MGWCC #220 -- Friday, August 17th, 2012 -- "Compound Interest"

Good afternoon, crossword fans -- welcome to Week 220 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.


Many crosswords require you to put letters inside circles, but last week's MGWCC switched that formula around, requiring solvers to put circles around four letters. The letters in question are the A, C, K and R that began the four theme entries; when circled, these letters stand for the first word of the theme entries:


Which makes ACKR (any order was accepted as correct) our meta answer.

John L. Wilson writes:

Is having to RACK your brain worse than wracking it?

Probably, but you know what's even worse than that? About an hour after posting I realized I could have made the meta an erstwhile model of automobile, messed with the order of theme entries and had K-CAR be the answer, with the four circles you add as its four wheels. D'oh!


226 solvers submitted ACKR as their answer, but 25 sent in ACUR instead. The logic is that a circled U is more common than a circled K to indicate that a food is kosher, and there are plenty of U's in the grid to circle (though not one in the answer KOSHER KITCHEN).

At first I thought this was a close call and intended to kick it up to the panel, but an argument from Crossword Fiend commenter CY Hollander persuaded me that they need not be summoned:

only K should be accepted: the theme is “answers whose first letter, when circled, can take the place of the entire first word”. Changing this to “random letters in the puzzle which, when circled, can take the place of the first word of some other answer” makes for a much, much looser theme.

Also note that the contest instructions read: This week's contest answer is the four letters in the grid that you must circle to highlight the puzzle's theme. So the question is not whether the circled U is more common than the circled K to represent kosher (it is), but which one highlights the theme, which only K does. So still sort of a klose kall, but only the K is truly kosher in this meta.

This week's winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 226 correct entries received, is Erin Milligan-Milburn of Bala Cynwyd, Penna. Erin has selected as her prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.


You know the drill!


This week's puzzle contest answer is the two grid entries that, when combined, form a good use for water in the driveway. E-mail them to me (the entries themselves, not their clue numbers) 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 (1,844 members now!) here.

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

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