MGWCC #051 -- Friday, May 22, 2009 -- "Clues Are Clues"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 51 of my contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


Well, this wasn't supposed to happen! MGWCC puzzles are meant to get tougher as the month progresses, yet 196 solvers submitted the correct contest answer phrase last week, compared to 187 the week prior. This aberration from the natural order has made the puzzle gods very angry with me; to appease them, I am forced to get medieval on you people with the last two puzzles in May, starting with today's. Hope you're happy.

First things first, though: last week's contest answer phrase was JOHN JAY, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (and governor of New York, among other things). Solvers found him via the puzzle's four theme entries: CRASS CALLS, GINGER GOOD, MOVER'S MANE and SALLY SOUND. Each of these phrases is formed by moving "One Down" (the puzzle's title) from the phrases "brass balls," "finger food," "lovers' lane," and "rally round" (see top left for solution).

Following the instructions, solvers noticed that 22-down (KOHN) and 53-down (KAY) could be moved one letter up the alphabet to get our hero, JOHN JAY.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 196 correct entries received, is Andrew Hatchell of Raleigh, N.C. Andrew has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


Eric Maddy writes:

I suspect I'm not the first one to get this right.

I'd dare to speculate that I'm the only one who was wearing a "John Jay College of Criminal Justice Bloodhounds" t-shirt as they solved the puzzle, though.

And he even sent proof! Check out that crime dawg:


Forgot to mention this last week, but several solvers pointed out that at 19-across in MGWCC #049, the clue {Like some sins} was incorrect for VENAL. The term I was thinking of was "venial," not VENAL.

This looks like a true eggcorn, since "venial" and "venal" are not etymologically related and it makes sense that a type of sin would be "venal."

Interesting story: over the past month I've been re-watching all the "Sopranos" episodes, and was laughing at a scene where Paulie mentions "venial" sins. I thought it was a malapropism/eggcorn, which the writers of the show famously and frequently put in the characters' mouths. Turns out Paulie had it right!


This week's contest is a murder mystery based on the game Clue. Somebody killed Mr. Boddy -- but whodunit, which room did they do it in, and with what weapon? This week's contest answer is the answer to all three of those questions. If you need a refresher, the list of possible suspects, scenes of the crime, and instruments of death are listed under "The Basics" here. Solve this dastardly crime and e-mail the contest answer to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer 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 burgeoning Google Group (614 members!) here:



In keeping with the mystery theme, the winner of this week's contest will receive an autographed copy of Eric Berlin's new puzzle-based mystery novel The Potato Chip Puzzles.

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

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