MGWCC #146 -- Thursday, March 17th, 2011 -- "Got Any Irish In Ya?"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 146 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.


302 solvers found a type of PASTA in each of this puzzle's four theme entries:

17-a OPEN NET GOAL -- penne
11-d BORZOI PACK -- orzo
29-d QUARTZITIC -- ziti
54-a PEROTINITIS -- rotini

Nice little theme, eh? Except for one minor problem: it's "peritonitis," not PEROTINITIS. Which means that I have committed the slightly embarrassing act of misspelling a theme entry! Oof.

I rushed to send out an e-mail correction and post updates on the blog lest solvers think the misspelling was part of the meta. How could I make such a mistake? While surveying lists of pasta shapes, I thought that there must be some word that completely contains ROTINI. I couldn't come up with one, so I checked onelook.com to see if it had any suggestions, which it did -- the misspelled PEROTINITIS! Despite looking it up to check its precise meaning, I didn't notice the incorrect spelling until solvers began pointing it out. That the O and first I sounds are the same in "peritonitis" didn't help.

How did solvers react to the mistake? Finn Vigeland tried using the meta's flaw to crack it:

Whew, that meta was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Took me about ~7? minutes of just staring at those words. I tried to use your mistake to help me, seeing what would be different about PEROTINITIS if it were spelled PERITONITIS, and why that wouldn't make the meta work, but that wasn't helping. Then I just started looking for 5-letter features about the words, and looked at the first five letters and tried anagramming them. I started off with PENNO (from OPENN) which looked so much like PENNE—then saw the title, and then saw that those five letters were in a row right in front of me. The rest followed. Tough for a second week, methinks!

Nancy Pilla suggested:

Maybe we should get out an EXTRA VIOLIN for the poor guy who can't spell!

Math teacher David Stein was there with me:

You and I are having similar days. Corrections on a test I gave today:

#1. Change "longer" to "shorter"
#4. Change "equal" to " not equal"
#6. Skip, as there is no right answer.

Good thing we're not brain surgeons!

Michael Doran has seen better:

When I was in high school our superintendent sent a letter out to all parents in the district talking about cuts in the pubic school budget. At least your gaffe doesn't produce a mental image like that.

Mitch Smith declares:

I sure loves me some RITONI pasta!

While submitting PASTA, Jim Sherman adds:

In sympathy with your misspelling, I have swapped the vowels in my answer.

Mark Halpin gets the last word:

Indeed, the erratum can be put behind us; after all, it's in the pasta.

So no rotini jokes at the tournament!!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 302 correct entries received, is Carol Noack of Port Arthur, Tex. Carol has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


March Madness begins today, but Munch Madness ends. Thanks to Mark Halpin for the idea to do a month of food puzzles, but I got knocked out in the second round by a couple of schwa sounds.

This week's contest answer is the name of a past winner of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. If you don't have the champs memorized, you can find a list of past winners here (scroll down to "Tournament History"). E-mail this crossword solver to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Wednesday (note extra day) at noon ET. Please put the contest answer solver 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 (1,464 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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