MGWCC #072 -- HELL MONTH PUZZLE #3 -- Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 -- "Frustrates for Fun"


The sky grows darker over the past week, does it not? We lost 93 of our friends within this span -- it horrifies me to think of what they endured.

And it horrifies me to ponder that we may lose a similar number to the challenge that beckons...


Recently an ebon feline (a quintet of them, in fact!) intersected thy personal journey -- or, more familiarly, a BLACK CAT CROSSED YOUR PATH, which was last week's contest answer phrase.

The cats in question were:

SYLVESTER (from old cartoons)
SCRATCHY (from "The Simpsons")
SOCKS (from the Clinton White House)
FELIX (cartoons)
ALONZO (from T.S. Eliot and the musical "Cats")

These five clues were asterisked, as was PERSONAL JOURNEY across the middle, which led 234 solvers to correctly peg the contest answer phrase.

I was lenient on phrasing -- pretty much anything with "black cat," "path" and some form of "cross" was counted as correct ("a black cat crossing my path," "black cats crossing one's path," etc.). I even accepted the entry "Crossing paths with a black cat," which has all the elements but doesn't sound quite right.

Were all the cats black? Yes, but no. As you can see from the shots above, all five of them have some white fur as well. I would have preferred using all-black cats but I didn't feel it affected the play of the meta, so I went with the ones in the grid (in a concession to the impure fur of this quintet, I counted as correct those three entries who submitted only some form of "a cat crossing your path" without mentioning its color).

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 234 correct entries submitted, is Rachel Pleasants of Cambridge, Mass. Rachel has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


This week's contest answer is the name of a well-known horror film. 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 (916 members now!) here.

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

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