MGWCC #113 -- Friday, July 30th, 2010 -- "Note the Difference"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 113 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.


I slipped a conceptual red herring into last week's meta: the contest instructions asked solvers to find "an historically important year," which I hoped would lead you all to scour the grid for Roman numerals. I even scattered a few X's in there to heighten the appeal of that false path.

But no, the year / contest answer 1066 was expressed in standard Arabic numerals -- and 216 solvers located it split between 10-down (NORMAN) and 66-across (CONQUEST). Successful metapuzzlers found that historic year via three hints:

1) The two fifteen-letter entries in the grid read: TO GET THE YEAR YOU / MUST GET THE EVENT, implying that an historic event lurked about.

2) The two symmetrical eight-letter entries reading SPLITS IN / TWO PARTS, hinting that the year and/or event might be cut in two.

3) The puzzle's title, "Willpower" -- not a reference to Shortz, but to William the Conqueror.

From e-mails, I'd guess that about 25% of solvers got 1066 via spotting NORMAN / CONQUEST in the grid -- but without noticing the clue numbers of those two entries!

Jon Olsen writes:

Nice puzzle--I should Bayeux a drink!

While Stan Park wonders:

you couldn't have made 27-down EVERT? (a notable Greg Norman conquest)

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 216 correct entries received, is Andrew Ries of St. Cloud, Minn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Andrew will also receive an autographed copy of Peter Gordon's new book Sit & Solve Nice & Easy Crosswords.


We fittingly had nine MIKEs and two CHARLIEs correctly answer last week's phonetic alphabet puzzle -- fittingly since MIKE and CHARLIE represent M and C therein. I lamented the lack of JULIETs, OSCARs and VICTORs among entrants, but Julie Stern writes:

My full name is Juliette Stern. Does that count? After all, it is a phonetic alphabet.

Considering that our two CHARLIEs actually signed their e-mails with "Charles," we can certainly count you as a JULIET.


Six solvers (Cole Kendall was first) pointed out that my clue for 54-down was wrong last week. {Soft in Siena} was supposed to lead to SOTTO, but that word actually means "under" in Italian, not "soft."

What happened was: I knew that "sotto voce" is often translated as "in a soft voice," and that "voce" means "voice." So that SOTTO = soft seemed so self-evidently obvious that I didn't look it up. Mi scusi!


One of the seven notes in this week's puzzle is off. Which one is it? E-mail this off-note to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer note 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 (1,281 members now!) here.

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

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