MGWCC #415

crossword 3:21 
meta about 10 seconds
(without instructions) 


mgwcc415hello and welcome to episode #415 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Range Finder”. for this week 2 puzzle, matt challenges us to find a six-letter Spanish word familiar to English speakers. what’s the theme? five clues get asterisks:

  • {Stephen King-like weather*} EVENING MIST.
  • {Playground insult, in Ixtapa*} TU MADRE. i wonder if this is actually a genre of joke in other cultures.
  • {Director of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in America”*} SERGIO LEONE.
  • {Seat of Washoe County*} RENO NEVADA.
  • {Carolines on Broadway, notably*} COMEDY CLUB. not familiar with this one. i was distracted by the broadway musical caroline, or change. i don’t even know if that’s a famous musical or if i only remember it because my wife is named caroline.

anyway, the meta isn’t too tough, is it? sierra mist is a brand of soda, sierra madre is a mountain range (actually a few different ranges), sierra leone is a country, sierra nevada is another mountain range, and the sierra club is the conservation society founded by john muir. so the six-letter spanish word we’re looking for is obviously tamale, because man, those are tasty and i haven’t had lunch yet.

this felt more like a week 1, didn’t it? i’ll be curious to see if this gets more correct solves than week 1 did. i guess some of them won’t come up with tamale at the end after finding all those sierras, so maybe not.


  • {Prime minister from 1999 to 2001} BARAK. that’s ehud BARAK of israel.
  • {Greek letter spelled out at airports} ETA. i was definitely imagining somebody waiting to greet a passenger with “YMCA”-like arm motions. just me?
  • {Situated close to} PROXIMAL. i like this word. i’m not sure the “to” in the clue is supposed to be there, though.
  • {Drink that contains neither of the two ingredients it’s named for} EGG CREAM. because SEX ON THE BEACH wouldn’t fit.
  • {Amusing word to say when someone knocks on your door} ENTER. matt must be easily amused.

that’s all i got this week. how’d the puzzle treat you?

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to MGWCC #415

  1. hibob says:

    Rats, I sent in SIESTA because I had just finished my tamale.

  2. J. R. says:

    I must be especially dense. I speak Spanish fluently, but I can see no connection between “sierra” and “tamale”. Would someone please explain?

  3. Icdogg says:

    I was actually stumped for a long time before it hit me. Then I realized I should have seen it right away.

    • Makfan says:

      Count me as another who didn’t see it right away. I set it aside and when I went back to it last night I saw it immediately. Almost forgot to go back and try again.

  4. CFXK says:

    SIERRA came so early and obviously to me in the solve that my mind (obviously without thinking) jumped ahead and started looking for a familiar six letter Spanish word that is commonly paired with SIERRA….

    Then, after about 30 seconds mired in this futile struggle (and as we are wont to say in Eastern Massachusetts), light dawned on Marblehead.

  5. Shuka says:

    Hi Joon,
    I always made a point if reading the meta instructions before doing the cw, to “prime the pump”. I see that you solved without instructions- is this a solving technique, or just something you do to make early-month puzzles more challenging?

  6. Scott says:

    Like Icdogg, I took far too long to get this one. But I got it Sunday afternoon. I would have been embarrassed not to get it.

  7. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon. 438 right answers this week, so not much tougher than Week 1.

Comments are closed.