2/4/11

MGWCC #140 -- Friday, February 4th, 2011 -- LITERARY FEBRUARY PUZZLE #1 -- "There's More to This Tale..."


Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 140 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.

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS:


Brutal crossword, easy meta last week: 257 solvers found a SLASH as the quadruply-missing piece of punctuation. They noticed that the rebus theme required four squares in the grid to be filled with the letters ANDOR, as such:

18-a PORTL(AND OR)EGON
9-d GR(AND OR)IENTS
28-a B (AND O R)AILROAD
2-d EARL V(AN DOR)N
48-a FRESHM(AN DOR)MS
44-d P(ANDOR)A'S BOX
58-a COMM(ANDO R)OLLED
36-d WITH C(ANDOR)

Since the conjunction pair AND/OR are always seen with a slash, successful entrants realized that that had to be the contest answer punctuation. I accepted as correct either the symbol /, or the word SLASH, or its variant FORWARD SLASH, or the technical term VIRGULE, and even the term SOLIDUS, although that is more often used to describe the slash between the numerator and denominator of a fraction. Those who submitted the entire phrase AND/OR also had their entries counted as correct, since the right punctuation mark is there in the answer.

Since it was the fourth week of the month and the meta was pretty straightforward I decided to make the puzzle itself extremely tough to solve. How tough? It took 2010 ACPT champion Dan Feyer 16:35 to finish the grid! To provide some context, here are Dan's times for the five most recent New York Times Saturday puzzles:

4:28
4:23
7:51
5:14
6:56

http://dandoesnotblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Saturday


So don't feel bad if you struggled with it!

While submitting SLASH, Rocky Schwarz explains:

To be clear, that's my answer, not what I wanted to do to this puzzle numerous times during the solving process.

Jason Feng had an interesting false start:

The sick part of this puzzle was I knew where Matt Groening was born but I put PORTLANDOR and went nowhere for days.

While the great Al Sanders broke into the puzzle quickly:

We're big Elf fans at our house, plus Alvar Aalto designed a dorm at MIT, so believe it or not ICEFLOE/AALTO was my entry into the puzzle. (Eero Saarinen and I. M. Pei had buildings there too, completing the crossword architect trifecta).

Walt Blue
commemorated his solve with some Ogden Nash-style poetry:

Again my entry's surely rash:
I think it is the forward slash.
And I can note with no compunction
That it's a true conjunction junction!!
I hope this is no sleight of hand/or
Trick fobbed off with less than candor!


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 257 correct entries received, is Cindy Follick of Piedmont, Calif. Cindy has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.

HOWE'S BAYOU? PRETTY GOOD:


Ben Henri informed us in December that, though he'd never eaten there, he lives two minutes from MGWCC #133 contest answer HOWE'S BAYOU. Update from Ben:

Finally went to Howe's Bayou last Friday night. Food was amazing, and if I'd stayed a little later, I probably would have been treated to some excellent blues. The band was loading in just as I was leaving.

MONTHLY PRIZES:


Whoops, I spaced this week on picking monthly prize winners for January. My apologies -- I'll have them next week, and will pick 12 winners instead of the usual 10 to atone for the delay.

LITERARY FEBRUARY:

It's cold out there, so what else to do but read books? Well, I could write some crosswords about books, and you could solve them...so let's do it. In the grand tradition of Hell Month and May-hem, we here at MGWCC hereby announce Literary February!

Here are the rules:

1) Every solver who submits the correct answer to all four puzzles during Literary February will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.

2) You may use references to help you solve the crosswords, but no discussing the metas with any other solver! No nudges or winks, no dropped hints or "you might wanna..."-s or anything of the sort. As with Hell Month and May-hem, the only correct response to appeals for meta assistance during Literary February is:

"I'm sorry [awful cheater's name here], but that's against the rules, and I won't be a party to this!"

And away we go...

THIS WEEK'S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week's contest answer is the last name of a well-known novelist. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer novelist 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 (1,417 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.





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

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