MGWCC #572

crossword 3:24  
meta less than zero 


hello and welcome to episode #572 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “What’s in a Name?!”. for this week 3 puzzle (with, supposedly, week 2 difficulty), the instructions ask us to find a Best Picture-winning movie. what are the theme answers?

  • {Peaches and cherries, for example (!)} STONE FRUITS.
  • {Governor Doug Burgum, or any of his constituents (!)} NORTH DAKOTAN.
  • {Black-eyed Susans and hostas, e.g. (!)} HARDY PERENNIALS.
  • {Bakery behemoths (!)} SACKS OF FLOUR.
  • {Chance encounter that changed everything, say (!)} TWIST OF FATE.

STONE, NORTH, HARDY, SACKS, and (most relevantly) TWIST are all surnames of famous olivers: filmmaker oliver STONE, iran contra colonel oliver NORTH, comedian oliver HARDY, psychologist/author oliver SACKS, and dickens title character oliver TWIST. so the answer is oliver! (1968), the film version of the musical based on the dickens novel. the exclamation points (including the one in the title) are probably more week 1 than week 2, but certainly a nice touch.

this is a fun meta, and certainly easy enough for a week 2 (even if you didn’t know this film, you could certainly find it in a list of best picture winners, with the ! as a pretty loud hint). it’s ringing a faint bell as a meta that i’ve either seen before or even written a version of myself (!), but i can’t find it in the blog archives and it doesn’t seem to be in my book, which is the place i’d expect to have written it if indeed i had written it.

clue i enjoyed: {Suddenly make perfect sense} CLICK. very appropriate in a meta crossword, as was {Some MGWCC prizes} PENS.

answer i’d never 25d HEARD OF: {Sausage of Eastern Europe} KISHKE. apparently it’s intestine, which, okay, hard pass.

that’s all i’ve got this week. how’d you like this one?

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15 Responses to MGWCC #572

  1. pannonica says:

    I think we’d go with neurologist/author Oliver Sacks.

    • pgw says:

      Don’t forget weightlifter, hallucinogen experimenter, biker … When I had him in a grid of mine recently I just clued him as a “polymath.”

  2. tabstop says:

    It’s a sausage; what are you expecting other than an intestine filled with stuff?

  3. Bill Katz says:

    Kishke is Yiddish – my Dad used to buy it from a Kosher butcher shop. The filling is more like turkey stuffing than the meat you’d expect in an Italian sausage. It also is used to describe your belly/guts such as “He hit me right in the kishkes”

  4. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 545 right answers this week, which means it just barely qualifies as Week 2/5 level. My rule of thumb for five-Friday months is that at least 100 fewer solvers should get the answer from the previous week, and we had 645 in Week 1 so right on the nose!

  5. Seth says:

    I saw Oliver immediately, but thought that was too easy (I’d forgotten it was supposed to be week 2 level, but still), and spent all day trying to see another layer. Quite the headslap moment when I figured it out.

  6. Mutman says:

    At first I tried to find an Emma Stone/Tom Hardy movie. That didn’t work, but then the “Olivers” came and it made sense.

    No way Matt would not accept “Oliver” instead of the correct “Oliver!”.

    A few years back, when the visual meta that revealed YAHOO! (which I did not get) — with the themed ‘ball-and-stick’ for the exclamation point — Matt accepted the simple YAHOO (sans ‘!’). There was no way he would reject the ‘!’-less Oliver.

  7. Matthew G. says:

    My five-year-old son, Oliver, very much enjoyed being the answer to this week’s puzzle. After all the hours he’s lost to his dad staring at MGWCC grids, he feels he earned it.

    This puzzle inspired me to show Oliver the movie “Oliver!” over the weekend. I didn’t remember it too well, but it was rated G (in fact, it is to date still the most recent G-rated movie to win Best Picture). So I figured, why not? After viewing, I think there is no way it would get a G rating today. The depiction of domestic violence by Bill Sikes against Nancy would get it a PG or even a PG-13, I suspect.

  8. Harry says:

    FWIW, Oliver Sacks was a neurologist not a psychologist. Big difference.

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