MGWCC #361

crossword 3:31
meta about -2 minutes 

mgwcc361hello and welcome to episode #361 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Where in the World…?”. for this week 1 puzzle, we are asked to identify a country. okay then. there are four punny theme entries:

  • {Hoops team named for this country’s currency?} THE INDIANA PESOS. as it happens, the indiana pacers employ reserve forward luis scola of this country.
  • {A bite to eat while reading this country’s literary hero in a cafe?} BORGES AND FRIES. uh, this one would work better if author’s name were pronounced more like “burgers”, but it’s closer to “bor-hase”.
  • {Tarantino movie about this country’s national dance?} TANGO UNCHAINED. solid.
  • {So excited about this country’s soccer king entering the stadium?} BEGGING FOR MESSI. lionel messi, of course.

so, plenty of countries use the peso, but the tango narrows it down somewhat, and of course there’s only one borges and one messi, so we’re talking about argentina. fun fact: plenty of chemical elements are named for countries (even copper is named for cyprus, where it has been mined since antiquity), but argentina’s the only country named for an element. pope francis and eva peron are feeling snubbed by this theme.

anyway, this puzzle was certainly straightforward enough for a week 1, but the puns mostly fell a little flat for me. the grid is only 72 words, so there are more medium-length entries than you typically see in a themed puzzle, but i couldn’t really get excited about PLACIDLY or TAILOR TO or POUTINES (in the plural). the shorter fill was fine—a winking nod to OTHO of mgwcc #351 fame was fun. other than that, i haven’t got much to say about this puzzle. how about you?

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4 Responses to MGWCC #361

  1. Jim S says:

    Good week 1. Knew peso and tango would lead to South America, but didn’t know Borges and can never recall where soccer players in Europe are originally from. Brazil? Columbia? Had too look Messi up to lock in my answer.

  2. Clint Hepner says:

    I had INTO for 5o down (which I thought was reasonable), which lead to the apparently nonsensical BEGGINGFORMENSI. I’m not a big enough soccer fan to have recognized the right answer, and when Googling for “mensi” didn’t find anything, I just accepted that I had something wrong because the other three clues were sufficient to get the meta answer.

  3. Norm says:

    Thought process:
    1st theme answer: Spain? Mexico?
    2d theme answer: Where the heck is he from? Is he that “something about solitudes” guy?
    3d theme answer: Great pun, now is that Spain or is that South America?
    4th theme answer: OH! Should have solved from the bottom up. For a long-time football fan, that was a no-brainer.

  4. Dele says:

    A pretty easy puzzle, but nicely executed. Thanks, Matt!

    joon, it’s true that our word copper, via Latin cuprum, is named for Cyprus. The etymology of Cyprus itself, though, is not completely agreed upon; most sources these days say the name is from the Greek for “cypress tree”, but among the other plausible theories is that it ultimately traces back to an ancient (perhaps Sumerian) word for… yep, “copper”. So while we’ll likely never know for sure, it’s possible that the island/country and the element are both named for each other!

    Clint, a helpful hint for the future: Googling mensi by itself doesn’t turn anything up, but a search for mensi soccer player should give you a helpful “Did you mean: messi soccer player”.

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