MGWCC #414

crossword 3:18 
meta less than zero 


hello and welcome to episode #414 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Head Games”. for this week 1 puzzle, matt challenges us to find a seven-letter word ending in a double letter. what’s the theme?

  • {How an agitated person gets “worked” (1)} INTO A LATHER.
  • {ACT Anti-Cavity or Crest Pro-Health (2)} FLUORIDE RINSE.
  • {Emphasizing words (3)} LET ME REPEAT.

1-2-3, lather rinse repeat. we’re looking for shampoo, of course. i’m not sure this could be easier, but hey, it’s week 1. if you’re a friends fan, feel free to pretend i put a youtube link here to phoebe singing her “lather rinse repeat” song.

with only three medium-length theme answers, it’s a relatively unconstrained grid, and matt decided to open it up a little to only 72 words, low enough for a themeless. there’s lots of good stuff in the grid. let’s take a tour:

  • {Country of tennis stars Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg, and also of ABBA and Ikea and Volvo, and I forgot Bjorn Borg in the list of tennis players} SWEDEN. this clue made me laugh. but what about robin soderling? does anybody remember that decade where he was literally the only player ever to beat nadal at the french open?
  • {___-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton” playwright)} LIN. never heard of him/her. what’s “hamilton”?
  • {“Whadja say?”} EXCUSE ME.
  • {Top-grossing movie in the U.S. in 1992} ALADDIN. i did not know that!
  • {Highly unusual, as weather} FREAKISH. i like this word. i don’t like freakish weather, though.
  • {“___ and Cressida” (Shakespeare tragedy)} TROILUS. i have never seen or read this show, but i always appreciate a bit of high culture gracing the grid.

and just for funsies, there’s a quartet of Q’s lined up in a diagonal like a win in connect 4 (but not in 21a, HI-Q). i suspect this is why matt included a few cheaters (producing those 2×2 black squares at the top and bottom of the grid), but those certainly didn’t distract me while solving.

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13 Responses to MGWCC #414

  1. CC says:

    I think this is the quickest I’ve ever got a MGWCC- INTO A LATHER came really early into the solve. I checked the other theme clues and immediately submitted the answer. I thought I might have even been first, but had to settle for third. Makes up for the last 2 weeks which killed me.

  2. Matthew G. says:

    Nice trolling, joon. I finally saw “Hamilton” last week and it’s as good as they say. It references “South Pacific” several times, although not the famous SHAMPOOing scene.

  3. Matt says:

    Thanks, Joon — 483 right answers this week.

    Soderling kind of a jerk sometimes…

  4. Dan Seidman says:

    I did get distracted by the QQQQ. I eventually got past it, but it took me longer than a typical week 1.

  5. Bret says:

    Those instructions are rather wasteful. So here’s how washing your head should go:

    1) x=0
    2) Lather
    3) Rinse
    4) x=x+1
    5) if x = 1 go to 2
    if x > 1 go to 6
    6) end

  6. Gideon says:

    Shampoo for my real friends, …

  7. Daniel Barkalow says:

    This took me forever, because I’d forgotten how standard crossword themes work. Also, my shampoo instructions say: “Apply to damp hair. Leave in three minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.” (And I still haven’t figured out where I’m supposed to go when I leave.)

  8. makfan says:

    I’ve always liked that the French word is SHAMPOOING so when I’m at a hotel in Canada and the bilingual product labels, I can shampoo with shampooing. Or am I shampooing with shampoo?

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