MGWCC #454 — Friday, February 10th, 2017 — “Period Piece”

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Slightly tougher than usual Week 1, but 491 got it so challenge accepted and completed by solvers. “Don’t Strain Yourself” was our title, and we needed a nine-letter word, sadly fitting for me recently, that would complete this puzzle’s theme pattern.

Out five theme entries were:

17-A [Exxon option] = DIESEL FUEL. Named for Vin Diesel.
25-A [Show deference] = GENUFLECT. Fun word, from Latin genu, meaning the knee.
34-A [They believe what they want to believe] = WISHFUL THINKERS. As Joon mentioned at Fiend, “wishful thinking” is a much more common phrase, but look how much friendlier the -ERS was for me than an -ING in filling that big corner!
48-A [Airline headquartered in Cologne] = LUFTHANSA. Good pretzels (I’m guessing).
57-A [Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, etc.] = GULF STATES. Also cluable as [Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, etc.].

What’s the pattern hidden herein? We’ve got an LFU, UFL, FUL, LUF, and ULF ensconced in these five themers. The only missing permuation is the nasty FLU, which would have made a fitting final theme entry as contest answer INFLUENZA. I also accepted FLUSTRUCK and FLURIDDEN as correct.

Andrew R quips:

maybe the first time “i got the flu!” is a good thing.

hibob says:

Sorry to hear that. At least it’s not beri beri!

How true, how true.

And finally, Al says:

Get Well Soon!!

Thanks, and I did — in fact by the time you solved it I was already better. But I wrote it sick, which is kind of amusing.

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from among the 491 correct entries received, is Amy Bemis of Minneapolis, Minn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil, and notepad set, Amy will also receive a 1-year subscription to Matt Gaffney’s Daily Crossword.


Peter Gordon. Kickstarter. Fireball Newsflash Crosswords. 2017-2018. Highly recommended. MGWCC weekly prize this week and next.


[Note: Arthur Wynne’s historic first crossword puzzle featured a period at the end of each clue. This convention gradually died out over the ensuing decades, but we’re reviving it for this week’s MGWCC.] This week’s contest answer is the last name of a famous person whose full name may or may not be a “period piece.”

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

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