MGWCC #796

crossword 3:09
meta 3 days 


hello and welcome to episode #796 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “You Sound Hesitant”. my sincerest apologies for spacing out on the last two weeks of blogging. i blame jet lag, mostly. anyway, here we are in september. i tried to solve this week 1 puzzle without the instructions, without much success. what are the theme answers? four goofy made-up phrases consist of a word ending with -ER and then a word ending with -ERER:

  • {Wizard who’s always in a good mood?} CHIPPER SORCERER.
  • {Person who abstains from both alcohol and hard work?} SOBER MALINGERER.
  • {Vagabond who stays trim?} SLENDER WANDERER.
  • {Party worker who’s just plain evil?} SINISTER CATERER.

the puzzle’s title is certainly meant to draw our attention to the -ERs, but beyond that, i don’t really know what to do. taking away the -ERs leaves the first theme answer sounding like “chip source”, which seems like it could be a clue for something like POTATO or INTEL, but the others don’t turn into recognizable words.

ultimately i gave up and checked the instructions: This week’s contest answer is a tennis player who’s won the U.S Open many times. oh. well, that’s just ROGER FEDERER, and maybe i should have thought of him, considering he was my favorite athlete in any sport for, like, a decade-plus. but although i have watched dozens of hours of u.s. open coverage over the last week, i’ve actually barely thought about federer at all this year. the one exception was when novak djokovic was down two sets to love against laslo djere in the third round, before (inevitably) producing a comeback win in five sets, espn showed some highlights of his various comebacks from two sets to love at grand slams, including the one i wrote about (!) in this space (!!) twelve years ago (!!!) against federer himself.

okay, yeah, i should have thought of him. a week 1 puzzle shouldn’t require complicated manipulation of several moving parts, so “very familiar entry not in the puzzle that fits the theme” is a genre of instructions that ought to have crossed my mind.

that’s all i’ve got this week. glad to be back!

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9 Responses to MGWCC #796

  1. Jason says:

    I can’t remember but one of the early meta answers when all this started was ROGER FEDERER too

  2. pgw says:

    >“very familiar entry not in the puzzle that fits the theme”
    > is a genre of instructions that ought to have crossed my mind

    Maybe so, but then how would you have known not to enter HUNTER-GATHERER or WERNER KLEMPERER or NOTKER THE STAMMERER?

    • Paul+Coulter says:

      At first, I did it without instructions, too. I thought the answer might be Herbert Hoover, if Matt was asking for a president, but then I realized it could be George Herbert Walker Bush. So I had to give in and look at the prompt.

  3. Mikie says:

    Nice to see I’m not the only one who whiffed on a Week 1. Nothing like that “Duh!” moment instead of the “Aha!” moment.

  4. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon — 579/579, nobody missed it! A true Week 1/5.

    WERNER KLEMPERER is actually a 4x!

  5. Garrett says:

    I finished the grid, looked at the meta clue, and said Federer. I’d forgotten his first name , but of course that cinched it.

  6. OGuyDave says:

    Did anyone notice on Matt’s web page, “Roger Federer” at the end of the “Who you like” people in the FAQ “About Me” panel? Is it newly added, or was Roger there all along?

    Roger was one of my favorites too, a very classy guy.

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