MGWCC #199 -- Friday, March 23rd, 2012 -- "All My Children"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 199 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.


Geography and Sir Reginald Dwight combined in last week's puzzle: solvers were asked to find a well-known song by Dwight, a.k.a. Elton John. The theme entries were:

17-a {Request for an update} = ANY WORD YET?
26-a {Where Ostende, Antwerp and Ghent are located} = IN FLANDERS. Not really a legit crossword entry, so something meta-related must be up.
38-a {Cold quintet} = NORDIC COUNTRIES
50-a {Once a week, sometimes} = WEDNESDAYS
63-a {Bill to foil bank robbers} = MARKED NOTE

So what's going on? Kind of a tricky set, since one of the five encompasses the others: the grid-spanning NORDIC COUNTRIES is the key, as four of those five, when rearranged, begin the other four: Norway is the first six letters of ANY WORD YET, Finland starts IN FLANDERS (there's nothing better for Finland, hence the awkward entry), Sweden starts WEDNESDAYS (the seed entry for this theme), and Denmark begins MARKED NOTE.

The missing Nordic country is Iceland, so we're looking for an Elton John song that begins with those seven letters, and it's perhaps his most famous song: the Marilyn Monroe tribute CANDLE IN THE WIND, submitted by 285 solvers.

Peter Gordon sent in the right answer, but then added:

(or, I guess, "Candle in the Wind 1997")

That's the remake John did after Princess Diana's death. Also acceptable as an answer, though no one submitted it without a wink.

Eric LeVasseur

There were two near misses: "Daniel" and "Island Girl", but of course only "Candle in the Wind" starts with an anagram of ICELAND. (BTW, "Iceland" in German is actually spelled "Island".)

Indeed 19 solvers sent in DANIEL, which comes within a letter of working. I have to admit I didn't even look for alternate answers, since I figured it was vanishingly unlikely that another EJ song would start with those seven. I was right, but not by much!

Alan Neely sent this in on Saturday:

Considering that I'm going to see him in concert tonight in Richmond, I better get this right!

Scott Clay got the right song, and notes that:

Iceland is the missing country ... and I have been to all five of them!

You've got me beat, Scott -- I've been to 3.5 of them (Finland once but it was for a month; Sweden twice; and Denmark four times. The .5 is 2 hours spent in the Reykjavik airport...ok, so maybe I've only been to 3.01 of them).

And finally, Walt Blue says:

Glad I got it solved early. Now I CAN IDLE about for the rest of the week.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 285 correct entries received, is Wayne Mesard of Belmont, Mass. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Wayne will also receive a copy of Ben Tausig's new anti-establishment book Crosswords From the Underground. Next week we return to normal book prizes.


Speed-blogged last week and forgot to run two nice e-mails on the "When Harry Met Sally..." meta -- but they both happen to fit nicely this week, oddly enough! The first, because we're talking about Nordic countries: Gunnar Bergvall writes from Stockholm:

... or, in Swedish: "När Harry Mötte Sally" (I didn't dare to put the Swedish title in the subject line ...)

And we mentioned that Elton John played Richmond last Saturday night (how much you wanna bet he played "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"?), so this e-mail from David Cole is even more appropriate now:

I was in Richmond at a soccer tournament, could not print the puzzle at the business center, so I improvised!


Here's what I wrote on this blog after last year's ACPT:

*** Congratulations to Dan Feyer, Tyler Hinman and Anne Erdmann for their 1-2-3 finish in the A finals. Dan has now won two in a row; can he duplicate Tyler's fivepeat, or will Tyler strike back in 2012 (as the Mayan calendar has prophesied)? Anne made her second finals in a row, a fine achievement as well.

*** Congratulations also to tournament director Will Shortz and tournament coordinator Helene Hovanec for yet another successful event.

Same finalists this year, same order of finish! Who can break the Feyer-Hinman-Erdmann hegemony? Congratulations to the three of them again, with special mention of Dan's impressive comeback victory in the final round and Anne's extremely gracious conduct in self-reporting an error she'd made that hadn't been caught (or, more precisely, that was so borderline that it hadn't been judged as an error -- except by Anne herself).

And our beloved joon came in 8th! Also very nice. I missed this year but I'll be at Lollapuzzoola this summer and at the ACPT in 2013.


This week's contest answer is a well-known TV show. E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer show 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 (1,678 members now!) here.

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

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