MGWCC #401

crossword 3:01 
meta about 1 minute,
without instructions 


mgwcc401hello and welcome to episode #401 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Pre-Game Stretch”. for this week 1 puzzle, matt asks us for the team I think is going to win the Super Bowl this weekend. interesting way to publicize a prediction. what’s the theme?

  • {Crossword Clue #1} CHEFSITEM.
  • {Crossword Clue #2} PICNICPEST.
  • {Crossword Clue #3 (you have to insert a blank on this one!)} TOTHEPOWER.
  • {Crossword Clue #4} NOTMERELYA.
  • {Crossword Clue #5} THATWOMANS.
  • {Crossword Clue #6} HOSPAREAS.

well, there are some parsing issues here, but basically these are a bunch of clues for three-letter answers that might be found in crosswords:

  • {Chef’s item} = POT or PAN (turns out to be PAN)
  • {Picnic pest} = ANT
  • {To the ___ power} = NTH
  • {Not merely “a”} = THE
  • {That woman’s} = HER (could have been HERS but it seems like we’re looking for 3-letter answers)
  • {Hosp. areas} = ERS or ORS (in this case, ERS)

well, they’ve been “stretched”, but it’s pretty easy to recognize the carolina panthers here, spelled out by these six answers (each overlapping the previous by two of its three letters). neat theme. easy, but still fun, and it couldn’t have been trivial to get six three-letter words like that clued very naturally in 9 or 10 letters in that symmetric way. (i’m also glad we didn’t see BITTERVETCH in the grid.)

how about the prediction itself? well, matt hardly went out on a limb, as carolina was (i gather) generally favored, but denver managed to pull the upset. i didn’t watch the game, but i did gorge myself on nachos and guacamole, so i feel like i got my super bowl sunday in.

two lengthy and noteworthy clues this week:

  • {Song that starts: “How come you’re always such a fussy young man / Don’t want no Cap’n Crunch, don’t want no Raisin Bran”} is weird al’s EAT IT. the first weird al song i knew and loved, i am pretty sure.
  • {Tree whose Wikipedia page I’ve read 100+ times looking for a new clue} ELM. cute, but i’m surprised. this word doesn’t seem to come up all that often in puzzles i solve or construct. anyway, short of new cluing ideas from wikipedia, matt, you could always try breaking the fourth wall. that would be so meta.

that’s all i’ve got this week. hope you enjoyed your super bowl observance (if you observed it)!

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7 Responses to MGWCC #401

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    494 right answers this week. You didn’t miss much of a game, joon, unless four hours of 3-and-outs, punts, and too-cute ads are your thing. And fumbles, lots of fumbles. And overthrown passes, lots of those as well. And penalties.

    • Richard says:

      Agreed. I always thought I liked defensive duels until I actually watched one on Sunday. No thank you.

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        Denver’s D played very well, but there was so much offensive ineptitude on both sides that it was hard to appreciate

        • Makafan says:

          I often don’t watch because it seems like when I do it’s a game like this one. We were sorting through mail and tax records to distract us from all the mistakes.

  2. Norm H says:

    Agree, a lousy game, although I am happy for Peyton.

    I don’t know if there’s any acceptable way to clue ONC, but the other three-letter pieces of BRONCOS work just fine.

    • pgw says:

      I submitted the following comment (well, I’m paraphrasing – I didn’t save it) along with my answer:

      Hey DUDE, I heard COACH RIVERA had to go see a CANCER DOC at the v.a. – a SGT. over there told me so. FOR THAT REASON, I’m picking the other team.

      Of course, I am aware of no such medical news and wish Coach Rivera the best of health …

  3. Paul Coulter says:

    Aside from the football game, (Hey BRO, my buddy RON who lives ON C-rations, is an NCO and his C.O.’S a huge Denver fan…) I wish more Week 1 metas were like this. A fresh idea, and great for racing. If it weren’t for the limited (2!) range of possible answers, you’d have to finish a good chunk of the puzzle before nailing down the meta. Overall, I liked it a lot, much better than the game, itself, though I’m with Norm – I was glad that Manning got to go out with a win. Four stars from me.

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