MGWCC #372 — GUEST CONSTRUCTOR MONTH PUZZLE #3 — Friday, July 17th, 2015 — “Time and Time Again” by Evan Birnholz

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:



358 solvers were not left clueless by last week’s Erdmann/Quigley meta. They realized that the last word of each theme entry was also a word in the title of a Jane Austen novel:

18-A [Singer of the #1 country hit “She’s Too Good to Be True”] = CHARLEY PRIDE
25-A [Pretty difficult] = NO WALK IN THE PARK
40-A [2005 movie with the tagline “Revenge Knows No Mercy”] = PRETTY PERSUASION
50-A [Concert film that begins with a bare stage] = STOP MAKING SENSE
62-A [Violet Crawley’s TV home] = DOWNTON ABBEY

Those novels would be: Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey. The missing volume is meta answer EMMA, on which the movie “Clueless” was based (hence the puzzle’s title).

Rosebud says:

Saw Charley Pride and thought “No, there are seven deadly sins” Eventually made the right connection

crosswordese says, like:

As if!

AboutTheSame wasn’t going to miss it:

Yes, that’s why my daughter is named Emma.

Neither was mlpdyer:

Can’t believe it took me this long – “Emma” is on my night stand!

Maggie W. writes:

What a coincidence — I just heard from my friend Emma today for the first time in months. And now she’s a meta answer!

Rhonda dug it:

Love a literary meta!

And JSolomon1999 got it eventually:

My Austen powers came through in the end.

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 358 correct entries received, is Dominick Talvacchio of Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Dominick will also receive a signed copy of Brendan Quigley’s classic tome Sex, Drugs & Rock’N’Roll Crosswords.

And thanks, Anne and Brendan, for the nice Week 2 work!


I reviewed the new book Word Nerd for the Wall Street Journal last week. Check it out here (behind the paywall for some people but not others; give it a shot).



If you attended the Indie 500 in May, then you’ve already met this week’s guest constructor: Evan Birnholz co-directed that extremely fun crossword tournament, plus runs regular puzzles at his Devil Cross blog (this one and this one have been particularly clever there).

Evan lives with in Philadelphia with his wife, Vicki, where he’s a graduate student in American History at Temple University. He’s also a baritone in the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia; On July 23, they’re singing through the film score of “The Fellowship of the Ring” while the movie plays in the background. “If,” he writes, “you hear some cackling in the choir stands when Gandalf shouts “IS IT SECRET? IS IT SAFE???” then it’s probably me.” If you’re in the Philly area, tickets are available here.


This week’s contest answer is a two-word description of something missing from the puzzle.

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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