MGWCC #757

crossword 4:08
meta 0:10 


hello and welcome to episode #757 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, a week 1 puzzle called “A League of Their Own”. i solved the puzzle without the instructions, and it wasn’t terribly difficult. what’s the theme? for the second week in a row, we have a 13×13 grid with no particularly long answers. more unusually, we have what appear to be—but are not—two-letter answers in the grid at 4-across and 6-across. what we do have is a rebus puzzle, with ten squares getting PIN squeezed in:

  • {Gives a reminder to} [PIN]GS. this crosses {Kashmiri chai, so named for its color} [PIN]K TEA. i didn’t know the chai and had a tough time with this corner.
  • {Bar order} [PIN]T crossing {Fastest of Columbus’s ships} [PIN]TA.
  • {Start your turn, in Twister} S[PIN] crossing {Oft-mocked Ford of the 1970s} [PIN]TO.
  • {Words a hitchhiker likes to hear} HO[P IN] crossing {“Animals” at birthday parties} [PIN]ATAS.
  • {Like yodelers, traditionally} AL[PIN]E crossing {Choose not to set an alarm} SLEE[P IN].
  • {Tell people what you think} O[PIN]E crossing {“Magic to Do” musical} PIP[PIN]. i love this show.
  • {Book parts} S[PIN]ES crossing {Holder of locks} HAIR[PIN].
  • {Use for preparing, as 1-Down} STEE[P IN], a rather dubious phrase, crossing {Mourning} WEE[PIN]G FOR, a somewhat dubious phrase itself.
  • {Wish you could be with} [PIN]E FOR crossing {“Don’t forget…”} KEE[P IN] MIND.
  • {Felt discontented, poetically} RE[PIN]ED crossing {“___ my hopes to quiet processes and small circles”: Rufus Jones} I [PIN]. never heard of this quote or, for that matter, rufus jones. i think it’s this rufus jones and not one of the others, but this is frightfully obscure. no relation, apparently, to {Ageless singer of “It’s Not Unusual”} TOM JONES despite his agelessness.

these ten PINs are arranged in an inverted triangle, as in tenpin bowling, which must be the meta answer. that is very tidy and elegant, and as a meta, it’s easy enough for a week 1. the crossword itself was much harder to break into than a typical week 1, because you’re not really expecting a rebus and also because the rebus squares are concentrated at the top of the grid due to the geometric layout of the PINs. TOM JONES was actually the first entry i put into the grid, as it’s one of the very few entries near the top of the grid that doesn’t contain a rebus square.

other bits:

  • {___ Nidre (Jewish holiday)} KOL. is this right? i thought the KOL nidre was the prayer said on the first night of yom kippur.
  • {___ out (exert maximum effort)} GO ALL. in the grid, this looks so much like a spanish-speaking soccer announcer shouting “goal” in an elongated fashion. but maybe i just have soccer brain due to world cup overload.
  • {Spielberg title word} ARK. when i read this clue, my first thought was: “wait, the book was called schindler’s ark but the spielberg movie adapted from it did not contain that word in the title.” which is true, but the clue refers to raiders of the lost ARK.

that’s all for me. how’d you like this one?

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10 Responses to MGWCC #757

  1. AmyL says:

    I have a quibble with 29 D {Our, in Arles}. “Mes” means “my” and is used with plural objects. The clue should have been {My, in Marseille}. Other than that, it was a fun puzzle.

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Joon — 591 correct entries this week. But also 16 incorrect entries, which shouldn’t happen on a Week 1 of 5. Someday I will just learn to accept that Week 1/5’s can’t really be anything beyond very, very simple!

    Yes, apologies for the KOL and MES clues. Had a lot going on this weekend and couldn’t correct them until it would’ve been too late.

    • Mike says:

      How many different varieties were accepted? I know I submitted Tenpin Bowling but would just “Bowling” have been sufficient?

      In my bored bordertown childhood I would watch 5-pin bowling on Canadian TV on wintry Saturdays simply for the whatthehellisthat? factor….

    • Mary Flaminio says:

      That was really simple enough!

  3. Seth says:

    Sneaky Matt! Asking us for a sport during the World Cup, knowing we’ll assume the answer is soccer or football. And I also saw GOALL and thought maybe it was going to be some sort of soccer thing, until I saw the PINs. “A League of Their Own” also originally got me thinking about baseball. And my last silly thought before figuring it out was that maybe the PINs were going to be in the shape of a W, and a pin is another word for the flag on a golf hole, so maybe the answer was going to be LPGA or something?? I abandoned that idea quickly, but it definitely inhabited my brain for a second.

    I’m curious what the wrong answers were. Matt, care to share?

    • TimF says:

      I’ll cop to submitting a wrong answer…
      Solved it way too quickly – my 10 rebus squares were all just “P”, leaving out IN, counting them twice (across + down) = 20. Without any common sense, not recognizing the “P”s should also be included in the rebus, or that the squares were arranged like bowling pins, I thought of Cricket having 20 innings and that must be the answer. I didn’t realize they were PINs until after I submitted cricket. My forehead still has a palm print from when I smacked it.

      • EP says:

        I’ll see your ‘cop to’ Tim, and raise you one: I also saw the ‘INs’, thought there were close enough to 9 & 8 1/2 (counting the exact number is kind of tedious work that men of broad vision are loathe to do), so I submitted ‘baseball’. Seeing that the rebus is actually ‘PIN’, though, without noting the regression from 4 to 1, it occurs to me that ‘wrestling’ is also a possibility.

  4. Susie says:

    I thought this was a tiny bit more difficult than a week 1, but innovative. It took me a while to figure out what was happening in the grid. Then I forgot to submit the answer. I wasn’t sure whether to submit bowling or include the 10-pin qualifier and let that torment me until I remembered it was Tuesday afternoon already.

  5. Sarah says:

    Since I had already answered correctly, I didn’t bother to check out this page on Tuesday, as I always do when I couldn’t figure out the meta. When the new puzzle came today, I thought to check in here. The comments were interesting, but not as enthusiastic as what I would have posted.

    I found this bowling puzzle delightfully clever, even as being first-week easy. I was blown away that Matt managed to set up a smallish grid into which he could fit ten squares holding the letters PIN arranged exactly like ten bowling pins in an alley. My non-puzzling husband even saw how clever it was when I showed it to him in admiration after solving it.

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