MGWCC #758



MGWCC 758 • 12/9/22 • “Name That City” • Gaffney • solution • 20221209

pannonica here, pinch-hitting for joon, as his computer has unfortunately gone cacky.

Had I known that I’d be writing about the puzzle I would have done you all the favor of recording my times on this one. As it is, I can report that the crossword went fairly quickly and the meta fell quickly too, with a slight delay while I made the leap to additional step.

Title: “Name That City”
NoteThis week’s contest answer is a four-letter U.S. city

The four longest across answers in our 13×13 grid contain the names of US cities, and each is four letters long. Shades of the instructions!

  • 18a. [Many structures in our meta city underwent this after a devastating 1980s flood] RENOVATION (Reno).
  • 27a. [This kind of transaction can get expensive in our meta city] HOME SALE (Mesa).
  • 32a. [Our meta city and its surrounding area contain many of these businesses] WINERIES (Erie).
  • 40a. [What the weather is like in our meta city] PHENOMENAL (Nome).

So we have RENO, MESA, ERIE, and NOME. What next? Their initial letters don’t spell anything, yet it seems we need to somehow extract one letter from each. The short leap here is to extend these locales to their respective states. (“Name That State”?) NEVADA, ARIZONA, PENNSYLVANIA, and ALASKA. The initial letters of these spell NAPA (pop. 77,480 in 2021), which I suspect most of us will know from the namesake valley rather than the town itself. The third theme answer clinches it for us: “Our meta city and its surrounding area …” and as a prominent AVA (American Viticultural Area) it is most famous for its WINERIES.

This seemed very much like a week 2 MGWCC; that one small extra step furnished the obstacle that separates it from an easyish week 1.

  • 7d [What someone solving a MGWCC never says] I’M BORED. Zero qualification or equivocation—bold!
  • 21d [World’s most populous island] JAVA. Far from the world’s most densely populated island, however.
  • 41d [“Well done!”] NICE. Also a four-letter city, but in France. Wonder if there’s also one in the US? Yes! There is a Nice in California, about 104km (~64.6mi) NNW of Napa. I hope no solvers were seduced by the enticing clue into thinking this was a shortcut to the meta.
  • 42d [Mary Kay rival] AVON. Oh, there are quite a lot of places called AVON in the United States.
  • 13a [“Where You __” (“Moana” song] ARE. 14a [Like some of the myths that inspired “Moana”] MAORI.
  • 53a [Wind up] END.

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10 Responses to MGWCC #758

  1. Garrett says:

    A perfect week two. This would bea great way to introduce metas to a crossword lover who had never seen one.

  2. EP says:

    The flaw in this meta is that the literal meanings of the relevant grid answers are more than sufficient to (with reasonable confidence) identify the solution…which is what I did, never recognizing that the 4 theme answers had 4-letter cities embedded, that would lead to a more conventional path to the solution. My only doubt was that the path I took was too easy, making this week 2 puzzle considerably easier than last week’s week 1.

    • pannonica says:

      Was there a >click!< for your meta solve?

    • Astrokurtis says:

      I was the same, finishing based solely on the clues. For me, WINERIES was the click, with some vague knowledge of the flooding, climate, and real estate values. I never noticed the hidden cities and just assumed this was a second week 1 level puzzle as a holiday gift or something of the like.

      I was a bit mystified why we would consider home sales expensive, since home purchases would be expensive but selling shouldn’t cost money. Now that answer makes sense…

    • Garrett says:

      I think that the meta question coupled with this clue alone (and it’s answer) we’re enough to reasonably guess, but not conclude NAPA:

      32a. [Our meta city and its surrounding area contain many of these businesses] WINERIES

      Certainly that was my experience. Once I hit this clue, I looked back at RENOVATION, saw RENO, thought Nevada, and said, “Ah so!”

      Then I got MESA and ERIE, finished the puzzle grid and got NOME and submitted my answer, having had the most definite >Click!<

  3. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, pannonica — 563 right answers this week.

  4. John says:

    I too figured NAPA just looking at the relevant clues (especially the one with WINERIES as the answer). However i knew there was more to it and found the cities and states, etc. A fun get, even in reverse.

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