MGWCC #786

crossword 4:39
meta DNF 


hello and welcome to episode #786 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Set Collection”. for this week 4 puzzle of guest construction month, alex eaton-salners challenges us to figure out which Monopoly property would be a fitting sixth theme entry for this puzzle. what are existing five theme answers?

  • {*Intriguing spot} TEASER AD.
  • {*Keaton/Russo crime drama about an NYPD detective} ONE GOOD COP. not familiar with this one.
  • {*Collection split across multiple rows} PERIODIC TABLE. this is a tough clue, giving no sense of what the context could be.
  • {*Surfer’s starting point} ADDRESS BAR.
  • {*Flipped out} GONE LOCO.

okay, well, what now? i have gotten approximately nowhere on this meta. these are all multi-word entries, and my first thought was perhaps we needed to focus on the last words (AD, COP, TABLE, BAR, LOCO). that seemed more promising than the first words since LOCO is much more restrictive that GONE. but what to do with those? about the only thing i can think of doing with LOCO is following it with MOTION, which doesn’t seem to do much. in general, i do like the idea of finding five members of a particular set, transformed somehow, corresponding to these five themers. but i don’t know which transformations to try nor does anything jump out at me about which set to think about. it would be a set that has at least six members, i suppose, and quite possibly exactly six, since that would pin down the meta answer a little more cleanly.

what about anagramming? LOCO gives us COOL, which seems a little promising. i’m not sure anything good is going to come from anagramming BAR or ADDRESS, though. BRA, i guess, but not sure what COOL and BRA are doing together.

i keep coming back to that clue for PERIODIC TABLE, and how it echoes “collection” in the title and also in the basic structure of the crossword—the theme answers are themselves a collection split across multiple rows of this grid. i guess it could be a hint that we’re supposed to look for something else split across multiple rows of the grid, not just the *ed theme answers, but this doesn’t look like that kind of grid to me—it’s already a very low word count (70), so i think the only meta content in the puzzle is in those five clues and answers. (i’m prepared to be surprised—and very impressed—if there’s much more theme content in this grid.) and i strongly suspect it’s in the answers rather than the clues, since otherwise how else are we supposed to find a sixth theme entry as opposed to a sixth theme clue?

i really don’t know what is going on, but just scanning a list of monopoly properties, i’m going to take a stab at states avenue, since that also is a collection. most of the other property names are themselves states, so there’s a pleasing self-similarity of sorts there. maybe if it is states, i’m supposed to be looking at the fact that GONE is an anagram of OREGON minus OR, but i sort of doubt it.

do let me know in the comments what i missed!

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12 Responses to MGWCC #786

  1. Amy F says:

    Elements are split across consecutive theme answers: teaseRAD ONe good COP …. The end is goneloCO so BALTic Avenue is the solution.

  2. Jeff M says:

    Do these elements belong to a set on the periodic table (or otherwise)? If not, certainly could have used a more apt title…as it was, I had no shot.

  3. Matt Gaffney says:

    234 right answers to this Super-SAD (Simple and Difficult) meta from AES!

    The five theme entries form a chain of chemical elements, as nudged at by PERIODIC TABLE.

    teaseRAD-ONegoodCOP-PERiodictabLE-ADdressbAR-GONeloCO…so the Monopoly property that extends the idea is contest answer Baltic Avenue, forming COBALT.

    Two solvers submitted the very interesting alt-answer B&O Railroad, which was accepted for full credit. Idea being that the B in B&O stands for BALTIMORE, so there’s your Cobalt yet again. Both were sure that they had it and didn’t look further, which was logical (and wordplay-ish) enough that we took it.

    Thanks for the meta, Alex! A real curveball.

  4. stmv says:

    This was tricky because the central PERIODIC TABLE functioned both as part of the “element chain”, and also as a clue to look for elements. For me the key was the ungainly wording of its clue: why write “split across multiple rows”, which is a weird way to describe the periodic table? I eventually saw that the RAD of TEASER AD could start RADIUM or RADON, and the BAR of ADDRESS BAR could start BARIUM; this didn’t quite work, but then I saw ARGON instead, and I was off to the races.

    • Garrett says:

      Yeah, that clue was a better hint than the title!

      • Seth Cohen says:

        I would’ve preferred no title on this one! I didn’t get it, mostly because I was focused on trying to figure out what the title could hint at. I never like it when the title is no help until the meta is already solved. Maybe there should be a new rule for metas: if the title isn’t a hint that can actually help you solve, don’t include a title.

        All that said, very good meta. I just wish I hadn’t gotten bogged down by the title.

        • I don’t agree with that proposed rule since sometimes a title can serve as nice confirmation of an answer even when you don’t use it to solve the meta. But in any case, the title did help me solve this one since it made me focus a lot more on the clue for PERIODIC TABLE. “Collection” and “rows” in that clue convinced me that this was the key.

    • jefe says:

      11th hour solve for me.
      Cobalt suggested Baltic Avenue but I didn’t have a reason why that would be a 6th theme answer.
      I was going to Hail Mary with Short Li(NEon), when eventually I realized I’d forgotten RADON, and thanks to the O in IOUS/DOE happening to connect to ONEGOODCOP, realized it was chaining.
      I hadn’t realized LEAD could come off of TABLE (don’t lick the periodic table), and saw ARGON afterwards.
      Only ding is that it doesn’t loop back around to the beginning.

  5. Garrett says:

    radon copper lead argon cobalt

    Two gasses and two metals in the grid, plus the start of CObalt at the end.

  6. John says:

    A good meta.

  7. Mikey G says:

    Nickel cerium oxygen neon!

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