MGWCC #662

crossword 3:06 
meta -1:00 


hello and welcome to episode #662 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Name Redacted”. i normally attempt week 1 puzzles without the instructions, but this month’s week 1 puzzle came two days early, with the following message from matt: This week’s contest answer is the three-letter first name of Kristin’s and my daughter, who was born at 6:53 this morning in Harrisonburg, Virginia. wow, congrats to matt and kristin! and how fitting that matt had a puzzle lined up to mark the special occasion. what are the theme answers?

  • {*Actress in “Ugly Betty” and “Devious Maids”} ANA ORTIZ.
  • {*College football coach played by Jason Miller in “Rudy”} ARA PARSEGHIAN.
  • {*”A Wrinkle in Time” director, 2018} AVA DUVERNAY.
  • {*Governor of Arkansas since 2015} ASA HUTCHINSON.
  • {*English mathematician who described computer programming in the 1840s} LOVELACE.

so the first four of those theme answers are all people with a three-letter palindromic first name of the form A_A. no strangers to a crossword grid, any of them! (although their last or full names rarely appear.) what about the fifth one? no first name is given, but LOVELACE’s first name was ADA (and there’s a programming language called ada named in her honor), and that must be the answer to the meta. welcome, ada!

other bits:

  • {Lil Zane does it on “Money Stretch”} RAP. this is the third consecutive mgwcc to include a clue referencing lil zane. i love a good running gag.
  • {Repetitively-titled 1982 hit for the German band Trio} DA DA DA. never seen this in a crossword, i don’t think, but i do remember this song. and repetitive is right! if your band is named trio, does that automatically make you more inclined to write a song like “da da da”? i say yes.
  • {Lounge off the lobby} HOTEL BAR. according to reports from the recent (online) westport crossword tournament, will shortz has announced that this year’s ACPT won’t be held in person. no great surprise, of course, and certainly the only safe and sane decision, but i’ll miss (once again) hanging in the bar of the stamford marriott with my crossword kinfolk. on the bright side, they’re planning to hold a large online tournament in april in place of the in-person ACPT. i hope/expect it’ll be great fun!

that’s all i’ve got this week. congrats again to kristin and matt (and big brother tilghman, himself the subject of a mgwcc to herald his arrival back in october 2017)!

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9 Responses to MGWCC #662

  1. Andrew Bradburn says:

    The position of DA DA DA to the left of LOVELACE in the grid is not by chance. Seen as two three letter words, you get DAD, which describes Matt, and ADA, his daughter’s name, the answer to the puzzle , and separated only by a black square from LOVELACE. So not quite redacted, just hidden.

  2. Adam Rosenfield says:

    Congrats to Matt and Kristin!

    I hesitated on submitting my answer for a long time on this one, because the ADA in DADADA lines right up with LOVELACE, making it look like it’s part of that theme answer. That clue doesn’t have a *, but I assumed the *’s were there to disambiguate the 8-letter theme answers from the other 8-letter non-theme-answers in the grid.

    I considered some other less common A_A names like AJA and AYA, but there was really nothing cluing those and they’re pretty obscure. I also considered EVE at 33D, which is a palindrome and isn’t marked as not being the answer (unlike ANN at 38D), but again there was nothing cluing that and doesn’t explain all of the other A_A answers.

    If DADADA weren’t there I wouldn’t have hesitated on sending in ADA, and it really soured my taste for this puzzle. I really hope that was an unintentional red herring.

  3. Amanda Hoffmeister says:

    I was tempted to send in AHA. Perfect name for a crossword baby. Congratulations to Matt!

  4. david glasser says:

    I am very curious as to whether Matt had a Week 5 version in mind in case of a slightly earlier delivery :)

  5. Jason Feng says:

    I saw the announcement on his wife’s Facebook page before I finished the crossword. Does this still count as a solo solve?

  6. James Schooler says:

    Congratulations Matt and Kristin!

  7. ===Dan says:

    DADADA gave me pause, but then I saw the spoiler.

    I noticed that SAL was a female mule’s name of song, and that it wasn’t far from ERIE in the grid. “Canal” has a hidden ANA, but the first theme answer ruled that out.

    Nobody else mentioned the other palindromic name, UBU (not a girl’s name).

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