MGWCC #425 — Friday, July 22nd, 2016 — “21”

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 played the “Name Game” last week, with instructions that informed solvers: You will feel like one of these if you solve this week’s meta.

Our six theme names were:

16-A [“This Is Spinal Tap” director] = ROB REINER
20-A [Cartoon character voiced by Mila Kunis] = MEG GRIFFIN. From “Family Guy.”
33-A [Actor once knocked out of the World Series of Poker by Doyle Brunson] = MATT DAMON. A big poker player himself. His movie “Rounders” had a lot to do with popularizing Texas Hold ‘Em.
46-A [TV character whose middle name is “Stanford”] = GREG BRADY
59-A [Eponym of one of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average] = WALT DISNEY
67-A [Longtime carpenter on “This Old House”] = NORM ABRAM

First key insight is noticing that all of these first names are short forms: their full names are RobERT Reiner, MegAN Griffin, MattHEW Damon, GregORY Brady, WaltER Disney, and NormAN Abram.

Second key is to notice that the letters added in the long form are also in the grid, as entries with one letter tacked on to their front: VERT, IAN, CHEW, TORY, OER, and RAN. Put those front letters additions together, in order of their theme entries’ grid appearance, and you’ve got contest answer VICTOR, which a solver would certainly feel like after getting this — and which is a long form name in its own right.

Nice idea, though Joon Pahk correctly dinged the execution for containing two ?AN words in the grid. It didn’t affect the play of the meta since the letters are in order by theme entry and VRCTOI doesn’t look like much, but it’s an inelegance I should’ve avoided (with a PHIL(-IP) and RIP, for example, as one solver suggested). I’ve tried to recreate how I let this happen but haven’t been able to figure it out (I wrote the puzzle about a month ago and my notes don’t shed much light). Oh, well.

pgw asks:

Where are my spoils?

sps writes:

Yeah, but I almost put VICtim instead, bc that’s how I was feeling. Took me forever to see it.

And Evan says:

I’m just glad my wife feels like a Victoria every day whether I solve the meta or not.

(His wife really is named Victoria).

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 177 correct entries received, is Austin Burns of Orlando, Fla. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Austin will also receive a 1-year subscription to Matt Gaffney’s Daily’s Crossword.


Well it’s Week 4, so I guess we can probably list the 12 monthly winners for June now, right?

The following 12 solvers were selected randomly from among the 71 people who sent in the correct contest answer to each of June’s four puzzles (FORT WAYNE, FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, CARDINAL, CANDLES). Each will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil, and notepad set:

Peter Abide — Biloxi, Miss.

Ethan Budin — Deerfield, Ill.

Joshua Davey — Eugene, Ore.

Sean Forbes — Crest Hill, Ill.

David Hunley — Wakefield, R.I.

Andy Kravis — Brooklyn, N.Y.


Jonathan McCue — Los Altos, Calif.

Mark Navarrete — Quezon City, Philippines


David Stein — Silver Spring, Md.

James Williams — Elgin, Ill.

Congratulations to our 12 winners, and to everyone who went 4-for-4 in Guest Constructor Month.


This week’s contest answer is a well-known cable TV channel.

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

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