MGWCC #332 — Friday, October 10th, 2014 — “We’re An American Band”



Tricky for Week 1 of 5, which is usually a gimme. Solvers were tasked with finding the correct chronological order of this puzzle’s four theme entries, which were labeled A, B, C and D. They were:

17-A [(A) Jorge Mario Berglogio, since March 13, 2013] = POPE FRANCIS. Note the misspelling in the clue (should be “Bergoglio”) even though I checked it twice, letter by letter. Why can’t we go back to when popes had easy surnames to spell, like “Wojtyła’?

27-A [(B) He sang "Don't Know Much" with Linda Ronstadt] = AARON NEVILLE

44-A [(C) "The End of Poverty" economist] = JEFFREY SACHS

59-A [(D) He played Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings"]

Francis, Neville, Jeffrey, Ian — where have you seen those names before? Why, they’re the first names of last month’s four Guest Constructors! (Surnames: Heaney, Fogarty, Harris, Livengood). Putting them in correct chronological order — the order their puzzles appeared during Guest Constructor Month — yields meta answer C-D-B-A, found by 289 entrants.


Ok, so that was too tricky for a Week 1 of 5. I thought it might play like a Week 2, but it wound up being a Week 3. I liked the theme idea enough to go ahead with it anyway, though, since I felt it had to be done Week 1 or never, while Guest Constructor Month was still fresh in everyone’s minds.

I hate to see anyone knocked out of a five-Friday month so early, though, so I hereby announce Do-Over October. If you got Week 1 correct, then you’re good to go and this is just a normal month. If you missed Week 1, then congratulations! You’re still eligible for Do-Over October. In addition to the regular 10 monthly prizes for those who go 5/5 in October, I’ll also be awarding 5 monthly prizes for those who missed Week 1 but go 4/4 the rest of the month.

And today’s puzzle really is a Week 1 of 5 in difficulty, so let it not be said that I didn’t give you a Week 1.

Neville says:


Even more meta now, with this e-mail.

Norm Hurlbut writes:

Holy cow, I almost submitted them by birth date, which (if correct) would have been the lamest MGWCC ever or (if incorrect) the lamest mistake ever.

Erin says:

I’m disgusted at myself for how long this took me. I started seeing if Pope Francis was a guest on SNL or The Tonight show and wondering why you would do that for a Week 1 before it clicked.

Imfromjersey asks:

Does Frank 21A read your blog and do you think he feels slighted?

That’s crossword writer Frank LONGO, whose name appeared serendipitously in this grid. I clued it as the letter “long O” to avoid any ambiguity.

Aerion chides:

I know Francis’s puzzle was good, but naming him Pope is a little much, isn’t it?

And finally, CoyoteCreed refers to Guest Constructor Month as:

Crosswords Done By Associates!

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen randomly from the 289 correct entries received, is Dan Felsenheld of Arlington, Va. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set, Dan will also receive a signed copy of my new book Pocket Posh Easy Crosswords.


Here are some Gaffney-related crossword items of late:


For the first time in the 13 months I’ve been awarding Crossword of the Month, we have a tie.


My daily crossword today has an amusing theme, though not as amusing as Wednesday’s.


I write a popular culture-themed meta every two weeks for New York magazine. Here is the current one; deadline to enter is October 15th.


I also write a weekly current events-themed puzzle for The Week. Here is an amusing recent one.


I’ve been tweeting a lot lately. Follow me here:


This week’s contest answer is an article of clothing. Submit your answer in the form on the left sidebar by Tuesday at noon ET. Note: the submissions form disappears from the site promptly at noon on Tuesday.

To print the puzzle out, click on the image below and hit “print” on your browser. To solve using Across Lite either solve on the applet below or download the free software here, then join the Google Group (2,316 members now!) here. Or you can download the .puz file (you may have to right-click the link and save to your Downloads folder).


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

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