MGWCC #599

crossword 3:43 
meta 1 day 


hello and welcome to episode #599 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Directors Meeting”. matt’s instructions this week tell us to look for a well-known movie of the 1990s. (more on this later.) okay, what are the theme answers? well, there aren’t any obvious ones in the grid—no long answers, and nothing explicitly clued as being thematic. but it didn’t take me very long to notice the first names of a bunch of people named MILLER in the grid:

  • {“Curb” role} CHERYL. not a show i watch, but CHERYL miller is a basketball superstar of the 1980s.
  • {Pal of Archie and Veronica} REGGIE. REGGIE miller is CHERYL’s younger brother, and a hall-of-fame basketball player in his own right.
  • {Hopper in Hollywood} DENNIS. DENNIS miller is the SNL comedian, later monday night football commentator/ranter.
  • {Burnt ___ (classic Crayola color)} SIENNA. SIENNA miller is an actress who was engaged to jude law. i can’t actually name anything she’s been in off the top of my head; to me she’s more famous for being in celebrity gossip headlines than for being in actual movies and such. sorry! here, let’s rectify the situation. she was in alfie (2004) with law. later, she had larger roles in g.i. joe: the rise of cobra, american sniper, and the girl, for which she was nominated for bafta and golden globe awards.

so that’s four millers. are there more millers? should millers mean something to me? based on the title, i thought perhaps there might be a famous 1990s movie directed by two people named miller. i did some digging, but this does not appear to be the case.

more millers, though? sure. there are a whole bunch of other first names in the grid, and a second pass revealed some millers i didn’t know and some millers i just missed the first time.

  • {Richie of “Fashion Star”} NICOLE. NICOLE miller is a fashion designer. i did not know her. this crosses CHERYL at the C.
  • {Portend} BODE. BODE (pronounced differently from the verb) miller is a former olympic skier. i did know him.
  • {“Understood”} ROGER. ROGER miller is a country singer i have perhaps barely heard of. he crosses BODE at the O.
  • {Third person to orbit the Earth} GLENN. GLENN miller is a big band leader. definitely famous, and i should’ve noticed him the first time. he crosses DENNIS at an N.

so that’s eight millers, in four crossing pairs. in order from top to bottom, those crossing letters spell out OCNE. that’s intriguing—it’s almost ONCE and it’s almost COEN. the latter seemed more relevant, because there are two famous directors named COEN who were active in the 1990s. not only that, one of the other entries {Role for Bridges} THE DUDE is the main character of a different coen brothers movie (the big lebowski), and the entry {Cynical genre} NOIR is a frequent genre for them. could this be a nudge toward the right answer?

well, i googled list of coen brothers films and immediately found it: miller’s crossing, a 1990 coen brothers movie i just did not know at all. it has to be right, but i just wasn’t familiar with it, and the instructions had led me to believe that the answer would be a film that would be more universally familiar.

so, ok—this meta was interesting and good but not great. i wish COEN had been spelled out in order either from left to right (CNOE) or, better yet, top to bottom (OCNE), because that would have made more sense than … i guess it’s clockwise? i wish the answer had been more famous, or failing that, if “well-known” had just not been included in the instructions. i still don’t know if THE DUDE and NOIR are intended as hints (apparently miller’s crossing is indeed a noir) or just coincidences. (i also thought PAIR UP, located symmetrically opposite DENNIS, might be a theme hint as well.) some of the millers are more famous than others, and since it’s a very common surname, i think there’s some gray area in terms of which millers are famous enough to be theme answers. indeed, ANYA is in the grid, also crossing CHERYL, and i know somebody named anya miller (several of you do, too), although she is not (yet!) famous enough to be a meta theme answer. EPHRAIM is there in the same section and there are people named EPHRAIM miller, of course, although again, not necessarily famous ones.

so, some less-than-satisfying loose ends, but still an interesting meta. did you like it more or less than i did? let’s hear from you in the comments.

happy thanksgiving!

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66 Responses to MGWCC #599

  1. johnstonteacher says:

    I enjoyed this one, although I agree that Miller’s Crossing falls a little short of being “well known”. It’s an excellent movie.

    I read THE DUDE as a subtle hint to get solvers thinking about the Coen brothers.

