MGWCC #101 -- Friday, May 7th, 2010 -- MAY-HEM PUZZLE #1 -- "All The Grid's A Stage"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 101 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.


"Why the 11x11 grid?" wondered solvers while tackling last week's puzzle. One of a group of 100 was missing, contest instructions told them, and some quick math revealed there were exactly 99 white squares in the grid.

Perhaps prodded by BINGO ("Clear your rack") across the center, 138 solvers noticed that the 99 letters in the grid mirrored the distribution among the 100 tiles in a Scrabble set. The blanks were in there, too (as an R and a U), but the one missing letter was G, which was last week's contest answer. There are three in a Scrabble bag, but only two in this grid.

Solving this week's meta required a little counting. Foggy Brume writes:

I did resort to Tile and Error to find the missing piece.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 138 correct entries received, is Ken Stern of Brooklyn, N.Y. Ken will receive a copy of Stand Alone's Crosswords for iPhone and a three-month subscription to Matt Gaffney's Daily Crossword for iPhone (MGDCi).


The following 10 lucky winners were chosen at random from the 40 solvers who correctly submitted contest answers to each of April's five puzzles (SNOWSTORM, KIWI, TEN OF DIAMONDS, D-E-C-B-A, the letter G). Each will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Ross Beresford -- Kingsley, Penna.

Alison Howard -- Mount Prospect, Ill.

Bob Klahn -- Wilmington, Del.

Brett Rose -- Chicago, Ill.

Andrew Rosenberg -- Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jim Sherman -- Falls Church, Va.

Judy Shillito -- Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Gerry Tansey -- Florissant, Mo.

Mike Weepie -- Cedar Rapids, Ia.

Nick Weprich -- Bloomington, Ind.

Congratulations to all ten winners, and to all 40 who went 5-for-5 in April.


There is no story to tell this time -- no unseen sinister force setting unlucky cats in your path, no fierce band of battlers to join. Not even a link exists among the quartet of challenges you face, beyond arbitrary grouping. Any of this would have been expected, and thus lacking in surprise.

But the world -- it seems on fire in a hundred ways lately, does it not? More now than ever, we must pull order from chaos. Crossword puzzles are an oasis safely shielding solvers from the daily tumult, one view holds. But this month, in this place, we shall reflect the mayhem around us. It is getting difficult for many out there, and it will soon get difficult for many in here.

There is no link among these four puzzles, was it said? Ah, but there is one common tie: I have been saving them up all year. We begin gently -- this is a civilized space -- but end with three roadblocks not many will negotiate.

Keep your wits about you, in all times and all places.

Please follow these four May-hem rules:

1) All solvers who submit the correct contest answers to May's four puzzles will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.

2) References of any type are permitted (Google, dictionary, etc.)

3) Assisting other contestants in any way is strictly forbidden. Not one nudge, please!

4) Only one entry per solver per puzzle is permitted.

Good luck, Mayhemmers! Let's get to it...


This week's contest answer is one of William Shakespeare's plays. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Wednesday (note the extra day) 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 (1,196 members now!) here.

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

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