MGWCC #376

crossword 3:25 (across lite)
meta 0:05 
mgwcc376hello and welcome to episode #376 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Eight Isn’t Enough”. for this week 2 puzzle, matt asks us for a three-word phrase whose second word is “or.” what are the theme answers?

  • {Completely ruined} BROUGHT TO NAUGHT.
  • {Amoral creed} MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.
  • {Got lucky on the river, maybe} CAUGHT A STRAIGHT. poker terminology.
  • {Standard driver’s license data} HEIGHT AND WEIGHT.

okay, so these are all three-word phrases where the first and last words end with -GHT. i don’t see anything else in common, and to me it wasn’t much of a connection, but i could only think of one possible answer to the meta: fight or flight. and that turned out to be the correct answer, but i don’t know. it still didn’t quite satisfy me. am i missing something? i hope i’m missing something, because it didn’t really click for me.

as for the puzzle title, “eight” of course also ends with -ght, and eight isn’t enough in the sense that there are eight -ght words in the theme answers and we need two more for the meta.

fill notes:

  • {Diamonds with vowels on them} ACES. more card stuff, although a typical deck of cards would only have one ace of diamonds.
  • {Three-time Best Director winner} CAPRA. in 1934, 1936, and 1938 for it happened one night, mr. deeds goes to town, and you can’t take it with you. it seems like film titles these days are rarely complete sentences, but those three as well as capra’s other two most famous films were.
  • {Give 3.5 stars to on Crossword Fiend, e.g.} RATE. i’m not going to rate this puzzle until i find out if there was some other layer to the meta that went totally over my head.
  • {___-Kann Defense (common chess opening)} CARO. 1. e4 c6, in case you were curious, but i suspect if you know what that notation means, you already knew this.
  • {Country with the fourth-highest per capita income in the world, per the IMF (2014)} BRUNEI. a great deal of this comes from oil and gas export. also, a great deal of this is concentrated in the hands of one guy—the sultan of brunei is one of the richest people in the world.
  • {Not the best surname for an election official} RIGG. poor diana—there goes her second career as an election official.
  • {Company headquartered in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach} ADIDAS. it’d be fun if HERZOGENAURACH were in the grid instead, don’t you think?
  • {Word that becomes a homophone of itself if you remove its first and last letters} KNOW. i wonder how many other words have this property. DJINN, i guess, although “homophone” is not quite the right word. does ARE count?
  • {Spanish word that appears in the names of two Latin American countries} AGUA. i am not exactly sure what this clue means. i suppose it technically “appears” in parAGUAy, but not as a root word. with nicarAGUA, the AGUA part there might actually mean water, as the spanish named the country after the two large lakes (managua and nicaragua).

that’s all for me this week. i’m curious to see what other solvers’ experiences were like, so let’s hear about it in the comments.

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24 Responses to MGWCC #376

  1. PJ Ward says:

    I had a similar reaction to the theme. I got it, but only because I couldn’t think of another _GHT OR _GHT phrase.

    • Makfan says:

      Same here. The thing that got me was that *all* the themers are 15 and FIGHT OR FLIGHT is less than that. I thought eight is not enough could mean that I had to find some longer phrase than the obvious one. At least I submitted my answer last night when nothing else seemed to make any sense.

  2. bananarchy says:

    This is the second time that Matt has used this exact title (MGWCC #29 was the first), and the third time the title has referenced the TV show (MGWCC #149 was title “Eight is Enough”). Totally different meta mechanics, though, so not a knock on this puzzle; just interesting.

  3. Jason says:

    I cheated, used Onelook, and the answer was there in front of my face and I still did not submit it because I thought there was something more that I was missing. Oh well.

  4. Phoebe says:

    I had the same experience as Joon – “fight or flight” came to mind immediately but I waited till Monday to submit it thinking I missed something.

  5. Norm H says:

    Similar experience to others. After solving, I didn’t think of the answer immediately, so I wrote ___GHT or ___GHT on a piece of paper and showed it to my kids. Middle daughter got it right away.

    Only other possible layer I can think of is that “eight isn’t enough” because “enough” is missing the final “t”. But then I suppose it would be more apt to say that “enough isn’t eight”.

  6. Paul Coulter says:

    After the first two, I thought Matt was going for a rhyming *ght theme. I expected Light up the Night to be the third, and fight or flight to be the answer, but I couldn’t think of a fourth, except for Fight for Sight, but that would be repeating fight. So instead of guessing early, I finished the grid, and it was pretty clearly fight or flight after all, but a little disappointing as a meta. Three stars from me.

