MGWCC #131 -- Friday, December 3rd, 2010 -- "Crossword Scene: Take One"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 131 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.


MULTIPLES OF FIVE, read 38-across in last week's tough month-ender, clued as {13 to examine}. Which continent did that lead to? SOUTH AMERICA, whose thirteen capitals were represented by their first three letters at each multiple of five in the grid. For instance: BOGota, Colombia concealed itself as BOGart at 30-across, while CARacas, Venezuela hid in CAReer at 45-across.

The full list:

5-a CAYuga = CAYenne, French Guiana
10-a QUIk = QUIto, Ecuador
15-a LIMo = LIMa, Peru
20-a AS Usual = ASUncion, Paraguay
25-a BRAwn = BRAsilia, Brazil
30-a BOGart = BOGota, Colombia
35-a BUEll = BUEnos Aires, Argentina
40-a PARnells = PARamaribo, Suriname
45-a CAReer = CARacas, Venezuela
50-a SANa'a = SANtiago, Chile (one capital concealing another!)
55-a MONa = MONtevideo, Uruguay
60-a GEOl = Georgetown, Guyana
65-a LAPp = LA Paz, Bolivia

Solvers most frequently mentioned BUEll, BOGart and QUIk as their keys to unlocking the meta, and many people mentioned the upper right-hand corner as being especially rough. Tyler Hinman even tweeted its brutality:

# Big off-day for me. Struggled on that Masyu, made dumb mistakes in the CHE, and found the upper right of the MGWCC utterly unsolvable. 4:17 PM Nov 26th via web

Figured out the Gaffney meta. I still don't feel good about myself for not getting the upper right. 4:26 PM Nov 26th via web


Tough month of puzzles all around -- Jan Bruce writes:

Hardest month of metas since I started playing.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 104 correct entries received, is Kirsten Weiblen of Yellow Spring, W. Va.


Be proud if you're one of them, as just 34 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of November's challenges (ARABIC, TOFU, IBM SNAPPLES and SOUTH AMERICA). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Bill Cascadden -- High River, Alta.

Jason Chan -- Urbana, Ill.

Greggo Johnson -- Pittsburgh, Penna.

Wayne Jones -- Worcester, N.Y.

Don Lycette -- The Woodlands, Tex.

Steve M. -- Highland, Ill.

Pete Rimkus -- Ashford, Conn.

Marcia Rose -- Delray Beach, Fla.

Jeffrey Schwartz -- New York City, N.Y.

Leo Stein -- Cambridge, Mass.

Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in November.


I forgot to mention this last week, but Joan Aufderhar writes re Week 129:

Am I the only person who got the wrong answer by pairing "Either" and "Borer" last week for the 11-letter phrase that created 'rivals' EITHER/OR???

Was that an intentional trick on your part? Sigh.........I thought it was a great answer, alas.

Three solvers submitted EITHER/BORER (at 49-down and 35-across) as their answer for Week 129, and it was indeed an excellent try...that I still felt unable to accept as correct, though just by a hair. It does runs 11 letters, as contest instructions stipulate, and it does conceal two somewhat opposite words (EITHER and OR) in a similar manner to the other four theme entries.

In the end, though, I felt that EITHER and OR aren't really "enemies" or "rivals" the way the other four matchups are. Another litmus test I use for cases like this: if 10 solvers had found both EITHER/BORER and IBM/SNAPPLES, would any of them have chosen the former over the latter? I don't believe so in this case.

So not quite right, but still very close -- and not an intentional trick, Joan! Scout's honor.


Has anyone here tried the new Microsoft/Facebook feature called Team Crossword yet? It's revolutionary: solve a puzzle remotely with up to six other team members, whose answers are all color-coded so you know who did the heavy lifting. Currently running the Universal Crossword but there'll be more to that mix soon -- I'll write more about it next week.

Imagine what kind of times a Delfin-Hinman-Payne-Feyer team would post...that'd be quite a sight!



This week's contest answer is the name of a well-known actress.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer actress 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 (1,378 members now!) here.

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

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