MGWCC #169 — Friday, August 26th, 2011 — “Moving Day”

Good afternoon, crossword fans — welcome to Week 169 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.


No more Mr. Nice Guy: just 140 solvers found RAIN DELAY as a “common kind of summer break” last week, barely a third of the 403 who got Week 2.

Three theme entries cryptically instructed solvers to THINK FIRST / WHEN YOU LOCATE / NINE PAUSES. Those pauses could have been a lot of things — see e-mails below — but they pointed at the nine clues in the grid with commas. Take the first letter of those nine clues (THINK FIRST, as it were) and you get, in order, our contest answer:

1-a {Respectful but friendly closing, sometimes} = BEST WISHES

23-a {Admits, as a visitor} = LETS IN

32-a {Iron, for one} = ORE

45-a {Norm Macdonald’s old show, briefly} = SNL

52-a {Dumb as dirt, or smart as a whip} = SIMILE

30-d {Extreme point, as of an orbit} = APOGEE

33-d {Longtime magazine owner, for short} = HEF

39-d {Admits, as a crime} = OWNS UP TO

62-d {You’ve got mail,” they’ll tell you} = AOL

Ed Sills says:

I had a brain delay before this one clicked.

Peter Abide stumbled on a tricky cross:

hardest part was realizing there is no show called “Marry”, which had me looking for 9 parses

Adam Rosenfield
sensed the presence of a meta:

What tipped me off to the meta in this puzzle was the clues for 26D

and 58A—I thought it was strange how there was no comma in 26D (and

it didn’t look like a mistake since you’d have also have had to add

the “and” by mistake), and the fullstops in the quote in 58A jumped

out and made the link to the ‘pauses’ that were hinted at in 60A.

A little clue searching later, and it all fit together.

Nancy Hart hasn’t seen much of our contest answer lately:

Keep it up with the baseball clues. Gives me a fighting chance. However, I’m from Texas — would you remind me what a rain delay is?

Same reminder needed for Richard Kalustian:

Matt, this meta was definitely unfair to fans in cities with roofed or domed stadiums. We haven’t had a rain delay in Seattle since the days of the Pilots. (Though there was that time when some tiles fell from the ceiling of the KingDome.)

I reluctantly let 47-down into the grid, but Eric LeVasseur says not to worry:

I have no problem with seeing ALPENA in a puzzle – but then again, I’m originally from Michigan, so I know of the city (though admittedly I’ve never been there). Being the largest town in a sparsely populated part of the state, they’d show it on the local news weather maps all the time.

And finally, Mark Navarrete found a (serendipitous) red herring:

Before I realized that it actually meant commas, I’d been thinking that “nine pauses” might be a sneaky way of saying “nine PA uses”. There were exactly 9 instances of the bigram PA appearing in a word in the clues (PART 1/2/3 of directions, accomPAnied, PAternity, Toronto PAper, Tenant counterPArt, pitchfork PArts, and A PANEL anag.) Coincidence?

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 140 correct entries received, is Steve Jorgensen of Columbia, Mo. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Steve will also receive a one-year subscription to Liz Gorski’s Crossword Nation. Next week’s winner will receive the same.


This week’s contest answer is a common form of transportation.
E-mail it to me at 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 (1,552 members now!) here. To solve with friends at Team Crossword, click here.

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

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