Matt here, self-blogging for joon because he’s on kid duty today because no school because elections in Massachusetts.
Out title was the syntactically imperfect “As Next Champions” and we were looking for a U.S. city. Could it be Phoenix or Flagstaff? Cincinnati or Sioux Falls? Xenia or Zanesville? Let’s take a look at our themers:
17-A [Bangles hit that was written by Prince (As champions: 2006, 2007)] = MANIC MONDAY.
Also, if you add one letter to THE BANGLES and anagram it you get the band ENGLISH BEAT.
27-A [Supermarket employee who may work at night (As champions: 1994, 1995)] = SHELF STOCKER
44-A [Popular catch in sport fishing (As champions: none so far)] = AMERICAN SHAD. Not to be confused with the show “American Dad.”
59-A [Entrees fit for a king, maybe (As champions: 2017)] = CROWN ROASTS.
Guided by those “As champions” years, 497 solvers realized that the last word of each theme entry anagrams to a pro sports team from contest answer HOUSTON: MONDAY–>DYNAMO (MLS team), STOCKER–>ROCKETS (NBA team), SHAD–>DASH (NWSL team), and of course your 2017 World Series champions, the Houston ROASTS–>ASTROS of Major League Baseball. That was some series, was it not? L.A. vs. Houston, Entertainment $ vs. Oil $! Oil won this time, but it sure was entertaining.
Sadly there was no good anagram for the NFL’s Houston TEXANS, though a disturbing # of solvers suggested ANT SEX as a possibility. I don’t know if that’s even a thing and I’m not Googling it to find out, but there sure are a lot of ants around, so probably. At any rate, the TEXANS did make it into the title, hidden as AS NEXT. I was surprised that neither the Texans nor their predecessor Oilers had ever made it to a Super Bowl. Weird, but football’s not that big in Texas anyway.
Solvers asked if I had a backup puzzle if the Dodgers had won, which I didn’t. I’d come up with this theme and another one for “The Week” magazine that could only be used if the Astros won; after game 5 I was feeling pretty good but not confident enough to write the grids yet. Then Game 6 got me nervous, but after two innings in Game 7 I decided to go for it and wrote both this grid and “The Week” one over the ensuing seven innings. I figured if they weren’t going to score with seven guys on base in the first three innings then it was probably safe since you can’t count on two hit batsmen per inning for very long.
How many stars? Let’s say 4.00 for timeliness, and for having LLAMA and LLANO in the same grid.
Obviously the Oilers aren’t going to get to the Super Bowl with a name that anagrams to “I LOSER”.
Counterargument: Edmonton has won five Stanley Cups
One of the few I have submitted without doing the puzzle.
Could have included WHATLLITCOSTME for the now-defunct Comets, who won the first four WNBA titles (1997-2000).
A smart use of those seven innings! Game 7 was the only dull game in a great series.
Can someone explain the solving process? First week 1 i didn’t get in a long time. Still don’t understand it even with Matt’s explanation. So I get that the second words of the meta answers anagram to a name of a sports team that won a title in the year(s) mentioned in the clue. And I see four different sports leagues. But what does “As” mean in the clues and title and why does anagramming a word in the answer lead me to anagram two words in the title? For example, why couldn’t I anagram another word in the grid? I am confused. Help.
Never mind. I get it now. I see the teams are all from Houston. Didn’t help that I dont follow soccer so never heard of two of the teams.
I was very disappointed in myself on this Week 1. I eventually submitted the right answer after googling the dates, but never saw the anagrams, so it was obvious I missed something basic.
Until reading the writeup, I didn’t know that NWSL was a thing. For that matter, I was thrown for a while because I don’t usually think of MLS as one of the major US sports leagues either.
Couldn’t be happier with the outcome (WS, not the puzzle). I am an Angels fan and we like the Dodgers like Mets fans like the Yankees. Also, for those who watched game 7, you’ll note it was pointed out during the game when it was 5-0 that the only team to ever come from 5 runs down in a potential series-ending game and go on to win the WS is: the Angels. And *still* so.
What’s wrong with a SEXANT?
Umm, it’s not a sexTant?
Sextan Fever is the only thing I could come up with. I never thought of Ant Sex!
Late here. Pretty sure I submitted Houston, but never saw my name on the leader board.
You accidentally put your e-mail address in the username box. I’ll ask Dave to fix.
You’re all set now, Tony.
Well, ant sex googled gives some interesting and not too icky info…a better phrase would be “nuptial flight”. With 13 letters – it could be worked into something??? Then, again, what do I know – I’m not a constructor!
Basically, queens fly, mate with flying males – who die, and then the queens lay eggs the rest of their lives – could be 20-30 years! Who knew!
Very similar to honey bees, exc. that the queen typically only lives about 5 years (and becomes much less prolific in her fertile egg-laying after only a couple of those years). Funny how these drones haven’t figured out the rather significant downside of sex yet, but no one has lived to pass along the information to the others I guess!
Might be better than watching the Texans right now.
I’m from Houston, and was thrilled to see a meta about my city. Go Astros!
The answer was pretty straight-forward, but I was uncertain (and still am) about the repeated use of “As.” I can see now where it provided a chance to include the Texans, but it seemed odd to have “As champions” with a capital A repeated each time. Does that have some meaning that I missed? Or was it just used to make the “As Next”anagram harder to spot?