MGWCC #064 -- Friday, August 21, 2009 -- "Almost A Murmur"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 64 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.


Taken out of context, the letters A-E-S-O-P look more like a random handful of Scrabble tiles than anything else. But a second look confirms that they're actually AESOP, the Greek slave who's credited with some of the most famous stories in the world.

He was also last week's contest answer word, as all four of that puzzle's theme entries -- LION'S SHARE, CRYING WOLF, GOLDEN EGGS, and SOUR GRAPES -- are taken from his oeuvre. 202 solvers found him hidden at 27-down, where the awkward partial POSEA reverses to AESOP. Solution at top left.

Many solvers mentioned missing the name completely on the first run-through of entry reversals. Wholly understandable, since it features an odd pattern of letters for English speakers and I semi-deviously placed POSEA as a down entry in order to trick solver eyes a little more (mentally reversing an across entry is somewhat easier). Four entrants even sent in the almost-plausible DOG'S YALP as their answer, overlooking AESOP completely.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 202 correct entries submitted, is Marie Nadeau of Hampden, Me. Marie has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


One fascinating aspect of running this contest has been the personal stories of where, when and how solvers tackle my puzzles. Les and Sam Wagner write:

[We] may now possibly hold the Matt Gaffney Crossword Contest land speed record. We solved this puzzle while traveling approximately 150 mph on a bullet train somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid.

While Finn Vigeland explains:

I've attached a photo to show you the lengths I went to solve this puzzle. I was in a car ride the whole day with nothing to do, en route to a location without Internet for my computer, just the edge network for my phone. So I found the only piece of paper in the entire car and did my best to re-create the grid as I went along.

Now that's dedication!


I have a 21x21 crossword up at The Daily Beast today.


This week's contest answer phrase consists of the surname of a famous author AND the surname of one of his characters. Taken together, they would've made an excellent theme entry this week. E-mail them to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer phrase 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, then join the Google Group (810 members now!) here.

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

1 comment:

treedweller said...

oh, man! I was so close! I looked at all the reversed clues (including just reversing the words of multi-word answers) and the only plausible asolution I cam eup with was DIALP. With lots of MNO's, I thought it might make sense, somehow. Since I never saw how, I never offered a solution. Now I see that the real solution is quite a bit more explicable, and I don't know how I missed it.

Oh, well. Someday, I will qualify for that damn notepad set! (even if I don't win).