MGWCC #052 -- Friday, May 29, 2009 -- "Signing Bonus"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 52 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.


You like me -- you really, really like me. Or at least you really liked last week's crossword, whose metapuzzle got the best reception of any MGWCC thus far (I received about 15 e-mails from solvers who named this meta their personal favorite).

My guess for number of correct entries was 100, but in the end 128 solvers correctly deduced that the murder of Mr. Boddy was performed by Miss Scarlet, in the library, with the rope, which was last week's contest answer. I accepted as correct any entry that contained those three pieces of information, whether or not the wording was precise (didn't feel it would have been right to reject entries without the exact syntax I was aiming for, since the contest instructions asked only for who, where, and with what). Solution at left.

How was Miss Scarlet's treachery exposed? The puzzle's one theme entry (41-across) told solvers to look for EIGHT THAT END IN 2. Detective-solvers noticed that the eight clues that end in the number 2 each had an alternate answer that spelled out the crime's details. For example, 2-down was clued as {Ark. neighbor} and yielded the answer OKLA; but Arkansas also borders Mississippi, so could have yielded MISS as well. 12-down was clued as {___ fever} and led to the answer RUNS A; but SCARLET might also have worked.

In full, the alternate answers were:

2-down MISS
12-down SCARLET
22-across IN
32-down THE (the very awkward clue here was a big hint for many solvers)
42-down LIBRARY
52-down WITH
62-down THE (that's the French word for "tea")
72-across ROPE

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 128 correct entries received, is Judi O'Brien of Birmingham, Mich. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Judi will receive last week's special prize, an autographed copy of Eric Berlin's new puzzle-based mystery novel The Potato Chip Puzzles.


1) Next week is the one-year anniversary of MGWCC. Prepare yourself!

2) As a last-of-the-monther, today's crossword is...well, it is rather difficult. In months (like the current one) that contain five Fridays, the final puzzle will be extra-tough. I'm estimating 75 correct entries, and for the first time with a MGWCC, I had a test-solver go through the meta to make sure it was gettable. Judging by her reaction, I suspect she'd be surprised if even 50 right answers came in.

Without further ado...


This week's contest answer is the answer to the five-part riddle contained in the grid. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer in the subject line of your e-mail.

Note: there are four possible answers to this riddle, and any of the four is acceptable. Once you get one of the four, the other three will quickly follow anyway.[UPDATE, 5/29, 4:45 PM ET: first correct answer has been received!][UPDATE #2, 5/29, 5:10 PM ET: second correct answer has been received!][UPDATE #3, 5/29, 6:00 PM ET: six correct entries have now come in, and solvers have found two additional correct answers to the riddle, meaning there are a total of six possible correct answers.]

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 (633 members!) here:


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

1 comment:

John said...

Didnt bother with the meta, the puzzle was enough of a fight. Loved the Pablo Cruz clue!