MGWCC #030 -- Tuesday, December 30, 2008 -- "Time to Play the Piper"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 30 of my crossword contest, the last MGWCC of 2008. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


Major reindeer games here at MGWCC last week -- to wit, eight of Santa's nine sleigh-cows concealed themselves semi-cleverly in the puzzle grid. The only one missing was DONNER, which was last week's contest answer word. Some entrants also submitted the alternate spellings DONDER and/or DUNDER, which were also counted as correct. Solution grid at left.

So what exactly is this sleigh-cow's real name? For the record, here's how you all broke it down:

DONNER only -- 52 entries
DONDER only -- 21 entries
DUNDER only -- 0 entries
DONNER and DONDER -- 18 entries
DONNER and DUNDER -- 2 entries
DONDER and DUNDER -- 0 entries
DONNER, DONDER and DUNDER -- 11 entries

A hierarchy has emerged among the three choices -- but DONDER gets the last laugh this week, since that name alone was submitted by this week's contest winner, Mary Kazmer of Berkeley, Calif., whose name was chosen randomly from the 104 correct entries received. Mary has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

And finally, how the sleigh-cows hid themselves: each of the eight words in the four theme entries contained all the letters of one of the reindeer + one extra letter. Ergo Vixen concealed herself in VEXING, Blitzen in BLINTZES, Rudolph in UPHOLDER, Comet in COMETH, Dasher in RASHEED, Dancer in PRANCED (bit of a red herring I threw in there, one sleigh-cow hiding himself in another), Cupid in CUSPID, and the semi-legit-but-certainly-inconsistent Prancer hiding in the two-word REAP CORN (to my surprise, there was no decent eight-letter entry that uses the seven letters in PRANCER).


1) Lots of Donner Party jokes in this week's e-mails -- you people are sick and twisted. I love it! Next time post them in comments so the whole class can see.

2) Speaking of which: reminder that you can post comments about the puzzle at any time. Comments received between Fridays and noon on Tuesdays will be published at noon on Tuesdays; comments received after noon on Tuesdays will be published ASAP after approval (I don't want to have to approve each one but Blogger makes me if I don't want them to appear pre-Tuesday).

3) The winner of last Friday's mini-contest is N.F. of whereabouts unknown (I just informed him a few minutes ago that he won; when he writes me back I'll post his name and book choice) [UPDATE, 12/30, 5:35 PM -- that winner is Neville Fogarty of Lexington, Va., who has chosen as his prize a copy of Gridlock]. The answers to the puzzle were MUSKEGON, Michigan and the TV show GUNSMOKE, which anagram well-mixedly to one another.

I was aiming to be the first human being to notice the MUSKEGON/GUNSMOKE connection (a quick Google Search didn't reveal any anticipators), but Nancy Taubenslag informs me that others got there first:

I once lost a trivia contest because I didn’t get this answer fast enough.

Oh well.


This week's contest answer word is a kind of soup/stew with six letters in its name (well, ten if you include the word "soup" or "stew"). E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET [UPDATE, 1/1/09: Oops, I meant Friday, January 2 by noon ET. Sorry for the late warning, but I have to stick to the 1/2/09 deadline so we're not still off next week]. 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:


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


Neville said...

How clever! But in the upper right, I was confused, as I've never heard that term for a wet-towel-snap. I thought RATTAIL was a haircut... Wikipedia agrees with me, but that can easily be changed :)

SethG said...

I must take issue with your clue for 14A. Clearly, Craphonso Thorpe has the coolest sounding name.

Happy New Year, and Go Steelers!

Jim Finder said...

Here's a link to Mr. Piper's blog on the Chinese New Year and other things Chinese. Here it is.

Jim Finder said...

Neville, I remember RATTAIL from high school, but as a noun, not a verb.

I also remember DUCKTAIL, or D.T., as the haircut.

Anonymous said...

Did OXATOUILLE cross anyone else’s mind?

Jim Finder said...

I misspoke. The DUCKTAIL haircut was also called the D.A., corresponding to Duck's Ass (not D.T.).

@ Neville, apologies if necessary: RATTAIL is also a haircut, a different one from DUCKTAIL; I didn't mean to imply otherwise.