  2. Tyler Hinman says:

    I’ve heard of Miller’s Crossing only through Drew Magary’s Jamboroo article on Deadspin (RIP); he would just throw in a quote from it at the end of every one. Was enough to give it to me immediately once I finally noticed all the names last night.

  3. Garrett says:

    I liked it less than you did.

    • PJ says:

      Same for me.

      In all fairness it did win the critic’s award at the second Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.

  4. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 185 right answers this week.

    It’s interesting about the order of COEN in the grid; when I have four squares to highlight in a grid, I normally put them in clockwise order starting in the upper-left, as here (and also here from a few weeks ago). But it sounds like solvers would expect a Z shape in the grid to be more logical, as you say here, so maybe I need to start arranging them that way.

    • C. Y. Hollander says:

      When you have large numbers to highlight, you usually do it left to right and/or top to bottom, so I think it makes sense to follow that convention even with smaller numbers.

    • Todd Dashoff says:


      Did you specify that the film was from the 1990’s to exclude solvers guessing “We’re the Millers”? I know that the actual answer works better, but without specifying the year, the latter title might have served as a trap for the unwary solver.

  5. C. Y. Hollander says:

    Hmm. I noticed the unusually high number of names (and first names in particular) in the puzzle, but not enough of these Millers were familiar to me for it to trigger anything. Reggie Miller is really the only one whose name came to mind (I’d heard of Bode Miller before, but he didn’t ring a very loud mental bell). Even having two of the Millers come to mind might have been enough to trigger some targeted Googling; certainly three would have been, but without having the Miller connection in mind at all, a collection of first names is not enough to go on.

    I also tried looking at crossings of first names on their own, but Matt was deviously subtle in including IGOR crossing ROGER. If you don’t know the particulars of what first names you are looking for, IGOR naturally seems like a likelier example of one than does BODE, so I didn’t get anywhere with that either.

    I give this three-and-a-half stars. Some nice ideas and construction marred some by the difficulty of finding the pattern without some prior familiarity with mainly B-list celebrities.

    • David says:

      Same. Of the 8 Millers, I am certainly familiar with Dennis, and probably with Bode, but I don’t think I had heard of any of the other 6, so there was really no hook for me here to get anywhere. Especially with two of them clued as just words, rather than names, pushing me away from using them as proper names in the meta—with most of them clued as people, it seems like it’s normally reasonable to assume that they all will be. But maybe I am over-relying there on a rule of thumb I made up.

      I think I am generally less excited with metas that rely on (for me, marginal) pop culture or similar trivia, as you could find yourself a bit left out if you don’t happen to already know whatever it’s based on, and there isn’t necessarily a way to “get better” at solving them. There’s obviously subjectivity in there, and if the trivia was in my wheelhouse I would probably love it, but there you go.

  6. pgw says:

    In the end I liked this one about the same, for about the same reasons, as joon – though I certainly knew the film. But it took me an (in retrospect) embarrassingly long time to find it. I was stuck all weekend, and most of Monday, on the red herring that several of the clues start with movie titles, some of which have famous directors. (Contact – Zemeckis; Wall Street – Stone; Bird – Eastwood; and others, though not with directors as famous, unless you add “The” to “Post” to get Spielberg.) Obviously there are LOTS of words, or short phrases, that are movie titles, and these clues’ arrangement in the grid, the lack of a Z anywhere but in the clues, etc. made it seem pretty unlikely that this was the right track, but I just couldn’t get off it – even though the title, and the The Dude reference, had me thinking about the Coens from the very beginning.

    When I finally saw it I didn’t even really see it at first, I just started looking for ways all those first names in the grid could be relevant. I had Roger [Moore or Stone] paired up with famous directors; Ephraim Hanks (?); and was hunting around for other possibilities when it occurred to me that, huh, a lot of these names could be Miller … It was especially annoying not to have seen it sooner because I had thought about Bode Miller early on, and Reggie and Cheryl should have been obvious (not least because of my love of this delightful story:

    Definitely a Gaffney-style SAD (simple and difficult). 4-ish stars, because of some of the loose ends joon mentioned.

