MGWCC #192 -- Friday, February 3rd, 2012 -- "The Question Is..."

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 192 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.


yodeled 239 solvers when they figured out last week's meta, for two reasons: not only is it a satisfying victory yelp, but it was also the correct contest answer.

Solvers were tasked with finding a familiar Internet company, and the 17x17 grid featured seven theme entries: MARTINI GLASS, EIFFEL TOWER, FOUR-POST BED, DINOSAUR EGG, PLANET EARTH and STICK AND BALL were left unexplained, but the 17-letter THE THIRD DIMENSION nudged solvers in the right direction, clued as {What you'll need to think in}.

I'll go ahead and steal joon pahk's images to explain the meta idea:

See what I did there? Each of the six objects described in the theme entries resembles a 3-d letter of the alphabet. So a MARTINI GLASS looks like a 3-d letter Y, the EIFFEL TOWER looks like a 3-d letter A, and so on down to the STICK AND BALL which, properly aligned, can serve as YAHOO!'s famous exclamation point.

I grudgingly accepted !-less entries, since instructions asked for the company's name, and the company is often referenced in the media without its exclam. But some of you owe me an exclamation point, which you can attach to this week's entry.

Narayan Venkatasubramanyan
sent in a similar sestet to joon's above, and noted that:

it is a bit ironic that the above images were found using google

Robert Hartford drew the images himself:

Gene Faba was busy, but still got YAHOO! in on time:

I was concerned that the fourth dimension was going to preclude me getting the third dimensional answer before the deadline.

Andrew Greene gets some serious bragging rights:

So FYI, this week I tried solving the meta without the instructions, and succeeded.

Impressive! Don't try this at home, kids.

Meg Duvall
had a wild meta ride:

You devil!!!!!! More than a few hours spent on simple geometric solids (cone, sphere, prism etc) Another few hours wondering why HIGH, EGG and BALL (grid entries) were also in the clues. A while wondering why TWO, FOUR, FIVE and TEN were grid entries.

Finally started thinking about those Google doodles (weird clue for 28A) and then the pictures came. What a wonderful feeling when the answer is revealed! I'm screaming at my husband in the car "OK, but what's the stick and ball?" He yells back, "It's the exclamation point!"

Now I can do that delightful Cox and Rathvon cryptic I printed out yesterday and haven't even looked at. Might even play Angry Birds.

And finally, Gary Levin writes:

The central clue made this relatively easy. As soon as I read that, I sketched the COCKTAIL GLASS, EIFFEL TOWER, and PLANET EARTH (alas poor Pluto). Y A - - O - . The only hard part was that I had forgotten that "!" was part of the name and I couldn't figure out how I was going to get 6 characters.

This was intentional -- I was aiming to tempt guessers to GOOGLE, AMAZON, or another six-letter company since there were six theme entries. Without knowing about the exclam, a solver can't know that the company's name is only five letters long.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 239 correct entries received, is Jason Juang of Mountain View, Calif. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Jason will also receive a 1-year subscription to Peter Gordon's extremely good Fireball Crosswords. Next week we return to regular book prizes for the first time in a long time!


A record 112 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of January's challenges (BANANA SPLIT, RICHARD WRIGHT, WRONG ORGAN, YAHOO!). The following ten lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Steve Blumenthal -- San Francisco, Calif.

David Cole -- Wyomissing, Penna.

Anne Erdmann -- Champaign, Ill.

Robert Hartford -- Stow, Mass.

Alex Jeffrey -- Columbia, Md.

Cris Pannullo -- Jackson, N.J.

David Plotkin -- Mississippi State, Miss.

Eric Prestemon -- Woodside, Calif.

Daniel Simoncini -- Worcester, Mass.

Brett Streetman -- Somerville, Mass.

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


You know what to do!


Andrew Feist is running a 9-puzzle contest suite at his site. I haven't gotten to it yet myself, but Andrew is a clever fellow so it's going to be fun I'm sure. Deadline is Valentine's Day, so check it out sooner than later if you're gonna!


This week's contest answer is a one-word breed of dog. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer doggie 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 (1,646 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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