Welcome to week #107 of Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest, “Go, Go, Go.” Evad here for the generous joon who gave in to my insistence that he spend more time with his new daughter while I tackle Matt’s second World Cup-inspired meta.
For me, solving Matt’s puzzles is all about the meta payoff, so I quickly jump to the clues for the longer theme entries (which today had asterisks to make them even easier to find…thanks, Matt!) The three theme clues and entries were:
- 17 A. “Accompany for, as a joyride” for GO ALONG ON. Both the clue and the entry seem a bit tortured to me, but I went along with it as I trusted it best served the meta-gods.
- 35 A. “Group of 50 legislators” for CHICAGO ALDERMEN. What with SHEDD Aquarium in the CS a couple of days ago, I’m learning a lot about Amy’s hometown. Is Chicago the only city with 50 aldermen? Here in Boston, we have a city council, with an unlucky thirteen members.
- 58 A. “1968 Masters winner” for BOB GOALBY. A big “who?” from me on this one, and I’m pretty familiar with the names of famous golfers from the past thirty years. I watched a lot of the US Open last weekend and was sad to see the complete unraveling of Dustin Johnson.
So it’s not too hard once you get these theme entries to see the word GOAL imbedded in each. I also like how it shifts across the grid from the beginning of the first entry to towards the end of the last, as goals tend to hit the net from both sides and dead center. Moving on to the meta, we’re told that we’re looking for a familiar term used in soccer, which is the anagram of two of the entries in the grid. Short of trying to put together any random entries in the grid and search for anagrams, I started to think of what terms in soccer have to do with scoring goals–HEADERS, BICYCLE KICKS, SET PIECES, PENALTIES, STRIKERS, etc.
The epiphany came for me when I realized that there were both three “Go’s” in the title and GOALs in the grid. And, as an avid World Cup fan, I recalled watching Gonzalo Higuain from Argentina score three goals in their game against South Korea (sorry, joon!). This was called a HAT TRICK, a term I’m more familiar with from hockey than soccer, perhaps because they happen more frequently in that sport.
That left me to try to hunt down two words in the grid that anagrammed to HAT TRICK. It helped that there were only a couple of K’s in the grid, so I had to choose among I’M OK, KIT, KATT, COOKIE, ALT-KEY, TOKLAS and SKULKS. Only KIT and KATT worked, which left me to find a 5-letter entry with the letters H-A-T-R-C or a 4-letter entry with the letters H-R-I-C. Strange to find RICHES in the plural, but then I saw good old CHART just two rows below KIT, and I was done.
Couple of other soccer-related clues of note:
- 20 A. “They came back to tie Slovenia today” were our boys in blue, USA. This happened mere minutes before the puzzle was published. Talk about timeliness!
- 13 D. “Give a red card” is PENALIZE. I’m finding the officials are giving out too many yellows and reds this World Cup; in particular the second yellow to Kaká in Sunday’s Brazil-Ivory Coast game after an obvious dive was an atrocity.
And finally, two entries that were new to me were the NEGRONI drink, made from gin and vermouth and named after a 1930s Italian nobleman and ANGSTY as an adjective. (The latter is even in the bloody OED.)
Looking forward to seeing USA in the knockout round and Matt’s final puzzle to finish off the month of June!