MGWCC #467

crossword 2:41 
meta 1:00ish 


hello and welcome to episode #467 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Company Directory”. for this week 2 meta, matt asks us for a major American corporation. what are the theme answers? there are four very long across answers, and it turns out that the medium-long across answers (in parallel stacks!) are also thematic.

  • {2:02:57 for the marathon, e.g.} WORLD-RECORD TIME. perhaps not for long!.
  • {Competition won in 1974 by ABBA [meta alert: original name]} EUROVISION. a timely entry, as the finals of eurovision 2017 aired this weekend. i totally missed the parenthetical when i was solving, so it took me a moment to realize this was also a theme answer. (and, of course, its symmetric partner, too.)
  • {Escape unscathed} LAND ON ONE’S FEET.
  • {Secret identity of police dog Penrod Pooch} HONG KONG PHOOEY.
  • {Japan’s second-tallest structure} TOKYO TOWER. i know you’re wondering, so i’ll tell you (after looking it up myself) that #1 is the tokyo skytree, at 2080 feet the tallest tower in the world, and the second-tallest structure of any kind behind only the burj khalifa.
  • {Marlene Dietrich drama that was the highest-grossing movie of 1932} SHANGHAI EXPRESS. i have not see this or, to my knowledge, any other marlene dietrich movie.

well, EURO, HONG KONG, TOKYO, and SHANGHAI are all place names, but what of WORLD and LAND? those two steered me towards DISNEY, and indeed, these six theme answers refer to the six disney theme parks worldwide. (yes, “theme” is part of the theme—is that meta or what?) euro disney is now called disneyland paris—hence the bracketed qualification in the clue.

as somebody who has very little interest in disney generally or theme parks specifically, i thought this wasn’t too tough a meta. i was only dimly aware that disney had theme parks in ASIA (10-down, although it appears to be incidental), and certainly could not have told you the specific cities, but WORLD + LAND + EURO was enough to cinch it for me, and a quick google confirmed it. and, again, this is a meta that google could solve for you if you correctly picked out the relevant parts of the theme answers, which was not at all hard in this case since they’re all at the starts and all geography-related.

in an amusing (to me) coincidence, andy kravis and i appear to have submitted correct answers in the exact same minute, but this week we didn’t work together at all. the mind-meld is nearly complete.

i thought this was a pretty straightforward meta, but i admire the construction of the puzzle. it is no mean feat to stack theme answers of 10+ letters like that, and the ensuing fill is actually quite clean. i’d say there’s more C fill than A+ fill, but there is a surprising lack of D- fill given the constraints. so it’s an impressive puzzle from a structural standpoint.

that’s all i’ve got. what did you think?

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11 Responses to MGWCC #467

  1. e.a. says:

    may or may not have DNF’d. loved the construction!

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon — 345 right answers this week.

  3. PJ Ward says:

    I got sidetracked by 19a. “Waterloo” was the ABBA song that won the Eurovision contest. It was originally titled “Honey Pie.” It seemed a bit much for Week 2, but it kept nagging at me.

  4. Amy L says:

    Google did indeed solve it for me. I googled “Tokyo Hong Kong Shanghai” and an LA Times article on those Disney parks popped right up. It was then that I could see the WORLD, LAND, and EURO connection. I don’t think I would ever have gotten Disney from those three words.

    • ajk says:

      Almost the same except I included WORLD RECORD which fouled up the results a little but still had something about Disney high enough up to notice it.

      I then marvelled at how I had managed to avoid seeing WORLD/EURO/LAND initially. :)

  5. Garrett says:

    I was not able to connect either world or land with Disney — don’t know why that did not occur to me!

    I was trying to figure-out how the theme fill connected to my primary suspicion, which was Victoria’s Secret, owned by L Brands. Victoria’s Secret has stores in London and in Paris, which totally fits the Europe reference in “Euro,” and they have stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

    Other tantalizing connections were that L Brands once owned Express (A well-known clothing store for men and women), and they have a Victoria’s Secret store located at the Tower City Center in Cleveland Ohio, as well as a store at the Westfield World Trade Center, and 1,500 stores worldwide. So that covers all the theme fill save one, and this is what stopped me from going with that: in this context. LANDONONESFEET made no sense.

    So tantalizingly close to feeling I had this one but for that one thing!

    I probably should have gotten the importance of understanding “meta alert: original name” warning on 19A, because Eurovision is still the same name now as it was in 1974, but without getting that Disney Paris was originally termed as Euro Disney Resort it was just… puzzling.

  6. Jim S. says:

    I was stubbornly hung up on geographic reductions in size – world is bigger than land is bigger than Hong Kong is (not) bigger than Shanghai. I googled all of them to try to find somethjnv about the latter 2 and was extremely annoyed at all the Disney noise that google returned. Took me awhile before my head slap moment… I also didn’t pick up on Euro being involved – I thought Matt meant that the original title for the meta was Euro Vision. High marks from me.

  7. slubduck says:

    Also, in a coincidence that perhaps only i noticed?
    5 of the 7 largest stock exchanges in the world are located in or named:
    London (land-on, something was weird here)
    Hong Kong
    that left the 2 largest (nyse and nasdaq) to somehow connect to the other themer (world record), and i couldn’t figure it out. Once again, for me, the title was mis-leading as it cemented my use of the stock exchange idea.

    • Jimmy says:

      I was stuck on ticker symbols for days using similar reasoning. Felt like I was on EXACTLY the right track even though nothing seemed to work.

  8. Tony says:

    I got stuck thinking of the original name of the Eurovision contest (it was orignally called Eurovision Grand Prix). I never recovered, but should have since I’ve been to Disneyland Paris.

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