MGWCC #797

crossword 3:09
meta 3 days 


hello and welcome to episode #797 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “College Search”. the instructions tell us that This week’s contest answer, which is nine letters long, is an American university often mentioned in crossword clues. okay, what are the theme answers? six long entries in the grid (three across and three down) are:

  • {Everything bagel stuff} SESAME SEEDS.
  • {Whiskey since 1780} JAMESON.
  • {Utterly botched} MADE A MESS OF.
  • {Like Mimi Tran and Scotty Nguyen, by birth} VIETNAMESE.
  • {Like some relationships} SAME-SEX. this crosses JAMESON at the E in the center of the grid.
  • {Bar parts} EXAM ESSAYS. i’m not 100% sold on this being a thing. ESSAY EXAMS, yes.

these six answers all contain a hidden AMES, the very-familiar-to-crossworders town where IOWA STATE has its campus, so that’s the meta answer.

this is week 2, admittedly in a five-friday month—but i found this to be unmissably easy, considerably easier than last week’s week 1 that 579 of 579 solvers got correct. not that that was a bad thing—i was out of town this weekend, so i was grateful for the easy puzzle even given the extra day to solve it.

odds & ends from the fill:

  • {Side dish, often (abbr.)} VEG. on sunday i had dinner at a restaurant called VEGZ. the food was absolutely delicious and the prices were shockingly low relative to the neighborhood, but i contend that the name of the restaurant is terrible. you shouldn’t name your business something unpronounceable.
  • {Cereal with a grammatically incorrect apostrophe} OH’S. this is a tricky one, since the apostrophe is called for when pluralizing a single letter such as O’S. there’s also this song, which … i don’t know. is that wrong?
  • {“Of course,” in Oaxaca} CLARO. i’ve only ever seen this clued as a cigar. is this the spanish equivalent of “clearly”?
  • {Dead meat on a stick} TOAST. well actually i’m pretty sure that’s a kebab. toast is bread that’s been browned in a toaster.

that’s all for me. hope you all found this one as straightforward as i did!

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to MGWCC #797

  1. Mac says:

    I had never heard of the cereal but a little sleuthing indicates that Post dropped the apostrophe and added an exclamation mark several years ago — although some retailers still use the apostrophe.

  2. Mutman says:

    I tried to be creative making TOAST work too. KABOB is correct.

    • EP says:

      In addition to ‘kabob’, I think ‘roast’ is also fitting, not sure which is better. But I AM sure, to the extent that I’m sure of anything these days, that ‘toast’ is not fitting. I’d love to hear Matt’s excuse, er, I mean EXPLANATION, for that.

      As for everyone that got this in lightning speed, one of my favorite truism’s applies: the challenge is not so much to appreciate the merits of the name of the college town as a proxy for the name of the school, but TO THINK OF IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. That was for me a new concept, and it took me a bit to think of it. I therefore judged it an easier but still solid week 2 effort, although I saw on the leaderboard that I’m in the clear minority on that.

  3. Mikey G says:

    I was worried for a split-second when I saw AMES on SESAME SEEDS that, “Okay…but there’s no Ames University, right?” But, then I recalibrated. This just makes me a hair daunted for Level 3, but I’m still ready for the challenge (I hope!). Colleges are definitely a category to work on for “Jeopardy! purposes,” including opera, rivers, Shakespeare, and a whole panoply of others.

    Also, bonus shout-out to you, Matt, for the WSJ – that was another work-of-art with some great aha’s along the way.

  4. Adam Rosenfield says:

    When I saw the everything bagel / sesame seeds at 17A, I was wondering for a moment we were about to get a rehash of MGWCC #144‘s EVERYWHERE BAGEL, but fortunately the similarities ended there and we got a completely different puzzle.

  5. Mary Flaminio says:

    Not sure why it took 3 days when you said it was pretty easy and you are so good. Typo?

  6. AmyL says:

    I wanted the {Dead meat on a stick} to be ROAST but it didn’t work with the across.

  7. Jim Burger says:

    Okay, long time Meta solver, but when the fill is so convoluted or obscure to a point that I have Google everything, I get frustrated and give up. That’s how I feel about this one. I am very familiar with Ames, Iowa, and was excited for the College theme. The long fill was fine, but the rest was awkward and not fun. I never even thought about the Meta. I just threw in the towel, because it wasn’t fun for me. Peace.

Comments are closed.