MGWCC #077 -- Friday, November 20th, 2009 -- "Middle of Somewhere"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 77 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.


For the second straight week MGWCC featured a geography theme that solvers knocked out of the park.

The puzzle's five theme entries featured two-word geographical references turned into nonsense phrases by a pair of "earmuff" letters:

Ellis Island -- (H)ELLIS(H) ISLAND
Port Jefferson -- (O)PORT(O) JEFFERSON
St. Helena -- (E)ST(E) HELENA
Ada, Oklahoma -- (M)ADA(M) OKLAHOMA
Lake Erie -- LAKE (S)ERIE(S)

Guided by parenthetical numbers in the clues (which many solvers felt unnecessary) 247 entrants put together the mnemonic device those earmuffs formed --HOMES, which was last week's contest answer. That word is also a "LAKE SERIES," since it helps you never forget Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.

Brian Albus writes:

This theme came to me rather easily, as I am from Michigan, the Great Lakes State. I remember when they tried to add Lake Champlain to the list, which would've totally messed up the HOMES acronym (SCHMOE?)

Last week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 247 correct entries submitted, is Shari Guida of Peoria, Ariz. Shari has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


This week's contest answer is a familiar Thanksgiving food.
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 (959 members now!) here.


Instead of receiving a book written by me, MGWCC winners over the next four weeks will receive a 50-puzzle subscription to Peter Gordon's new Fireball Crosswords. This is the rubric under which Peter has brought back his New York Sun crosswords, which ceased production last year when its host newspaper folded.

It's a minor injustice that America's most innovative crossword puzzle editor no longer has a newspaper to call home, so I'm very pleased to support and publicize Peter's new endeavor.

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

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