MGWCC #217 — Friday, July 27th, 2012 — GUEST CONSTRUCTOR MONTH PUZZLE #4 — “The Operative Words Being…” by Erik Agard

Good afternoon, crossword fans — welcome to Week 217 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.

GUEST CONSTRUCTOR MONTH — THE FINAL PUZZLE:

Oh, so you were expecting some big-name constructor for Week 4? Well, don’t be surprised if this week’s (18-year-old) constructor becomes a big name soon enough. More below.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:

Everybody liked Patrick Blindauer’s meta last week: he asked solvers to answer a trivia question, and left them with three jibberish-looking 15-letter downs clued as simply [Reel #1], [Reel #2] and [Reel #3]:

FCN
ENE
OHT
AIF
IHH
WIO
THH
TML
BFM
TEH
ATE
ORA
HTS
ASE
ETR

Well, that doesn’t look like much. But the title “One-Armed Bandit” and the reel references nudged solvers towards spinning these reels like a slot machine. Use a little trial and error to line them up like this…

WHA
TIS
THE
BIR
THN
AME
OFT
HEF
ATH
ERO
FTH
ESL
OTM
ACH
INE

…and reading across we’ve got our trivia question: What is the birth name of the father of the slot machine? A quick Google reveals the answer to be one AUGUST FEY, a Bavarian who came to the U.S. in 1885 at age 23, and later invented the one-armed bandit out in San Francisco. More importantly, he’s last week’s contest answer.

170 solvers submitted AUGUST FEY as their answer, while 68 sent in CHARLES FEY, the name he took upon moving to America. I’m counting these entries as correct; although the question specifically asks for Fey’s birth name, many sites don’t mention that he was born “August,” and Patrick only used “birth name” in the question to arrive at 45 letters exactly, not to set a trivia trap.

So there might be some understandable grumbling at the laxity of this decision (as with last week’s), but let’s view Guest Constructor Month as more exhibition than competition. Don’t worry, we’ll tighten things up around here in August (a.k.a Charles).

Jon Delfin says:

Not just a crossword, but an arts and crafts project!

Which was true — just check out the makeshift slot machine Kayli and Tony Rife created (click image to enlarge):

Dan Feyer submitted CHARLES FEY, and added:

But I’m Feyer than he is!

And Joe Fendel points out:

Nice touch that the hidden message starts at the Wynn!

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 238 correct entries received, is Ben Jones of Stamford, Conn.

THE NEVILLE YOU KNOW:

Today’s Fogarty took me 9:08. Beat that!


THIS WEEK’S GUEST CONSTRUCTOR:

What was true of Week 2′s constructor is also true of Week 4′s: without Erik Agard, Guest Constructor Month wouldn’t have happened. Late last year he started showing me metas he’d been writing, and I liked them so much that I decided to run one here.

Erik attended the ACPT for the first time this year and finished in 17th place overall (!), earning himself a spot in the B finals (where the above picture was taken). He’s also just recently started his own crossword site called Anoa Place (and I dig that artwork!).

Week 4 awaits; en garde for Agard…


THIS WEEK’S INSTRUCTIONS:

This week’s contest answer is a two-word phrase. 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 (1,824 members now!) here.

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

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