MGWCC #177 -- Friday, Oct. 21st, 2011 -- THE HUNT FOR FOOD OCTOBER, PUZZLE #3 -- "Poisonous Mushrooms"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 177 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.


218 solvers found a calorie-filled patch of OKRA last week, which means 211 members of our tribe have survived to forage further.

Instructions asked for a four-letter vegetable, and successful gatherers noticed a four-letter vegetable hiding in each of the five theme entries:


The first letters of these five almost form an alphabetical sequence: K, L, M, N, P. As suggested by the title, we're looking for a sequence from K to P, and all that's missing is an O. The only four-letter vegetable starting with O is that famous gumbo ingredient, OKRA, making it our contest answer.

Peace Corps volunteer Jonathon Brown writes that our answer is:

Something that i coOK RArely here in Mozambique even though it's

Cole Kendall asks:

Couldn't fit BOOKRACKS into your grid?

Similarly, Laura Effinger-Dean suggests:


Len Elliott

...hope I didn't miss a "beet."

While Milo Beckman exclaims:

I found a TOMATO!

And finally, Dan Chall was mystified by the meta, but sent in this memorable line:

PEAS/NORI/MUNG/KALE/LEEK anagrams to "Gamekeeper kills a noun," so that suggests the answer is a verb.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 218 correct entries received, is Ben Henri of Royal Oak, Mich. Ben has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Golf Crosswords.


To neighboring groups, our tribe is known as "eaters-of-apple-and-okra," but this week we must expand our search. Evening comes more swiftly now, and our fields of apple and okra are depleted to nothing. We search desperately for new sources of nourishment as we travel towards the hunting grounds for next week's big game hunt. If we make it there alive, there is hope for finding enough meat to survive the winter. But we are all weak and hungry, desperate for anything edible.

The Wise Shaman has led us to a field containing seven patches of mushrooms. Before we can begin eating he raps our hands with his staff and warns us of the danger of poison. Devouring a single mushroom cap (from his pocket, you notice), he convulses in spasms as his eyes turn wild -- and we realize he is communicating with the Great Deity.

When his moments of divine madness pass, he informs us that though this bountiful field contains seven patches of mushrooms, three of these patches are poisonous. We need all the nourishment the four edible patches contain, so we must discover which three are lethal to our tongues and which are not.

With a final, frightening wave of his staff, the Wise Shaman points directly at YOU and declares, "This must be our taster -- go forth and eat one mushroom from four patches. We pray that you choose wisely." And with that, he collapses into exhaustion -- as the other 210 surviving eaters-of-apple-and-okra turn their hopeful, desperate gazes towards you.


This week's contest answer is the location of the three poisonous mushroom patches (I accidentally called them "fields" in 8-down; same thing, though). A simple description of each of the three locations is sufficient. E-mail them to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer locations in the subject line of your e-mail (or as much of the description as you can fit into the subject line -- might be tough to get it all in there this week).

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may still enter the contest even if you've missed one of the first two weeks! You won't be eligible for the monthly prizes, of course, but you can still win the weekly prize.

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 (1,584 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.

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


Daniel W said...

Was it deliberate that OKRA was in mungOpARK right after the mung?

Matt Gaffney said...

Not deliberate, coincidence.