MGWCC #145 -- Friday, March 11th, 2011 -- "You'd Better Shape Up"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 145 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.

[UPDATE, 1:35 PM ET -- Whoops! Big blunder! I misspelled the theme entry at 54-across in today's puzzle. Sort of messes up the theme but...see if you can get the meta anyway!]


A double theme in last week's MGWCC: the first theme was a three-part funny in the three 15-letter entries, where I noted that an EVERYTHING BAGEL, because IT'S SO MESSY TO EAT, should rightly be called an EVERYWHERE BAGEL. The second theme scattered four of an ET bagel's five classic toppings around the grid:

GARLIC at 16-a
ONION at 30-a
POPPY SEEDS at 35-d and 19-a
SESAME SEEDS at 66-a and 19-a

The missing ingredient was SALT, which a record (!? -- see below) 364 solvers found. The toppings used on an ET bagel aren't set in stone, but these five are the most common set. To guard against other answers (such as CARAWAY SEEDS) I put a beta-blocker in the instructions: "Hint: it's the shortest of this food's five classic toppings."

The most popular incorrect answer was LOX, with 17 entries. It's shorter than the others, but 1) it's not an integral part of the bagel like the toppings on an ET, and 2) ET bagels aren't paired with LOX more often or notably than other bagel varieties.

Full credit to my girlfriend, Kristin, for coming up with the quip in this theme. A few months ago I was eating a 17-across and she commented that it should indeed be known as a 63-across. I noticed that both had 15 letters and my theme antennae went crazy.


The previous MGWCC record was 361 correct entries. This week we had 359 correct entries come in before the deadline, which left me crestfallen (it had looked all weekend like we were gonna break it).

But then five more correct answers came in after the deadline. Though late entries are naturally not eligible to win prizes, I do count them as part of the overall total -- so a record it is!


Jay Giess:

Just what my unhealed wounds from last week's puzzle need!

Similarly, James Melman:

Missing two in a row really stings. Thanks for pouring salt on the wound!

Frederic J. Gruder

I solved it while eating an everything bagel with light veggie cream cheese and a slice of nova.

Also eating the right food for the solve, Steve Tolopka:

True story: I printed off a copy of this week’s puzzle, grabbed my newspaper, and headed down the street to Sunrise Bagels (our neighborhood bagel joint) for breakfast. So I was munching away as this week’s theme emerged. Too bad I was eating sesame with salmon mousse instead of an Everything at the time.

Make your own bagel, says David Moulton:

Yay, you left the salt off! Every Monday morning we have bagels
at work, and I would take the everythings, but they're too salty.
So I have to make my own, starting with an onion bagel, speading
cream cheese, and then sprinkling poppy seeds, sesame seeds,
and garlic that fell off the other bagels in the bag!

Eric Prestemon's solving log is always interesting. Here is this week's:


This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 359 correct entries received before the contest deadline, is Reynolds Smith of Chama, N. Mex. Reynolds has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


Apologies to the 50 winners -- with overlapping puzzle deadlines this week I haven't had time to send your prizes out. But they're all going in the mail this afternoon.


I'll be attending the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Brooklyn next weekend and am looking forward to meeting MGWCC solvers there. I'll be one of the judges, so please come say hello if you see me around.


"Munch Madness" continues! This week's contest answer is a five-letter food. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer food in the subject line of your e-mail. [UPDATE, 1:35 PM ET -- Whoops! Big blunder! I misspelled the theme entry at 54-across in today's puzzle. Sort of messes up the theme but...see if you can get the meta anyway!]

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 (1,462 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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