MGWCC #104 -- Friday, May 28th, 2010 -- MAY-HEM PUZZLE #4 -- "Jailbreak"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 104 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.


Writes Anne E in comments at Crossword Fiend:

I never speed-solve MGWCC crosswords or metas, and this week’s is why. I noticed right away that several of the clues sounded strange...

And they did. Take {River home in northwestern Europe} for RHINE at 6-d. What's that "home" doing in there? Or {Tongue heard around Indochina} for THAI at 13-d. Or {Oil manufacturing Arab nation} for OMAN. All are indeed a little weird-sounding.

Nudged by the title "Premier League," plus the hint at 56-across, 56 solvers noticed the method behind the cluing madness: those three clues -- and seven others, all ten downs -- form their own answers from the first letter of each word. They are:

1-d Film about really gory outlaws
4-d Innovative, multicolored Apple computer
6-d River home in northwestern Europe
9-d Shoot thirty rounds at, for example
13-d Tongue heard around Indochina
30-d Drama about living life at Southfork
33-d Oil manufacturing Arab nation
34-d Where every sunset terminates
36-d Not exactly, in Nuremberg
49-d Something that a tyrant usually erects

Take the first letter of those ten in order -- no anagramming required! -- and you've got FIRST DOWNS, which was last week's contest answer.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 56 correct entries received, is Blake Holt of Berkeley, Calif. Blake has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


Irritatingly I've lost my themestorming notes to this puzzle in the two months since I came up with the idea (saved it for May-hem!), but I do recall a couple of entries left on the cutting room floor: one of the S's was originally slated to be {Something that attracts most philatelists}, but a STAMP attracts all philatelists so that didn't work.

I also came close to pulling off the seven-letter {The uppermost nation / independent state in Africa} but felt in the end it was just a tad too stilted.

I'm curious to see what else was out there, though, so mini-contest this week: a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set to whoever comes up with the cleverest clue that fits the pattern of last week's theme. Deadline is Tuesday at noon like the regular contest; please leave entries in comments at Crossword Fiend here. You can use any letter of the alphabet as the first letter of the first word, doesn't have to be a letter in FIRST DOWNS. Short and sweet is cool, but I'm especially interested to see if anyone can pull off a decent seven-letter coup (each letter added, as you might guess, makes the acrostic exponentially more difficult!). Use any word you like as the answer, too; doesn't have to be a word in last week's grid.


We lost a puzzling titan this week, though at a nice old age and after a long and brilliant career. Here's my mini-tribute to him from Tuesday's MGDCi (form the name of a relevant TV show from the circled letters when you're done; Across Lite file in the MGWCC group archives as "mgdci051025" if you prefer):


Entering the final week of May-hem we have 37 solvers still alive, 18 of whom are 2/2 and 19 of whom are 3/3. Remember: even if you've been eliminated from the monthly competition you can still win the weekly prize! So good luck, especially to those just one jailbreak away from victory...


There's a wrongly-convicted inmate sitting in jail; time to bust him out! This week's contest answer is the method we'll use to help the inmate escape from jail. 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 (1,216 members now!) here.

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

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