MGWCC #293

crossword 3:34
meta -2:00 (approx.) 

mgwcc293hello and welcome to week #293 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Sport Search”. the instructions tell us that this week’s contest answer is a sport (not a specific event in that sport, just the sport itself) you’ll see at Sochi. so what are the theme entries?

  • {Melanie Griffith’s role in “Shining Through”} LINDA VOSS. had to work for every crossing here, as i don’t have the foggiest idea what this is. a movie, i guess. melanie griffith is an actress, i’m pretty sure. but anyway, lindsay VOSS is a superstar skier, so i’m thinking… skiing.
  • {Charles married her} DIANA SPENCER.
  • {Wyoming landmark} DEVIL’S TOWER.
  • {“…it didn’t work”} BUT TO NO AVAIL.
  • {Fake band with the songs “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” and “(Listen to The) Flower People”} SPINAL TAP. from the rob reiner mockumentary this is spinal tap.

so i’m not exactly sure how this works, but other than VOSS in the first theme answer, the others seem to have ski resorts embedded: dianA SPENcer, devil’S TOWEr, but to no aVAIL, and spinAL TAp. these are certainly all skiing-related, so i didn’t have much doubt about the answer, but i was certainly confused as to the theme composition. one skier and four ski resorts. is that right? or maybe there is another resort hidden in LINDA VOSS that i’m not familiar with? DAVOS or something? the only other (american) ski resort i think i could name is OKEMO, from having seen it occasionally in crosswords. you could hide it in something like POKEMON or SMOKE MONSTER.

so i’m not sure what’s going on with the theme, but i duly sent in skiing and it was right. if you have any light to shed on what i was missing here, please let me know in the comments.

fill bits:

  • {Excellent, in teen-speak} SICK. yes, the kids do talk this way.
  • {Cat’s sound, to Europeans} MIAOU. useful in scrabble, as it contains four vowels and only one consonant. there are a handful of words like that, but very few without an E.
  • {They’re especially high for MGWCC solvers} IQS. i don’t doubt it.
  • {Website known for political satire videos} JIBJAB. not familiar to me, but then, this isn’t really my bag.
  • {They’ve never won the World Series} ASTROS. true enough. they only even reached the series once, losing to the white sox in 2005. i dare say that’ll never happen again, as they’re now in the american league.
  • {It’s hot in Hanoi} PHO. you know, i could totally go for a bowl of that right now.

are we in for a whole month of winter olympics metas, i wonder?

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25 Responses to MGWCC #293

  1. Pamela Fowler says:

    Button and Spin sent me to figure skating without much(enough) reflection

    • Spongeamy says:

      Me too! Also, there is apparently an amazing skating rink in Davos. I hate it when I blow the easy ones.

  2. Zifmia says:

    I initially only saw Aspen, but eventually found another ski resort and Google helped me confirm the rest including:

  3. Noam D. Elkies says:

    The sport where you can 20A:DI from 60A:SPINAL trauma just by falling at high speed on your 56A:BUTT.

    Yes, DAVOS is also a ski resort, but 17A:LINDA_VOSS still feels out of place in an otherwise nice week-two (meta)puzzle. (And Matt confirms in e-mail that 38D:LACROSSE is just one sport, not the plural “Sports” of the clue.)


  4. Jonesy says:

    The skier’s name is Lindsay Vonn… still, the similarity of that name with Linda Voss tipped me to skiing as well.

    And Alta famously bans snowboarders (not sure about the other 4?), which makes snowboarding wrong i guess…

  5. Jeff Chen says:

    Sent in the right answer, but I was kind of baffled. LINDSAY wraps around black squares, as does VONN (like she’s skiing the slalom perhaps?). Was that part of the meta?

  6. pannonica says:

    I submitted “alpine skiing” (versus nordic, or an unmodified skiing), as (1) these locations are all mountains, (2) Davos—the sole non-US site—is in the Alps.

  7. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon. 563 right answers this week. The five ski resorts were Davos, alta, aspen, Stowe and vail. Jeff I’m on my phone so not sure what the Lindsey you mentioned is, but it wasn’t intentional. Anything with ski in it was counted as correct (skiing, alpine skiing, etc)

    • Jeff Chen says:

      Oops, I meant LINDSEY, not LINDSAY. It starts at row 3, wraps around the black bar, and finishes at row 5. VONN, similarly.

      An amazing coincidence? I was sure “Sport Search” meant we’d have do some sort of word search thing.

  8. Matt Gaffney says:

    Total coincidence — not sure I’ve even heard of her. I just went with a vague title because all my other ideas (“lodged in there” e.g.) gave skiing away right off the bat.

  9. David R says:

    I thought snowboarding could be an alternative answer since most ski resorts allow it. Alta however is a ski only resort probably unintentional but there you go.

  10. Ed Foster says:

    I saw “Button” in 56 across and immediately thought of Dick Button and skating. I couldn’t find any other famous skater’s names and eventually stumbled on a ski resort name, Davos I think and then the rest was easy.

  11. Adam N says:

    The BUTTON in “BUTTONOAVAIL” threw me off…

  12. Brucenm says:

    It never occurred to me that one would hesitate over ‘Davos’ as a ski resort. Brings back incredibly fond recollections. Perhaps my favorite ski area in the world, (and I say that as a longtime Stowe resident), and perhaps my first choice to return to if I ever get serious ski legs back. The ski area itself has a vertical of close to 2000 meters, with incredibly varied and beautiful terrain. One of the most enchanting ski days of my life was skiing repeatedly from the town of Davos to the town of Klosters and taking the cog railway back (not intended as a ski lift at all). They are maybe 10 kilometers apart, and the vertical drop is not that great, but it’s all downhill, and a thoroughly wonderful experience, cruising gently through the Swiss villages and Alps, stopping for a hot chocolate or a beer along the way. . . . I treated that day as a training day for the the Davos ski area itself for the rest of the week.

  13. DBraun91 says:

    Wondering if you accepted any SNOWBOARDING answers? These are indeed “ski resorts” but I’m sure most of them have their fair share of snowboarders.

    • Ed Foster says:

      Apparently not Alta as someone else has said. . . or Sundance. Many years ago I had a great opportunity to ski Sundance super cheap but one of our group was a snowboarder so we had to pass it up. :-(

  14. joon says:

    oops, i had forgotten to include a screenshot of the grid. this has now been remedied.

  15. Matthew G. says:

    Lindsey Vonn is probably the most famous American skier competing today, so I’m a little surprised at the confusion over her name. And she’s been very much in the news in the last two weeks, including a front-page story in the NYT about the injury that will keep her out of the Sochi games.

  16. Lois says:

    Week 2 is usually already too hard for me, and when I saw that it was sports-related I didn’t hurry. I almost regretted that I found the theme easy when I did it on Tuesday afternoon, but of course positive emotions predominated. I found the puzzle itself to be of week 2 or 3 level, though. Bottom line: it was fun!

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