MGWCC #337

crossword 4:10
meta about -2 minutes 

mgwcc337hello and welcome to episode #337 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Teamwork”. in this week 2 puzzle, matt asks us to identify an American city. what are the theme answers? there are four long answers all clued just {TEAM}:


the big tipoff for me was CHUNKS OF GOLD, which must be a clue for nuggets. then it wasn’t hard to see what was going on:

  • SKIING RISK is an AVALANCHE (admittedly this was the last to fall; i would thinking something like BREAKING YOUR LEG is much more of a risk)

these are, respectively, the denver teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. no problem for a sports fan. and yes, the first two teams are called “denver” and the last two are “colorado”, but they’re all based in denver.

there aren’t all that many cities that truly host teams in all four of those leagues (and no cities with teams in all five of the major north american sporting leagues, the fifth being la liga MX, the mexican top-level soccer league). off the top of my head, i can only think of chicago, and there you run into ambiguity issues with cubs and white sox. am i forgetting one? new york city doesn’t have any NFL teams (both the jets and giants play in new jersey), LA doesn’t even kind of have an NFL team, washington DC’s NFL team plays in maryland, etc. until recently, atlanta would have fit the bill, but the NHL’s thrashers moved to winnipeg to become the jets (v2.0) a couple of years ago. dallas, i suppose, comes closest, but the cowboys and rangers play in arlington. boston has teams in the NBA, NHL, and MLB, but the new england patriots play way down in foxboro, which is not even very close to boston. oh, philly legitimately has teams in all four leagues playing within the city limits. but how are you going to clue 76ERS in the grid? or, even worse, PHILLIES?

anyway, i got a little sidetracked there, but i just wanted to point out how constrained this theme is. matt did a nice job. and with only a moderate amount of theme content (12+12+10+10) to contend with, the fill is really clean and interesting in places. JOHN GOTTI and BREWSKI are both unusual and lively long answers ending with I. GUNG-HO is a great answer. the programming geek in me enjoyed seeing IF SO adjacent to THEN.

one possible tripping point: i hope you know the irregular demonym PINOYS, because the crossings with actor david NIVEN, KNORR’s brown gravy mix, and justice SONIA sotomayor (okay, you should know that one, and also the O can’t reasonably be anything else—even if, as i just learned, PINAYS is the feminine form of PINOYS) are all potentially deadly. but i enjoyed seeing it because i like irregular demonyms.

that’s all i’ve got. what did you think of this one?

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22 Responses to MGWCC #337

  1. Paul Coulter says:

    It was a solid puzzle, and the meta was perfect for early month speed solving, but as a soccer fan (and I’m pretty sure that Matt is, too) I was a little disappointed that the Rapids weren’t included. Four stars from me.

    • Dele says:

      As another soccer fan, I was going to mention Rapids’ omission, too, until remembering that they now play in nearby Commerce City.

      Very cool weather meta this week!

  2. Jim S says:

    Detroit? Miami? Not sure where they play all their games, so don’t know if those are other examples…

    Good, fun puzzle and meta.

    • Flinty Steve says:

      The Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings all play in the city of Detroit; the Pistons play in Auburn Hills. And none of them play in Flint (sob).

    • Dave C says:

      Arizona/Phoenix fits the bill really well – 3 of the teams (D’backs, Coyotes and Cardinals) all go by Arizona, and then the Phoenix Suns. Minnesota works too (Twins, T’wolves, Wild, Vikings). And yes on Miami, right? Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, and do the Florida Panthers of the NHL play in Miami?

      Fun puzzle, I too was stuck on MUSTANGS briefly before NUGGETS came to mind in place of INGOTS. Then the other teams fell into place.

      • joon says:

        the panthers play in sunrise FL. near, but not in, miami. the dolphins play in miami gardens. the other two are in miami.

        the cardinals and coyotes play in glendale, AZ. the other two play in phoenix.

        the wild play in st paul, MN. the other three teams are in minneapolis.

