MGWCC #831

crossword 3:39
meta 0:10 



hello, and welcome to episode #831 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “You Can Say That Again”. for this week 1 puzzle, the instructions were quite unnecessary. what were the theme answers? some, but not all, of the longest answers in the grid were thematic. with a hint from the title, it was not hard to spot four pairs of intersecting answers with identical clues that were all equivalent spoken expressions:

  • {“I’m soooo glad to hear this…” [eyeroll]} clues THAT’S JUST GREAT and OH JOY. this was the first and easiest theme pair to find, for several reasons: it used the longest answer in the grid, it was near the top of the grid, and the [eyeroll] in both clues made it quite clear that the clue similarity was not an accident.
  • {“Time for me to throw in the towel”} YOU WIN / I GIVE.
  • {“Enjoy the meal!”} DIG IN / BON APPETIT.
  • {“Send that info my way when you can”} FAX IT OVER / TEXT ME. this one’s a bit forced, as the two answers are from two very different eras, and FAX IT OVER is a bit stretched as an in-the-language spoken phrase.

anyway, what’s the meta answer? i mentioned before that both answers in each case intersect. circling the letters at the intersection and reading down the grid spells out JINX, a beautifully apt punch line to this little joke—although it does recast the premise of the meta mechanism from one person saying the same thing twice (as suggested by the title) into two people saying something at the same time.

matt has done very well to get the thematic J in very natural language, and if the X is a bit forced, well, that’s perhaps more to be expected. off the top of my head, i can’t think of a pair of equivalent spoken expressions that both use X without significant semantic overlap (e.g. EXACTLY and EXACTAMUNDO).

this is a great week 1 puzzle. easy enough to be accessible to just about everyone, but with a fresh feel and an enjoyable payoff. the grid is a bit unwieldy—not anything like symmetric, but that was necessary to accommodate four pairs of intersecting themers of a bunch of different lengths. in such circumstances, abandoning symmetry was the only reasonable choice.

bits & pieces:

  • {The ___ (big search engine, casually)} GOOG. thumbs down on this one from me.
  • {___ Swiatek (current #1 women’s tennis player)} IGA. the clue kind of understates it—she’s been #1 for 100+ weeks now (though not all contiguously), and over the weekend she defeated #2 aryna sabalenka in the finals of madrid in the best tennis match of the year so far. just an incredible player, especially on clay.
  • {Top card in a royal flush, in Italian} ASSO. this is a new foreign word for me. i’ve seen it clued as a partial, like {“___ often is the case”}.

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

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9 Responses to MGWCC #831

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, joon — 547 correct entries this week (and 3 incorrect).

    I began with symmetry in mind but quickly realized wasn’t gonna happen…

  2. Mike says:

    I don’t know how old Joon is, but as someone who entered the real job world in the mid-90s I can say that FAX IT OVER was absolutely something people said regularly back then. (And since I work in health care, it’s not completely obsolete these days either….)

    • John says:

      Not just the health care world. I was asked to fax over a notarized form to my bank last week! I don’t think i’ve sent a fax in 15 years. I wanted to tell him: UPGRADE!! Although, as an IT security guy, i realize there is some security benefit in using the telephony network vs a data network, but still.

  3. Amanda says:

    I loved GOOG. Reminded me of the guy in Glass Onion saying, “My Googs are blowing up!” (Google Alerts)

    • AnswerPfinder says:

      Agree! I didn’t make the connection to Glass Onion, but this made me chuckle.

  4. EP says:

    I got Jinx OK, but color me clueless, I still don’t see how it is the ‘elegantly apt punch line to this little joke’. What am I missing?

  5. Margaret says:

    I had a momentary glitch due to putting in YOU WON / I LOST (didn’t check the crosses) which gave me JONX! Easily found and fixed however.

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