MGWCC #211 -- Friday, June 15th, 2012 -- "Gimme Five!"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 211 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.


141 was last week's contest answer, but a lot more people than that (443) figured it out: all you had to do was add the seven relevant numbers in the grid, though there were a couple of unintentional traps that tripped up some very good solvers.

Seven down answers only made sense when you included their clue numbers as part of the answer itself:

1-d [Seriously in danger of running out of gas] = (ON E)MPTY (very tricky, due to one of those unintended traps; see below)
4-d [It's found where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado meet] = (FOUR) CORNERS MONUMENT
7-d [Baseball break] = (SEVEN)TH INNING STRETCH (cool entry, since that baseball tradition could also be described as a "thinning stretch")
10-d [Country great named for a state] = (TEN)NESSEE ERNIE FORD
12-d [Like some facilitated programs] = (TWELVE)-STEP
50-d ["Get Rich or Die Tryin'" rapper] = (FIFTY) CENT
57-d [Carnegie Hall's address: abbr.] = (FIFTY-SEVEN)TH ST.

Add those seven up and you've got the answer: 141.

So trap #1 was at 1-down, which caused 7 solvers to submit 142.71828...The logic was that the irrational number "e" ("Euler's number") would fit nicely there, turning the entry MPTY into "empty." The problem is that the clue number is simply 1-d, not 2.71828-d, which would make that inconsistent with the other theme entries. Still, EMPTY seems to fit so well and (ON E)MPTY is tricky to parse in your head, so this caused a handful of excellent meta-solvers to stumble.

The other nasty trap was at 60-d, where [Brief moment?] clued SEC, and "60 SEC" might be argued to answer that clue reasonably. It's a wild coincidence I'll concede, and if the clue had been [Brief minute?] I'd have to think about accepting 200. But there are two problems with it: first, a "moment" is a nebulous term, not defined as 60 seconds like a minute is; and second, submitting 200 leaves 1-d unaddressed, since MPTY isn't a valid entry on its own.

Still, seven solvers submitted 200 as their answer based on this logic, and they have my sympathy! That was an easy place to slip up.

Peter Gwinn writes:

That puzzle was really sum thing.

Dave Sullivan

[2]uld be a shame to miss this one, being a math major...

Elementary school teacher Kelly Langan asks:

Who knew I'd need to do math on summer vacation?

Sean Trowbridge notes:

Hopefully translates to “one for one” (for this week anyway...)

Nice! Wish I'd noticed that; I would've made this Week 1's puzzle so the number had special significance.

And finally, Alexander Miller wonders:

141 is my P.O. Box number. How did you do that?

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 455 correct entries received, is Jeremy Conner of Los Angeles, Calif. Jeremy has selected as his prize an autographed copy of While-You-Wait 20 Minute Crosswords.


320 tippers tossed $9,084.39 into the MGWCC Tip Jar last week, an increase of more than 50% over last year. Thanks to all sixteen score of you -- Year 5 will see some exciting changes at MGWCC, so stay tuned!


You know what to do!


In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, weekly prizewinners this week and next will receive a copy of Brendan Quigley's new 21x21 freestyle crossword. But don't wait to win it -- get it here for a minimum tip of $10!


This week's puzzle contest answer is the missing member of a certain set.
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 (1,730 members now!) here.

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

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