comment when submitting MASOCHIS[T|M].

        • Wayne says:

          Unless their email addresses end in “” then they are all WWF cheaters :-)

          I was surprised to see that neither MASOCHISM nor its bossy partner are in the Scrabble dictionary. These words have been used with non-risque connotations for decades, no? (Or am I just hanging out with the wrong class of people?)

          • HH says:

            Does the Scrabble dictionary include 9-letter words?

          • joon says:

            the official scrabble players dictionary (sic; should be players’, it seems to me, but it isn’t) does not, in fact, include 9-letter words. it is certainly possible to play them in scrabble, but they are much less common than 8-letter plays, because you only have 7 tiles on your rack (plus typically one tile already on the board through which you can play your word).

            the tournament word list used in north american scrabble supplements the OSPD with longer words taken from merriam webster’s 10th collegiate. MASOCHISM and SADOMASOCHISM are in there.

  3. Mutman says:

    Am I the only one who struggled?? Maybe it just came to most people and not me.

    I liked it though!

    • Christopher Jablonski says:

      For the answer once you filled out the grid? No, you’re not the only one. :|

    • Jeff G. says:

      I struggled mightily trying to find Sochi “hiding” in the grid. Used to search for ??sochi?? and when it came back with 5 words, I thought for sure I was missing something.

  4. Archie says:

    I came up with “isochiral”, and just now found”isochilus”. However, “masochism” does seem to fit better for crossword contests.

  5. lhj says:

    Joon, thanks for the pointer to Francis Heaney’s puzzle – definitely worth a dollar!

  6. Amy L says:

    I kept seeing the Sochi anagrammed in olympIC HOSt city right in the bottom center and thought it could be a clue. But I managed to get masochist fairly soon.

  7. Cole says:

    When I studied classics we used “PENULT” and “ANTEPENULT” as the noun for “[ante]penultimate syllable” of a word. I do not recall “ULT”.

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