MGWCC #476

crossword 3:06 
meta 1 minute 


hello and welcome to episode #476 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “I’m Sick of This Heat!”. for this week 2 puzzle, we were looking for a famous song with a six-word title. what are the theme answers? there’s only one obvious one, the central 15: {How the heat makes some people feel…and a hint to finding the meta song} UNDER THE WEATHER. based on this hint, it wasn’t too tough to find the six weather words in the acrosses and look at what was underneath:

  • {Edward in hiding in Moscow} SNOWDEN. underneath SNOW is HAVE, part of {“Give these a try!”} HAVE ONE.
  • {1997 movie directed by Steven Spielberg} AMISTAD. under MIST is EVER, part of {Goes back (to), as an old habit} REVERTS.
  • {Becomes dangerous to drive on} ICES OVER. under ICE is the YOU of {“What ___ say?”} DID YOU. this is kind of an unlovely six-letter partial (normally partial phrases max out at five letters).
  • {Phileas ___, protagonist of “Around the World in 80 Days”} FOGG. under FOG is the THE (actually, a THE) of UNDER THE WEATHER itself. it’s a cute touch that it’s the THE within WEATHER, rather than the standalone THE itself.
  • {Becomes cloudy, as a beer} HAZES UP. that’s not an expression i’m familiar with. what causes beer to haze up? anyway, under HAZE is SEEN, from {“If you’ve ___, you’ve…”} SEEN ONE, an even less lovely seven-letter partial.
  • {Does a Blockbuster employee’s job} REWINDS. under WIND is RAIN (itself another weather word, but in the bottom row so there’s nothing below that) from {Gets the pulp out of, as orange juice} STRAINS.

so we’ve got HAVE, EVER, YOU, THE, SEEN, and RAIN. a slight rearrangement of these forms the title of the CCR hit HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN?, which is the meta answer. and the answer to that question is yes. yes i have. it has rained quite a lot here in the last week.

i liked the idea of literally interpreting UNDER THE WEATHER as a meta mechanism. however, i think going for six stacked theme answers, in addition to the central 15, was just too much for the grid to bear. in addition to using six- and seven-letter partials as theme answers, matt ended up with a considerably less clean grid than i’m used to seeing, so that part of the puzzle wasn’t a great deal of fun. SI/YES, THEN I, SSSS, MARU, GIVE OR, SESH, BES, REUTER, HAS duping HAVE, LAY duping INLAY (and crossing each other!)… this was all rather unfortunate. trying for a shorter answer phrase might have obviated some of these compromises.

on the bright side, i did enjoy {Federer who might win Wimbledon this weekend} ROGER, because you know what? [spoiler alert] that happened, and it was glorious. too bad for marin cilic, who played brilliantly all tournament and then was hobbled by painful blisters in the final.

what’d you all think?

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19 Responses to MGWCC #476

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon. 547 right answers this week, so looks like Week 1 & 2 got switched at birth.

    I spent 90-120 minutes trying to get FOGERTY as the concealer of FOG, which would have been awesome since John Fogerty is the composer and singer of the meta answer. But the crossword gods disallowed it; yes this grid was indeed a bit gnarly, but you should’ve seen the grids that included (FOG)ERTY. Unconscionably gnarly.

    • Dan Seidman says:

      Too bad — that would have been really cool.

    • rmac says:

      Only three Google hits just now for the exact phrase “unconscionably gnarly”–this post and two other pages of nonsense text. We’re witnessing history, folks.

  2. Paul Coulter says:

    Thanks for the earworm, GAFFNEY! I’ve been singing the answer so often since Friday afternoon, my little granddaughter has learned the chorus. But seriously, I loved the mechanism and CCR’s one of my all time favorites. I can think of only a few other bands that have had as many great songs. This was a Muller-worthy meta. Now there’s a switch — usually, we might praise someone else’s work as Gaffneyesque.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      I will take it. In alphabetical order I also accept Agardian, Berryesque, Blindaueresque, Heaneyesque, and Quigleyan, among others.

      • e.a. says:

        Davidsonian/Burnikelesque, even?

        this was a 5-star puzzle for me. the construction was so audacious and the meta so satisfying that i didn’t really mind the smattering of inelegant fill (also, i think SESH is good, and although i don’t want to see this become a crosswordese staple, i got a hell of a kick out of SI/YES)

        • Matt Gaffney says:

          Oh man! I had not seen this. And I had checked! I Googled “crossword fiend” and “under the weather” before constructing but this didn’t come up — and I see why, because all three times Gareth mentioned it in the review he didn’t put spaces between the words but I used the spaces in my Google search.

        • Amy L says:

          I knew it was familiar from a recent puzzle. Perhaps that’s why I knew the trick as soon as I filled in 39A.

      • Jesse says:

        I want to see Agardian in a future puzzle, ideally clued as “Thor’s ethnicity if he lost an ‘s’,” or something like that.

  3. Reid says:

    Matt, did you consider dropping the hint about how to find the meta when cluing Under The Weather? I think that part of the clue made for quite a bright neon arrow pointing out exactly what to do.

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      I did consider making that the title instead of the grid. Maybe I should have. Powerful psychological pressure to keep a 15-letter revealer in the grid, though.

      • Reid says:

        I think it works great as an in the grid revealer, I just wonder if the clue could have stopped at “How the heat makes some people feel”

  4. Laura Braunstein says:

    Re: 8d MARU [Word in Japanese ship names], this conversation:
    Me: I like The Expanse, but it seems like every episode has a Kobayashi Maru.
    Friend: What’s a Kobayashi Mario?
    Me: It’s when you’re forced to kill Luigi.

  5. J B says:

    I felt uncomfortable having to rearrange the words to come up with the song title. I even double checked “HAVE EVER YOU SEEN THE RAIN” to make sure there hadn’t been a hit song by that title. I guess I’m spoiled by the typical perfect elegance of MGWCCs.

    • BarbaraK says:

      I drew a line through the words in order and convinced myself that it looked like a lightning bolt.

      • WeThotUWasAToad says:

        Awesome BarbaraK! I would never have noticed that had you not posted it. I wonder if that was the intent.

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