MGWCC #109

crossword 3:02
puzzle 0:13

mgwcc109greetings, and welcome to the 109th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Half Day.” it’s the first puzzle for july, and i found both the crossword and the meta to be pretty easy as these things go. let’s have a look at the theme answers:

  • an {Alaskan tree} is the YELLOW CEDAR. didn’t know that.
  • to {Shriek at a person} is to YELL IN ONE’S EAR. really, their ear, no?
  • {What the publication instant of this puzzle is (July 2nd, noon)} is apparently the MIDDLE OF THE YEAR. this entry was also the middle of the puzzle, but is this true? let’s see: 181 days in january through june, so yes, i suppose noon on july 2 is in fact the exact MIDDLE OF THE YEAR in non-leap years. nifty!
  • {Current conflict on the Arabian Peninsula} is the YEMEN CIVIL WAR. i didn’t know that either. yemen, really? they seem so peaceable.
  • {Like many currency conversions at San Francisco Airport} is YEN-TO-DOLLAR.

the instructions this week tell us that This week’s contest answer is a popular 2000s sitcom whose title would have made an excellent theme entry in this puzzle. well, what’s the theme? the central answer, which is the one that doesn’t look like the others, is the hint, when parsed correctly: “middle” of the YE/AR. the other four all fit the pattern YE___AR. so what’s the meta answer? it’s a show i never watched and know basically nothing about, but i guess the name stuck because as soon as i worked out the theme, it dawned on me: yes, dear. did this have brad garrett? is that even how you spell his name? i could look it up, i suppose, but that’s why bloggers have readers, right?

on to the fill. stuff i liked:

  • the long downs BILLY BUDD, TENOR CLEF, LARGESSE, and LEONTYNE are all excellent. the clue for the last, {Price on some opera tickets}, didn’t fool me but did amuse me. i love the word LARGESSE, by the way. i can’t figure out why firefox has deemed it worthy of the red underline. that’s how you spell it, right?
  • {Country that knocked the U.S. out of the 2010 World Cup (and is going to get knocked out themselves this afternoon, I hope)} is GHANA. oh, matt, why must you wreak your vengeance? ghana played wonderfully all tournament and then got KOed in the most heartbreaking, arguably unsportsmanlike fashion imaginable by the hand of luis suarez (and, perhaps, a lack of composure from the extremely reliable asamoah gyan). what a shame, because i would have much rather seen them in the semifinals against the dutch.
  • {1930′s infamous ___-Hawley Tariff Act} SMOOT. i just like saying this name. smoot smoot smoot smoot smoot. it’s also, informally, the name of the harvard bridge, which connects cambridge to boston near the campus of … MIT, naturally. interesting backstory here.
  • advice column time: {Cooling units, for short} are ACS, and {Wee one} is a TOT. we’ve been having trouble with our wee one (not the weeest, but the toddler, sam) because his room is not air-conditioned and it’s a kajillion degrees out, so it’s too hot for him to sleep in there. so he keeps getting out of bed during the night. anybody have any bright ideas?
  • nice shout-out to {“Crosswords for a Rainy Day” author Harvey} ESTES.
  • the only totally unfamiliar answer other than the theme answers was {Bertie ___, Ireland’s prime minister (1997-2008)} AHERN.
  • wait, that’s not true. the {Song Cliff Clavin sang to Diane Chambers in a misguided attempt at seduction} was, apparently, MISTY. what’s that? i don’t remember the episode and i’ve never heard of this song.

over and out. go netherlands!

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10 Responses to MGWCC #109

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    OK but Joon remember I wrote that clue *before* Ghana got eliminated in such excruciating, no-way-that-just-happened fashion. Even “heartbreaking” doesn’t describe it.

    I’ve been thinking about the sportsmanship of Suarez’s hand ball as well. There are rules to the game, and one of them is that an intentional hand ball in the penalty area earns the other side a penalty kick. I’m sure Suarez didn’t have time to think about that in the split second he had, only time for an instinctive reaction to keep that ball from going in at all costs.

    And it worked! But now he’s out against the Dutch, who I’m certainly rooting for today (as are the Ghanaians, I’m sure).

  2. Alex says:

    Joe Posnanski wrote a long piece about the hand ball today, and I think he got it exactly right. Worth a read.

  3. Jeffrey says:

    Hockey rules provide if you commit an offence that prevents a sure goal on an empty net (eg trip someone on a breakaway, throw your stick at the puck), the goal is awarded.

  4. Matt Gaffney says:

    That is a nice piece, Alex — thanks for linking to it.

    The goaltending analogy (and Jeffrey’s similar rule in hockey) seems apt, as does Posnanski’s point that the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

  5. Neville says:

    No Brad Garrett – Mike O’Malley. It’s on TBS right now :) This was a fun one!

  6. Aaron says:

    Hilarious gaffe on my part, Matt–when reading your comment above, I thought you said “Polanski’s point that the punishment didn’t fit the crime.” That’s a whole different foul. As per the actual hand ball, yeah, that’s the conclusion I came to: if the Ghana kicker were about to boot in a ball from six feet away into an undefended goal and a player shot him in the head to stop him, you wouldn’t JUST give him a red card and a penalty shot.

    I know that’s hyperbolic, but consider this: if the only penalty for hurting a player is a red card, then if you’re about to go to a shoot-out, it behooves you to send your worst players to intentionally cripple the best kickers on the other side. Your players may sit out the next game, sure, but so will theirs, and it will at least give you a chance of winning the shoot-out; better to have a next game to sit your players out from than to not play at all, no? I’m actually surprised this doesn’t happen more often, if for nothing else, then as a last act of sabotage from an angry team that doesn’t mind a red card.

  7. pannonica says:

    Misty. See Garner, Erroll and Eastwood, Clint.

  8. Karen says:

    Well Uruguay got it’s karmic retribution today. Personally the handball and punishment didn’t bother me too much; I was more bothered that the Ghanaian muffed his penalty shot.

    Also, I’ve never heard of YES DEAR either. Happily there are organized places on the web to look up such trivia.

  9. sbmanion says:

    Good article. The hand ball did not bother me in the slightest even though I was cheering for Ghana. I doubt that there is a single player in the world who would have allowed the goal rather than be guilty of a hand ball.

    I think that the real issue as well-expressed by Joe is the issue of what is cheating? Baseball is the most sanctimonious and hypocritical of all sports. Amphetamines, which are most emphatically performance enhancing are ok, but let an arrogant black jerk use steroids and it’s time to climb the high horse.

    I have always thought that the issue of “cheating” in sports is just a question of whose ox is being gored.

    If you want to stop the demeaning and stupid practice of flopping in soccer, red card every faker. If you want to stop Hack-a-Shaq, give his team a choice of shooting the foul shot or possession and a new 24. Until they make rules that have real bite, every player will take maximum advantage and beyond.

    Steve

  10. FIFA says:

    Aaron,

    How easy is it to intentionally cripple someone? Plus, if you deliberately attacked another player with that intent, you would be given a red card, a multi-game suspension, and a fine (see this for example). And, since you’re only allowed three substitutions per game, your “worst” players would have to be out of your 14 best players (really 13, since who would sacrifice their goalie?).

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