MGWCC #055 -- Friday, June 19, 2009 -- "The Milky Way"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 55 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.


New MGWCC record! 250 entrants -- on the dot, I counted twice -- correctly sent in last week's contest answer. This number obliterates, shatters, and demolishes the previous record, which was 249. Solution at top left.

Solvers were asked to find a hidden sixth theme entry to go along with the obvious five. Almost everyone who entered realized that each of the five given theme entries concealed, broken among the entry's two words, a brand of pain reliever:

MARMOT RING (everyone's favorite theme entry, judging by e-mails)

The sixth theme entry was hidden at 29-across, SEA LEVEL, which conceals the awesome painkiller ALEVE. I was going for SEA LEVEL as the contest answer, but I also accepted ALEVE itself (which about 2 in 5 entrants sent in).

Note that SEA LEVEL stood out from the other theme entries in four ways: 1) it's shorter than the others 2) its clue doesn't have a question mark at the end 3) it lacks a symmetrically-placed twin theme entry and 4) SEA LEVEL is an actual in-the-language phrase, not a made up one.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 250 correct entries received, is Betsy Arnold-Leahy of New York, N.Y. Betsy has selected as her prize an autographed copy of the Complete Idiot's Guide to Spanish-English Crossword Puzzles, which I wrote with Gail Stein.


Nice themeless from Brendan Quigley today. 19-across and 48-across are particularly sweet fill.


This week's contest answer is a type of drink with two words and a total of eleven letters in its name. 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.

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit "print" on your browser. To solve using Across Lite (download the free software here), join the burgeoning Google Group (662 members!) here:


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

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