MGWCC #653

crossword 3:22 
meta 0:30 


hello and welcome to episode #653 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Camouflage”. for this week 1 puzzle, i didn’t use the instructions, and they were mostly unnecessary until the final step. what are the theme answers?

  • {Security at a Japanese gambling arcade?} PACHINKO ALARMS.
  • {Escaping Jafar’s clutches, wooing Jasmine, and learning how to ride the magic carpet?} ALADDIN GOALS. speaking of which, {Bryson who sang “Beauty and the Beast” with Celine Dion} PEABO also sang “a whole new world” with regina belle, a version that won the grammy for song of the year.
  • {Take care of director Lee’s hotel accommodations?} BOOK ANG A ROOM.
  • {What you pay if both of your children attend Wharton?} TWO MBA TUITIONS.

each of these wacky phrases conceals an animal across two or more words: KOALA, DINGO, KANGAROO (most surprisingly, across all four words), and WOMBAT. these are all animals native to australia, and at first i thought they might all be marsupials, but they’re not; dingoes are canids, closely related to both domesticated dogs and wolves, rather than marsupials. so i figured the answer was just going to be australia. indeed, the instructions just ask for a country, so australia it is.

so this is certainly a simple enough meta for a week 1, but there’s a lot to love here. the animals are all long enough to have distinctive names that jump out at you from the nonsense phrases; in particular, there’s no EMU in the theme (even though the emu joins the kangaroo as the animals represented on australia’s coat of arms). the theme answers themselves are just offbeat enough to be amusing, and the last two in particular are quite surprising finds.

elsewhere in the grid, there are some other fauna-related clues and answers:

  • {Numskull} DODO.
  • {Group of swans or doves} BEVY.
  • {Genus for killer whales} ORCINUS. whoa, fancy. we certainly all know ORCA from countless crosswords, but the word ending for the genus was new to me.
  • {You climb it to reach the crow’s nest} MAST.
  • {Pig ___ (luau feature)} ROAST.

fun puzzle! how’d you all like it?

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to MGWCC #653

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 725 correct entries, a new record.

    Meta-meta puzzle: find the EMU

  2. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    41 A

  3. Mac says:

    Unknown to me Peabo and unknown to me Ensor crossing orcinus proved to be a dnf for me.

    • C. Y. Hollander says:

      I didn’t know any of those either, but I did know that killer whales are more formally called ORCas and I was able to make the connection, so that section fell into the [barely] fair category as far as I was concerned. The crossing I needed Google for was actually a different one: I couldn’t remember for certain whether Casey Kasem spelled his last name with a C or K, and I didn’t know “Grace and Frankie” (which might have been “Grace and Francie”).

  4. WeThotUWasAToad says:

    Seeing Casey Kasem’s name brought back a bunch of memories and prompted a trip to YouTube. Here, for your nostalgic enjoyment, are three links I found with brief excerpts from the #1 hits of the years 1974-1976 (my three years in high school). Each montage is 4-5 minutes long. Enjoy!

    Casey Kasem’s Montage of the #1 Hits of 1974

    Casey Kasem’s Montage of the #1 Hits of 1975

    Casey Kasem’s Montage of the #1 Hits of 1976

Comments are closed.