MGWCC #827

crossword 3:09
meta 0:30 


hello, and welcome to episode #827 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “We Have a Winner”. for this week 1 puzzle, the instructions were optional, and i was able to solve the meta without them. what were the theme answers? five long across answers were all two-word phrases where both words begin with vowels:

  • {U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. of the 1970s} ANDREW YOUNG.
  • {Home to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (the ampersand seems a bit casual but that’s how they do it)} YALE UNIVERSITY.
  • {Sworn to tell the truth} UNDER OATH.
  • {You won’t believe your eyes when you see this!} OPTICAL ILLUSION.
  • {Not theoretical} IN EXISTENCE.

not only is each of these individually a two-word phrase where both words start with vowels, but the two vowels are consecutive and in reverse order (with A wrapping back around to Y). furthermore, there’s an overall sequence to the initials, which also cycles backward through the six vowels: AY, YU, UO, OI, and IE. this would be a complete sequence with the addition of an EA theme answer, and from the title of the puzzle and the timing (sent out on the friday when ACPT began), it wasn’t hard for me to surmise that we were looking for an ACPT champion, specifically ERIK AGARD, the 2018 champion. and with that, my three-week skid ends—whew! thank goodness for week 1.

i missed seeing erik in person this year in stamford—he hasn’t been back to an in-person ACPT since the pandemic—because he’s one of the nicest people on the planet, in addition to a GOAT-level speed-solver, but it was nice to be able to celebrate him anyway. so thank you to matt for that.

(while we’re at it, i also missed seeing matt himself. matt, when was your last in-person ACPT? i know it’s not easy to get away for a whole weekend of puzzle bacchanal when you’ve got young kids at home, so it’s quite understandable. but it’d be great to catch up again in person.)

clue bits:

  • {“Chicago ___” (NBC series that sounds like it was named by an AI bot who already knew the names of thousands of one-hour prime-time TV dramas)} MED. ha!
  • {Any of 21 on a die} PIP. slightly surprising to see this clued with die explicitly instead of cross-referenced to 35d {Rolled randomizer} DIE in the grid.

that’s all i’ve got this week. nice to see many of you in stamford!

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14 Responses to MGWCC #827

  1. Chris says:

    I submitted David Rosen, as he was the only past winner whose name and city/state of residence (as listed in the summary of past winners) uses all of the vowels, plus Y. Begging for alternate credit, but so far . . .

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon — 378 right answers this week. Low for Week 1, probably due to the ACPT itself!

    I haven’t been to the ACPT since 2011. Went to the Indie 500 in DC a few times around 2016-17-18, but then kids and living even further away from Connecticut (Shenandoah Valley of VA vs. DC) means I haven’t been for too long.

  3. Garrett says:

    I was puzzled by the lengthy clues for MED and YALEUNIVERSITY. They stood out like sore thumbs. I never saw a reason for the wordy clue for Yale U, but…

    Chicago Med had its debut in 2015, which was the year that Dan Feyer attained his sixth consecutive win at the ACPT. SIX is backwards in INEXISTENCE.

    As for the wordy clue for MENDELEEV, it’s appropriate (though unnecessary) because he created the foundation upon which the modern Periodic Table is based, and accurately predicted elements that should be in it that had not yet been discovered.

    Maybe EIEIO should be EIIEEOOE 😜

  4. Scott says:

    I had a tough time with one…even with it being week one. I had to ask my dentist (also a MGWCC solver) for a hint.

  5. Margaret says:

    All I saw was that the themers started with vowels so I googled the winners to find one that started with vowels, easy enough. Never saw that they were consecutive or in reverse order or that EA was the missing one! Wow, very clever and impressive.

  6. david glasser says:

    FYI, this post’s title is blank.

  7. Daniel Barkalow says:

    I was amused to find a big hint at number 2 on the leaderboard when I was submitting my answer.

  8. e.a. says:

    very grateful for the ultimate honor from MG and the kind words from jp! love you miss you

  9. Jon says:

    I had to ask a solving buddy if the AY-YU-UO-OI-IE progression was clear enough to point to a specific ACPT winner.

    A week 1 meta should be so obvious you can answer the meta right away. And it shouldn’t require looking up a list of candidates to pick out the right answer.

    This felt like a week 2 or week 3 meta.

    I also couldn’t figure out the last 2 weeks of metas so having difficulty on a week 1 meta felt like a real kick in the teeth.

  10. PatXC says:

    Hmmm … I went with the repeating starting letters, YY, UU, OO, II. Paolo Pasco fit that. So why is that wrong? Asking for a friend :-)

    • Daniel Barkalow says:

      Mr. Pasco and Paolo would have to be different people in order to fit that pattern (since the repeated letters you saw are in different answers), and you’d need to explain the words in theme answers starting with A and E. More practically, Matt constructed and released the puzzle before Paolo Pasco was a winner.

  11. Mikie says:

    Was surprised there had only been 15 winners of the ACPT in its first 45 years. Now 16 in 46 thanks to young Mr. Pasco’s performance this past weekend.

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