        • Amy Reynaldo says:

          You see how popular your tangent is, Joon! I don’t see how the Cubs and White Sox muddle anything. Chicago simply has a bonus team added to the all-four-leagues set (plus an MLS team). It’s also neat that the teams are all within 5 miles of the Loop, pretty compact. Bulls and Blackhawks both play at the United Center just west of downtown, Bears and Fire (MLS) both play at Soldier Field just south of downtown, and Cubs and Sox are about 4.5 miles north and south, respectively.

          Mind you, you have to head to suburban Rosemont for the WNBA, AHL hockey, and arena football.

          • Dele says:

            As has been the trend in MLS (see also Rapids mentioned above), Fire moved to their newly-built soccer-specific stadium, Toyota Park in Bridgeview, in 2006.

  3. Noam D. Elkies says:

    sportzzzzz theme names, whatever — Google makes it a Week Two puzzle and we can go on to the rest of the month. (Pannonica would probably want NWLS and NWBL team names to replace two of the four Usual Suspects, but it would still be sportzzzzz names, and more obscure ones to boot.) Not a bad puzzle otherwise, even if the typical 2D:OLIVE is not spherical but, well, football-shaped, and PABA hasn’t been regarded as a vitamin for 43A:EONs (OK, I’m exaggerating, and “a billion years” is indeed one specific sense of “eon”) — the only currently recognized B-vitamins are numbered 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 12 according to Wikipedia, so there’s no vitamin 69A:B_TEN.

    • pannonica says:

      Au contraire! My general ignorance of sports extends to women’s leagues. And I think Amy talks about equal gender representation more than I do (even accounting for her heavier blogload).

  4. Evad says:

    Funny, my first thought on “CHUNKS OF GOLD” was INGOTS. Add to that my other first thoughts were MUSTANGS, TETONS and MOGULS and you had one very confused solver. Luckily I later thought of the ROCKIES and was off to the races.

  5. Pam says:

    I had MUSTANGS, NUGGETS, SIERRA NEVADA and TREES before I started to revisit my knee-jerk answers and found Denver.

  6. Dannoz says:

    Thinking about “Wild Horses,” The Denver City High School (located ironically in Texas) mascot is the Mustang. But I am guessing that only Colorado teams make up the meta. Got this one faster than I thought I would. Thanks!

  7. Alex B. says:


    EDIT: nope, no basketball

  8. Mike says:

    Are there any teams that claim to be from a city but actually play in a suburb of that city?

    I know the “Cleveland” Cavaliers used to actually play in Richfield, Ohio which is about 25-30 miles south of Cleveland until they moved downtown several years ago…

    The Rapids may not be in Denver proper but they were there in the crossword at 56 across…Could have been clued as TEAMS…

    • pj says:

      Why, yes! And one of my bugaboos is that the Angels changed their name to LA Angels of Anaheim after being known as the Anaheim Angels. Because I am a diehard Dodgers fan and a native of Los Angeles, I am territorial about my native city. I realize the reason for the appellation (marketing, money)but I don’t like it. Ironically, Anaheim isn’t even in Los Angeles County but in Orange County. Sour oranges on my part?

      • Makfan says:

        The Angels were once called the California Angels, which annoyed lots of us in San Diego and the Bay Area.

        Finally, the San Francisco 49ers moved to the city of Santa Clara this season (two counties south of San Fransisco proper).

  9. pgw says:

    To my mind the fact that the second two teams are called “the Colorado [sports team]” made the puzzle more elegant. I submitted DENVER, COLORADO which I would pedantically claim is a more precise answer than simply Denver, as it (a) tracks the alternate place-naming conventions; and (b) clarifies that the answer isn’t, say, Denver, Illinois.

    Anyway, this was a perfectly nice puzzle and obviously I don’t actually think the single-word answer shouldn’t count.

  10. jefe says:

    I was initially misled by BTEN crossing TOPTEN and BREWSKI crossing SKIINGRISK, but figured it out after a couple minutes. joon’s tangent reminds me of a trivia question we had recently: name the seven states with more than one (active) NFL stadium.

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