MGWCC #822

crossword 3:54
meta 0ish 


hello, and welcome to episode #822 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Me Want Cookie”. for this week 1 puzzle, the instructions were quite unnecessary as it was easily guessable from the title what matt was after. what were the theme answers? the three longest answers were all downs, and they all contained a MINT rebus square:

  • {Sitcom with Frankie Muniz in the title role} MALCOL[M IN T]HE MIDDLE. the MINT rebus square is crossed by {Organization co-founded by Lenin in 1919} CO[MINT]ERN, a portmanteau name for the (third) COMmunist INTERNational.
  • {Some are shaped like Flintstones characters} VITA[MIN T]ABLETS, crossed by {Despicable rascal} VAR[MINT].
  • {Where you’d often find Akane Yamaguchi or An Se-young} BAD[MINT]ON COURT. these are not exactly household names in this country, but they are quite accomplished. an, from south korea, is currently the #1 ranked woman in the world and the reigning gold medalist at the 2023 world championships, and yamaguchi of japan is ranked #4. neither medaled at the 2021 (“2020”) tokyo olympics, as both were eliminated in the quarterfinals. the MINT here is crossed by {Hit on purpose, as another kid’s bumper car} RA[M INT]O.

given the three MINT rebus squares and the cookie in the title, and the fact that it’s girl scout cookie season, it’s not too hard to come up with THIN MINTS as the meta answer. i’m not sure if the “thin” angle was why the long answers were oriented vertically instead of horizontally—i guess you could call those entries thin, but the shorter across answers also contain MINT rebus squares, and the rebus squares themselves are, well, square. (or close to square, anyway.) rebus entries are often described as small or compact in some way in reveal answers, but thin is a bit more specific, and i’m not 100% sure i agree that these MINTs are especially thin… but it was clear enough what matt was going for.

thin mints are perennially the most popular girl scout cookie type, i think. personally, i’ve never been fond of mint flavoring in anything except toothpaste. that said, i don’t mind thin mints because there’s enough chocolate to make up for the mint. that said, they’re clearly inferior to samoas (a.k.a. caramel delites) or tagalongs (peanut butter patties). don’t @ me, except to sell me samoas or tagalongs.

other bits:

  • {Pepper named for a Caribbean capital} HABANERO. i was well into adulthood before i learned that habanero was the demonym for havana.
  • {What I call my six-year-old son, which he thinks is hilarious} BRO. my son calls his sisters this, which i find hilarious because they don’t call him bro.
  • {Country with five chess players currently in the world’s top 20} INDIA. vishy anand is still #10 (and, as has been the case for years now, he’s by far the oldest player in the top 10). i don’t know any of the other four, who currently occupy spots 14 through 17.
  • {Question that seeks reassurance} AREN’T I. this is a pet peeve of mine (because i’m unrepentantly pedantic, i know). it should be AMN’T I or at least AM I NOT, because that is how to conjugate the verb “to be”.

that’s all i’ve got for this week. how’d you like this one?

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7 Responses to MGWCC #822

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, bro — 582 correct entries this week.

  2. Alex B. says:

    The “aren’t I” phrasing and its awkwardness is the best reason to use “ain’t”, in my opinion

    • Jesse says:

      People used to say “amn’t” and over time the pronunciation drifted into something more like “ant”, and then diverged between upper-class pronunciation of “aren’t” (which now survives mostly in the phrase “aren’t I”) and a lower-class pronunciation of “ain’t”. “Amn’t” is still used in some parts of Ireland, Scotland, northern England – and by my younger kid who came up with it independently.

  3. Amanda says:

    Unrepentantly is the best way to be pedantic.

  4. Garrett says:

    A rebus was so unexpected that I did not suspect it until I looked-up Frankie Muniz.

  5. EP says:

    Totally agree on the ‘best reason to use ain’t’ observation…unless you’re ‘unrepentantly pedantic’, (good call, Amanda) a phrase I think I’ll shamelessly steal…

  6. Daniel Barkalow says:

    I think the “MINT”s are thin if you write the letters full-height instead of shrinking them proportionally to fit in the box.

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