MGWCC #458 — Friday, March 10th, 2017 — “Invasive Species”

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of January 2015 MGWCC is a subscribers-only crossword. The cost is $26 per year, and you can subscribe (or get a free trial month first) here:


We were looking for a famous NBA player of the past or present, and the grid sported (LOL) but one obvious theme entry, the spanner at 38-A: [Feat that’s only been recorded four times in NBA history (and never by our meta answer, though there’s an amusing story there which I’ll post on the blog next week)]

That’s a QUADRUPLE DOUBLE, meaning the player achieves double digits in four of five categories: points, rebounds, steals, blocks, and assists. It’s only ever been recorded four times, but those players’ surnames are all inconveniently 8 or 9 letters long (Nate Thurmond, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Alvin Robertson). Can’t fit 32 or 36 double letters into the grid so was about to choose a less good meta answer, but then I noticed this amusing anecdote at the bottom of the relevant Wiki page:

[In a game against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 18th, 1985: Bird sat out the entire fourth quarter. After three quarters, head coach K. C. Jones informed Bird that he was one steal away from a quadruple-double and asked if he wanted to stay in the game. Bird declined, saying that he “already did enough damage.

That’s pretty funny. Anyway, so you’ll notice the only double letters in the grid are the 16 highlighted at right: four B’s, four I’s, four R’s, and four D’s, finally giving meta answer LARRY BIRD his quadruple-double.

With just 404 correct answers received, this one was more like a Week 2/5 than the intended Week 1/5. To balance the scales of the universe, then, this week’s is more like the 1/5 I meant to run last week.

PhilB notes:

Bird is definitely easier to pull off than Olajuwon!

Don’t think I didn’t think about it…for about one second.

And DIS took the circuitous route:

Quadruple double must mean eight. Eight across is SWARMS, which means bees. The entry with the highest percentage of Bs is ABBA, who were famous for their 45s. 45 down references the Orioles, known familiarly as the Birds. So it all flows very nicely, but it’s maybe a week 2.

Nothing gets by you people!

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from among the 164 correct entries received, is Mike Olson of Minneapolis, Minn. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil, and notepad set, Mike will also receive a 1-year subscription to Matt Gaffney’s Daily Crossword.


This week’s contest answer is an invasive species.

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

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