MGWCC #084 -- Friday, Jan. 8, 2010 -- "Water You Looking For?"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 84 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.


Not much of a meta, but one helluva constructor: the great MERL REAGLE was last week's contest answer, as we celebrated his 60th birthday with a 21x21 full of Merl-centric puns (a la the master himself).

Dan White writes:

My [all-time] favorite grid entry of Merl's was the wine FETZER EAGLE PEAK MERLOT, which has his name embedded inside.

Wonderful -- I hadn't seen that entry, but it captures delightfully Merl's skill in spotting the wordplay hidden in everyday language.

Happy birthday, Merl!

Last week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 283 correct entries submitted, is Scot Lockman of Atlanta, Ga. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Scot will receive a 50-puzzle subscription to Peter Gordon's new Fireball Crosswords (almost 500 subscribers!).

Note: Fireball Crosswords finally debuts next week, so we'll do one more week of subscription prizes to it, after which we'll return to the normal book prizes.


The following dozen solvers were selected randomly from the 29 who submitted the correct contest answer for each of December's four puzzles. Each lucky winner will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.

Toby Berla -- Durham, N.C.

Eric Berman -- Indianapolis, Ind.

Stan Brunner -- Jackson, Tenn.

Jon Delfin -- New York City, N.Y.

Neville Fogarty -- Lexington, Va.

Richard Kalustian -- Tacoma, Wash.

Nick Meyer

David Moulton -- Princeton, N.J.

Jill Palmer -- Leverett, Mass.

Jed Scott -- Rockford, Mich.

Justin Smith -- Germantown, Md.

David Stein -- Silver Spring, Md.

Congratulations to all winners!


If you haven't checked out Xan Vongsathorn's New York Times crossword from yesterday (Thu. 1/7/10), do so. It's one of the cleverest crossword themes you'll see in 2010.

Another of the cleverest themes you'll see all year is this companion puzzle Xan wrote -- which was (mystifyingly!) rejected by both the Times and at least one other outlet.

He also keeps a fascinating and wide-ranging blog, from where I take the following visual puzzle:

Take a look at the photograph of Xan above, and come up with three guesses as to how the effect was achieved. Then go here to see the surprising explanation.


Geography time! This week's contest answer is a well-known body of water. 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.[UPDATE, 1/8/10, 3 PM ET: Todd Dashoff points out that I meant "Star Trek" in the clue to 16-across, not "Star Wars." Oops...Trekkies, set phasers on KILL!]

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 (1,035 members now!) here.

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

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