MGWCC #079 -- Friday, Dec. 4th, 2009 -- "Crazy Xword"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 79 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 fourth straight week MGWCC featured a geography theme that solvers knocked out of the park. Solution at left.

Yes, the unannounced (and mostly unplanned) motif last month was geography, and last week that meant New England. The previous three weeks' entry totals had diminished progressively as intended (269 the first week, 247 the second, 221 the third), but the pattern stopped this week as 280 correct entries poured into MGWCC headquarters.

Those solvers noticed that the five unhidden theme entries each began with the first four letters of a New England state:

CONNoisseur --> Connecticut
MASSacring --> Massachusetts
VERMicelli --> Vermont
MAINtenance --> Maine
NEWHart --> New Hampshire

Solvers were asked to find the hidden sixth theme entry, and those who noticed the pattern had no trouble locating RHODA at 15-across as the correct contest answer word. Only Rhode Island was missing from the set, and the 1970s sitcom character provided it.

Last week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 280 correct entries submitted, is B. Chandrasekaran of Columbus, O. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, B. will receive a 50-puzzle subscription to Peter Gordon's new Fireball Crosswords.


64 solvers (one for each square on the chessboard) sent in correct contest answers for all four of November's puzzles. The following lucky ten were chosen at random from that group and will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Justin Redd -- Towson, Md.

Barbara Hartwell -- Framingham, Mass.

Greggo Johnson -- Pittsburgh, Penna.

Patrick Jordan -- Ponca City, Okla.

Jim Sherman -- Falls Church, Va.

Jordan Chodorow -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Pete Muller -- Santa Barbara, Calif.

Michael Morowitz -- Chicago, Ill.

Amy Reynaldo -- Chicago, Ill.

Julie Stern -- Ottawa, Ont.

Congratulations to all winners.

MINI-PUZZLE: one MGWCC pen (winner's choice of color) to the 20th solver who e-mails me the logic behind the order in which these ten winners are presented above.


I thought everyone could use an easyish November following Hell Month, but it appears October's wounds have healed right up. I received many e-mails lamenting the not-quite-killer difficulty level of the past two puzzles -- and besides, it doesn't seem right to make the puzzles tougher the deeper we get into the holiday season.

So we're doing December backwards: today's crossword and meta are the toughest of the month, and the one that appears on Christmas Day will be the easiest.


This week's contest answer is a one-sentence explanation of what ties this puzzle's four theme entries together (syntax may vary, but the theme can be easily explained in one sentence). E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put as much of your sentence as possible 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 (985 members now!) here.

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

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