MGWCC #281 — Friday, October 18th, 2013 — “Missing in Action”

grammar police



For some reason, you’re not supposed to crassly split infinitives in English writing. Last week’s puzzle played on that convention, with SPLIT INFINITIVE running across the center of the grid and six entries that separated TO from a verb:

1-a [Axe cousin (“sell,” 4, 3)] = TO/MA/HAWK

17-a [Doing a best man’s job (“puncture,” 6)] = TO/A/STING

18-a [Dresses nicely (“dine,” 1)] = TO/G/S UP

32-a [How balm is applied to the skin (“partner,” 8, 11, 12)] = TO/PIC/ALLY

45-a [Source of stress (“guide,” 2)] = TO/R/MENTOR

57-a [9th-largest city on the Great Lakes (“perform,” 10, 13)] = TO/LE/DO

60-a [Two days after yesterday (“propel,” 5, 9, 7)] = TO/MOR/ROW

Each of these entries starts with TO and ends with a verb synonymous with the verb given in the clue. So to HAWK something means to sell it, to STING something is to puncture it, and so forth.

What next? Take those parenthetical numbers in the clues and pop the infinitive-splitting letters in respectively. So take the M and A from TO/MA/HAWK and put them in places 4 and 3; take the A from TO/A/STING and put it in place 6; take the P, I and C from TO/PIC/ALLY and put them in places 8, 11 and 12; and so on. When you’re done you’ll get meta answer GRAMMAR POLICE, the necessary but somewhat irritating group of people asked for in the instructions.

REM says:

At first I thought “politicians” but I’m not yet convinced they’re necessary.

Dary Merckens

I hate the grammar police. There to annoying!

And pjbraxton states for the record:

Irregardless, I could care less that I literally am the grammar police!

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 466 correct entries received, is Rajeev Nayak of San Francisco, Calif. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Rajeev will also receive a copy of Matt Jones’ new puzzle series, “No Holds Barred Crosswords.” Check out Matt’s Kickstarter campaign here:



You’ll recall that 23-down in MGWCC #279 referenced a famous crossword person. Said famous person writes:

Loved, loved, loved the clue for 23 Down.

Sure thing, Helene — and thanks for having such a crossword-friendly name.


I have a new crossword puzzle blog, Gaffney on Crosswords, which you can visit at the link below. I’m posting daily on any subject having to do with our beloved pastime:


This week’s contest answer is a U.S. senator, past or present.
Submit your answer in the form on the left sidebar by Tuesday at noon ET. Note: the submissions form disappears from the site promptly at noon on Tuesday.

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 (2,107 members now!) here.


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

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