MGWCC #389

crossword 5:02
meta about -2 minutes,
with alarm bells going off 


mgwcc389hello and welcome to episode #389 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Night Moves”. for this week 2 puzzle, matt asks us for a well-known TV show. what are the theme answers?

  • {Meeting space in a “Titanic”-themed hotel?} LEO BALLROOM.
  • {Condiment made with chunks of winged horse?} PEGASUS SALSA.
  • {What you feel on your shoulder when a wildcat wants your attention?} LYNX TAP.
  • {Fishing tool for an ancient Greek hero?} HERCULES REEL.
  • {Uncertainty about whether the loan will go through for your new Ford?} TAURUS LIMBO.

so, uh, here’s the thing: matt has done this theme before, about a year and a half ago. you can read what i wrote about it at the time. this one is ever so slightly different because it’s a constellation + dance instead of a star + dance. still, the answer is the same: dancing with the stars. i imagine there will be fewer people missing with “star search” this time, since constellations suggest stars but are not themselves stars.

so, yeah. i don’t much feel like talking about the dupe meta again, so i think i’m going to cut this post short. it’s an unfortunate occurrence, and i’m sure matt has already heard about it from solvers. these things happen when you make a lot of puzzles, and sometimes it’s just not easily preventable. (i’d contend that in this particular case, it was easily preventable, but the bigger-picture point remains.)

anybody else have something to add?

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18 Responses to MGWCC #389

  1. Justin says:

    Oh my lord. Just like last time, major whiff. *shame* – not sure why I have a week 2 Achilles heel.

  2. Jim Curran says:

    Yep, it sure was deja vu all over again. I knew I had seen it somewhere but didn’t know it was from Matt himself. Wow. I hope the rest of the month are repeats too!

    • Matthew G. says:

      I remembered the theme distinctly, but convinced myself it had to have been something other than a MGWCC where I saw it last time.

  3. dave glasser says:

    I spent a while trying to convince myself that this was an intentional sequel and that it was Star Search this time. Ended up emailing Matt before submitting the right answer just to make sure there wasn’t some extra level of subtley here.

    The actual puzzle was still fun if familiar!

  4. CC says:

    I wasn’t doing the MGWCC back the first time this came around, but it was still my fastest solve + meta-solve yet. I enjoyed it, but I could see how people could be upset or confused.

  5. Jason says:

    So close to submitting STAR SEARCH until I realized it could be STAR TREK so I took a better look.

  6. Matt Gaffney says:

    So bizarre…had no memory of doing this one before. Even when the first solver e-mailed me that “somebody” had done this theme, I thought, “That’s odd, since I either solve or at least look at pretty much any meta anyone publishes. Wonder who it was?”

    I would certainly have remembered doing this before if I’d used the constellations the first time instead of the individual stars, since deciding among the constellations to use and then the phrases themselves would’ve stood out. But a phrase like PEGASUS SALSA didn’t register because I hadn’t used it.

    My memory in general is not great, but my wife’s is. I’d shared this theme with her (as I do every theme) a few days before publication, and she didn’t say anything. Then on Friday when solvers started writing it, I asked her if when I’d mentioned it earlier in the week it had rung any bells. She said “It did seem a little familiar, and I was going to say something, but then I didn’t.” So all her fault!! /sarcasm, but this is a person who can remember what I was wearing three birthdays ago and what the weather was like and what day of the week it was on…

    So anyway, apologies for my “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” moment, to those who solved and remembered #306.

  7. Scott says:

    Well, I enjoyed the puzzle even though it was a duplicate idea. And I didn’t even realize it was a duplicate idea. Anyway thank you Matt as always and I appreciate all your efforts.

  8. erichp says:

    Ashamedly, I spent a good 15-20 minutes googling trying to find a television show whose title was a constellation name and a dance step – then the stars aligned for me!

    My first thought about the duplicate theme was that it was intentional and that all of this month’s metas might somehow be related to MGWCC#306 (In that puzzle, Titanic is also referenced in one of the theme clues…).

    Alas, Matt is human. Sigh.

    • I spent a few hours scouring Google, Wikipedia, and IMDB trying to find a TV show with a name matching that pattern. The best I could come up with were Dragon Ball and Gemini Man, both of which are really terrible — in the former, the constellation should be Draco, not Dragon, and Ball(room) is already used in one of the theme answers; and in the latter, “Man” isn’t a dance (an UrbanDictionary definition doesn’t count); and neither show is what I’d call popular.

  9. pgw says:

    #306 was easily my most embarrassing MGWCC failure, so this one messed with my head a little bit. Surely, I thought, Matt would not repeat this theme (including reusing two of the dances he used last time – I remember Rigel reel and Sirius salsa like they were yesterday)! But after satisfying myself that Constellations Dance – prestigious teacher of aspiring British musical theatre brats though it may be – has not yet gotten its own TV show, I managed to submit the correct answer this time. I guess I should feel lucky for the shot at redemption, right?

  10. Pat Coffin says:

    I rarely remember puzzles or metas, but I actually remember where I was when solving the first version of this. I was flying from Boston to DC , with my husband. He HATES crossword puzzles, not to mention metas, but he has a scientific mind, so I asked him to look at the puzzle. It took him about 2 seconds to get the answer — the first and only time he’s actually looked at a meta, in spite of all my subsequent attempts. When I started working on this one one, I was sure I was wrong. There’s no way it could be a duplicate! Fortunately, I couldn’t think of anything else to submit.

  11. PJ Ward says:

    Missed the dances. Went with Star Trek: Constellation. D’oh!

  12. Math Teacher Dave says:

    I have fond memories of #306 because it was the puzzle I shared with a friend to get him to subscribe to MGWCC; we did the puzzle together and he and his wife beat me to the theme. After both of us had successfully submitted the theme this week, he texted me to remind me that it was the same. So no worries on the duplicate – it gave me a chance to reminisce!

  13. Jason T says:

    Well that explains it: I thought I’d meta meta like this before!

  14. Lorraine says:

    too funny. when i solved it and got my little aha moment, it wasn’t AHA — it was more “aha, wait, wha?” i didn’t remember the previous meta specifically but it definitely felt like i was experiencing a major meta deja vu.

  15. Golem says:

    Interestingly, I recognized the title as a (near) dupe of #243, but not the meta itself.

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