MGWCC #139 -- Friday, January 28th, 2011 -- "Conjunction Junction"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 139 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.


A red herring in last week's puzzle: solvers were tasked with discovering "the two grid entries which, when combined, would complete this puzzle's theme pattern." The four theme entries were:


The pattern is clear -- Five-letter words followed by six-letter words that duplicate that last three letters of the first word. Quickly spotting PECAN CANCAN across the center and top of the grid -- prominently placed on purpose -- many solvers tumbled for it right away and sent those two entries in as their answer. What else could it be, after all?

Answer: FEMUR MURMUR, less prominently placed in the grid, but using the same pattern. This couldn't be a coincidence -- but which one to choose, PECAN CANCAN or FEMUR MURMUR? The other four grid entries repeated the vowels A, E, I and O in their answers, meaning only FEMUR MURMUR, with its repeated U's, "completes this puzzle's theme pattern."

For the second week in a row I got some pushback on the meta, though much less than with MGWCC #137. See comments here, but the thrust of the argument was that the A-E-I-O-U link was a bit tenuous. In my view no one proposed a convincing pattern completed by PECAN CANCAN, though -- but judge for yourself at the link. Incidentally, 168 solvers submitted PECAN CANCAN as their answer, compared to 135 who sent in FEMUR MURMUR.

John Farmer writes:

I just want to say that PECAN CANCAN does not rhyme with PE-TEN TENTEN.

Several solvers submitted suggestions for cluing FEMUR MURMUR. Tim Noonan's idea is:

{Casting call?}

Maggie Wittlin's is:

{A rumor that's got legs?}

While Joe Fendel came up with:

{Thigh will be drone}

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 135 correct entries received, is Mike McCormick of Hockessin, Del. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Mike will also receive a one-year subscription to Peter Gordon's outstanding Fireball Crosswords. Next week we will return to regular book prizes.


This week's contest answer is the piece of punctuation you need to use four times to solve this crossword. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer punctuation 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 either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (1,419 members now!) here. This week's puzzle is NOT available in Team Crossword, but next week's will be.

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

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