MGWCC #340

crossword 4 hours to construct


Matt here, self-blogging due to holiday season Joonlessness. We were looking for a five-letter bird, and our theme entries were:

17-A [Basketball situation that often ends with a slam dunk] = FAST BREAK

26-A [Hard to beat in a duel] = QUICK ON THE DRAW

40-A [“The Fastest Mouse in All Mexico”] = SPEEDY GONZALES

61-A [Second-largest metropolis in South Dakota] = RAPID CITY. Not really big enough to be called a “metropolis,” but I couldn’t use “city” in the clue, so there it is.

The first words of these are FAST, QUICK, SPEEDY and RAPID, so out five-letter bird must be the synonymous-with-those SWIFT, found by 610 solvers.


Decent Week 1 theme and fill, and 74 words (patting self on back). 3.85 stars.

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11 Responses to MGWCC #340

  1. Matt says:

    PS: if you like metas and didn’t solve Pete Muller’s December Music Meta, I strongly recommend giving it a shot. Total masterpiece. Contest deadline is past, but still. It’s here:

  2. Sam Levitin says:

    Will anyone (besides me) own up to being momentarily confused by TALONS or the hidden OWL in the center ?

    I had to look up a list of fast birds before I experienced the AHA of seeing the answer.

    • AaronB says:

      Hi Sam,
      Yes I noticed them and spent some time looking for birds hidden in the theme entries,
      with no success. I also resorted to a bird list.
      – Aaron

  3. AmyBeth says:

    Darn! I was hoping Joon was here – I was a contestant on Jeopardy! last week (not airing until late January) and I wanted to let him know that he’s not forgotten by the staff there – his name came up in our contestant briefing. :-) (Maybe he’ll read this …)

    • bunella says:

      Can’t wait to see you Amy. Please let us know as it gets closer to air date.

      P.S. don’t know why but I thought Joon was a female. duh me.

  4. icdogg says:

    Was Joon being cited as an example of what to do or an example of what not to do?

    • AmyBeth says:

      I guess the latter … it was a cute story of how he was listening to an audio clue and time ran out to answer. But he was caught up in the music!

      • joon says:

        oh hey, i’m getting to this late but yes, i read the comments. nice to know that i’m not forgotten! maggie is the best. retro good luck on the show!

        [boring story; feel free to skip]

        i remember the incident you’re alluding to, but i actually wasn’t playing at the time—i was in the audience waiting for my name to be drawn. this was the clue (a visit to the met, $2000) and i don’t think the contestants were aware that the lights could come on (indicating that the signaling devices are active) before the audio clip was over. they (and i) were listening to placido! so the clue timed out, and nobody rang in. since i was back in the green room the next taping week as the returning champ, i made a point to mention it to maggie so that she could add it to her contestant prep spiel—the lights never come on before alex is done reading the clue, but they can come on before a clip is done playing.

  5. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Besides 29D:TALONS, and the OWL hiding in 37A:SCOWLED that’s perched dead center of the puzzle, there’s yet another bonus entry in 12D:BYRD, which is originally just a variant spelling of “bird”.

    So did anybody actually submit “owl” or something like “peregrine falcon”?


    • lemonade714 says:

      NDE .if anyone actually submitted OWL, I would advise them to not spend the $26 for the puzzles next y e ar

      • sandirhodes says:

        Or get them because you need the practice!!

        I have to admit I was taken aback by Matt’s decision to go subscription. Of course he has the right to do whatever he feels he needs to in order to survive in the world. And I’ll ‘fight to the death’ sticking up for him. I THOUGHT I had been promised 1000 puzzles, but looking back I see no mention either way as far as a premium is concerned. So KUDOS to Matt for even *creating* the possibility of making a living in this genre (he has expanded his ’empire’ greatly in the past couple of years!), much less doing the hard work that has made it a reality (I think they call that the American way!). There is no essential difference between this and a mom and pop hamburger joint that has a unique twist that turns into a juggernaut of fast food, or a software developer who has a unique social networking idea that becomes, well, viral, or any number of other examples (ouch! too fan-boy? lol).

        And after all, I think if one were to take a poll as to who the best constructor of all time is/was, he would be near the top, and if your poll specified meta-constructor, there would be nothing short of a landslide vote for Matt (there are obviously one or two out there who do not feel that way, based on the ratings for some of his really good puzzles, but we all know that those are an anomaly, and border on the personal rather than the professional evaluation). So as the best, he deserves every accolade and reward.

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