MGWCC #078 --Friday, November 27th, 2009 -- "Regional Variation"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 78 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 third straight week MGWCC featured a geography theme that solvers knocked out of the park. Solution at left.

221 solvers noticed that each of last week's four theme phrases consisted of the letters OF embedded in the name of a country:

GERM OF ANY --> Germany
SOFA MOA --> Samoa
CHO FILE --> Chile
ROOF MANIA --> Romania

The contest instructions told solvers they were looking for a "familiar Thanksgiving food," and two entries across the middle of the grid told them how to find it: STUFF A NATIONAL / BIRD THE SAME WAY.

"National bird" was not meant literally as the national bird of a country, but rather as an echo of the four theme entries: a nation that's also a bird. That could only be Turkey, and, appropriately for Thanksgiving, solvers stuffed Turkey (with OF, same as the other four countries) to come up with last week's contest answer, the incredibly delicious food product known as TOFURKEY.

Sounds complicated when I write it out like that, but 221 correct entries is high for a third-week puzzle, so not all that many were successfully tricked.

Last week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 221 correct entries submitted, is Geoff Greene of Knoxville, Tenn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Geoff will receive a 50-puzzle subscription to Peter Gordon's new Fireball Crosswords (which already has almost 200 subscribers!).


I have an article in Slate today about anticipated crossword themes:



This week's puzzle looks like it only has five theme entries -- starred for your solving convenience -- but a sixth theme entry lurks within the grid. This week's contest answer is that hidden sixth theme entry. E-mail it to me (the actual grid entry itself, not its clue number) at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Wednesday at noon ET (note the extra day this week, given due to the long holiday weekend). 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 (970 members now!) here.

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

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