MGWCC #410

crossword 3:45 
meta about 2 minutes 


mgwcc410hello and welcome to episode #410 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Where Have I Heard That Before?”. for this week 2 puzzle, matt challenges us: What sea creature would make a good sixth theme entry for this puzzle? okay. what are the five theme answers?

  • {Event at which you might hear: “Pardon me, sir, but might I have permission to smash this barstool over your head?”?} QUAINT BRAWL.
  • {How to pay for your Vietnamese soup?} PHO COIN.
  • {Accidentally back over a piece of Olympic equipment?} FLATTEN LUGE.
  • {Danger for Tevye when there’s a thunderstorm?} FIDDLE SHOCK. ha! i love this image.
  • {Song about the current Best Actress winner?} LARSON DITTY. that’s brie larson, of room.

what do these all have in common? well, the title is a hint that we’re interested in how these theme answers sound. i caught on very quickly to the fact that FLATTEN LUGE rhymes with baton rouge. in fact, every theme answer is a two-word phrase where both words rhyme with the words of a two-word state capital: saint paul, des moines, baton rouge, little rock, and carson city. PHO COIN is a little stretchy, as i think “pho” is pronounced with a short u vowel sound rather than the short i that i would put in des moines. but other than that, they all look good.

there aren’t many two-word state capitals left, and i don’t think we’re going to reuse “city” so oklahoma city is out. i found santa fe very quickly, and then the meta answer manta ray was not long in coming after that. fun stuff.

i wonder if there are other, non-made-up phrases that can act as the double-rhyme for a state capital. PAINT BALL for saint paul comes to mind (the sport is usually written as PAINTBALL, but i think one of the actual balls of paint would be called a PAINT BALL, no?).

quick roundup:

  • {Move like a crab} SIDLE has nothing to do with the theme even though it crosses FIDDLE and a fiddler is famously a kind of crab. neither does ROOMIE relate to brie LARSON.
  • {Literally, “my master”} RABBI. i really thought this meant “teacher”. i wanted SAHIB or SWAMI or something.
  • {Obama Cabinet member, 2009-2013} is hilda SOLIS, former secretary of labor. she definitely has a useful name; i wonder how long she’ll continue to be considered crossworthy? i suppose we’re still getting ed MEESE clues three decades later, but he was attorney general, which is a higher-profile cabinet post than labor secretary.

that’s all for me. have a great week!

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22 Responses to MGWCC #410

  1. Scott says:

    Nice puzzle and meta which fell pretty quickly.

  2. CC says:

    FLATTEN LUGE was the entry point for me as well, and I remembered CARSON CITY from a past meta which locked the state capital thing into place pretty quickly.

  3. Bret says:

    Odd, I submitted Manta Ray, or at least meant to, and didn’t get credit. Maybe some issue with my mobile device.

    • Jim says:

      Me too! Submitted late afternoon on Sunday the 10th from my Android phone. I’ve submitted from there before but this time I noticed the Chrome auto-fill wanted to use my gmail address not the address I use to subscribe. I was pretty sure I changed it but I can’t think of any other reason I’d be rejected. I was a little worried when I wasn’t on the pass list!

    • Jim Schooler says:

      I also submitted Manta Ray, last night, but don’t see jimaquaman on the leaderboard. But then again, the last time it was updated was yesterday at about 4 p.m. ET. I also have an android. Time to get an iphone I guess.

      • Eli Selzer says:

        Not sure it’s an Android issue. I submitted via the website yesterday (don’t recall the exact time, but pretty certain it was before the most recent update) and don’t see my name listed, either. I suppose there’s a chance that I submitted SANTA FE instead of MANTA RAY in my haste (having forgotten to submit over the weekend), but I’m pretty sure I had it entered correctly.

        • Evad says:

          Could those of you wondering why your submission wasn’t accepted please check again, as Matt had a bunch left as of yesterday afternoon to verify. If you’re still not on the list, it’s likely you either submitted SANTA FE or left out your nickname in the submission form.

          • Matt Gaffney says:

            My bad — I had verified a bunch yesterday on my phone but looks like it didn’t go through.

            Bret — you and three or four others entered SANTA FE by accident. Sorry but couldn’t give credit!

          • Bret says:

            Doh! I still say it was an Ipod issue, I’m 10 times more likely to make stupid mistakes on my dodgy Ipod than my laptop. I’m just relieved my Week 2 mistake was of that nature instead of not getting the meta.

  4. Jason says:

    Oops, I was so excited I submitted SANTA FE instead of the correct MANTA RAY. I’m not sure what happens in this situation.

  5. Tony says:

    I got the gist of the meta when I saw LARSON DITTY rhymed with Carson City (also the answer to MGWCC #384 There were only 3 remaining two-word capital cities. Not too hard to figure that Santa Fe was the one to rhyme with a sea creature.

  6. MM says:

    I totally missed that all the cities were state capitals, but got lucky with MANTA RAY –> San Jose.

  7. Wayne says:

    I saw the cities but didn’t immediately realize they were state capitals, and so spent a time trying to make PARK/SHARK work. (“Digital wallet for a Man-eater?”)

    • dave glasser says:

      I missed that they were all two words and spent a while trying to see if there was some sort of “fizz shark” for Bismarck (before I, or well, my sister, got the answer).

  8. sandirhodes says:


    As a native Iowan, I can tell you that the local pronunciation is closer to “duh MOYNE”

    Some less educated use the dreaded “Dee Moynes” or even “Dez Moynes”

    Ugh! Brrrrr….

  9. Garrett says:

    FlattenLuge did it for me

  10. Jon says:

    I got stuck on the sea monster aspect. “Could it be Kraken for Akron? Naw, that’s not a state capital.” So I settled on Charybdis for Columbus.

  11. CC says:

    In a Chicago accent Des Moines and pho coin sound pretty similar. Basically Duh Moyne and Fuh Coyne.

  12. Makfan says:

    I also had the aha moment with FLATTEN LUGE. PHO COIN gave me pause because my Vietnamese friends pronounce it a little differently from PHU but I finally decided that COIN could only rhyme if we used Des Moines. Then it was off to a list of capitals and lots of saying the city out loud until I thought of a ray.

  13. Garrett says:

    On PHO COIN that would actually be Phở and that is pronounced “fuh,” which goes with “duh — as in Des Moines. According to Wikipedia, it is named after the Des Moines River, which may have been adapted from the French Rivière des Moines, meaning “River of the Monks.” In French you would not pronounce the s at the end of Moines, so that goes well with COIN.

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