  7. sharkicicles says:

    I had a list of first names written out, and connected REGGIE with Jackson, and connected that to director Peter Jackson, so started trying to find other directors with the same last names as other names in the grid.

    My list definitely had IGOR and not BODE in it, though.

    • pgw says:

      I had the same thought with Reggie Jackson ->Peter Jackson – especially since “Slugger Reggie,” made of crossing entries (an obvious idea in light of the title) would have been a good clue for Jackson. Of course, that led nowhere …

      • Les Yonce says:

        The same idea occurred to me as well, although thankfully I stuck with the crossing technique despite its not panning out. Future meta idea maybe.

    • anjhinz says:

      I got stuck here too… also I couldn’t get over EPHRAIM somehow translating into (Nora) EPHRON + (Sam) RAIMI. Beyond that, I was only familiar with 3 Millers, made this super tough.

    • I fell into the same hole. Plus, ARAGON being one letter off from ARAGORN in LotR seemed like it was possibly another oblique hint towards Peter Jackson.

      The only Miller of the eight I’ve even heard of was BODE, so I was nowhere close to being able to get this one.

  8. Matthew G. says:

    To the inverse of joon, I know the movie Miller’s Crossing quite well, but knew less than half of the Millers in the grid (knew only Dennis, Bode, and Glenn). Well, I know who the comics character of Reggie is, but had forgotten his surname.

    Not my favorite MGWCC, but even Homer nods. On to next week.

  9. john says:

    Lord. Miller’s Crossing is my favorite of the excellent Coen brother’s films. I tried googling Reggie, Cheryl, and Dennis and kept getting Miller and thought, no, not athletes, i want actors or directors and moved on. Feel so stupid. I love Lebowski too and thought of the Coen Brothers films and it just wouldn’t bite. If I’d known Sienna or Nicole Miller I might have broken through. I love the meta. 5 stars.

  10. Joe says:

    I kept looking at the square segments upper left, upper center, upper right and i just kept seeing anagrammed names of famous directors. Hi, Nora Ephron, Spielberg, Akira Kurosawa! No way I’m able to unsee you! And look down below! Hi, Renoir and Cameron! You’d make a great movie together if one of you wasn’t dead!

    Forgive the exclamation points. I’m just bitter. I had no chance with this one, having only heard of three of the eight Millers.

    • pgw says:

      I feel like every time it’s hard to find the entry point to an MGWCC, this page features at least one comment about how seemingly relevant stuff showed up in anagram form in random blobs around the grid. That’s never been an MGWCC mechanism and it would be a bad one, because – as the proliferation of these kinds of comments shows – a crossword grid is *always* going to contain such blobs. (The excellent “chokepoint” puzzle a while back did have blobs of letters anagramming to stuff, but they were in suggestively cordoned-off areas of the grid.)

      I saw Ephron, Spielberg, and Cameron too – but never seriously considered that mechanism, and I feel like it’s pretty safe to say that you should always reject that as a possible meta mechanism. If there’s a significant *shape* involved, it might work – but just “the letters of spielberg are all clustered together in this blobby area here” is, I think, pretty much always going to be a dead end.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks, and yeah. I knew it was the wrong track. I’ve been doing these for a while. I just could not unsee the fact that one blob anagrammed to Spielberg Doritos. Life does go on. Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate!

    • Tyler Hinman says:

      Yeah, I tried to make SPIELBERG and CAMERON turn into something too, but it was just too arbitrary.

  11. Crossedpurposes says:

    Spent far too much time overthinking Ephraim being a mash up of Ephron and Raimi, but got it with help in the end.

    • Andrew Bradburn says:

      I saw this too. Also, in the GLENN/DENNIS crossing, if you remove the N where they cross, you get directors John Glen and Claire Denis. That cost me a lot of time trying to find other directors crossing each other with an extra letter. I finally got it when I filled the grid a second time with just the first names, and only then did the plethora of people named Miller jump out at me. Perhaps being a film buff was a hindrance this time out — I also noticed that if you remove a G from REGGIE, you get the German credit term for ‘(film) direction’, and having seen a ton of foreign films, ‘Regie’ and film director are forever linked in my brain.

  12. Myelbow says:

    Don’t know what to tell you guys–MILLER’S CROSSING absolutely qualifies as “a well-known movie,” and the Millers whose names Matt uses in this grid are all famous enough to be legitimate elements of the meta. It’s a solid puzzle!