  7. Jason T says:

    Sometimes the joy of these is less in the elegance of the meta than in the elegance of the crossword itself. And the fun in this one for me is the fact that Matt managed to find four legitimate 15-word phrases that all fit the *GHT [middle word] *GHT pattern. Very pleasing, and about right for a Week 2 – even if I too worried that I was missing something before submitting the correct answer.

    • bananarchy says:

      I agree. Somewhat looser connections like the one employed here are fine, provided that one can be sure that the answer they have found is correct. I mean, this may not go down in history as the very finest MGWCC ever, but whatever, it works just fine. I was 100% certain that FIGHT OR FLIGHT was correct once I thought of it because it ticks all of the boxes: follows the pattern established in the crossword and satisfies the meta prompt. The fact that we spend more time hunting for additional layers of mind-blowing elegance is a testament to Matt’s genius rather than a knock on any puzzle that doesn’t yield any, imo.

    • Makfan says:

      True, it is a pretty decent crossword on its own merit.

  8. Bret says:

    Didn’t get it. Finally used a crossword solver to get the words “Night or daylight” which was at least 15 letters. It counted, so guess that was acceptable.

  9. Norm says:

    I tried looking for a pattern in the various vowel sounds, but there were 3 AH, 3 EYE, and two long A — and I realized there was no way for things to come out even with 10 words, so I went with good old F or F from Psych 101. I’ll be interested to see if we all missed something when Matt posts on Friday. Surprised he hasn’t commented here yet.

  10. Jon says:

    I enjoyed the puzzle, but the meta was a little disappointing. Got it right, like everyone else, but wasn’t confident about it before submitting.

  11. john says:

    Adding my ditto to practically everyone else’s experience. However i think Jason T has it right: that the elegance was in the 4 15-letter phrases that fit the pattern and pointed to yet another. That couldn’t have been easy. Also, like the rest of us, perhaps he was just trying to eke a little more downtime out of his 4-week hiatus, saving his mental jujitsu for weeks 3 and 4. Whatever the reality, i agree this confusion on our part is testament to Matt’s everyday genius.

  12. jps says:

    I thought the puzzle was just right for week 2. I had no hesitation in thinking “fight or flight” was the right answer. Everyone’s looking for too much.

    I find this funny as I was very underwhelmed by the Patrick Berry guest puzzle that everyone raved over. I got the answer – and admired the construction- but expected more from the meta than those two words.

    Today’s answer is “in the language”, that one wasn’t.

    • Matthew G. says:

      The Berry puzzle’s construction was mind-blowing, though, with adjacent double-possible squares. And the phrasing of the instructions negated the not-in-the-languageness problem.

      • jps says:

        Actually, the instructions were poorly phrased. They did not ask for the two words themselves but for the appropriate solution that led to those two words.

      • Al says:

        The amazing thing about the Berry puzzle was depending on which way you shifted the extra letter, one adjacent square had a “solo” letter and one had “partner” letters. And the constituent letters of each category spelled out the description of that category. So it wasn’t that “SOLO PARTNERS” had to be an in the language phrase. They were two words that were self-descriptive of their respective grid contents. I thought that was incredible.

  13. Norm says:

    Ooh, ooh. I’ve got it: “eight is E nough” so the answer has to be a __ght or __ght that has the I sound. Overthinking maybe? Oh yeah … But this game is fun for a week 2.

  14. Ale M says:

    I think the “Eight Isn’t Enough” title refers doubly to the “eight -ght words aren’t enough, find two more” and also the meta answer itself: If you are a group of eight suddenly facing a fight-or-flight dilemma against a larger group, you might tell yourself “eight isn’t enough,” which would be the flight reflex.

  15. Mac says:

    Is “fight or flight” the only common 3-word phrase with two -ghts and an “or”? If not, there better be something more to the meta. I thought of “fight or flight” as a possibility, did not submit because there seemed to be no there connection and I felt sure that there must be other such phrases. Then I lost track of time and submitted nothing.

  16. austin says:

    question: how do you know that “fight or flight” is correct if the website hasn’t been updated with the answer yet?

    i am new to matt’s metas so forgive me if it’s obvious.

    • Evan says:

      On Matt’s website, you’ll see the Leaderboard on the left side of the page. If you’ve submitted the correct answer before the deadline, your name will appear there.

      Edit: Oh, I see — if the website hasn’t been updated. Most of the time Matt is pretty good about updating it fairly frequently, certainly by the time the deadline passes. Usually though, even if it hasn’t been updated, you’ll know it when you’ve got the right answer.

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