MGWCC #194 -- Friday, February 17th, 2012 -- "Mis Universe"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 194 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.


What Midwest city served as last week's contest answer? Solvers faced that question with the following four theme entries:

17-a {1st is a famous music show, so it must be...} SOUL TRAIN
11-d {2nd is a U.S. state, so it must be...} NORTH DAKOTA
65-a {3rd is a Woody Allen movie, so it must be...} RADIO DAYS
26-d {4th is one of the main solvers profiled in "Wordplay," so it must be...} TYLER HINMAN

Contest instructions stated that the Midwest city is "what the 5th theme entry must be," so what's the pattern? Kind of a "stealthy meta" as one solver put it; another said it was "hiding in plain sight," while a third Facebooked that once he got the meta, he couldn't believe he hadn't seen it right away.

So what's going on? A little boldface will reveal all: If 1st is a famous music show, it must be SOUL TRAIN, since it uses the initials S.T. from 1st. Similarly NORTH DAKOTA must be 2nd if it's a U.S. state, and RADIO DAYS alone among Woody Allen movies has the initials for 3rd. Ellen Ripstein, Trip Payne, Jon Delfin and Al Sanders are all national-class crossword solvers profiled in the movie, but only TYLER HINMAN has the right initials to be 4th.

So what must the 5th entry be? We're looking for a Midwest city with the initials T.H. (from 5th), which leads us to TERRE HAUTE, Indiana (though one wag sent this in, even though he'd found my intended answer as well).

Sean Trowbridge

It would have been easier if you had a few more theme entries. :-)

Laura Effinger-Dean says:

Funny coincidence! I didn't send in last week's because I was in Terre Haute...

But the burning question was: did 26-down get the meta? He did, but only after a struggle:

This very very nearly turned into unquestionably my most embarrassing meta failure ever.

I e-mailed Tyler back:

You gotta let me reprint this with your name on Friday. So many people have been asking if you got it!

To which he replied:

Now that I've solved it, sure. I was absolutely petrified that the embarrassment of my Week 2 failure was going to be heavily multiplied through public humiliation in this week's write-up.

Bullet dodged, Tyler!

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 254 correct entries received, is Norm Hurlbut of Mamaroneck, N.Y. Norm has selected as his prize an autographed copy of 20 Minute On-the-Road Crossword Puzzles.


Many solvers -- Paul Melamud was first -- pointed out that the clue for 20-across last week should have read {Clark and Cochran's judge, in a 1995 case} instead of citing "Marcia and Johnnie's judge." Since the answer was Lance ITO, I mixed up my first and last names. I plead guilty and throw myself on the mercy of the court (of cruciverbal public opinion).

mattgaffney.com + YOUTUBE CHANNEL:

My new website is up at mattgaffney.com. Please overlook the minor issues I'm still ironing out (e-mail and YouTube are improperly linked, a little rewriting to do) and check it out!

Note that forthcoming YouTube channel, which will be called "Matt Gaffney On Crosswords." Beginning the first week in March I'll be posting regular videos (every week or two) on all things cruciverbal -- rants/raves, clues/news/views, ideas/trends/events -- if it has to do with the world of crossword puzzles, I'll be talking about it on YouTube soon.

I'm taking suggestions for these videos, so if you've got a crossword topic you'd like me to address then by all means drop me a line! If you send a suggestion in, please put YOUTUBE IDEA in the subject line so I can keep them organized. Thanks in advance, and I'll link to the first video once it goes live in early March.


The Gryptics app is now available in the Apple Store! Listen to programmer Brooks Hollar outline the new application he wrote for Les Foeldessy's addictive word game. I'll have more to say about Gryptics in coming weeks.


This week's contest answer is a well-known mountain
. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer mountain 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.

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

No comments: