MGWCC #392

crossword 3:00
meta 0:15 (without instructions,
not that that mattered) 


mgwcc392hello and happy december, everyone! welcome to episode #392 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Age Group”. for this harder-than-usual week 1 puzzle, matt challenges us to find a well-known singer. what are the the theme answers? well, three clues get stars—surprisingly, all down clues:

  • 19d: {One of three that you’re looking for by this puzzle’s meta answer*} ALBUM TITLE.
  • 21d: {What each 19-Down you’re looking for also is, in this meta*} CLUE NUMBER.
  • 25d: {Young woman celebrity (usually an actress, but here a singer), like this puzzle’s meta answer; or, indicator on each of the three relevant hints (including this one!)*} STARLET.

so we’re looking for a young female singer who has albums called 19, 21, and 25. that would be adele (mbe), whose three studio albums are all titled after the age she was at the time she recorded them. 25 was just released last month, so it’s been in the news, i guess.

this is a cute little meta. it’s thin as crossword themes go—just three theme answers totaling 27 squares in a 15×15 grid. but it’s very elegantly executed, with the three theme answers appearing in the right numbered clues. i’m not sure i completely buy the STARLET tie-in (and is matt suggesting that an asterisk is a “starlet”?), but it’s close enough.

as a u2 fan, i was definitely on alert when i saw JOSHUA TREE crossing both MOJAVE and ALBUM TITLE, but it turns out JOSHUA TREE (my favorite album by anyone ever) had nothing to do with the meta. still, seeing it in the grid gave me warm fuzzies. other good stuff in the grid included the PARENT TRAP, plenary ADDIS ABABA, QUE PASA, and just plain cool word TUMULT.

okay, that’s all for me. what’d you think of this one?

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7 Responses to MGWCC #392

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 436 right answers this week.

  2. Jeff G. says:

    I enjoyed this one. Just right for a week 1. Nice “current events” theme. Matt is doing great on solving and creating musical metas this year :-)

  3. Scott says:

    This took me far longer than it should have, in fact I didn’t get it until Sunday. And I actually had to get my wife to help me. It could be perhaps because I don’t really like Adele.

  4. Mac says:

    Although I suppose Adele was a “starlet” at one time, I think that phase ended no later than 2009, when she won Grammies for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      Yeah, the STARLET connection is clearly tenuous. I tried to phrase that clue as smoothly as I could but as Joon noted, still awkward.

      The problem was that after the obvious ALBUM TITLE and CLUE NUMBER I still had a seven-letter entry that I could do anything I wanted with…except what I wanted to do, which is not use it. So it had to be something! POP STAR was my other option, perhaps not even trying to make the STAR = asterisk connection.

  5. Bret says:

    The first answer wasn’t submitted until 12:14, about as slow as a Week 1 gets. I wonder how many people submitted Bono at 12:04.

    • Dele says:

      This week’s e-mail arrived at 12:11, according to my inbox’s timestamp. (Don’t know if that was also true for others.)

      Nice meta. Thanks, Matt!

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