MGWCC #779

crossword 3:10
meta 0:45 


hello and welcome to episode #779 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Title Role”. my apologies for getting this post up slightly late—i am very good at remembering on tuesday that i don’t have to blog the puzzle until wednesday, and very bad at remembering on wednesday that i haven’t yet blogged the puzzle. anyway, i solved this week 1 puzzle without the instructions, so let’s just go right to the theme answers:

  • {Trial feature, often} EXPERT TESTIMONY.
  • {Goes too far} GETS CARRIED AWAY.
  • {You hear two before Blue Jays games} NATIONAL ANTHEMS.
  • {Might not be quite fair} SEEMS IMBALANCED.

each of these contains a hidden character name: TIMON, SCAR, NALA, and SIMBA. that makes the puzzle answer the lion king, the movie (well, either of two movies with that title and the same characters) that all these characters are from. checking the instructions, they specify that we’re looking for a 1990s movie, so i guess that means the original 1994 lion king, rather than the 2019 remake. (and before you ask, no, it’s not a live action remake. it’s still 100% animated, just a different style of animation.)

not too much to say about this meta, as simple as it is. the first character name i found was TIMON, which had me wondering whether this might be a shakespeare-related meta (since that is the title role of timon of athens). but no, i found NALA next and saw what was happening. and, i guess, since the lion king is a retelling of hamlet, perhaps you could argue that it was, in fact, a shakespeare-related meta. scar is claudius, nala is ophelia (ish?), simba is hamlet, and timon… uh, let’s say rosencrantz.

in the fill, i definitely fell for the misdirect on {Email folder}, which always, always clues SENT… but this time it was JUNK. well played, matt.

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

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9 Responses to MGWCC #779

  1. Wayne says:

    > in the fill, i definitely fell for the misdirect on {Email folder}, which always, always clues SENT… but this time it was JUNK.

    I confidently wrote in SPAM.

  2. EP says:

    I think that week #1 metas are the toughest for Matt to construct…the challenge is to not make them TOO easy. This one was about right, the only Lion King characters I’d heard of were Simba and Nala, had to google to check the others.

    The over / under, btw, is May 26

    • C. Y. Hollander says:

      Interesting that it strikes you that way. To me, with rare and welcome exceptions, Week 1 puzzles seem to tread and retread a relatively small handful of paths (I could swear I’ve been down this road of “find the words hidden within the long Across entries that share a common attribute” many times before). I should think it were a tougher challenge by far to come up with fresh ideas week after week, year after year, as Mr. Gaffney does for the other weeks of the month.

  3. David Lonoff says:

    This ties in with the coronation last weekend, right? I only realized that connection after submitting. Makes week 1’s more guessable if you pay attention to big events in the news and see if the prompt matches. I’ll keep that in mind in my hunt for the 1A badge.

  4. uciphd says:

    Ah, good one. My wife and I both independently came up with “A Few Good Men” based on the famous courtroom scene, so we didn’t think to look elsewhere. Oops.

  5. Daver says:

    This seemed to me to be about the right level of difficulty for a Week 1. However, it did occur to me that many boomers with no children might be left completely out in the cold, having never heard of those names.

    • BarbaraK says:

      LOL As a boomer with no children, I’ve never seen the movie, but I’ve seen the characters enough in crosswords to be pretty confident what to google. (Same with Elsa, Anna, Olaf :)

  6. jefe says:

    I got there eventually, but I first saw ALAN in both NATIONAL ANTHEMS and SEEMS IMBALANCED.

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