MGWCC #126 -- Friday, October 29th, 2010 -- "Halloween Party"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 126 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.


Off with their heads! Ten clues in last week's puzzle were missing their initial letters (more clearly so in some cases than others). Guided by the parenthetical numbers following those clues, 235 solvers noticed that those missing letters spell out GUILLOTINE, which was last week's macabre contest answer. They were:

(1) {GLoved singer who passed away last year} = MICHAEL JACKSON
(2) {U.S.A. part} = AMER
(3) {iPhone downloads} = APPS
(4) {LEarn a trade} = APPRENTICE
(5) {LOne wolf} = HERMIT
(6) {OPossums pretend to be this} = DEAD
(7) {TUrban location} = HEAD
(8) {IMan's man} = DAVID BOWIE
(9) {NArrow route} = PATH
(10) {EGo tripping} = HIGH ON YOURSELF

Jim Kaye guillotined three clues of his own:

(b) Rig's milieu = SHIP
(o) Range animal in Asia = TIGER
(o) Berlin specialty = MUSIC

And the BOO is for Halloween, not my opinion on the puzzles!!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 235 correct entries received, is Jenny Meyer of Cambridge, Mass. Jenny has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


Entertaining new iPhone/iPad application from Patrick Berry, Patrick Merrell and (Patrick's brother) Douglas Merrell: Spellet, where you shoot pellets out of cannons to form words.

The app costs 99 cents (and runs on the iPod Touch as well). Check it out here:



Irritatingly, Google Groups is still not letting me upload new files this week. So if you for some reason can't use the .puz file I send in the weekly Google Group e-mail, please let me know and I'll resend.


It was an extravagant Halloween Party -- you rented the Red Herring Mansion out on the deserted island, ignoring the mainland villagers' claims that it was haunted. Your dozens of guests came dressed in an array of costumes and disguises -- a princess, a pirate, devils and goblins and gladiators and such. A grand time was had by all.

At the break of dawn your guests (finally!) took the morning ferry back to the mainland, leaving you alone on the island for the day. You woke up around noon to a violent thunderstorm -- so violent that you find, to your slight panic, that the mansion's phone is out. Just the weather, you tell yourself. Surely.

It worsens outside. Thunder and lightning crash around the island and you begin to feel a presence somewhere in the house -- a sinister presence. Perhaps a guest sleeping off one too many in a distant room? No, it feels much less harmless than that. Something -- someone -- who was not invited to the party is here in the mansion with you. And somehow you innately understand that they intend you harm...

Yes, there is somebody close by -- a sinister creature -- and you realize that you must rid yourself of it...before it rids itself of you...

This week's contest answer is 1) the identity of your uninvited attendee and 2) the method you used to rid yourself of it. E-mail both of these 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 (1,345 members now!) here.


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, next week's winner will receive a copy of Patrick Blindauer's new Puzzlefest. I enjoyed last year's Puzzlefest suite greatly and I'm setting aside an afternoon (or two) to solve this year's as well. A copy costs $9.99; read more about it or buy yours here.

Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive. [UPDATE, 10/29, 2:55 PM ET: Erica Pannen points out tense issues in the clue for 49-across: it should read {Fighting (it out)}, not {Fought (it out)}.]

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