MGWCC #168 -- Friday, August 19th, 2011 -- "Summer Break"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 168 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.


I'm glad this isn't one of those months where everyone who gets all the metas wins a prize! After a record-busting 392 entrants got Week 1, a record-busting 403 solvers found the FLAMINGO as Week 2's contest answer hotel.

There was just one theme entry in the grid, DOUBLES DOWN at 17-d, clued as {Employs a blackjack tactic, or figures out this puzzle's theme}. That was meant literally, as eight symmetrically-placed squares in the grid became double letters on the down entry:

11-d IL(L) AT EASE
28-d A(A)RP
9-d MIA HAM(M)
43-d I (I)NSIST (That's "I insist!," an easy double to overlook)
38-d PEN(N)

Read line by line those eight spell out FLAMINGO, the venerable Vegas landmark that's the oldest hotel on the Strip (it opened in 1946). Also note that those eight are the only double letters in the entire grid, which was this grid's real challenge to pull off. Double letters are insidiously easy to overlook; in fact, I had DOUBLED DOWN at 17-d for a long time until I was suddenly mortified to notice that DD straddling its words! Three panicky seconds later I realized I could change the first D to an S. Talk about lucky...

Dar(r)en Mitchel(l) writes:

Thanks, I realy enjoyed the puzle this wek.

Matt Matera

I don't know if I have more than one leg to stand on here, but I think the answer is the Flamingo.

Mark Diehl got FLAMINGO:

...in which the even letters are consecutive letters...the four my grandkids like to slur into one

Justin Redd is:

Heading to Vegas this weekend for a bachelor party

Hmmm -- after solving this puzzle, I wonder which color he should bet on at the roulette table?

Jeremy Horwitz is headed there, too:

I bought plane tickets to Vegas yesterday. I would've been a bit spooked had MANDALAYBAY been the answer this week.

Laura Effinger-Dean found some un-PC humor:

I had MEN instead of HES at 54-across for a long time, and could not
fathom what was so scary about a MAC.

Michael Farabaugh didn't have to anagram:

Nice theme. I didn't think there was a hotel called "Main Golf" or "Fang Limo"

Chris McCoy found an alternate defintion for FLAMING "O":

Or what happens when you throw an OATY Cheerio into a BONFIRE.

Jeff Mizrahi suggests a way to monetize my site:

they should give you a cut if people say you referred them there.

Tim Noonan didn't fall for a plausible trap:

Got doubles down immediately and thought it would be New York New York.

Sheila O'Keefe likewise dodged some trouble:

Somehow I missed the N in my first pass collecting the missing doubles and spent a few minutes trying to anagram "FMLAGIO", which led me to try to convince the F and M to become a B and E, but obbline just wasn't a word (and yeah, I would have needed another L). Then I saw flamingo, if only I had an N. Sure enough, there it was in Penn.

As did Tony Antonakas:

At first glance I assumed it was a rebus puzzle with the clue for 26D leading to AARP, but soon hit on the DOUBLES DOWN theme. As the first letters I got were G, I, A, and M, I was sure the answer had to be The Mirage and the letters would be anagrammed. Good thing I waited to finish and got the remaining letters.

And finally, Dan Chall wonders:

Does the "double down" hint at feathers?

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 403 correct entries received, is Barbara Hartwell of Framingham, Mass. Barbara has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Golf Crosswords.


Elizabeth Gorski is one of the very best constructors out there. You knew that -- but did you know that she has a new site called Crossword Nation? Each Tuesday Liz is publishing a new 15x15 available by subscription only (99 cents per month) for your PDA.

In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, winners this week and next will receive a one-year subscription to Crossword Nation (and a copy of Stand Alone to solve it on if they don't already own one).

But why wait to win? Go ahead and subscribe to Crossword Nation yourself.


This week's contest answer is a common kind of summer break.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer break 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 (1,548 members now!). To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here. [OK, Blogger isn't letting me do the normal hyperlinks in this paragraph, so please refer to links in last week's post for now]

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

1 comment:

Noam D. Elkies said...

Solved the puzzle and meta but didn't notice the complete absence of other doubles, a very nice touch.

fLaMiNgO is a neat trivium too.

Here's a non-wordplay occurrence of a flaming O: http://tonybertram.com/hazcom/Phaz/54.htm

FMLAGIO would truly have been an FML!