MGWCC #096 -- Friday, April 2nd, 2010 -- "Warm-Up Puzzle"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 96 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.


Late Monday evening I set a bonfire in the forest behind my house and chanted late into the night: "They'll never guess the contest answer is ... RUMPELSTILTSKIN!"

But it was, and 242 of you creepers must've been spying on me because that's how many got it right. Or maybe you just solved the crossword and noticed the four theme entries were crossword clues whose answers spell out that gold-spinning dwarf's name:

17-a: MEAT CUT IN ROASTS = rump
26-a: AFRICAN GOLF STAR = (Ernie) Els
45-a: PINBALL MISTAKES = tilts

Another little hint lay at the central down entry, where the grim GRIMM Brothers nudged solvers towards one of their famous characters.

Many solvers commented that while the puzzle itself was very tough, the meta was quite simple for a month-ender. The numbers back them up: 220 correct answers the first week, 162 the second, and 124 last week before jumping back to 242.

So why wasn't last week's puzzle a major league toughie? I usually have four or five MGWCC puzzles in various states of completion, and decided Friday morning to shelve the (brutal) puzzle I had planned in favor of the easier RUMPELSTILTSKIN idea. I had received a lot of e-mails lamenting that all three puzzles in March so far had been fairly challenging (the HEINLEIN and YUTZ metas in particular were no cakewalks), so I decided to take my foot off the gas a bit for last week.

(But enjoy the relatively mild metas while they're here, for May beckons soon enough...see note beneath the monthly prize winners for more information, if you dare...)

Andrea Blumberg sent in RUMPELSTILTSKIN and added:

Phew!! My first-born child is mine to keep!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 242 correct entries received, is Morris Pelzel of Ferdinand, Ind. Morris has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


The following 10 solvers were selected at random from the 52 who submitted all four correct answers in March (ALL ABOUT EVE, ROBERT HEINLEIN, YUTZ, RUMPELSTILTSKIN):

Ben Bass -- Chicago, Ill.

James Dale -- Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Mark Diehl -- San Jose, Calif.

Stephen Fineman -- Morristown, N.J.

David Howorth -- Oxford, Miss.

Eric Maddy -- Huntington Beach, Calif.

Matt McMullen -- Columbus, O.

Annette Otis -- Alexandria, Va.

Joon Pahk -- Somerville, Mass.

Pete Rimkus -- Ashford, Conn.

Congratulations to our 10 winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in March.

Speaking of which...everyone who goes 4-for-4 in May will win a pen, pencil and notepad set. But May's puzzles will make Hell Month feel like a trip to Disneyland...


For some reason I can't discern, a number of solvers aren't receiving the weekly Google Group e-mails alerting them that a new puzzle's been posted. I'm not sure what's going on -- not doing anything differently -- so if you have any ideas on how to fix this please shoot me an e-mail at crosswordcontest@gmail.com.

If you're one of those not receiving the puzzle via e-mail, note that you can still download it from the Google Group page (under either "Discussions" or "Files").


This week's contest answer would have made a good title for this crossword. You can find it by combining two entries somewhere in this puzzle's fill. Bonus hint: it's something most of us recently endured. 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 (1,152 members now!) here.

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

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