MGWCC #532

crossword 2:15 (across lite)  
meta -1 minute 


hello and welcome to episode #532 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Stuff Your Pie Hole”. for this week-2-cum-week-1 puzzle, matt challenges us to name a breakfast food that would’ve made a good seventh theme entry. (i often try to solve week 1 metas without the instructions, and had i remembered that matt had promised to make this week 2 as easy as a week 1 i might have tried to do it again, but i did not remember, so i saw the instructions before starting the puzzle.) what are the six theme entries we already have?

  • {*Cereal pitched by Toucan Sam} FROOT LOOPS.
  • {*One of Homer Simpson’s favorite foods} DOUGHNUT.
  • {*Cereal in a yellow box} CHEERIOS.
  • {*Pasta whose name means “little pies”} TORTELLINI. i like this clue. i had never thought about the etymology before. then again, they’re not very pie-like. i guess it’s called that because pies have filling?
  • {*Dessert in a special pan} BUNDT CAKE.
  • {*There’s sometimes a random one in an order of french fries} ONION RING. that is a funny way of cluing it. i mean, yes, it’s true, but pretty rarely. “random” is rather apt here.

anyway, what do these six foods have in common? they are all topologically equivalent to a torus, that’s what. in less mathematical terms, they all have one hole (so something like swiss cheese or a standard 2- or 3-hole pretzel doesn’t fit). come to think of it, not that many foods are like that, so this is a fairly tight set… but with one notable omission, and that’s the meta answer: the bagel.

are there any other good ones? canned pineapple rings, i guess, but i’m not sure there’s a good canonical name for them that doesn’t duplicated RINGS from ONION RINGS. lifesavers candy is surely worth a mention. is there anything else that could be a legitimate meta answer? i can’t think of any clear-cut alternatives. a coffee mug is (topologically speaking) a torus, but it’s not really itself a breakfast food.

i’d like to think “hole foods” would have been a nice title for this puzzle, but i suppose that title plus the instructions would obviate the crossword itself (although, to be fair, at least two of the six theme answers in the grid are certainly breakfast foods).

that’s all i’ve got this week. hope to see many of you at lollapuzzoola on saturday!

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23 Responses to MGWCC #532

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon — 536 right answers this week, which is much more Week 1/5-like. So we have successfully course-corrected and can look forward to a standard Week 3 this Friday.

    In addition to BAGEL, also accepted APPLE JACKS (8 entries).

    • Austin says:

      almost submitted OREO O’S to see if it would be accepted…

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        No holes in those, are there?

        • LauraB says:

          This 2002 ad suggests that they are indeed toric.

          • Matt Gaffney says:

            Interesting, thx. Had to go back and make sure none of the wrong answers was OREO O’s. They weren’t, but I certainly would have accepted it.

            • Phil Wilcox says:

              Recognized that all of the theme entries were edible and shaped like an “O,” so submitted “oatmeal,” as in o-at-meal. Any consideration?

            • paul coulter says:

              Phil – That’s pretty good. I’d give it to you just for the wit. In race mode for Week 1 or 2, my first thought after filling in frootloops, doughnut, and cheerios happened to be oatmeal, since I was seeing double vowels. Fortunately, I realized there were many possibilities – toast, juice, muesli, etc. – so I pressed on.

  2. Ephraim says:

    I answered bagel with misgivings because (a) it’s not exclusively a breakfast food and (b) there was no click. I thought Joon’s exposition would reveal some meta aspect I’d missed.

    • Wayne says:

      Same. This was the quietest “click” for any MGWCC in my memory. That said, I warmed to it a bit when I was racking my brain trying to think of an alternative answer to submit (just to be…y’know…obnoxious), and was surprised to realize how few toroidal foods there are! Interesting…

  3. Derek Allen says:

    I, too, thought I was missing something. Not all bagels have holes, just as not all doughnuts have holes. But the promise here was that it would be easy, so I put in bagel. Thankfully it was correct!

  4. Did anyone else besides me submit EVERYTHING BAGEL?

  5. Garrett says:

    Another possibility I thought of was Quaker Oats Honey Graham Oh’s. But bagel seemed like the obvious answer.

    • Jim Schooler says:

      Given the willingness of Matt to accept Oreo O’s, Quaker Oats Honey Graham Oh’s would have been acceptable too.

  6. Jimbo says:

    Didn’t submit “Bagel” for the same reason as above… It’s not just for breakfast!

  7. Matt Gaffney says:

    Hey I just realized — we have 532 right answers and it’s puzzle #532! Wild.

    The 536 I reported above wasn’t right, BTW — it was 532.

  8. Jon says:

    Bagel seemed to be the obvious answer. Though I think the meta’s rating gets lowered since there are many other cereals in the shape of a torus (Apple Jack, Oreo O’s, Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Quaker Oats Honey Graham Oh’s, and any of the generic versions of Cheerios or Froot Loops that grocery store chains use to get around copyrights).

    I also hold firm that a week 1 meta ought to be able to be solved solely from the info in the grid.

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