MGWCC #141 -- Friday, February 11th, 2011 -- LITERARY FEBRUARY PUZZLE #2 -- "HA-HA-HA-HA!"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 141 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.


"There's More to This Tale..." read last week's puzzle title, and indeed there was. The puzzle's four theme entries each consisted of two five-letter words comprised of TALE + one other letter:


314 solvers noticed that the extra letters, emboldened above, anagram to the surname of the late Michael CRICHTON, who was last week's contest answer.

This was a slightly tricky meta for a month opener, and several very solid veteran metapuzzlers missed it. Due to Literary February announcement links from Rex and Amy, this was the heaviest traffic week by far in MGWCC history; with a slightly gentler meta I think we would have broken the record for correct entries (361). But with only four weeks in a theme month I had to start tough(ish)!

The two most popular incorrect answers were Nathaniel HAWTHORNE with 8 entries and Charles DICKENS with 5. The former entrants were aiming at the Twice-Told Tales angle, while the latter noticed cities at 1-a and 69-a, and figured this might be A Tale of Two Cities.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 314 correct entries received, is Parker Lewis of Kirkland, Wash. Parker has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip and Solve Hard Crosswords.


61 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of January's challenges (OTIS, 2/10, FEMUR MURMUR, SLASH). The following twelve lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Erik Agard -- Gaithersburg, Md.

Noam Elkies -- Cambridge, Mass.

Nancy Fay -- Garden City, N.Y.

Pam Fowler -- Rough and Ready, Calif.

Ben Hassenger -- Lansing, Mich.

David Hirschhorn -- Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

James Layland -- Blue Springs, Mo.

Matt Matera -- New Haven, Conn.

Charles Montpetit -- Montreal, Que.

Dunn Miller -- Oakland, Calif.

Ann Reneris -- Sunderland, Mass.

Maggie Wittlin -- New Haven, Conn.

Congratulations to our twelve winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in January.


I didn't mention this in last week's rules for the month, but since it's now black-letter MGWCC law let me remind everyone: just one answer per week per solver, please! If you submit more than one answer your first answer will be the one that counts.

Now it's time for Round 2...good luck!


This week's contest answer is a well-known character from American literature. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer character 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 (1,445 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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