MGWCC #035 -- Friday, January 30, 2009 -- "They've Got It All"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week 35 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.


Last week's puzzle wasn't MORONIC, but that was the contest answer word. The puzzle's three theme entries -- TAUSIG MAZE TAXI, CHIPS? I BET A PIETA! and the hard-to-parse THE T.A. ALP HAM, U NU consisted entirely of thirteen different Greek letters sandwiched together: tau + sigma + zeta + xi, chi + psi + beta + pi + eta, and theta + alpha + mu + nu.

The contest instructions told solvers they'd need to anagram another grid entry to get "one of the eleven you didn't need," and most found MORONIC at 55-across, which is an anagram of omicron. Solution grid at left.

As you might guess from the forced nature of the last theme entry, coming up with reasonable-sounding phrases made entirely of Greek letters isn't easy. In fact, I think it's unlikely this theme was possible before the handily-surnamed Ben Tausig became a known figure to cruciverbalists. I came up with the theme while looking at a list of Greek letters, when there suddenly appeared before me the name Tausig hidden in successive letters (backwards, but still; in an e-mail, Ben mentioned that he'd noticed this himself).

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 108 correct entries received, is Jared Dawson of Santa Barbara, Calif. Jared has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


Next week I'll begin the new prize system (see last week's post for more details, and next week's post for a full recap), but one thing I'll mention now is that a given month's puzzles will get more difficult as the month progresses, as most newspapers' puzzles get more difficult as the week progresses. So the puzzle that appears on Feb. 6th will be a relative softball, while the puzzle I run on Feb. 27th will make your kidneys hurt.

To get you used to that rhythm, today's puzzle, as a last-of-the-monther, is pretty tough...well, the meta-puzzle might be very tough, so much so that I'm going to give two prizes out for this week: one, a regular book prize given, as normal, to a randomly chosen entrant with the correct contest answer words; and two, the first MGWCC pen/pencil/notepad set to a randomly chosen entrant with the correct contest answer words who did not use Google at any time while solving either the puzzle or the meta-puzzle.

I'm not sure anyone can get the meta without Google so this is my way of finding out! IMPORTANT: if you didn't use Google at all, please put the words DIDN'T GOOGLE in the subject line of your entry. I'll assume you Googled if you don't include these words (and there's no shame in it; Googling is allowed during regular MGWCC solves, and again, I'll be impressed if anyone can get this meta-puz without using it). [UPDATE, 1/30, 5:20 PM ET: Three hours after sending out the Google Group e-mail, I don't have a single answer submitted, correct or not.][UPDATE #2, 1/31, 12:35 AM ET: now have five correct answers, all with Googling.]

The gauntlet having been laid down, I now present...


This week's contest answer words are the first and last names of three famous people, as indicated in the grid. One person's first and last names total eleven letters, the second person's total twelve letters, and the third person's total thirteen letters. E-mail them to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer words (and DIDN'T GOOGLE, if you didn't) 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.

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