MGWCC #314

crossword 3:41
meta 5 minutes* 

mgwcc314hello and welcome to week #314 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Together Forever”. the instructions for this week 1 puzzle ask us for one of the stars of “Melrose Place”. and there are three long theme answers in the grid:

  • to {Make some serious (but shady) cash} is to FEATHER YOUR NEST. admit it—you tried FEATHER ONE’S NEST just like i did. but i actually like YOUR better than ONE’S.
  • {Swanky car feature} is a LEATHER INTERIOR.
  • {Local news segment} is a WEATHER FORECAST.

well, the theme couldn’t be more straightforward—the first words all rhyme. as for the meta answer, i tried solving it without the instructions, and that turned out to be impossible. but with the instructions, it’s easy—it’s heather locklear, an actress who, uh, was one of the stars of “melrose place”. i wish the theme had led more directly to the meta answer without the extra level of instructions required, but i don’t have too much else to say about the meta.

with only 3×15 theme answers, matt has given us a pretty nice 72-word grid with plenty of nice medium-length answers. tidbits from the fill:

  • {Having a real chance to win} is IN THE MIX. good answer, don’t think i’ve seen it in a puzzle before.
  • {Actor who won an Oscar for “A Streetcar Named Desire”} is karl MALDEN. i was amused to see {Facial features} NOSES in the same grid.
  • {Temporary homes of a sort} are UTERUSES. the alternate plural UTERI makes its way into plenty of grids due to its vowel pattern.
  • {7 of clubs and 8 of clubs, for example?} are IRONS—we’re talking golf, not cards. cute clue.
  • {“[T]he biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era,” per Wikipedia} is KENNY G. that’s a shame.

all righty, that’s all for me. how’d you all like this one?

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17 Responses to MGWCC #314

  1. Noam D. Elkies says:

    No complaints about 20A:IN_THE_MIX crossing 4D:ON_THE_DOT? (They’re nice entries individually.)

    41A:SENTRIES crossing 32D:TRIES, on the other hand, is fine, because TRIES has nothing to do with SENTRIES (nor with 39A:ARIES).

    The metapuzzle answer is just some showbiz name, so just as well it’s Week 1… (It’s also 15 letters like the theme answers, though one of those answers is 7+4+4 rather than 7+8. Well maybe LOCKLEAR suggests 4+4 too.) Does the title have much significance? The first word rhymes but doesn’t fit the pattern (8+7 rather than 7+8).


    • Wayne says:

      For me, the title worked against the theme. The starts of the three theme and meta answers are the only “*EATHER” words pronounced that way. But once “toGETHER” is introduced, that allows other words into the universe (whether, nether, etc.), so the meta-theme is no longer a complete set.

      Still, decent grid; clean fill. Enjoyable Week 1.

    • bananarchy says:

      “No complaints about 20A:IN_THE_MIX crossing 4D:ON_THE_DOT? (They’re nice entries individually.)”

      I have never understood why anyone would complain about something like that. I feel like there are, and should be, limits to the no dupes rule.

      • bhensley says:

        To play devil’s advocate, as a solver I did pause briefly at that cross wondering whether I had it right since there was a dupe. A very minor hiccup to be sure, and I’d argue that the great phrases make the dupe totally worth it, but it was still a hiccup.

        • bananarchy says:

          Fair enough, but were you unhappy with the dupe itself, or unhappy that your progress was slowed because you didn’t expect a dupe?

          • bhensley says:

            I think the two are intimately connected– the dupe slowed my progress, which happened because it (in a minor way) violated my expectations of crossword rules, neither of which I liked. However, if there weren’t a culture of proscriptivism toward dupes, then I probably wouldn’t even have noticed. I do want to re-emphasize that this was a spectacularly minor issue.

  2. Jon says:

    I got the right answer but I don’t know how the title “Together Forever” fits. Together rhymes with Heather but how does the forever work in? Nothing I see helps point to Locklear other than the fact that no other actress in the show was named Heather.

    • joon says:

      let’s not overthink it. “together forever” and “heather locklear” are 15-letter phrases whose first words rhyme with the others. that’s all that’s going on here. i suspect heather locklear is (by far) the most famous such person out there, but because this is week 1, the instructions had to narrow things down to make it unmissable.

  3. pannonica says:

    Tenuous, but ‘lock’ implies ‘together’?

  4. Jim S says:

    I agree. I was fairly certain it would be Heather Locklear based on the rhyming, but I wasn’t 100% sure because I couldn’t get Locklear from anything in the puzzle, title, instructions, etc. I’m sure it’s there and I overlooked it, or would Mr. Gaffney just use the first name for a week 1?

  5. Norm says:

    Do the Melrose Girls ever talk about being “together forever”? Don’t know if that would actually add much, since Matt gave us the show’s name.

  6. micmarc says:

    I pretty much had HEATHER LOCKLEAR from the instructions alone. (Quick, name any other star of “Melrose Place” without cheating.)

    • Bencoe says:

      Me too. Never watched it and she is the only cast member I remember by name. I also know the not-Paul-Reiser dad from “My Two Dads” was on it, because a friend of mine wrote a short story in our creative writing class about the actor’s life after the show, and a bunch of kids said, “He’s on Melrose Place now!”
      But I don’t know that guy’s name.
      So, as soon as I saw “FEATHER”, it was in the bag.

    • Jim S. says:

      She’s definitely the first to pop to mind, but I still remember Grant Show for no reason other than his last name rhymes with “ow” instead of “oh”. And the guy doing something soccer-ish in the intro (catching? kicking?) is named Andrew something.

  7. AaronB says:

    Andrew Shue actually played college + some professional soccer.
    His sister Elisabeth gave a knockout performance in “Leaving Las Vegas”
    I kept looking for the Locklear connection, with no success.

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