MGWCC #083 -- Friday, Jan. 1, 2010 -- "Merlin' the Wizard"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 83 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.


You didn't think Santa did all that present-wrapping himself, did you? Don't be so naive...of course he has help. 149 solvers uncovered Santa's secret (and last week's contest phrase) by spotting the five ELFs hidden backwards in grid entries:


The first theme entry had nudged readers toward the Elfish presence (GERMAN FOR ELEVEN was the grid entry, and the German number eleven is "elf"). The second theme entry told them how many to look for (FIVE ARE HIDDEN), while the last told them what to do to find the two-word contest answer phrase (USE HIDING PLACES).

Take the 14 non-ELF letters in those five words and you get AMSMRIRYRECTSH, which anagrams to last week's contest answer phrase: MERRY CHRISTMAS. An obvious choice of phrase, I'll grant you -- but pitchers have to float the occasional cantaloupe right over the middle of the plate, just so the counterintuitive doesn't become intuitive.

Last week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 149 correct entries submitted, is Joe Gori of Oxford, Conn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Joe will receive a 50-puzzle subscription to Peter Gordon's new Fireball Crosswords (almost 400 subscribers!)


Busy week here and I blanked on choosing and notifying monthly prize winners. I'll announce them next week -- and to make up for the lapse I'll award 12 stationery sets for December instead of the normal 10.


A 21x21 this week! If you're going to stylistically imitate an artist, better use his preferred canvas.

This week's contest answer is ten letters long, the first and last name of this puzzle's honoree. 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 (1,019 members now!) here.

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

No comments: