MGWCC #193 -- Friday, February 10th, 2012 -- "In Short Order"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 193 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.


Slightly flawed meta last week, so let's sort it out: the puzzle's five theme entries were:


Say those five aloud and the first syllables you'll hear are who, what, when, where and how. What's missing is why, and the only one-word breed of dog that starts with that question is the WEIMARANER, making that our contest answer.

293 is low for Week 1, and there were two issues that tripped solvers up:

1) There are two pronunciations of WEIMARANER, as both the initial "why" sound and the original German "vie" (rhymes with pie) are used. I considered making the contest answer something less ambiguous like WYOMING or WHITE HOUSE, but didn't.

Ultimately this didn't wind up throwing many people off -- just three entrants submitted WIREHAIR, for example, which I couldn't take because it's not a breed.

2) This was the more troublesome imperfection: the second syllable of the last entry, HOUSEWIVES, begins with the missing "why" sound. This threw a lot of solvers off; it looks too unlikely to be a coincidence (especially since it's the last theme entry), but it's clearly different from the others, which all begin with the question word.

I didn't notice the "why" in HOUSEWIVES at all, and even though it is different from the others, it's certainly odd enough to ruin the aha moment/click for some (even many WEIMARANER entrants mentioned not being 100% sure about what was going on with that one). And 24 entrants submitted HOUND or BLOODHOUND, having seen the six question words (counting 2 for HOUSEWIVES) and reasoning that a "bloodhound" can mean a detective who asks a lot of questions, while a reporter can "hound" reluctant interviewees with questions.

It doesn't sit right with me to bump so many people out in Week 1 over an imperfect meta, so let's throw some prizes at the problem: for the 293 who got WEIMARANER, you're 1 for 1 and can continue your month's meta rampage uninterrupted.

For everyone who didn't get WEIMARANER, your month starts now: you're not eligible for the regular monthly prizes like the 293 WEIMARANER folks are, but you are eligible for 2 stationery prizes set aside only for those who missed Week 1. And keep in mind that, as ever, anyone can win weekly prizes regardless of their monthly status.

So let's put this glitch behind us and move on: I've already completed the rest of the puzzles for February, and I guarantee that a little ol' Weimaraner is going to be the kindest creature you meet all month here!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 293 correct entries received, is Dana Hahn of Los Angeles, Calif. Dana has selected as her prize an autographed copy of 20 Minute While You Wait Crossword Puzzles.


Just three more days to get Andrew Feist's 9-puzzle contest suite at his site! It's for charity, too.


This week's contest answer is a familiar city in the Midwest; it's what the 5th theme entry must be. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer city 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 (1,651 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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