MGWCC #807

crossword 2:07
meta 0:01 


hello and welcome to episode #807 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “That’s a Stretch”. for this week 3 puzzle that was supposed to be a week 1 puzzle, i was able to solve it without the instructions. what were the theme answers? there were no long answers in this 11×11 grid, but several across answers did not match the clues, despite being valid crossword entries:

  • {Device attached to an avid reader’s nightstand} BEDLAM. no, it’s a BED LAMP.
  • {Hindu honorific} SWAM. this should actually be SWAMI.
  • {Toward the back of the ship} ASTER(N).
  • {State of uncertainty} LIMB(O).
  • {Mr. Guinness} ALE(C).
  • {Second-to-last element, alphabetically} ZIN(C).
  • {Seating option at a restaurant} BOOT(H).
  • {Drink with its own glass} MARTIN(I).
  • {Money, casually} DINER(O), not a DINER where you might be seated at a booth.

although the extra letters made for a bit of a thursdayish wrinkle when solving the crossword, the meta was child’s play: the extra letters spell out PINOCCHIO, an apt answer both because the thematic clues are untruthful as far as the answers in the grid are concerned, and because the answers “stretch” like pinocchio’s nose in terms of being longer than usual.

props to matt for using lots of back hooks (as scrabble players refer to them) that are very different in sense to the entries in the grid. the only ones that even share a shred of etymology are MARTIN and MARTINI, but even there, MARTINI is very much this particular drink that does happen to be named for the italian equivalent of MARTIN. the point is there aren’t all that many good -I hooks (SWAM/SWAMI is brilliant), and to fill the grid cleanly with nine back hooks in the right order is quite an impressive technical feat.

well, a strange month, surely, but this felt very much like a normal week 1 puzzle, so i think overall we’re on course. bring on week 4!

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3 Responses to MGWCC #807

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon — 584 right answers this week.

  2. Jonesy says:

    Did anyone solve this downs only? Would be really amazing

  3. EP says:

    An apt description of this one would be ‘An Inverse Idiom’: ‘A (week 1) Sheep in (week 3) Wolf’s Clothing’…

    Not only was it a week 1 challenge, it was an exceptionally easy one. Have to agree with Joon, though, it may have been easy, but was a very elegant construction.

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