MGWCC #379

crossword 2:35
meta -0:30 
mgwcc379hello and welcome to episode #379 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “I Like Everybody”. for this week 1 puzzle, matt asks us to find a familiar phrase comprised of two six-letter words. what are the theme answers?

  • {What the meta phrase words have in common} is that BOTH START WITH P.
  • and the three-part answer to {what makes the meta phrase interesting} is that ITS SECOND WORD IS / THE SINGULAR FORM / OF ITS FIRST WORD.

there are not especially many words whose plural and singular forms have the same length (6 letters), and with all the hints here, it didn’t take long to alight upon PEOPLE PERSON, the answer to the meta. (if you needed another nudge, the title also suggests the answer.)

this is a pretty neat wordplay find. even without the (6, 6) enumeration restriction, i think there are not many familiar phrases consisting of (i’d avoid comprised of here but it’s not technically wrong) a plural and then singular form of the same noun. i can’t actually think of any off the top of my head, nor could i find one in a cursory scan of my word list. the closest are things like ENOUGH’S ENOUGH and MAN’S MAN, where the -S doesn’t actually make a plural. (HOTSHOT is interesting, too, but in a different way.)

i get the sense that matt was in a very playful mood when he wrote the clues:

  • {That lake you always see in crosswords} ERIE, {That musical instrument you always see in crosswords} OBOE, and {That whale you always see in crosswords} ORCA. matt’s going all-in on the lampshading.
  • {___-Across (SHES, in this grid)} is the clue for ONE. sure enough, 1-across is SHE’S. you don’t normally see an answer appear in the clue for another answer, let alone in a way that directly refers to the original clue. if you hadn’t solved 1-across by the time you got to 24-across, well, this was your lucky day.
  • {U.S. city that reverses to a piece of crosswordese} RENO. yet another inside-crosswords style of clue. enough’s enough?
  • {Roger Ebert or Rex Parker} CRITIC. okay, one more.
  • {You’re using them right now} EYES.
  • {I wouldn’t pet this cat if I were you} TIGER. sage advice—just ask roy horn.

finally, i hope you’ll excuse me if i just put in a plug for my new puzzle site, outside the box puzzles. i’ll be posting a weekly rows garden (written by me), along with biweekly variety crosswords written by others. the site is only a week old, but today i posted the second rows garden and there’s been one variety puzzle, a smooth and breezy marching bands by sam donaldson. i hope you’ll check out the site, subscribe, and tell your friends!

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8 Responses to MGWCC #379

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 477 right answers this week.

    I like to go Agardian on the Week 1 clues, since I can’t in tougher weeks because solvers might think it has something to do with the meta.

  2. Jim S. says:

    Took me embarrassingly long to get this. I thought there had to be another hint beyond the obvious theme entries and title. I thought maybe the crossword-referencing answers (ORCA, ERIE, OBOE, RENO) anagrammed. I perused a list of 6 letter words starting with P. When i saw 300+ had gotten it, I was feeling rather dim. The title finally clicked for me after too much time spent on thoughts that were obviously more advanced than a week 1 meta usually requires. Egads!

  3. pgw says:

    Would a flamboyant gay man from Astoria be a Queens queen?

  4. chris says:

    in a similar vein…wilander’s yoga apparatus would be mats’ mat, no?

  5. Duketime says:

    Well, if it works for humans, then why not the rest of the kingdom?

    There may be “fish fish” and “moose moose” and “deer deer” out there. One where the plural animal is different eludes me right now.

  6. Matt Gaffney says:

    An especially social bird is a real GEESE GOOSE.

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