    • Lance says:

      Once I had the crossing Millers, I recognized the movie MILLER’S CROSSING immediately, even though I’ve never seen it, so I’m not going to argue that the movie isn’t well-known enough. And…yes, all eight of the Millers are famous people; I’m not going to argue that Dennis Miller or Cheryl Miller isn’t famous enough to be an element of a meta.

      BUT. Those two facts don’t make this a solid puzzle.

      The problem for me was that while Dennis Miller may be famous, he’s hardly the only famous Dennis. While Cheryl and Reggie Miller may be famous, I’ve never heard of them, so their presence wasn’t going to help me break into the meta. I know exactly who Dennis Miller and Glenn Miller are, but the fact that they crossed in the grid wasn’t a way to break in: there are literally 184 pairs of entries that cross, so why would I have looked at that one in particular? In the end, I got it by looking at the grid out of the corner of my eye and thinking, “BODE is an odd word; there’s an athlete named Bode Miller. Hm, and there’s a Sienna Miller….?”

      The reason I don’t think this is a solid puzzle is that, in a grid full of noise, there’s nothing here to lead you to the signal. Contrast with Friday’s WSJ, where there were six long entries to consider; here, there’s just…a whole bunch of words. And “famous enough to include in a meta” doesn’t mean “famous enough to *point to* a meta”.

      • pgw says:

        > in a grid full of noise, there’s nothing here to lead you to the signal

        But … you solved it, because you recognized Bode and Sienna – things that are in the grid – as words that could also be the names of people who have the same surname. That is to say – two of the bits of noise in the grid did indeed end up leading you to the signal! It seems weird that you would then say what you say above.

        • Lance says:

          “But you solved it” doesn’t feel like much of a defense. Sure, I solved it, but it felt more or less by luck, not by reasoning. I’d spent a lot of time on reasoning already–trying to read circles around the isolated black squares in the middle of the grid (because what a weird grid shape–no answers longer than seven letters?); considering the REGGIE/SLUGGER crossing other people have mentioned; looking for N/S/E/W squares (maybe “directors meeting” meant “the meeting of letters that direct you”); considering the one-letter-missing nature of LEMONDE to “lemonade” and ARAGON to “aragorn”…. I mean, sure, that last one was pretty random, but so is “Dennis is the first name of a famous Miller”, until you see others that work that way too.

          So, yeah, I solved it. But I’ve missed several MGWCC metas this year, and often when I do, I look at the answer with the feeling “but how were you supposed to see that?” (My reaction to this was basically the same as my reaction to one I missed several months ago: The fact that I stumbled across the signal while looking at noise does not, to my mind, make this a “solid puzzle”.

          • Matt Gaffney says:

            I did leave the hint of “meeting” in the title, which suggests crossings (as does the lack of long fill). And from there, names are a logical place to look.

            Hidden, yes, but not entirely hintless.

          • Ken Stern says:

            It’s a solid puzzle. There are a bunch of first names in the grid, and the “meeting” in the title did suggest crossings to me, though it took me a bit to get there. Ideally EPHRAIM and IGOR wouldn’t have been there, but oh well. It’s week 4 after all.

          • pgw says:

            While I *do* think this was a solid puzzle, I am perfectly happy to agree to disagree about that. I just thought it was especially odd that you literally said “there’s nothing here to lead you …” despite having just described how things that were there led you.

      • Mark says:

        Well stated critique of the shortcomings of this kind of meta. The logic looks OK from the rearview mirror, once you have solved it or created it, but not so great coming to it cold.

        • pgw says:

          To each his own; for my money if you can say about a puzzle, “the logic looks OK from the rearview mirror, once you have solved it or created it, but not so great coming to it cold,” usually you will have described not a shortcoming, but a virtue.

  13. Katie says:

    I know somebody named Anya Miller!

