MGWCC #566

crossword 2:07  
meta 0:30 


hello and welcome to episode #566 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “The Big Picture”. this is week 1 of gentle april. i usually try week 1 puzzles without the instructions, so i’ll be doing that all month. this puzzle was small (only 13×13) and there are four theme answers arranged in pinwheel fashion:

  • {“Inside Out” character voiced by Richard Kind} BING BONG. let me tell you: i bawled my eyes out when (uh, spoiler alert) BING BONG died. and then afterwards, i felt emotionally manipulated by the whole experience. i did not feel as if i had been emotionally manipulated when i bawled my eyes out at the end of toy story 3, and now i can’t quite put my finger on why. i do think it’s more satisfying than inside out, but it deals with a similar theme of what kids leave behind when they grow up. (along similar lines: knuffle bunny free. i can’t even with that one.)
  • {Will Shortz’s sport} PING-PONG. okay, but just don’t tell will you called it that.
  • {Doorbell’s sound} DING DONG.
  • {Having a rising and falling rhythm, as someone’s voice} SING-SONG.

right, so what’s the meta answer? this seems like the kind of theme where the meta answer is a more famous example that would make a good extra theme answer, and the title (which has no obvious relationship to the theme) is another nudge in that direction. i had to run about half the alphabet before landing on KING KONG, which fits the title very well and is conspicuously absent from the theme—although it’s pretty cute that {Actress Wray of old Hollywood} FAY is crossing {Flip out} GO APE in the exact center of the grid. not a coincidence, i’m sure!

with only four 8-letter theme answers plus the easter egg, this puzzle is light on thematic content, which is likely why matt chose to downsize to a 13×13 canvas for it. good choice, i think, because it would have felt weird to have a full-sized 15×15 grid with so little theme material.

clue that caught my eye: {Expression that becomes a U.S. state with one letter changed} OH NO. can you think of any others? i came up with some partials like I OWE, but not a fully formed expression. (well, there’s UH NO, but let’s say it has to be another state.)

that’s all i’ve got this week. fun puzzle!

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to MGWCC #566

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 653 right answers this week.

    Week 2 will be a 17×17. Not trying to even out the sizes, it just happened that way.

    • BarbaraK says:

      Wow! That’s great. Is that a record?

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        No, I’ve published 19x19s and 21x21s before

        • Jonesy says:

          I might be missing something but I think the question was if 653 correct is a record for the MGWCC. I’d guess the record is more like 750 but you’d know better of course!

          • BarbaraK says:

            Yes, I meant the number of solvers. 653 is the highest I’ve seen, but I’ve only been subscribing for 2 1/2 years.

            • Matt Gaffney says:

              Oh sorry, I was multitasking. I believe 723 is the record for the pre-subscription era and that this 653 is a new record for the subscription era (old one was 651).

  2. Lance says:

    Thought this was a lovely example of a straightforward, pleasantly-constructed Week 1.

    (Note to Joon: “UH NO” does not become a state with one letter changed.)

    (Note to self: RHONE ISLAND is not a common expression.)

  3. Will Nediger says:

    Is there a genre called ALT SKA?

  4. joon says:

    {Greeting from Wonder Woman} I’M DIANA

    and i just realized there’s an ACPT contestant (in the top 100 every year) whose full name is one letter off from a state.

  5. Mutman says:

    Drivers in Massachusetts public transportation system have to take the ‘T Exam’.

Comments are closed.