MGWCC #122

crossword 3:50 (paper)
puzzle 0:30

mgwcc122welcome to week 122 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Double Time.” we are told that This week’s contest answer is one of the most famous American comedians of the 20th century, who would have made an excellent theme entry in this puzzle. what’s the theme, then? we get four *ed clues:

  • {“The Maltese Falcon” author*} is DASHIELL HAMMETT.
  • {Commissioner of Hazzard County*} is BOSS HOGG, of “the dukes of hazzard.” i watched this show when i was very, very young. i liked cars. all of the crazy confederate stuff went way over my head, but i liked it when they jumped the car over various things.
  • {Music style pioneered by Ornette Coleman*} is FREE JAZZ. i did not know that. in fact, i did not know who ornette coleman was until he popped up in my word list as i was trying to fill a challenging 21x. i was skeptical, but i asked brendan, who said something to the effect of “he’s huge.” so i put him in. all this is to say, uh, what again? FREE JAZZ, right. why pay when you can get …
  • {Selsun Blue or Head & Shoulders*} is a DANDRUFF SHAMPOO. i have an even more boring story about shampoo, but let’s just pretend i told it and you all smiled politely.

so what’s the theme? aided by the title, i looked at the double letters. DASHIELL HAMMETT has three, but the others only have two. is that an inconsistency? nope—the theme isn’t just about double letters. it’s about words that end with double letters. and the meta answer? none other than REDD FOXX. i’m glad the instructions said “who would have made an excellent theme entry”; otherwise it might have occurred to me that i was supposed to do something with the doubled letters: L, T, S, G, E, Z, F, and O. but that doesn’t seem to spell anything (FEZ GLOTS? SELF GOTZ? GOLF ZEST?), let alone a famous comedian.

quick hits:

  • {“The Sound of Music” daughter} is LIESL von trapp. i like this name for the improbable ending consonant cluster.
  • {Clear sodas} seems like an awkward way to clue SPRITES. i would have gone with fairies or movable computer graphics.
  • {Spelling seen in TV credits} is producer AARON spelling. two years or so ago, matt used a very similar clue for his daughter TORI.
  • {Online call company} is SKYPE. how long until we see this in newspaper crosswords?
  • {Have a cow} is a clue i’ve seen before for CALVE, but it’s still fun.
  • { et al.} is a gratuitous chess clue for URLS. {Speed chess} for BLITZ is a little more natural.
  • {“It’s so ___ it just might work”} is an awesome clue for CRAZY, crazy like a {Michael ___ of “Spin City”} J FOX. not wild about the partial, but it sure beats E LEE.
  • {Hardly taxing} is EASY, like this puzzle. quite a bit less taxing than last week’s.
  • there was one clue i didn’t know: the {1982 Fleetwood Mac hit} GYPSY.

that’s all for me. leave your favorite cutting-room-floor theme answers in the comments box.

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11 Responses to MGWCC #122

  1. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    As I noted in submitting my answer to Matt, WILL ARNETT doesn’t work because he is Canadian.

  2. SethG says:

    …and Will Farrell, Bill Burr, Bill Engvall, Jeff Ross, and Todd Glass are not on the list he provided.

  3. Matt Gaffney says:

    A record 361 correct entries came in this week.

    I provided the list mostly to guard against WILL FERRELL entries. It’s not as elegant a solution because REDD FOXX uses two double letters that aren’t used in the eight in the grid (L, T, S, G, E, Z, F, O) while Ferrell doesn’t, but still fits the contest instructions so I’d have had to accept it without the list.

    The same list will be making a reappearance this Friday, incidentally. It’s not Hell Month, but Ha Month.

  4. Neville says:

    Well, .

    I submitted Will Ferrell, and was sure it was right. I ddin’t notice the link, because I am up on my American comedians! Blew it this month on week one.

    At least I have solace in the fact that I can now solve for the rest of the month with less pressure! :)

  5. Neville says:

    Apparently putting something in carrot brackets a la HTML causes it to disappear. The start of my post should’ve read:

    Well, (expletive).

    But with carrots. I even fail at commenting!

  6. Tony says:

    I thought about Will Farrell for a moment, but then discarded him because I don’t consider him “one of the most famous American comedians.” He’s very funny, but his career has not really spanned enough decades for me to include him with those on the list. Same goes for Engvall and others. The only one to me who both fit the theme of the puzzle and the meta is Redd Foxx. I remember a friend of mine had his classic “Video in a Plain Brown Wrapper” and we watched it constantly. I’d love to get my hands on that again.

  7. joecab says:

    Oh geez Will Ferrell didn’t even occur to me, so I didn’t even bother looking at the link when I submitted Redd Foxx since it felt unique. Whew!

  8. john farmer says:

    I never thought of Will Ferrell because I was thinking of people who have made me laugh.

  9. Ron Burgundy says:

    I can “milk was a bad choice” not make you laugh?

  10. joon says:

    i couldn’t pick redd foxx out of a police lineup with red skelton, red buttons, and the fantastic mr fox, but his name sprang immediately to mind without having to look at the list.

    will ferrell seems like the answer to a different, but related meta. what would the other theme answers be? SWISS MISS, COFFEE TREE, ARTOO DETOO, LYNN SWANN?

  11. sandirhodes says:

    Lots of other double letters in the puzzle, too, not associated with the meta, which was nice.

    ‘Will Ferrell’ & ‘comedian’ don’t deserve to be in the same sentence together without a negative, so ‘greatest’ is entirely out. (No respect for his work here, obviously, but I haven’t seen much of it for that very reason — I thought ‘Bewitched’ had potential … for about 30 minutes of it). Redd Foxx was the true, proper, and only answer, even without the list.

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