MGWCC #108 -- Friday, June 25, 2010 -- "I Have Zero Interest in the World Cup"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 108 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.


Like Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain in the World Cup last week, 137 solvers scored a HAT TRICK in last week's MGWCC. They saw that the puzzle's three theme entries (starred for clarity, as two of them were the same length as fill) each contained the word GOAL:


Three goals in one game is a HAT TRICK, which solvers formed from 52-across (KIT) abd 61-across (CHART).

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 142 correct entries received, is Carolyn Emold of Glendale, Wisc. Carolyn has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

"142 correct answers? I thought you said 137 people found HAT TRICK!" Well, that's true...but five solvers also found an alternate solution -- the most remarkable alternate solution in MGWCC history!

I sometimes lard metapuzzles with a "beta-blocker" -- that is, an extra requirement whose purpose is to preclude unintended ("beta") answers. Three GOALs across the grid were certainly suggestive of a hat-trick, but not conclusively suggestive enough for a satisfying meta. So I put CHART and KIT in the grid and added the stipulation to last week's instructions that the contest answer "can be formed by anagramming the letters in two of this puzzle's entries."

Naturally I didn't spend any time looking for alternate solutions, since that very specific beta-blocker obviously precludes any...except that it doesn't! Five solvers submitted GOAL STREAK as their answer, formed from TOKLAS and AGER at 45-down and 53-down. Rather amazing, no?

As you might guess, a GOAL STREAK occurs when a player has scored one or more goals in a series of consecutive games. And the three GOALs in the grid to seem to streak across the screen, edging further right with each entry. It works with the title, too, so I'm happy to accept it as a correct alternate answer.

I told Todd Dashoff that he was the first person to submit GOAL STREAK, overlooking until just now that Jason Feng beat him by a couple of days. For this discovery a pair of MGWCC pens go to Todd and Jason, who both advance to the knockout round (unlike France and Italy!).


This week's contest answer is the two countries who competed in the 2010 World Cup game referenced by this puzzle's theme. If you have zero interest in the World Cup or just aren't following it, you'll find this page useful. E-mail these two countries 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 (1,255 members now!) here.

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

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