MGWCC #023-- Friday, November 7, 2008 -- "+/- 1"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 23 of my crossword contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


"I didn't get the theme," solver Andy Blumberg wrote me about last week's puzzle, "until I read the answers out loud to my wife."

Reading them aloud did the trick, since the five theme entries -- LANCING A BLISTER, ROLLIE FINGERS, JUNO MACGUFF, PEER PRESSURED, and CONQUERED NATION -- all begin with a homophone for a U.S. state capital. For the record, those would be Lansing, Raleigh, Juneau, Pierre (betcha didn't know it's correctly pronounced "peer") and Concord (double or nothing you didn't know it's correctly pronounced "conquered" -- do I owe anyone money?). Solution grid is at left.

The band that fits the pattern from the wikipedia list I attached is LINKIN PARK, which was last week's contest answer phrase. But there were some interesting almost-correct alternatives, too: several solvers mentioned (and four submitted as their answer) Boyz II Men, which was on the list I supplied, but whose first word falls one tiny syllable shy of being a true homophone for Idaho's capital (the group's name is pronounced "boys to men," incidentally).

Other semi-close calls solvers mentioned were Rick Springfield, Jefferson Airplane and the Jackson 5, all of which had one or more issues disqualifying them (Springfield and Jackson are actual state capital names, not homophones, for example). A special shout-out to solver Nick Meyer who writes that a good close call is 1990s one-hit wonder Biz Markie, just a syllable away from North Dakota's capital. OK, he's not a band and sure didn't sell "tens of millions of albums" but it's worth a mention.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from among the 68 correct entries, is Candy Hoff of Aurora, Colo. Candy has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


Solve the puzzle and you'll know what to do! E-mail this week's contest answer word to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer word in the subject line of your e-mail.

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit "print" on your browser. To solve using Across Lite, join the Google Group here:


Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.