MGWCC #429 — Friday, August 19th, 2016 — “Finishing Touches”

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’re looking for a U.S. city with a more famous European namesake, and six theme entries thinly concealed six American cities:

16-A [Bank headquartered in San Francisco] = WELLS FARGO
23-A [Without concern for consequences] = FREE-WHEELING
30-A [Spotted hybrid] = SAVANNAH CAT
46-A [It covers much of the Great Plains (this one’s a little different)] = BUFFALO GRASS
58-A [Show with the sketches “Thai Food Bridgetown Weekly” and “Kickstarter Film Awards”] = PORTLANDIA

So the cities are easy to spot, but what to do with them? The title mentions borders, and each of these six happens to be on or extremely close to the border of another state:

Fargo, N.Dak. is on the border with Minnesota
Wheeling, W.Va. is on the border with Ohio
Savannah, Ga. is on the border with South Carolina
Reno, Nev. is very close to the border with California
Buffalo, N.Y. is on the border with Ontario (hence the “this one’s a little different” in the clue)
Portland, Ore is on the border with Washington


The first letters of those bordering states/province spell out MOSCOW, and MOSCOW, IDAHO is our contest answer (note the “ID Required” part of the title). Which is a border town itself, incidentally. See the blue dot on the map.

Magoo notes:

And yet so far from St Petersburg

Amy Reynaldo writes:

Wheeling is awfully close to Pennsylvania, too! I had MPSCOW first.

CanNibble says:

Sorry, it’s not a Picture, ID.

Alex B. writes:

MOSCOW MULE would have made a delicious theme entry

BretBloomquist suggests for the future:

My employer, El Paso Times, would fit nicely in 40 across (going with the southern border, not the western one; keep that in mind if you do a double border meta)

And finally, EliSelzer reminds solvers that:

In Soviet Idaho, crossword solves you!

And permit me to share a relevant memory: If you’re a chess fan and would like to play over my best game from the 1991 Moscow Winter Open, please do so here. Key moves are 12…Bg4! and 14…Bf3! after which White is in big trouble.

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 338 correct entries received, is Phil Micheli of Chelsea, Mich. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Phil will also receive a 1-year subscription to Matt Gaffney’s Daily’s Crossword.


This week’s contest answer is what you need to do to solve the meta.

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

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