MGWCC #068 -- Friday, September 18, 2009 -- "Copy That"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 68 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.


Cruciverbal Controversy Contaminates Crossword Contest! is what headlines could've read last week here at MGWCC. 73 of 74 clues in last week's puzzle were alliterative (or was it 72? -- see below), and it was the answer to the one that wasn't -- ALL ALLITERATIVE -- that served as last week's contest answer.

But a veritable panoply of errata, quibbles, cooks and judgment calls added some zing to our little weekly wordfest. First we'll take care of contest details, then we'll get to the veritable panoply. Puzzle solution at top left.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 191 correct entries received, is Linda Budzinski of Sterling, Va. Linda has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

There, that was easy -- Now, the various controversies, so numerous they must be elucidated with bullet points:


The clue for 43-across (MOJITOS) should have read {Cuban concoctions} instead of {Cuban concoction}.

*** COOK:

A "cook" is a correct alternative answer to a chess problem overlooked by the problem's author. I'm using the term the same way here since it sounds much better than "correct alternative answer."

31 solvers found a cook to last week's contest answer, namely TIRE IRON at 39-down. Its clue, {Wheel wrench}, was intended to be alliterative but isn't, since "wheel" starts with a W-sound and "wrench" starts with an R-sound [UPDATE, 9/18, 6:55 PM ET: Abby Braunsdorf cleverly suggests {Lug loosener} as a better clue]. As part of the editing process I'd gone through each entry one by one, pronouncing the words in each clue aloud, yet my eyes still managed to fool my ears on this one. Those 31 solvers who sent in TIRE IRON had their entries counted as correct (and one of them was selected as this week's winner, in fact).


Two solvers sent in KERR as their contest answer, the logic being that in the clue {Stellar shooter Steve}, "shooter" starts with an SH-sound while the other two start with an S-sound. I went ahead and accepted those two, even though I felt it wasn't quite as pure a cook as TIRE IRON (see the comments section in Joon Pahk's writeup for the full back-and-forth on this one).


12 solvers sent RELOJ (27-down) in as their answer. I was unable to count this one as correct, since the Mexican city/state of Oaxaca is pronounced "wa-HA-ka," making the clue {Oaxacan's watch} indisputably alliterative.

For more points and counterpoints on various aspects of this meta, see the above-linked comments section at the Crossword Fiend blog.


Be afraid, be very afraid, for Hell Month is only two weeks away. If you've been unlucky enough to never win a MGWCC prize then seize your chance in October -- because everyone who correctly submits all five contest answers will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.

[in Vincent Price voice] Naturally I don't intend to send many prizes out, but ultimately, that's up to you...


This week's crossword looks like it only has four theme entries, but there's a fifth one lurking somewhere. This week's contest answer is the two grid entries which, when taken together, would make an excellent fifth theme entry. E-mail these two to me (the actual entries in the grid, not their clue numbers) 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, then join the Google Group (845 members now!) here.

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

No comments: