MGWCC #487 — Friday, September 29th, 2017 — “The Long and Short of It”

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 current European head of state, and our theme entries, starred for your solving convenience, were:

17-A [*Group that calls their island nation Aotearoa] = MAORI PEOPLE. A.k.a. New Zealand, famous in puzzles for being the homeland of Rex Parker’s extremely cool wife and also of Wayne Gould, the retired judge who popularized Sudoku worldwide.

21-A [*Illinois-based food giant that owns Nabisco, Oreo, Toblerone, and Tang] = MONDELEZ. Mmm, Toblerone.

39-A [*Latvia’s current president (who isn’t the meta answer, and neither is Latvia’s current prime minister)] = RAIMONDS VEJONIS. What, you needed every letter for that one? Rookie!

56-A [*Board game after which a punk rock band named themselves] = HUSKER DU. If you remember this game (as I do), you are officially old!!

63-A [*Intense sounding cleaning product] = DRANO MAX GEL. I can personally attest that this stuff works very well.

What’s the common bond? Each of these five entries uses a macron, that long line that goes over a vowel to indicate that’s to be pronounced long: the A in MAORI, the second E in MONDELEZ, the E in RAIMONDS VEJONIS, both U’s in the game HUSKER DU (but not the band, which uses rock dots), and the A in DRANO.

But hmmm…no other European head of state besides theme entry VEJONIS (and his prime minister, excluded from consideration by the clue) has a macron in their name. Puzzling. To learn more, let’s look up the Wikipedia entry for this word:

Aha! Our answer is French president EMMANUEL MACRON, found by 290 solvers.

David Stein writes:

I cannot believe the answer isn’t…ILIR META

Amazing. And he’s only been in office a few weeks. Now that’s Meta!

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from among the 290 correct entries received, is Amy Livingston of Highland Park, N.J. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil, and notepad set, Amy will also receive a one-year subscription to Matt Gaffney’s Daily Crossword.


This week’s contest answer is a three-letter name.

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

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