MGWCC #583

crossword 3:03 
meta -1:30 


hello and welcome to episode #583 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Fifty Sense”. i did this week 1 puzzle without the instructions, but it rapidly became quite clear what we were looking for anyway. what are the theme answers?

  • {Orange County city (which doesn’t make California the meta answer so don’t submit just yet…)} COSTA MESA.
  • {SUV since 2004} HYUNDAI TUCSON.
  • {“The Lady in the Lake” novelist, 1943} RAYMOND CHANDLER.
  • {Youngest member of a famous group of acting siblings} SUMMER PHOENIX. river and joaquin are considerably more famous. is there another one? i want to say yes. something like rain?
  • {Minivan with five doors} KIA SEDONA.

so as the COSTA MESA clue makes clear, and the clue {State that is not the meta answer but fit nicely into the grid so whatever} for UTAH in the fill reinforces, we’re looking for a u.s. state. chandler is probably the most obscure of these, but MESA, TUCSON, SEDONA, and most obviously PHOENIX are all cities in arizona, which is obviously the answer.

if there were ever a week 0 meta, this would be it. arizona’s a reasonable choice, though. there aren’t that many states with 4 or 5 cities that can be turned into theme answers like this. COSTA MESA is a little clunky, in that it’s also just a city name, and frankly not an especially familiar one, but that’s about the only blemish here. you can’t really get FLAGSTAFF or TEMPE or YUMA to work, and those are about the only arizona cities as famous as some of the ones in the theme already. (glendale, i guess, but there’s an equally large glendale in california, which would confuse the matter somewhat.)

in the fill, i enjoyed {“I did it!”} YAY ME and its counterpart {“Sorry about that”} MY MISTAKE, didn’t love {Happy people} SMILERS, and wondered if {“___ bin müde” (German for “I’m tired”)} ICH was matt the dad of a toddler projecting onto matt the crossword constructor. i had one of those moments (i think somebody once gave this a name but i’ve forgotten who or what) where i tried IRKED for {More than annoyed}, which turned out to be IRATE, but then IRK itself popped up later, clued as just {Annoy}. i suppose that’s accurate enough, and if i had taken the time to weigh the merits of the two possibilities, i could have come to the conclusion that “more than” suggested that IRKED wasn’t strong enough. but it was quicker just to check the crossings.

that’s all for me. have a great tuesday!

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11 Responses to MGWCC #583

  1. David R says:

    The goal of this meta was to create a record number of solves, did we get it?

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 655 right answers this week, which I think ties the record. 0 incorrect answers, which also ties a record.

    Week 1/5 is supposed to be easier than a Week 1/4, so you might call the idea Week 1/5 a Week 0.75.

  3. Jonesy says:

    Was there any hidden hint within the title? I missed it if so

  4. ajk says:

    Joon: maybe you’re thinking of the Andrea Carla Michaels coinage ‘malapop?’

    Referenced in the comments here, though I’m too lazy to dig up the original:

  5. Jack Sullivan says:

    If the puzzle were built around these themers, it might not set a record

    Headline site. Front page.

    Pleistocene giant. Woolly mammoth.

    Convent bigwig. Mother Superior.

    Mork man. Robin Williams.

    “You must agree, Surely Uma.
    Ms. Thurman”.

    Dick Burton’s flame. Liz Taylor

  6. Ed says:

    “Winslow” in some form would have made a good clue. I’d rather have it than Chandler. Just take it easy. ;-)

  7. Bret says:

    Colorado would work for this type of theme as well, in fact that was the Gaffney meta in the instructions page for one of his compilation meta books. Answers involved Denver (John Denver I’m pretty sure), Golden, Aurora and Boulder. But as far as I’m concerned, he can do 50 of these. I love this theme

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