MGWCC #462

crossword 3:11 
meta -1 minute 


hello and welcome to episode #462 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Thanks for Watching”. the instructions for this week 1 puzzle ask us to find a famous actor. (i often try to solve the week 1 puzzle without looking at the instructions, but this week i saw them when i opened the email and forgot to not look.) what are the theme answers?

  • {42-acre Pennsylvania attraction since 1874} PHILADELPHIA ZOO. i thought it was older, since i knew it was the first zoo in the country.
  • {Hit from the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”} DISCO INFERNO.
  • {Have an unpleasant trip to Vegas} LOSE BIG.
  • {Video game opener} SPLASH SCREEN.
  • {Words to a slanderer} “DON’T SULLY MY NAME.” yes, i say that all the time.

that is five tom hanks movies with one-word titles, which is kind of neat. there are three others, none of them especially famous in the tom hanks oeuvre, that didn’t make the cut. can you name them? i’ll give you a hint: cast away is, believe it or not, two words, even though i have never heard anybody pronounce the title of the film as the two-word adjectival phrase (or verb phrase!) as opposed to the one-word noun. despite being wrong, it’s definitely more right than one of the actual right answers.

nifty title this week, as it kind of hides the answer (“t. hanks”) in plain sight. do you remember the fireball puzzle from 2011 where patrick berry and frank longo (or perhaps editor peter gordon) clued USERID as {Thanks for Tom Hanks, maybe?}? good times.

other bits:

  • {Like ballet dancers} LISSOME. this is a strange and beautiful word. i don’t know why it exists, really—it’s from a corruption of lithe + -some, but lithe is already an adjective so it never needed -some in the first place.
  • {“Where You ___” (song from Disney’s “Moana”)} ARE. love this song. hamilton diehards already know this, but moana’s dad (singing voice only) is played by chris jackson (george washington), and the part of one of the villagers is phillipa soo (eliza). basically, once you’re in with lin-manuel miranda, you’re golden.
  • {Brings to a close} WINDS UP. WINDS DOWN also fits this clue. hmm, there may be a theme here.
  • {Goddess described as “rosy-fingered”} EOS. in the opening lines of the odyssey, one of homer’s most famous extended conceits.
  • {Orwellian Amazon product} ECHO. big sister is listening.
  • {Having no set date?} GOING STAG. cute clue, not too tough.
  • {The C in RC Cola} CROWN. almost a stealth theme answer, but also a winking nod to the meta from two weeks ago.
  • {That Great Lake you always see in crosswords} ERIE. another winking nod, this time to the wsj contest puzzle from three weeks ago, whose theme scooped howard barkin’s april fools nyt theme.
  • {“That’s highly doubtful”} “UM, NO.” not sure i’ve ever seen this answer in a puzzle, and i can’t decide if i love it or hate it. definitely a little of both.

that’s all i’ve got this week. fun puzzle!

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8 Responses to MGWCC #462

  1. Matthew G. says:

    My god, was that great Fireball clue really six years ago? I remember it as being much more recent. I’m getting old.

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon. I happen to know that that was Peter’s clue, and I believe it was [What Tom Hanks may be given thanks for].

    578 right answers this week, a new Subscription-Era record.

    DON’T SULLY MY NAME is certainly dubious but there was no way I wasn’t going to use it. 15 letters and mildly amusing, plus recent…can’t…resist…

  3. joon says:

    by the way, here is the answer to my tom hanks trivia question (in rot-13): qentarg, ibyhagrref, chapuyvar

  4. sandirhodes says:

    burn up/burn down
    slide up/down (a bench)

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