MGWCC #071 -- HELL MONTH PUZZLE #2 -- Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 -- "Walk in Fear"


The first week wasn't very difficult, was it? You kept your wits about you, didn't succumb to the temptation of panic, and rather quickly arrived at the correct solution.

It seemed almost too simple...perhaps it was a period of calm before the terrifying maelstrom...


Old business: MGWCC #069 saw twelve entrants submit "freestyle crosswords," the term that will gradually replace "t****less crosswords" (let the Soviet-style airbrushing of language begin) in the lexicon.

All twelve will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, while one of the twelve chosen at random wins that week's normal book prize. Our eleven stationery winners from that week are:

Ed Brody -- Cambridge, Mass.

Norm Chafetz -- Austin, Tex.

Russ Cooper -- Phoenix, Ariz.

Jason Feng -- Richmond, B.C.

Mark Halpin -- Cold Spring, Ky.

Robert Hartford -- Stow, Mass.

Whitney Luther and Trey Stockard -- Portland, Ore.

Leigh Newman -- Bloomfield, Conn.

Christy Meisler -- Somerville, Mass.

Jerry Rosman -- Henderson, Nev.

Jed Scott -- Rockford, Mich.

And the book prize winner (whose last name was in that puzzle's grid!):

Sam Donaldson -- Kenmore, Wash.

Congratulations to all winners! I think I'll write a freestyle crossword this weekend in their honor.


You folks sure know your POE! A record-obliterating 327 correct entries came in bearing the morose Marylander's name (old record was 250). Solution below.

Hell Month solvers got there by noticing that the puzzle's five theme entries all concealed the letters R-A-V-E-N:


So many RAVENs could only mean one author, the only author with an NFL team named for his oeuvre: EDGAR ALLAN POE, which was Hell Month contest answer #1.

Naturally no penalty to those who submitted only POE, nor to those 81 entrants who spelled the writer's middle name as ALLEN (forgivable, since references weren't allowed).

Leo Stein writes:

Quoth the Raven, "I'm in ur theme answers"

While Anne Ulanov sent this in:

Thought this might interest you:


Apparently they will post a picture of someone at UTexas or someone famous reading Poe, every day throughout October. (See Robert De Niro on 9/24.)

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from those 327 correct entries, is Jack Gaede of Minneapolis, Minn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Jack will also receive a copy of Patrick Blindauer's upcoming suite of holiday puzzles.


Last week I stated that the rules for Hell Month forbad use of any external references, including books, websites, and people.

But as I began looking over the upcoming Hell Month puzzles, I realized that those rules were too strict. While none of the puzzles unambiguously requires references, several of them and their metas might be unfairly harsh without them, even for Hell Month.

I also realized, upon further reflection, that a total ban on references wasn't what I was really interested in -- only a ban on hints from *other people*. So I am amending the Hell Month reference rules to read thusly:

***Printed references of any kind (books, websites, etc.) ARE allowed during Hell Month. But giving or receiving hints to/from any other competitor is strictly forbidden!

When changing rules after the game has started one must be careful not to penalize anyone who did follow the original rules. With 327 correct entries I'm not sure anyone was penalized, but if you didn't get last week's contest answer *because* you didn't use references, please send me an e-mail explaining your situation and I'll be reasonable about admitting you back into the Hell Month fold.


This week's contest answer is an unnerving event that occurs five times in this puzzle. 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, then join the Google Group (903 members now!) here.

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

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