MGWCC #142 -- Friday, February 18th, 2011 -- LITERARY FEBRUARY PUZZLE #3 -- "Light Reading"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 142 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.


202 solvers identified Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom as LitFeb Week 2's "well-known character from American literature." The puzzle's four (literary) theme entries were:


Successful metapuzzlers noticed that the R-words at the end of each entry also serve as the last word of each novel in John Updike's Rabbit tetrology -- Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest -- making that great antihero last week's contest answer.

Besides "Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom," acceptable entries also included "Harry Angstrom," "Angstrom," "Rabbit Angstrom," or simply "Rabbit."

Many solvers mentioned needing a while to get the title, or not getting it at all. David Schooler explains:

Ah, initials. An a-HA moment.

My original title had been "Dear John," but I felt that gave too much away and decided to change it at the last minute.

Rachel Park noticed that the meta was:

To celebrate the year of the Rabbit!

Huge number of fascinating e-mails this week describing solvers' paths to getting the meta (or, frequently, to not getting the meta). Here are six:

Lorraine Barg:

I was going nowhere fast looking for clues to Huck Finn, Jay Gatsby, Hester Prynne, etc. Thank God REDUX is such an odd, and infrequently-used, word. My eyes kept coming back to it again and again, until finally RICH intruded and the juxtaposition of both screamed "Rabbit, you idiot!"

Hugh Murphy

Originally, I had tried to fit HESTER PRYNNE in as the meta with HAwthorne, but it was just not a neat enough fit. Thought of, and quickly discarded, CAPTAIN AHAB, too. Then I put it down and went to bed.

Woke up during the night with the Updike character firmly in my mind. I think it was the Redux that sold me. It's funny how the subconscious mind works.

Quite true, as Adam Rosenfield can testify:

It took me a lot of pondering, but the solution finally came to me last night in my sleep -- I realize all of the last words
of the theme answers started with R's (I wanted to throw them into Google, but that had to wait until I woke up, since I've not yet perfected the art of googling in my sleep).

Karen Horn:

After I filled in most of the puzzle, I had "Don't read the last" for the fourth theme entry, which I took as an instruction. That really screwed me up on the meta, since it was the last word of each entry that turned out to be the key. Once I fixed that one, with "redux" subconsciously reminding me of something, I stared at the word "run" and Rabbit sprang to mind.

Simon McAndrews took a roundabout route to meta nirvana:

I got this by accident - I interpreted "Initial Print Run" to mean the character had the initials PR. So I thought of Peter Rabbit, and then it suddenly clicked.

While Joel Alderson caught a fortuitous break that made the meta easy:

I was on a ski vacation until last night. The book I took along? Rabbit, Run.

And finally: check out this photo from Garrett Hildebrand, who did not get the meta, but certainly not for lack of effort! This is one of my favorite solver pics in MGWCC history (click on image to enlarge):

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 202 correct entries received, is Neal Felsinger of Akron, O. Neal has, appropriately for the month, selected as his prize an autographed copy of Literary Crosswords.


This week's contest answer is the title of a well-known literary work. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer title 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 (1,451 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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