MGWCC #702

crossword 3:15 (paper—d.o.) 
meta [see below] 


hello and welcome to episode #702 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Hooray!”. it’s week 2, but matt has offered this one as a week 1-level challenge with many different bells and whistles, so i tried this downs-only and without the instructions. what are the theme answers? i can only guess that they’re the four long answers in the grid: LAUGH LIKE A HYENA, DREW APPLAUSE, GHOST WRITERS, and TAKING IN THE VIEW.

now, should i be able to get the meta from just these? maybe. and i tried! i thought about the tv show called THE VIEW, and the broadway musical called APPLAUSE (since it seemed most closely related to the title), and i figured maybe LAUGH was also the relevant part of the first theme answer for the same reason. not all of this was completely off-track, but it didn’t get me anywhere. i definitely thought maybe the relevant parts of the theme answers would all be at the beginning or all at the end. but that wasn’t the case.

eventually i gave up and peeked at the across clues. that made the answer pretty evident:

  • {What our meta answer had to do at times while voicing her character in “The Lion King”?} LAUGH LIKE A HYENA.
  • {Kudos for our meta answer from her “Boys on the Side” co-star Barrymore?} DREW APPLAUSE.
  • {They did the script for the 1990 movie that won our meta answer an Oscar?} GHOST WRITERS.
  • {Watching a talk show for which our meta answer won a Daytime Emmy?} TAKING IN THE VIEW.

well, it’s whoopi goldberg, who won a daytime emmy for THE VIEW, and a best supporting actress oscar for GHOST, and i guess was also in boys on the side and the lion king? i definitely did not know the first of those (i’ve heard of the film, but could have told you nothing about it other than it’s a drew barrymore film) and i had forgotten the latter. i’ve actually never seen the 1994 lion king, and whoopi isn’t in the 2019 remake. so it was always going to be an uphill struggle for me to get this one without the across clues or meta instructions. i probably could have done it with the instructions but no across clues, since knowing i was looking for a celebrity would have made GHOST and THE VIEW more prominent, and the title is enough of a confirmation for whoopi’s (first) name that i could have been pretty confident even without knowing exactly what to do with LAUGH LIKE A HYENA or DREW APPLAUSE.

i discovered this morning while submitting that the instructions for the puzzle were: This week’s contest answer is a celebrity with whom I share a birthday (November 13th). happy birthday, whoopi, and happy birthday, matt. i know matt has a trophy case jam-packed with orcas, but he’s long overdue to complete his EGOT.

that’s all i’ve got, but i’d love to hear from the rest of you which version you tackled and how you fared!

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8 Responses to MGWCC #702

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 661 right answers this week. Solvers gave the various solving options high marks and there’s no downside since they can all be ignored if desired, so I think we’ll make this the standard om Week 1 from now on. Thanks also to webmaster Alex B. for creating all those new versions.

    Week 1 No Downs etiquette — am I supposed to take Downs Only people into account while construction the puzzle? Not sure…

    • sharkicicles says:

      Hear, hear!

    • Seth says:

      Definitely don’t take the downs-only into account during construction. The whole point of choosing downs-only is for a self-imposed arbitrary challenge on an otherwise normal puzzle. If the puzzle is built for that choice, the choice loses its purpose.

  2. Zifmia says:

    Matt made the downs-only without instructions sound really hard so I didn’t even try, but I’m pretty sure it was doable. I did downs-only and 3 of 4 across entries clicked for me without the clues. I doubt anyone would make sense of “Drew applause” without the clue, other than it seems compatible with a performer.

    And there was one square in a week one puzzle that I couldn’t get without googling even after looking at clues in both directions- TomKat didn’t mean anything to me so I couldn’t get the U in SURI/MUAY.

  3. streroto says:

    Whoopi plays one of the hyenas in the original Lion King, Joon. Matt, really happy to hear you are going to keep the variety so we can broaden our solving skills! I did downs only with clue, and will try without clue next week 1!

  4. EP says:

    I’m loathe to ever suggest that any of these are ‘too easy’, but now I can better understand how a kid that gets a ‘participation trophy’ must feel: ‘jeez, do they really think that I’m THAT pathetic?’

    And, pathetic though I might be, I agree that Matt should definitely not take ‘downs-only’ into account during construction.

  5. John says:

    I had a very busy weekend and started so late Monday that i didn’t feel i had time to try any of the special puzzles. I’m very glad that its going to be a thing now though and look forward to enhancing the week 1 experience.

  6. jefe says:

    I solved downs only and enjoyed it!

    Had no idea on the meta without the instructions, but once I looked at the instructions, I realized you could get the meta without having done the puzzle, simply based on its title.

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