  14. Jon says:

    I think this meta was amazing; especially since I think Matt has referenced “Miller’s Crossing” in the clues for a few of his metas. For me, all the first names in the grid got me to examine them all – and the fact that Nicole (miller) & Sienna (miller) were placed in crossword symmetry felt like a pretty noticeable nudge from Matt. Perhaps I watch too many movies but Sienna Miller was the first Miller that popped out to me. And then as a fan of the winter Olympics, BODE also popped out at me. But it took me about a day to realize that they were ALL Millers. For a second I thought Matt was aiming for “We’re the Millers” but thanks to his decade direction- and that all the Millers crossed each other – “Miller’s Crossing” was obvious to me. In fact, it wasn’t until I read this review did I realize COEN was also clued in the crossing letters (though I should have looked at that).

    The only hesitation I had was whether or not 1990 belong in the 90s decade or not.

    5 stars.

  15. Jim S says:

    CAMEIN and RADIOIN in the southeast did me in. I figured Matt had to duplicate “IN” for meta purposes, so I also looked at PAIRUP, WALKOUT, and SNIPEAT (entries with small second words). The opposite of snipe could be LAUD, PAIR’s opposite could be ONE, but that’s where that ended. Then the anagramming… WALK almost shows up elsewhere in AWLS; same with CAME and ACRE. PAIR shows up in PERSIA and EPHRAIM. But nothing for RADIO or SNIPE. Well, ROGER is related to a RADIO, and SET is related to PAIR. I thought duplicating words in crosswords was taboo, even 2 letter words, so I figured IN (or the words in front of the 2 INs) was critical to the meta and never looked elsewhere. Oh, well.

  16. Gideon says:

    Sorry, I’m going to come down on the critics’ side for this meta.

    Personally I saw the abundance of names, and was immediately looking for crossing names – for about two days of fruitless googling. I “got” it via inadvertent help from a friend.

    My criticism focuses on the following:
    a. The large majority of the Millers are hardly A-listers. At my level of pop culture familiarity, I did not click on Millers (as Joon e.g. did). I would argue that would require quite above-average pop culture chops. I haven’t done the homework, but I think most of these people don’t show up in common crossword fill.
    b. Some of them (bode) are not even recognizable as first names unless you know the person.
    c. An abundance of red-herring names, leading to a deeply negative signal-to-noise ratio.
    d. As a result, even grasping the basic mechanism, normal google skills do not easily reveal the connection.
    e. Top it off with a movie I’ve not heard of, and I would be interested to see if most people would classify it as well-known.

    Bottom line – good mechanism, but vague content + heavy misdirection resulted in a frustrating experience for me.

    • pgw says:

      > The large majority of the Millers are hardly A-listers.

      This is nonsense.

      Bode Miller is the best skier who ever lived.
      Cheryl Miller is maybe the best or second-best female basketball player who ever lived.
      Reggie Miller is in the basketball hall of fame and one of the top 3-point shooters of all time.
      Roger Miller recorded one of the most famous standards in American popular music.
      Glenn Miller was the most popular recording artist of his day; in four years’ time he had more top ten singles than the Beatles had in their entire career.
      Dennis Miller is the most iconic host of SNL’s weekend update, and probably the comedian best known for being a reactionary jerk.

      This puzzle had shortcomings, but “the Millers weren’t famous enough” is not one of them.

      • C. Y. Hollander says:

        Despite how emphatic you are about your opinion, I have to disagree. I’m sure that Gideon meant “A-lister” in the sense of overall fame, not merely eminence in one’s field and even if she’s the best or second-best female basketball player who ever lived, Cheryl Miller is nonetheless not a household name. The same goes for bygone musicians, however famous in their day. Glenn Miller is still somewhat well-known, but calling him an A-list celebrity nowadays is rather a stretch.

        I would wager that if you polled a random sampling of Americans about the Millers in this puzzle, the decided majority of them would be able to identify fewer than half. Just look at how many posters here were unfamiliar with many of these names.

        • Hector says:

          pgw has vast pop and non-pop cultural knowledge, so . . . But I’d bet this is also age and sports-fandom related. I’m a tail-end Boomer, and Glenn Miller and Roger Miller were familiar as music of my parents’ generation, played on oldies radio. Reggie and Cheryl are roughly my age and played hoops when I was paying attention to that (Reggie announces now, though, and so is known to all fans of today’s NBA). Dennis Miller is an 80’s SNL cast member, known later mainly to football fans. Nicole Miller, nuff said. Bode and Sienna are of more recent eminence, it’s true.

