MGWCC #561

crossword 3:11  
meta 1 minute 


hello and welcome to episode #561 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Title Search”. i did this week 1 puzzle without the instructions. what are the theme answers? four long answers (one split into two parts) are “colorful” puns on book titles:

  • {Margaret Atwood novel about the color a servant wears?} THE HANDMAID’S TEAL (tale). i have somehow never gotten around to reading this book. i should really rectify that.
  • {Thomas Hardy novel about how underused a certain color is?} JADE (jude) THE OBSCURE. i’ve been less tempted to read this one.
  • {Madeleine L’Engle novel about a light-colored piece of clothing that needs to be ironed?} A WRINKLE IN LIME (time).
  • {With 68-Across, Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel about a certain color’s usefulness in fighting off disease?} OLIVE (love) IN THE TIME OF / CHOLERA.

all of these colors are shades of green, and they are all book titles, so i figured green book was likely to be the (topical!) meta answer. and indeed, the instructions ask for an Oscar-winning movie of 2018, and green book very much fits the bill there.

quite a straightforward theme, fitting for a week 1, but an interesting play on the a very now title, and the theme answers did amuse me. it’s also quite impressive how matt stacked CHOLERA right below the end of OLIVE IN THE TIME OF without resorting to anything ungainly in the fill. the grid is 16-wide to accommodate the theme, and overall it’s a pretty nice grid, although the abbreviation AUST registered on the scowl-o-meter.

other bits:

  • {“Free Solo” climber ___ Honnold} ALEX. speaking of 2018 oscar films! i didn’t know this name, though. not really my kind of film. i have seen neither it nor just plain solo.
  • {French version of the name “Stephen”} ÉTIENNE. i always wonder how close is too close when you are using a cognate to clue a foreign word or name. this one feels okay; obviously if the answer were STEFAN it would be bad. ESTEBAN is somewhere in the middle.

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

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8 Responses to MGWCC #561

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks, Joon — 616 right answers this week.

  2. Garrett says:

    I guess I need to remember that a 2018 movie could be awarded an Oscar in 2019.

    • sharkicicles says:

      Actually, they all are. The eligibility for the 2019 Oscars rule is a film shown “for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County” for a certain length of time. “The required Los Angeles County qualifying run must begin between January 1, 2018, and midnight of December 31, 2018.”

    • Rebecca Oliver Webber says:

      Same here!

      • sharkicicles says:

        Yeah I always get confused so that’s why I ended up looking it up- the “201x Oscars” are for movies in the year “201x – 1.” But then again, I’m sure even some writers get that wrong, too, so it’s very confusing.

  3. Ben says:

    One of the easier ones in recent memory, though with a string harder metas lately, I’ll take it! I think the most difficult part might be realizing that a “2018 Oscar Winner” means the movie was released in 2018, even though the award is given in 2019.

    • Matthew G. says:

      The moment I saw the instructions, I suspected there would be a non-negligible number of solvers who get this wrong because they think we’re dealing with the Oscars awarded last year.

  4. Jim S. says:

    I was thrown for a second, trying to find a famous novel called “ Panther” or “ Klansman”, given that they both won Oscars and had the color in the title. Didn’t waste more than a few seconds on it, though, when the shades of green became clear. I did wonder if some of the misses were related to these other movies with “Black” in the titles.

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