MGWCC #008 -- Friday, July 25th, 2008 -- "Y Not"

Ahoy, Fellow Cruciverbalists! Welcome to Week Eight of my crossword contest. If you're new to the contest and would like to enter, please see the site FAQ on the left sidebar for instructions.


52 solvers found the SILVER COINS hidden in last week's treasure hunt. To locate that phrase, they read the answers at 9-down and 32-down from BOTTOM TO TOP, as 25-down had instructed them, and received the secret hiding spot of a treasure-locating message: FINAL LETTER OF EACH CLUE. When they looked at the last letter of each clue, this message appeared:

To claim the treasure, anagram the two grid entries referenced at three down into a monetary term

The answer to 3-down was TODAY'S DATE, which led solvers (after a little head-scratching, judging from e-mails) to the entries at 7-down (LIVRES) and 18-down (ICONS), which anagram into the monetary term SILVER COINS, which was the correct contest answer phrase. I thought this would be a fairly tough treasure hunt, but maybe not: for the first time in MGWCC's brief but storied history, I didn't receive a single incorrect answer.

As a few solvers noted, the constraint of having a hidden message using the last letter of each clue led to some rather convoluted turns of phrase. CRAKE ("Bird often seen in a meadow") and IRELAND ("Country with regions called 'Gaeltachtai'") were a little weird, but the champion must've been LARAMIE at 7-across. The clue had to end in a C, and the best I could come up with was the horrifying "City you'd find in the Wyoming section of the almanac."

Last week's winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 52 correct entries, is none other than Al Sanders of Fort Collins, Colo. Al is one of the five solvers featured in the documentary "Wordplay" and an eight-time finalist at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. He has selected as his prize an autographed copy of Sip & Solve Hard Crosswords.

In addition to his book, Al will also receive two SILVER COINS -- this was a real treasure hunt, after all! Al's loot consists of a 1962 quarter and a 1961 dime -- from back when all American dimes and quarters contained 90% silver. Total value of these two coins, according to Coinflation: about five bucks! (And to think, Amy Reynaldo once claimed that "the stakes aren't high" here at MGWCC. This'll show 'er!)

What happened to the value of American currency over the past 40-odd years so that 35 cents from the 1960s is now worth more than ten times as much? It was stolen via inflation by my former neighbors in Washington, D.C., of course. But that's a story for another day!


Two weeks ago I vext and perplext (?!) solvers with a puzzle where one letter of the alphabet was "missing." That was a word intended to deceive, and I felt awful about it...so, by way of atonement, here are this week's instructions, cut and pasted almost verbatim from the puzzle of 7/11/08: This week's crossword is missing one letter of the alphabet. Which one is it? E-mail it to me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com by noon ET on Tuesday. Please put this week's contest answer letter (!) 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, join the Google Group here:


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