          So I had a clear leg-up on younger (and sports-ignoring) solvers for this one, and still the list of first names that I had been staring at since starting on the meta took hours to suggest “Miller.” That means that this was a hard but very fair meta for me (the best kind), maybe much harder and less fair for younger solvers who are not sports fans.

          (I checked out the movie last night & found it plenty good but not as top-of-their-game as later Coen bros.)

        • David Harris says:

          Just gotta echo this—I know that we are trying to move away from “I did not know it so it is too obscure” in puzzle construction and criticism, but “I knew it and therefore it is well-known” does not seem any more valid. If any of these Millers were used as clues in a puzzle, I’d figure it out and likely not blink. But using them as hooks for a meta requires solvers to have a strong recognition of and/or link to the celebrities, and clearly lots of folks didn’t have that, which gave them little to work with. You can obviously disagree with that criticism, but it’s almost sounding like you’re telling us we’re wrong for not having heard of these people or something.

      • Mark says:

        “This is nonsense.” is not called for. Maybe say “I disagree, my feeling is different.” You are one person and not the arbiter of the boundary of nonsense. In the age of anonymity on the internet, it is all too easy to to throw out personal opinions as though they were facts. The experience of other people is not your experience and you speak only for a city with a population of one.

      • bwouns says:

        Except for Nicole Miller. I looked her up while solving and I already forgot who she is. Also I would say two basketball players is one too many.

    • Alex B. says:

      According to one methodology*+miller&searchtype=simple&source=Wiki+%2B+Wiktionary&first=1
      six of these Millers are in the top 30. Only Cheryl and Nicole didn’t make the cut (Nicole isn’t in the top 100).

  17. Alex Bourzutschky says:

    Very frustrating. I saw the Millers quite early, as well as intersecting proper names pretty early, but I somehow never looked at the crossings of _just_ the Millers. The preponderance of letters from crossings (since I had included Luna, Ephraim, and Igor and only added Roger later) didn’t lead me to Coen. I didn’t come back to it, but I’m not sure I would have made progress even if I’d put the two together. I’d moved on because other Glenns and Reggies (and Nicoles, and Cheryls, and Rogers) are far more common in crosswords than the Miller ones. I was also distracted by the few clues that had two definite, distinct answers (e.g. sons of Joseph, capitals of Georgia, competitors of Libe’ration).

    I got unlucky that lists on many sites of “50/100/140 memorable movies of the ’90s” didn’t show it either, otherwise I would have probably seized on it. But I suppose that sort of backsolving isn’t in the spirit of the setup.

  18. PAUL E MANASTER says:

    It’s frustrating (more than usual meta-frustrating) when the meta answer is one of your top five favorite movies of all time, and you still can’t figure it out. I thought of Sienna Miller, but that was the only Miller that came to mind. I also thought “Directors” in the title might be a nod toward compass directions (a theory reinforced by 14-A’s weird way to get to “iPhone”), and noticed that the four corner squares were N, E, S and…A (three out of four couldn’t be a coincidence, right?) Anyhow, fine puzzle, and I wish to heck I could have solved it. Highly recommend the movie.

  19. Margaret says:

    Dang, I should have thrown up the Miller’s Crossing Hail Mary after all. I was brainstorming with a friend over the weekend and said Huh, Sienna Miller is an actress but she’s too young to have been in a 1990s movie. Huh, Miller’s Crossing is a 1990s movie and I like the Coen Brothers having directed it since The Dude is in the puzzle. Huh. And that’s where I left it because I didn’t see any of the other Millers and I was certain the title was telling me to look at the first letters of words (Directors.) I went back to the puzzle several times but just couldn’t quite get there. Even though I was there!

  20. Seth says:

    What?? WHO are all those people?? Can I put more question marks to show how absolutely dumbfounded I am at this meta? I can’t believe that that many people figured this out. To me, Dennis and Reggie are the only Millers in that list I’ve even remotely heard of, and I never ever in a billion years would have thought to connect those two first names.

