MGWCC #390 — Friday, November 20th, 2015 — “Numbered Pages”

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 well-known TV show last week, and our theme entries were:

17-A [Meeting space in a “Titanic”-themed hotel?] = LEO BALLROOM

24-A [Condiment made with chunks of winged horse?] = PEGASUS SALSA. Mmmm.

38-A [What you feel on your shoulder when a wildcat wants your attention?] = LYNX TAP

52-A [Fishing tool for an ancient Greek hero?] = HERCULES REEL

63-A [Uncertainty about whether the loan will go through for your new Ford?] = TAURUS LIMBO

The first word in each is a familiar constellation and the second word is a kind of dance, which leads to meta answer DANCING WITH THE STARS, found by 407 solvers.

NYCpuzzler wrote, at 12:19 last Friday:

Is it my imagination, or have I seen this as a meta answer before?

Really? I wonder who did this one before me. Oh well, you’re going to have someone beat you to the punch on occasion.

And then soon after, pgw:

I guess I should be grateful you’re giving me a second chance at this theme, but it feels too soon.

Ohhhhh….it was me who did this theme before. In MGWCC #306, as many solvers subsequently pointed out.

Quoting myself from the comments section at Crossword Fiend:

So bizarre…had no memory of doing this one before. Even when the first solver e-mailed me that “somebody” had done this theme, I thought, “That’s odd, since I either solve or at least look at pretty much any meta anyone publishes. Wonder who it was?”

I would certainly have remembered doing this before if I’d used the constellations the first time instead of the individual stars, since deciding among the constellations to use and then the phrases themselves would’ve stood out. But a phrase like PEGASUS SALSA didn’t register because I hadn’t used it.

My memory in general is not great, but my wife’s is. I’d shared this theme with her (as I do every theme) a few days before publication, and she didn’t say anything. Then on Friday when solvers started writing it, I asked her if when I’d mentioned it earlier in the week it had rung any bells. She said “It did seem a little familiar, and I was going to say something, but then I didn’t.” So all her fault!! /sarcasm, but this is a person who can remember what I was wearing three birthdays ago and what the weather was like and what day of the week it was on…

So anyway, apologies for my “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” moment, to those who solved and remembered #306.

Just a little embarrassing, so here’s a bright, shiny solver e-mail to distract you:

Astrokurtis writes:

I always tell my astronomy classes to shake their Boötes.

That’s a good one! Now you’ve all forgotten what we talked about earlier, right? I’m sure I have…

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 440 correct entries received, is L.C. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, L.C. will also receive a 1-year subscription to my new crossword feature, Matt Gaffney’s Daily Crossword. Winners for the next two weeks will receive the same.

And thanks for a very healthy first week of subscriptions to the new daily! Jump over at the link above if you’re interested; it’s $24 per year, or $18 for six months, or $12 for 3 months, or $6 for 1 month. Free samples at the site.


There are so many good indie crossword sites out there now that even the indefatigable Amy Reynaldo couldn’t possibly cover them all. So five indie big shots have started their own Crossword Fiend-esque site to review the best of the indie crossword scene.

Congrats to Peter Broda, Ben Johnston, Erin Milligan-Milburn, Michael Sharp, and Lena Webb for launching this, and check out what they’re up to over there. Quite impressive and fun.


This puzzle’s fifth theme entry has the correct writers — but it’s the wrong play! Which Rodgers & Hammerstein play, which may or may not fit in those nine squares, should go at 57-Across instead of the one that’s there?

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:

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

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