MGWCC #606

crossword 3:01 
meta 0:10 


hello and welcome to episode #606 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Mo’ Better Clues”. riffing on the answer to last week’s meta, matt challenges us to name a Denzel Washington movie. what are the theme answers? like the puzzle title itself, each is a one-letter change from an actual denzel movie title:

  • {Denzel Washington movie about a party animal who calms down in middle age?} HE GOT TAME (GAME).
  • {With “The,” Denzel movie chronicling a record house’s rise and fall?} BOOK OF EMI (ELI).
  • {Denzel movie about a broken ladder?} UNSTEPPABLE (UNSTOPPABLE).
  • {Movie where Denzel played a colonial-era musician?} MAN ON FIFE (FIRE).
  • {Denzel movie about a baby beaver’s first project?} TRAINING DAM (DAY).

taking the original letters that were changed in the titles spells out GLORY, which is also a denzel washington movie and the answer to the meta. curiously, it’s the only one of the six actual denzel movies referenced in the puzzle (seven, if you include the title) that i’ve actually seen. i’m not much of a movie watcher, but this one was shown in my 11th-grade u.s. history class. it’s also based on the robert gould shaw memorial, a landmark in boston common i’ve seen many times.

this meta felt easy enough to be a week 1 rather than a week 2, but i thought it was great fun. it’s a very playful theme, and i smiled several times as i imagined what these alternate movies might be about.

other bits:

  • {“Clockers” director, 1995} SPIKE LEE. yet another call-back to last week’s puzzle.
  • {“Who am ___ judge?”} ITO. not the usual clue for ITO that includes the word “judge”.
  • {Newspaper with a “Super Mega” xword contest} NY TIMES. i somehow never came by a paper copy of last month’s puzzlemania, so i missed out on this one. sorry sam!
  • {“___ are not endorsements” (social media disclaimer)} RTS. that’s a nice fresh way to clue this awkward plural abbr.
  • {David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o in “Queen of Katwe,” e.g.} UGANDANS and {President Edgar Lungu, or any of his constituents} ZAMBIAN—that’s two more african demonyms than one usually sees in a crossword.

that’s all i’ve got this week. hope to see many of you this weekend at mystery hunt!

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13 Responses to MGWCC #606

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 669 right answers this week.

  2. Jim Schooler says:

    Five stars from me.

  3. CFXK says:

    And here I had been thinking that 4D referred to a question Yoda posed about the Simpson trial judge….

  4. Jon Forsythe says:

    “Glory” isn’t based on a memorial. The movie is about the “54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the Union Army’s second African-American regiment in the American Civil War.” Colonel Robert Gould Shaw died along with his troops. The film and the memorial are based on an actual group of people that lived and died in the Civil War.

    • Jon Forsythe says:

      Nevermind. I was wrong. The screenwriter was inspired by the memorial. Please delete my comment above.

      • dave says:

        No — let the above comment stand as a memorial to self-assured ignorance, to inspire everyone to research facts before they correct others.

        • john says:

          @dave, your comment inspires me to be kind to people who make small, rather insignificant errors and to remember we all make mistakes.

  5. john says:

    It *was* easy but I’m surprised at the lack of commentary for such a clever and fun puzzle. Every themer made me smile or laugh and the construction was intricate despite the easy solve. As ever, thanks, Matt!

  6. Mac says:

    I 100% agree with Joon – this was a fun puzzle, one that made me happy while solving. I’ll take that any week.

  7. David Hanson says:

    As someone who uses very little social media, I accept 32 down since I knew I had the crossers, but what does RTS stand for? Routes? Rights? River Transports?

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