MGWCC #157 -- Friday, June 3rd, 2011 -- "Be Counted"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 157 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.


Tip jar open! Friday at midnight it closes again, not to re-open until summer 2012. Click the "donate" button to tip, or scroll down for more info.


172 solvers found TABLETOP as last week's contest answer. Contest instructions asked only for an eight-letter word, and two of the puzzle's three theme entries told them that it was a PERFECT PLACE TO / PLAY BOARD GAMES. The third theme entry, left unexplained beyond its clue, was a Scrabble board's TRIPLE WORD SCORE.

Did you ever notice that a Scrabble board, like a daily crossword grid, is 15x15 letters in size? That was the key to unlocking this meta: mentally overlay the solved crossword onto a Scrabble board, and the eight squares on Triple Word Score spaces spell out TABLETOP (beginning at the T in Triple and proceeding clockwise).

This was a real "magic eye" meta, where you either saw it quickly or only after great effort (or not at all). Not a whole lot of middle ground.

Searching for an eight-letter place to play board games, Jared Dashoff writes:

You mean it isn't FACEBOOK?

Simon McAndrews had a typical "magic eye" solving experience:

I was stumped the whole weekend and finally decided to take one last look at it tonight - and suddenly saw it in 30 seconds!

Lance Nathan did the math:

This week's answer is worth 78,732 points, of course--12 points for TABLETOP, times eight triple-word scores.

And finally, Toby Berla made this puzzle a family event:

With due credit to my father, Mike Berla, and my son, Julian Berla. We collaborated on the meta -- 3 generations of puzzle solvers on one couch!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 172 correct entries received, is Arnold Reich of Bronxville, N.Y. Arnold has selected as his prize an autographed copy of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Super Sudoku.


I aim for a smooth, downward progession of correct entries throughout the month, but May was a wild ride for solvers: 341 right answers the first week, a plunge to 140 the second week, back up to 224 for the third week, and down again to 172 for week four.

Many solvers commented on this, but none more entertainingly than Matthew Grieco, who submitted this as his answer last week (click image to enlarge):


56 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of May's challenges (MAURA JACOBSON, ST. LOUIS, BESTSELLER, TABLETOP). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Peter Abide -- Biloxi, Miss.

Eugene Faba -- New York City, N.Y.

Pancho Harrison -- Denver, Colo.

Andy Kravis -- New York City, N.Y.

Tom Lincoln -- Seattle, Wash.

Karen Paxton -- Burlington, Ky.

Joe Sampson -- New Hampton, N.H.

Jim Sempsrott -- Raleigh, N.C.

Jason Shapiro -- New York City, N.Y.

Mark Taylor -- Seattle, Wash.

Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in May.


My website turns three years old this week -- congratulations, Matt! At this time each year I open the tip jar for eight magical days, after which the lid goes back on the jar for another four seasons.

Chip in via PayPal below, or e-mail me if you'd prefer to send a check. Note that you *don't* need a PayPal account to donate via PayPal; you can send a tip with a credit card by clicking the "donate" button below (e-mail me if you're having trouble making that option work).


This week's contest answer is a well-known musical group.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer group 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 (1,514 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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