MGWCC#089 -- Friday, February 12, 2010 -- "The Crossword Olympics"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 89 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.


My spam filter got quite a workout recently. 323 solvers (four shy of the record) sent me an e-mail titled SEX LIVES, which was last week's contest answer. Unsurprisingly, Gmail made me fish about three dozen of those out of the spam box. Solution at left.

The puzzle's contest answer came from a four-part riddle in the grid:


The Saints beat the Colts (!) on Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV, and solvers noticed that number hidden in SEX LIVES at 21-across. Both SEX LIVES and 21-across were accepted as correct answers.


Many solvers pointed out the ugly (and utterly unnecessary) dupe with SEX LIVES and SEXO (40-across), which I completely missed. If this puzzle makes it into the book I'll certainly remove SEXO.


Several solvers sent along interesting Super Bowl memories. Stewart Levine writes:

I attended Super Bowl IV played on Jan. 11, 1970 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans where the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. Tickets were only $15, I seem to recall that was the only price. My wife's uncle, a Saints season ticket owner, gave us two tickets. Unfortunately my wife had a major league cold and I wound up taking her best friend from college to the game.

While Dan White goes back even further:

My wife's parents went to the first game here in LA at the Coliseum. It was the NFL/AFL Championship Game. There were no Roman numerals and no “Super Bowl”...the top ticket price in 1967 was $12 and the game was not sold out!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 323 correct entries received, is G.E. of Atlanta, Ga.


Forgot to mention this last week, but a handful of solvers pointed out that the clue to 69-across in MGWCC #087 is inaccurate: Rip Torn won an Emmy for The Larry Sanders Show in 1996, not 1997. Whoops -- that's one of my favorite shows, too.


The big tournament is next weekend in Brooklyn. I won't be there, unfortunately -- but good luck, watch out for the snow, use an extra minute to check your work in each round, get your picture taken with Shortz (he's friendly), and I'll hope to see you there in 2011.


I receive occasional e-mail from solvers lamenting that they've never won a weekly or monthly prize at MGWCC despite being eligible many times. Lately this e-mail has increased in volume, so this week I have a special mini-contest only open to people who've never won any kind of prize here!

It's simple to enter: just send me an e-mail explaining how many weeks/months you've been eligible without winning anything. Statistics carry a lot of weight, but also be sure to mention personal details that might sway the jury -- how not winning MGWCC has affected your personal relationships, your barely-contained rage against those who've won multiple times, etc.

Please put HARD LUCK in the subject line of your e-mail. One winner with the hardest luck tale will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil & notepad set.


One grid entry this week doubles as the surname of an Olympian who has won all three. This athlete's surname is this week's contest answer. E-mail 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 (1,075 members now!) here.

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

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