MGWCC #127 -- Friday, Nov. 5th, 2010 -- "Language Barrier"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 127 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.


Who crashed your Halloween party last week, and how did you get rid of him? DRACULA, of course, whom you expunged with a STAKE THROUGH THE HEART -- a bit of an overreaction on your part, perhaps. A simple "would you please leave?" might have sufficed, after all. Or some garlic.

113 successful solvers began with the instructions at 7-down and 47-down, TURN TM / INTO LU. The only other TM sequence in the grid is ATM CARD at 25-down; making the suggested change leads to ALUCARD, which reverses upwardly (see hint at 1-across!) to reveal the identity of our unwanted guest (solution at left, once again showcasing my unreal Paint skills).

Now, how to get rid of him? 27-down was THE MIST, clued as {2007 Stephen King movie -- or what you must remove to rid yourself of the sinister creature}. Removing the MI from MISTAKE at 29-down leaves you with an anti-vampire STAKE, while taking the S and T from the ends of THE ARTS (43-across) reveals Dracula's HEART, the target for your party host wrath.

I accepted any answer that had DRACULA, STAKE and HEART in it, no matter the syntax chosen ("DRACULA/STAKE/HEART," "Drive a stake thru Dracula's heart," etc.). 29 solvers submitted answers that included only DRACULA and STAKE, without mentioning the vampire's HEART. These I was unable to count as correct since the HEART part was such an integral part of the meta.

Eight solvers surprised me by finding the STAKE and the HEART, but identifying ALUCARD as the unwanted vampire. I was unfamiliar with this particular bloodsucker, but enjoyed this typical Wikipedia sentence: "Due to his human mother, Lisa, Alucard is a dhampir, a half-human, half-vampire." (Also check out the bottom of the page for another Wiki classic: "See also: list of fictional dhampirs.")

Since he's not a full vampire, though, I didn't count seven of those eight ALUCARD entries as correct (one of those eight did mention DRACULA in his e-mail, so I counted that one).

Joel McElvain

Was it intentional that your clue mentioned "sinister" and the answer came on the left side?

I won't say!

The last few minutes before Tuesday noon often bring a flurry of wild guesses, especially on a difficult puzzle. At 11:59 AM this past Tuesday, Seth Grossinger uncorked this classic stab:

The gorilla. With a howitzer.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 113 correct entries received, is Bernie Cosell of Pearisburg, Va. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Bernie will also receive a copy of Patrick Blindauer's new Puzzlefest.


80 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all five of October's puzzles (REDD FOXX, LOUIE ANDERSON, ABABA, GUILLOTINE, and DRACULA/STAKE THROUGH THE HEART). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Louis Ah -- Cupertino, Calif.

Anne Erdmann -- Champaign, Ill.

Jay Giess -- Rochester, N.Y.

Joe Gori -- Oxford, Conn.

Lee Knutson -- Irvine, Calif.

Michael Marcus -- New Haven, Conn.

Erica Pannen

Tim Platt -- South Berwick, Me.

Pete Rimkus -- Ashford, Conn.

David Rosenberg -- Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 5-for-5 in October.


This week's contest answer is the name of a language.
E-mail this language 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 (1,351 members now!) here.


Let's do it again: in addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, next week's winner will receive a copy of Patrick Blindauer's new Puzzlefest.

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

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