MGWCC #203 -- Friday, April 20th, 2012 -- "Let's Mix It up a Little"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 203 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.


396 solvers hiked the APPALACHIAN TRAIL last week, locating the fourteen states of that venerable "walk in the woods" along the main SW-NE diagonal. The tricky part: each of those state abbrs. used its first letter in the across entry but the second letter in the down. For instance, the intersecting square of 46-across and 41-down was WV for West Virginia, yielding EWE and RIVIERA.

That gimmick naturally caused a lot of erasures and head-scratching, but eventually a healthy Week 2 number of solvers found the AT, helped along by those two letters in the grid's center square.

As a bonus, the trail's termini were the alpha and omega across answers: Maine's Mt. KATAHDIN at 1-across, the trail's northern terminus, and Georgia's SPRINGER Mountain at 64-across, its southern end.

Straying from the trail: six solvers guessed Route 95, the interstate that stretches from Florida to Maine -- but misses Tennessee, West Virginia and Vermont. And 14 guessed Route 1, which shadows 95 most of the way along the Eastern Seaboard -- and misses those same three states.

Howard Barkin asks:

Hiking up the difficulty, are we?

Nancy Pilla
is going:

Will be walking the trail in southern PA for a few days in June!

Alex Kolker quips:

Until I figured out what was going on in the center square, I thought we'd found the lost State of Atlantis.

David Miller

Sneaky one, kept messing up on the diagonal over and over again until i realized it was only on the diagonal.

Neal Felsinger:

The Katahdin/Springer entries gave away the meta very early. This may be the result of my being a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club when I lived in CT. Not that I was ever a very strong hiker.

And finally, Katie Proctor knew the AT right away:

Which of course, goes from Katahdin to Springer Mountain. It helps
that Jennifer Pharr Davis, who set the record last year, is a local and I got updates on her progress all last summer.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 396 correct entries received, is Sam Ezersky of Fairfax, Va. Sam has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Gridlock. Fitting that the prize this week would go to a Virginian, since that state contains (far) more miles of the AT than any other.


This week's contest answer is a familiar group of three.
E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put the contest answer in the subject line of your e-mail. NOTE: you can submit either the collective name for the group OR just list its members.

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 (1,705 members now!) here.

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

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