MGWCC #705

crossword 2:57 
meta [see below] 


hello and welcome to episode #705 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Ten by Ten”. i attempted this week 1 puzzle without the instructions (but with the down clues). what are the theme answers? five answers in the grid have initials J.J.:

  • {Server of Caribbean Passion smoothies} JAMBA JUICE.
  • {First chief justice of the Supreme Court} JOHN JAY.
  • {Denim top} JEAN JACKET.
  • {Dublin-born author of “Dubliners”} JAMES JOYCE.
  • {“Gotcha!”} JUST JOKING.

that much is clear, and consistent with the title (J being the tenth letter, and there are ten J’s in the theme). but what’s the meta answer? i really didn’t know—my best guess was that it was going to be yet another two-word phrase (or perhaps name) with the same initials, but there’s a very wide universe of possibilities there, and i didn’t think i could guess it without the instructions.

so i did, in fact, look at the instructions, which were: This week’s contest answer is an NFL team. well, the only NFL team fitting the theme is the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, so that must be the answer.

with the instructions, it’s definitely an easy week 1, one of the easiest i can remember. the puzzle itself was fine, if unspectacular; a couple of the fill entries forced by the theme (partial J AS, silly plural first name JULIANS) weren’t great, but the theme answers themselves were all good to excellent.

one clue caught my eye: {Pat who wrote the puzzle book “Code Letter Crosswords” in 2006} SAJAK. really! they do not appear to be standard crosswords, but more like kaidoku (except less constrained). still surprising that his name is on the byline; i wonder how much he actually had to do with the writing of these puzzles.

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

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

9 Responses to MGWCC #705

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 672 right answers this week.

    Moral question: am I required to consider Downs-Only solvers on the Week 1 metas? I didn’t really think about it but maybe I need to. A more sporty title would’ve given D-O’s a fighting chance.

    • Seth Cohen says:

      Matt, I don’t think you should consider any alternate solving methods in your meta construction. The point of those alternate methods is to make things artificially difficult for individual people who want that extra arbitrary challenge. If you write metas with them in mind, you’re kind of defeating the purpose of their extra challenge, because it won’t be an extra challenge anymore. It’ll be baked into the meta.

    • Thomas says:

      This one would have been fine to solve downs-only with instructions. #702 seems like it would have been impossible downs-only, but was fine without instructions. But the nice thing about these extra challenges is that anyone who wants to attempt them can easily switch to a different version if needed and they don’t even have to tell anyone.

    • Daniel Barkalow says:

      I’d say, don’t consider them when making the puzzle, but only generate versions for combinations where the correct answer is still better than wrong answers you can think of with only the information in the download. Not matching the instructions is the only reason JANET JACKSON (say) is wrong, so there would be a no-across-clues version, but not a no-instructions version. It doesn’t need to have a reasonable path to solve it, but I think it would be best to skip uploading any versions where the click if you’re right is entirely missing.

    • jefe says:

      How do you mean? This one required the instructions regardless of whether you solved normally or downs only.

      Last month, I liked that Mr. Happy Pencil came up in the DO .puz file when it wouldn’t usually. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a DO .puz this time.

  2. Wayne says:


    For a while there, the number of correct entries on Week 1 metas was greater than the puzzle’s ordinal number. (For example, MGWCC #683 had 692 correct answers.) But lately we’ve been falling behind. Unless we step up our game, we’re never going to break 1000 by #1000.

    Consider giving a gift subscription to that cruciverbalist on your Christmas list.

    Do it for Ada.

  3. streroto says:

    I was a bit confused by the title-is that supposed to mean ten yards at a time? Fun week 1 anyway.

    And I agree w Seth and Thomas.

Comments are closed.