  21. Jay Miller says:

    I thought it was an amazing puzzle, really a work of art. After the fact, you wonder why you didn’t solve it more quickly, but the title lead almost everyone down some wrong paths. As to the popularity of the names used to solve the meta, I knew all except Sienna. My biggest problem was that I thought Bode Miller’s name was spelled Bodie and I was too lazy to double check. Cheryl is almost surely the greatest woman’s basketball player ever and, being a big WNBA fan, she was easy to identify. Being a Miller myself probably made it a little easier too.

  22. Pomona47 says:

    I broke a 3 year streak on this meta, but after seeing the write-up it was a lost cause for me from the start. BODE and GLENN are the only Millers with whom I’m familiar, and even if I had spotted them among the other rabbit holes, I likely would have dismissed them for 1) not crossing each other and 2) not being related to directors or movies. That’s my failing in knowledge and not a failure of the meta itself. Now I’ll have to watch Miller’s Crossing.

    Oh, well. A new streak starts next week!

  23. slubduck says:

    Too obscure, combined with too-commonly-named maybe. The fact that i googled the crossing pairs “Cheryl and Nicole”, “Sienna and Reggie”, “Glenn and Dennis” (and erroneously “Igor and Roger”, but who guesses that last pair to be erroneous??), and in none of those searches did anything about the name Miller appear on the first page of results. Sorry, that’s just too abstruse or random or something. Ephraim, Anya, etc. being red herrings or whatever is too much noise to ever notice the ones that count in order to do a meaningful search. I’d have needed 10-choose-7 results while adding every random other entry in the grid (having missed BODE and also considered SLUGGER, that’s 68-choose-1, and then combining the two into a search …… pointless). I just now did a search of the 10 names i had, together, and got links to baby name lists and such. Narrowing that to the ‘correct’ 7 names (sorry, still no way to randomly use BODE and not IGOR before knowing) and minus the red herrings brings up, laughably, Property Deed articles, a list of Donors to Siena College, a Suffolk County payroll posting, a list of condolences from a Krause Funeral home site, and a list of Warrants issued in Great Falls from last Thursday. This was literally un-searchable, so thus required that some or any of the names be familiar on their own, or especially “as paired” (I would eat crow if Cheryl and Reggie had crossed). It’s hard not to be too sour-grapey here, as I know the basketball Millers since the 80’s, and know and love the Coen brothers’ movies, especially The Big Lebowski (less-so the obscurer ones, but I’ve even read about Blood Simple, etc. and have heard of pretty much all of them). Oh and did anyone else who thought PAIRUP was meaningful notice the following pairs of entries?
    SAN/LAS (of course, clued similarly)
    and try to pull the non-identical letters from them and make something?
    I did.

  24. Dave says:

    Didn’t know Sienna, Nicole, or the movie. Only vaguely aware of Dennis. Old enough to remember Roger having hit records. Dang Me!

  25. Adam Thompson says:

    I noticed SIGH crossing PHI. I thought it was a hint to a SCI-FI movie.

  26. jefe says:

    I think the mechanism itself is very good, but I didn’t know most of the Millers. I’ve heard of Reggie and Cheryl, and I think Sienna’s come up in crosswords before, but I certainly couldn’t make the connection, especially since there’s no indication that those 8 names (which aren’t all obvious first names) are thematic and the other names in the grid are not. Additionally, many of those first names also belong to more-famous non-Millers, though I recognize the difficulty in finding well-known Millers whose first names strongly suggest Miller AND contain at least one letter of COEN.

    I’ve never heard of the movie either, but this Sporcle quiz “Name the Coen Brothers Movies” has Miller’s Crossing at 11th of 18 with a 45% get rate. I don’t know what the threshold for well-known is.

  27. MountainManZach says:

    Late to the party, but here’s my $0.02: the title suggests some sort of abutting or crossing. There are clearly 4 sets of names that cross. There’s some noise with EPHRAIM & ANYA, IGOR & EMIR. There aren’t many famous Reggies (I got Jackson, Bush, White, and Miller) and pretty much only one famous Sienna (Miller). For Glenns you got Close & Miller. A lot of people seem to not know Cheryl, but I dunno, she was the face of a gold medal team and has done a ton of broadcasting work.

    A trickier one for sure, but for me, a solid week 4 of 5.

    Now trying to figure out this 8th pitch thing…

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