MGWCC #749

crossword 5 hours to write; meta 45 minutes on calls to Stockholm 


Matt here filling in for joon, who’s waterskiing on Lake Manitoba this week.

Five chemical elements in the grid, each named for a famous person: CURIUM, LAWRENCIUM, MENDELEVIUM, EINSTEINIUM, and MEITNERIUM. What to do with these?

The hint comes at the last Across, PIERRE, which is clued as [Name to ignore on 1-Across]. CURIUM is named for both Marie and Pierre Curie, so sounds like we’re supposed to use MARIE. And then we’d naturally want to look at the other elements’ namesakes’ first names:

MARIE Curie (Curium)
ERNEST Lawrence (Lawrencium) — don’t feel bad if you had to look that one up; so did I. He had great hair, though
DMITRI Mendeleev (Mendelevium)
ALBERT Einstein (Einsteinium)
LISE Meitner (Meitnerium)

Yielding contest answer MEDAL, which each Nobelist receives.

And a reminder that there are no coincidences: the 2022 Nobel Prize for Chemistry went out to one Morton MELDAL the day this puzzle was published. Remove one letter from his surname and you get this week’s contest answer.

You know how many calls to Stockholm I had to make for this to happen? Five or six. It was exhausting.

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7 Responses to MGWCC #749

  1. Garrett says:


  2. pannonica says:

    I hope you called Sweden at 5am local time!

  3. John says:

    Gah. I did the “downs-only” puzzle and missed the clue for PIERRE. I still should have gotten it and my entry of CHEMISTRY was a lazy toss. When i didn’t show up on the board i went back and saw it was MEDAL almost immediately.

    Historians will be tripping over that for years: Meldal’s medal.

    • Sharkicicles says:

      I did the same thing you did with downs only no instructions.

      • Simon says:

        This might come off as stirring up shit, and if so, sorry in advance, but…I’ve never really understood the practice of solving “downs only” to the point of not even *reading* the Across clues. Why choose to only appreciate 60% or so of the constructor’s work? (I say 60% instead of 50% because I figure you’re at least looking at the Across *answers* and grid design.) I mean, you could still save reading them for last, but you’re gonna miss out on a lot if you don’t read them at all

        • Garrett says:

          It’s a solving technique for doing grids with long across entries that aren’t easy to fill (without Googling). One a meta puzzle, one would what to review the clues. Otherwise, just read the theme clues to see what cleverness the constructor was up to.

        • Sharkicicles says:

          I don’t think it’s stirring up shit :) for me, some of the week one metas are super easy so doing downs-only no instructions is just an artificial way to lengthen and toughen the solving process.

          That being said, while I find 1s easy, I find week 4s to be mainly impossible so it’s not like I’m some kind of meta genius.

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