MGWCC #644

crossword 3:03 
meta 0:01 


hello and welcome to episode #644 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Think Drink”. for this week 1 puzzle, the instructions were quite unnecessary, as “drink” is right there in the title. what are the theme answers? the five longest across answers are all two-word phrases with initials O.J.:

  • {Mayor Ichiro Matsui’s city} OSAKA JAPAN.
  • {One of the original “MADtv” cast members} ORLANDO JONES. the name was only vaguely familiar and i didn’t know he was on madtv, but i recognize this guy from 7-up commercials back in the day.
  • {Drifter’s employment} ODD JOBS.
  • {Mayim Bialik and Joseph Lieberman, for two} ORTHODOX JEWS.
  • {Not serious at all} ONLY JOKING.

so what drink is the meta answer? obviously orange juice is the intended answer. i don’t know if anybody tried to get cheeky by submitting something like ovaltine julep. if you did, good luck with that!

this meta is certainly easy enough for a week 1, and the five J’s (plus an X, in a very unusual XJ cluster) in the theme answers lend themselves to an interestingly scrabbly grid.

other bits & pieces:

  • {Pamphleteer’s suggestion} TAKE ONE. or a label on a basket on somebody’s front porch on halloween. i wonder if this is going to be how socially distanced trick-or-treating gets done this year.
  • {Zydeco’s Queen ___} IDA. never heard of her, but i am not really into the zydeco scene.
  • {Classic Jimi Hendrix song} HEY JOE. never seen this in a grid before, i don’t think, but that’s a good song. my brother went through a hendrix phase in his teens, so i’ve listened to this song many times, but i haven’t thought about it in years.
  • {Likeable Leno} JAY. i guess that’s a matter of opinion.
  • {With 60-Down, question you may ask someone about a fan or light} ON OR / OFF. this was a correction from the original puzzle which had the wrong cross-referenced clue number, but even the corrected version has an unusual problem: the duplication of “or” in both clue and answer.

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

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4 Responses to MGWCC #644

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 705 correct answers this week, one shy of the subscription-era record (set in July) and 18 shy of the pre-subscription era (723, set in August 2014).

  2. Garrett says:

    I was perplexed by the ON OR OFF clueing / referencing. My irritation level with the constructor or editor (whoever is responsible — usually the editor with the NYT) immediately ratchets up when I see “With …” and “See …”. And the copy I was working from had the “With …” reference all buggered up. Grrr…

    I’d prefer separate clues.

    “__ about…” (loose time reference): ONOR

    Amiss: OFF

    For example.

    Otherwise, a pure delight week one!

  3. Abide says:

    Matt, would you have accepted Orange Julius?

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