MGWCC #515

crossword 3:08
meta 1 minute 


hello and welcome to episode #515 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Fish Paste Soup”. for this week 2 puzzle, matt challenges us to find the answer to the riddle herein. okay, what’s the riddle? in four parts: WHAT GREEK LETTER / BECOMES A FOOD IF / YOU CHANGE ANY OF / ITS THREE LETTERS?

somewhat unexpectedly, the title is a big hint: the three foods in question are a fish, a paste, and a soup. i thought of the paste first, thinking it had to be POI. that meant the letter could be PHI or PSI, and i quickly settled on PHI, which can give the fish AHI or the soup PHO (yum) in addition to POI.

this is a neat wordplay find and it was a fun solve. i wonder if there are other options that work if you don’t impose the fish/paste/soup constraint? the other three-letter greek letters are ETA, RHO, TAU, and CHI. you can still get PHO from RHO and AHI from CHI, but i haven’t played around with the possibilities enough to figure out if there are enough defensibly food-like things that are one letter away.

bits & pieces:

  • {NBA player’s concern when buying a car} LEGROOM.
  • {101 as of Apr. 26th for I.M. Pei, e.g.} AGE. yup, checks out.

that’s all i’ve got this week. how about you?

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10 Responses to MGWCC #515

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks, Joon. 579 right answers.

    Amusing genesis: I’m typing a clue to PHI in a puzzle, and I notice that PHI could become PHO. My eye goes to the middle letter and I see that PHI could also become POI.

    Heart beating faster as my eye slides over to the first letter, but…nothing. CHI, SHI, THI, tried some of the less likely consonants but oh well, another almost theme that doesn’t quite work out. Cutting-room floor material.

    Wait, last-ditch effort, let’s run the vowels…whoa! I got an AHI moment…

  2. Paul Coulter says:

    I liked the title a lot, since fish paste soup is a real thing in several cultures.

  3. Wayne says:

    I somehow contrived to type an “R” in an unfortunate place and didn’t spot the error until this morning. (You’ve all heard of that famous physicist/copy-editor AMENDEr Avogadro, right?) As a result I spent 24 hours thinking about models of FOrD cars, famous people named FOrD, famous clients of the FOrD Modeling Agency.

    Finally spotted the error on the train this morning. Whew.


  4. teri L says:

    Wonderful! I’m new to the MGWCC and am 2 for 2. But ohhh I fear week 3. ;-)

  5. ajk says:

    LOL was in a hurry and misread ‘ANY’ as ‘ALL’ and was mightily confused. :D

  6. Alex B. says:

    I can’t find too many other words that can become foods if you replace any of their letters. BEAT works if you accept “brat” as short for “bratwurst.” Maybe you can argue for SALE.

  7. Ken Stern says:

    Fish Paste Soup – also a supervocalic.

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