MGWCC #205 -- Friday, May 4th, 2012 -- "On the Board"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 205 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.


March's last of the month had been easier than expected, so I promised an extra-tough omega puzzle for April. Just 43 correct answers came in so "Mission Accomplished," though a few solvers did blitz through it quickly (such as Joon Pahk, for whom the meta took all of four minutes). It wasn't a particularly intricate meta, but it was well-hidden.

Solvers were asked to find a country in Africa, and were alerted to the existence of three possible answers. Curious! The five theme entries were:

18-a {What a party host doesn't want to hear} = I CAN'T MAKE IT
23-a {Publication since 1947} = DER SPIEGEL
38-a {1984 Grammy nominee for Album of the Year} = AN INNOCENT MAN
49-a {"Beverly Hills, 90210" actor} = IAN ZIERING
58-a {King mocking} = LESE MAJESTY

Now what? Sooner or later, successful metapuzzlers noticed that the first word of each of these five look like demonym endings. But which place names do -I, -DER, -AN, -IAN, and -LESE go with? Many solvers reported scouring African demonym lists, but the key was closer at hand: each of the first four theme entries crosses a place name that takes its first word as its demonym ending. So I CAN'T MAKE IT crosses OMAN, and "Oman" takes that I to make "Omani." Similarly:

DER SPIEGEL crosses MICHIGAN, which takes the DER to make "Michigander"
AN INNOCENT MAN crosses EL PASO, which takes the AN to make "El Pasoan"
IAN ZIERING crosses EGYPT, which takes the IAN to make "Egyptian"

LESE MAJESTY is the odd man out, crossing no place name that takes an -LESE. So we're looking for an African nation that adds those four letters to make its demonym, and our three choices -- and three meta answers -- are TOGO, which makes Togolese, and either of the two CONGO countries (Republic of the Congo or the Democratic Republic of the Congo), either of whose people are called Congolese.

The most popular incorrect answer was TANZANIA (17 guesses), due mainly to the suspicious number of letters it shares with IAN ZIERING. And note that SENEGAL is close but no cigar, since it only adds the -ESE.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 43 correct entries received, is Laura Dove of Longmeadow, Mass. Laura has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Spanish-English Crossword Puzzles.


Many solvers (Charles Montpetit was first, like last week) pointed out that "Robert De Niro's Waiting" at 42-a is a song by Bananarama, not Ani DiFranco as I had it.


33 solvers submitted the correct contest answer to all four of April's challenges (DAIRY QUEEN, APPALACHIAN TRAIL, SECONDARY COLORS, TOGO/CONGO). The following fifteen lucky and skillful winners, chosen randomly from that group, will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set:

Andy Arizpe -- Austin, Tex.

Philip Chow -- Elmhurst, N.Y.

Joe Fendel -- Berkeley, Calif.

Neville Fogarty -- Lexington, Ky.

Nathan Fung -- Brighton, Mass.

Tyler Hinman -- San Francisco, Calif.

Janette Mosher -- Warroad, Minn.

Matthew Perez-Stable -- Fairview Park, O.

Eric Prestemon -- Woodside, Calif.

Brett Rose -- Chicago, Ill.

Dan Seidman -- Watertown, Mass.

Jason Shapiro -- New York City, N.Y.

Steve Tice -- Great Falls, Va.

Peter Washington -- Oakland, Calif.

Stephen Williams -- Holbrook, Mass.

The following five winners of a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set were chosen randomly from the group of solvers who answered PRIMARY COLORS to the Week 3 meta AND correctly solved the month's other three metas:

Ken Crowell -- Halifax, N.S.


Bob Johnson -- Ambler, Penna.

John Lenning -- Irvine, Calif.

J.T. Williams -- Pasadena, Calif.


C'est un jeu de mots croisés bonne, N'est-ce pas?


Pete Muller's new monthly music meta is up and running! Subscribe (for free) here and he'll send you the first puzzle (deadline is Monday, so hop to it). The puzzle took me 7 minutes and the meta took 2.


You know what to do!


This week's contest answer is a well-known board game.
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.

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 (1,712 members now!) here.

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

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