MGWCC #166 -- Friday, August 5th, 2011 -- "Position Paper"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 166 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.


A Caribbean mystery: four vertical two-word theme entries last week, where the top words were of obvious French origin and the bottom words were maritime terms. What island do these clues point us to?

Those bottom words held a secret: their key feature was not their relation to the sea, but rather their derivation, which is much less obvious than their French counterparts': FREEBOOTER, SMUGGLER, YACHT and KEELHAULING all come from Dutch. Once that insight hits the rest is just a Google away: SAINT MARTIN / SINT MAARTEN is the only Caribbean island that's French up north and Dutch down south, making it our contest answer island.

Jonathan Olsen thought the meta was:

Tres goed!

Miss Kali asks:

I wonder how many 'Jamaican me crazy' jokes you're gonna get...

A little research paid off for Karen Horn:

I wouldn't have noticed the etymologies from the Dutch, except I looked up to confirm that the first parts were all French, and got curious about the others so I looked them up also.

While Clare Farris's meta research unearthed an amusing tropical redundancy:

There is a place in the Bahamas called Little Petit Island!

Peggy Johnson had the a-ha moment:

I spent two days mulling over the French answers, thinking it must be a French island. But that was not definitive. Which island? Then the aha moment hit when I googled the "English" words under the French. Voila! They were all of Dutch origin. By god, I think I've got it! Didn't I see the island of St. Martin as controlled by both the French and Dutch? And isn't the French portion north of the Dutch portion. There were the French words sitting atop the Dutch in the four long answers. I had wondered at the significance of the vertical long answers right from the beginning. Now that made sense. Boy, did I learn a lot about pirates of the Caribbean islands!

Ed Brody wasn't going to miss this one:

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten was our honeymoon destination umpty-ump years ago, so perhaps I had an unfair advantage.

Mark Taylor
had a big advantage, too:

OK, now that's hilarious. As you may remember I mailed in my incorrect answer last week FROM ST. MAARTEN. The cruise ship internet was impossibly slow - and 65 cents a minute - and didn't allow me to print, so I just guessed Hanging Gardens (Colossus was my 2nd mental choice, oh well).

And to confirm - yes the French part is still on top and the Dutch part still on the bottom.

Speaking of not being able to print out the puzzle, here's Ed Brody's solve of MGWCC #161:

I was visiting friends in coastal Maine where I could see the puzzle on my Droid, but had no other internet or printer access. So I had to go hunting for a piece of paper...

(click image to enlarge -- and that's a coffee filter!)

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 116 correct entries received, is Andy Arizpe of Austin, Tex. Andy has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock.


54 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all five of July's challenges (DELTA, MATCHBOX, TALK SHOW, THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES, SAINT MARTIN/SINT MAARTEN). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Jimmy Dale -- Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Meg Duvall -- St. Petersburg, Fla.

Laura Effinger-Dean -- Seattle, Wash.

C Fogarty -- West Windsor, N.J.

Nathan Fung -- Brighton, Mass.

John Lenning -- Irvine, Calif.

Christy Meisler -- Somerville, Mass.

Marcia Rose -- Mequon, Wisc.

Adam Rosenfield -- Cambridge, Mass.

Peter Washington -- Oakland, Calif.

Congratulations to our ten winners, and to everyone who went 5-for-5 in July.


This week's contest answer is one of the nine baseball positions. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer position 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 (1,545 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.

Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.

No comments: