MGWCC #039 -- Thursday, February 26, 2009 -- "On Your Marks, Get Set, Begin"

Hi again, folks. Welcome to Week 39 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.

Full write-up with last week's results coming tomorrow -- for now, here's this week's contest crossword.

NOTE: Last week's puzzle was harder than I'd envisioned (only about 40 correct answers), so I decided to shelve the extremely tough end-of-monther I had originally planned for this week with something a little less brutal (and more timely). Don't worry -- I'll publish that one at the end of March!


41 entrants found the "missing link" in last week's puzzle and correctly solved the riddle they found by following it. Let's see what happened:

Solvers were instructed that the contest answer word was a five-letter surname. The riddle revealed in the grid's theme answers were:


On its left sidebar my blog features a roster of "Crossword Links." Scroll down to it and you'll see the surnames of some of my favorite crossword writers, most of whose names will be familiar to you.

...except one, nested between (Pat) Merrell and (Stan) Newman -- "Missing." Following this hyperlink (literally, it's a "Missing Link") takes you to a new webpage, where a puerile, indelicate riddle awaits (I don't go out of my way to be puerile or indelicate, but if a good piece of wordplay presents itself and happens to be crass, I won't necessarily turn away from it, and didn't here).

The answer to the riddle was JONES, which was last week's contest answer word. I won't explain the whole thing in case anyone wants to reverse-engineer the rest of the riddle's two-part answer, but Joon Pahk explains the meta with his usual wit here:


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 41 entries received, is Greggo Johnson of Edmonston, Md. Greggo has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


1) Several readers pointed out that Las Vegas's RIO hotel (35-down) is not located on the Strip, as the clue states. My mistake.

2) I had anticipated 80-90 correct answers for this week, not the 41 I received, so I made this final puzzle of the month easier than future month-enders will be. Call it constructor's guilt! But we'll get back on the tougher-as-we-go schedule in March.


This week's contest answer word is four letters long. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Wednesday (note extra day this week) 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.

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