MGWCC #421 — Friday, June 24th, 2016 — GUEST CONSTRUCTOR MONTH, PUZZLE #4 — “The Calendar Method” by Chris King

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:


Tough grid from Jeff Chen for Week 3, and the four theme entries looked like:

16-A [Unleaded mixture] = DECAF MOCHA
24-D [Sheepish offering?] = LOIN OF LAMB
49-A [“You’re such a Potsie” sayer] = RALPH MAPLH
3-D [It might arise from a lack of conditioning] = BAD HAIR DAY

And they were in fact the theme entries, but not in the traditional way. Successful meta solvers noticed that some very common letters weren’t so common in this grid: just two E’s in the whole thing, two S’s, and two N’s. That’s a bit suggestive…might there be only two W’s as well? Indeed, so we’re looking at directions on the compass. Travel one square in the relevant direction from each of those eight letters — north from the N’s, east from the E’s, and so on — and the magic eye puzzle comes into focus: they spell out contest answer CARDINAL with perfect symmetry, and these are all cardinal points on the compass. Beautiful! See solution grid at right, stolen from joon at Crossword Fiend since it’s better than what I could do in Paint.

jeremiahsjohnson says:

Puzzle 420 was smokin’.

Mike W has some wisdom:

Following directions does pay off.

dylanamite quips:

That was a bEAST of a puzzle!

pomona47 gripes:

You should be more COMPASSionate during Week 3.

Ale M exults:

“NEWS” flash: I got the meta!!!!

And Brent Holman notes another connection:

How fitting that it comes down to Jeff’s alma mater.

Which is Stanford, home of the Cardinals. And I just now realize another one: This is one of aspiring young adult novelist Jeff’s favorite books (and mine, too), and it fits in with this theme very well. All kinds of extra stuff going on here!

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 106 correct entries received, is Alan Arbizu of San Mateo, Calif. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Alan will also receive a 1-year “Angel” subscription to (which is run by Jeff C.).

Thanks for a beautiful Week 3, Jeff! And now it’s time for the last puzzle in 2016’s Guest Constructor Month:



Batting cleanup for GCM 2016 is Chris King, who’s been writing regular metas at his blog since 2014. They get pretty intricate, and one of them won my Crossword of the Month award last year.

Chris is from Columbia, S.C., and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in geography at USC, where he’s run a Puzzle Hunt for the past five years.

Without further ado, then…


This week’s contest answer is a festive group.

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

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