MGWCC #221 — Friday, August 24th, 2012 — “At the Present Time”

Good afternoon, crossword fans — welcome to Week 221 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.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:

“Compound Interest” read the title of last week’s MGWCC, and chemical compounds were the things to be interested in. Each of the four theme entries contained the common name for a chemical compound, and the compound’s formula was hidden in the theme entry itself. They were:

17-a [Good use for laughing gas in a dentist's office?] = END ANNOYING PAIN (laughing gas = nitrous oxide, N20)

25-a [Good use for a disinfectant out on the lake?] = CLEAN FISHHOOKS (hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant, H2O2)

43-a [Good use for fool's gold in geology class?] = PROFESSOR’S JOKE (iron pyrite, FeS2)

57-a [Good use for salt while dining in New England?] = SEASON A CLAMBAKE (sodium chloride, NaCl)

Contest instructions asked for two entries that constitute “a good use for water in the driveway,” and everyone knows that water is H20. So we need two entries that contain HHO and would put water to good use in a driveway, and there they are at
64-a and 14-a: WAS(H HO)NDA, found by 206 solvers.

Two notes on the puzzle:

1) To lead meta-guessers astray I put CAR in the grid at 23-a, and it worked like a charm: 94 solvers submitted CAR WASH or WASH CAR as their answer (insert “evil grin” emoticon here).

2) The clue to 25-a is slightly inconsistent with the other three, since “disinfectant” is a generic term, hydrogen peroxide being but one of several compounds that fall under its umbrella, while “laughing gas,” “fool’s gold,” “salt” and “water” each reference one specific compound. While writing the puzzle I was under the impression that “liquid bleach” was a term used specifically for hydrogen peroxide, but while test-solving the guru pointed out to me that there are a few compounds that go by that name, so I had to punt with a generic term. Definitely a small blot, though HHOO is right there in the answer so most solvers figured out where I was going.

Christopher Jablonski says:

This contest submission was scrawled into the dirt on the window of a 1988 Civic.

Dan Sadoff writes:

it’s about time 3 years of chemistry paid off.

Bob Johnson wasn’t going to miss this one, either:

I’m a chemist so this was right up my alley. Interesting that dry ice, solid carbon dioxide, is often used to keep things COOl.

And neither was Nancy Pilla:

The Cl at the beginning of cleanfisHHOOks was a nice touch, although not the entire compound. Maybe “disinfect a pantry?” for cleaNACLOset? Anyway, great meta for this former chemist!

Chemist/biomedical engineer Victor Barocas suggests an alternate theme entry:

Shame that you couldn’t get “Ahhhhh, chocolate” in there. I hear it’s good with alcohol.

(OK, not quite in the same order as the others — but all the atoms for C2H6O are there!)

And finally, Amy Hamilton laments:

My fourth grade teacher wrote on my report card that I tend to rush through things and fail to check my work, thus causing careless errors. Forty-four years later, her advice remains unfollowed as evidenced by this week’s submission. My former profession is as a molecular biologist and I KNEW I was looking for H2O, yet I submitted HydroHonda anyway…

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 206 correct entries received, is Eric LeVasseur of Seal Beach, Calif. Eric has selected as his prize an autographed copy of While You Wait 20-Minute Crosswords.

NEVILLE WORSHIPING:

8:43 for me on today’s Fogarty, a fine freestyle. Took me 8:43, and 36-a is a great seed entry.

THIS WEEK’S INSTRUCTIONS:

To solve this week’s meta, write a clue for 60-across that completes the theme.
Submit answer to crosswordcontest@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon ET. Please put your clue in the subject line of your email.

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 (1,847 members now!) here.

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

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