MGWCC #146

[time_hdr postdate="2011/03/23" plug="mgwcc-146" puzz="" anchor=""]crossword 4:41 (across lite)
puzzle 1 minute (but i had to check the list)[/time_hdr]

greetings and welcome to the 146th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Got Any Irish In Ya?” matt’s combination st. patrick’s day/ACPT theme asks us to identify a past winner of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, but we’ve got a pretty funny theme with MC inserted into various phrases to irish them up a bit:

  • {Extra fast-food sandwich laying around?} is a SPARE MCRIB. good start here.
  • {Having missed the exit for an Ontario university?} describes somebody who’s PAST MCMASTER. when i see “mcmaster,” i think of mcmaster-carr, but maybe that’s because i work in a physics lab.
  • {Dead-end work that won’t get you a tan?} is an INSIDE MCJOB.
  • {Demand that a “Star Trek” character show his piano skills?} is “PLAY IT, MCCOY!” last weekend, during one of the (many) times i was playing peter gordon’s “celebrity: get a clue,” deforest kelley was one of the people i had to clue. i always get him confused with james doohan.
  • {Horrified “Papillon” actor?} is WHITE MCQUEEN. last time i checked, steve mcqueen was, in fact, still white. but what’s the base phrase here? is it a reference to chess, alice in wonderland, marvel comics, or something else?
  • {Perfume line endorsed by Fleetwood Mac?} is EAU DE MCVIE. ha!

okay, so the meta wasn’t hard, but it certainly wasn’t a name that was within my ken. i’m up on my recent ACPT history, despite being only a “sophomore,” but 1984 champ john mcneill didn’t really ring a bell. still, he’s the only champ with a mcname, so there you have it. odd trivia: only six people have ever won more than one ACPT, and they each have a different number of wins! can you name them?

speaking of ACPT, i had the pleasure of meeting one matt gaffney there for the first time, although i forgot to buy him a drink, which i had said at one point i owed him for all the times i’ve mocked him in this space. so that was cool. on the other hand, nobody came up to me and demanded the frail handshake i offered last week. what, it didn’t sound like an appealing enough offer?

i can’t remember too much about the fill, because with the puzzle going out a day early and the deadline (and hence my writeup) being pushed a day late, it’s been almost a week (and, oh, 100 or so other puzzles of various types) since i solved this thing. but overall, it’s a pretty great grid, with 6 long theme answers, only 72 words, and a minimum of crap. odds & ends:

  • {Of a venereal disease} is HERPETIC. charming.
  • {Mean in high school} is a nice clue for GPA.
  • {Stage name of blues guitarist Kevin Moore} is KEBMO, which earns a big ??? from me. who is this guy, and why isn’t he kemba walker?
  • {City between Calais and The Hague} is OSTEND, of manifesto fame. i actually had no idea it was in belgium. what does belgium have to do with cuba?
  • {Ponytail former} is a SCRUNCHY. nice! i don’t think i’ve ever seen that in a puzzle before.

and with that, i’m done for the week. i’ll put the answer to the trivia question in the comment box, at some point, but of course you could just as easily look it up for yourself.

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23 Responses to MGWCC #146

  1. Faygelah says:

    I’m just getting into listening to Blues guitar and really liked seeing Keb Mo in the puzzle. His name is derived from “Kevin Moore” in a kind of mumbled Mississippi Delta dialect.

  2. Karen says:

    Nancy was worried that the meta was too obvious. I countered that Matt knew we’d have other things on our minds last weekend…Peter’s Celebrity game was the hot item at the convention. I got in one short game, and watched several others. It’s not officially out yet, is it?

    ‘Herpetic lesions’ can also refer to cold sores and shingles.

    I didn’t get MADE MAN–you need a sit-down to whack him? Why not standing up?

  3. Evad says:

    @Karen, “made man,” “whack” and a “sit-down” are all mafia-related terms. Gotta watch more Sopranos!

  4. Howard B says:

    I missed the boat on the ‘sit-down’ part of the clue too, don’t feel bad. Couldn’t parse it but figured it was mafio-so-silly.

  5. Lois says:

    I guess it means that because of the target’s status as a made man, killing him has to be authorized by an official meeting.

    I don’t think that there is such a big problem with the phrase “white queen,” which is both a chess piece and therefore the character in the chess-based Through the Looking-Glass. I don’t know about the comic book. The problem seemed to stem from “McQueen” being so dominant as the actor from Papillon that any fear-related whiteness was hard to think of. One just wanted to put in “Steve,” or at least I did, so I bombed in that corner.

  6. Cole says:

    I am still not sure if the Papillon clue was somehow a reference to Butterfly McQueen of GWTW fame.

  7. McCoy Tyner says:

    John is also clued in 55a. EAU DE (John) MCVIE.

  8. O'Dunn says:

    But when did Mc become Irish?

  9. Neville says:

    O’Dunn: It’s Gaelic – and that includes Ireland (link)

  10. Meg says:

    I really stewed over this one, thinking there had to be something else for a 3rd of the month puzzle. Finally sent in John McNeill and figured I would groan when I saw the trick I had missed. Happy now!

  11. Matt Gaffney says:

    My original clue for WHITE MCQUEEN was {Steve, but not Butterfly?}. But the PC monitor living inside my head nixed that one.

    288 correct answers this week.

  12. john farmer says:

    There is only one McQueen that matters in our house — the red one, Lightning.

  13. CE says:

    Did no one see elf in Delfin?

  14. joon says:

    speaking of delfin, here’s the trivia answer:

    jon delfin 7
    doug hoylman 6
    tyler hinman 5
    david rosen 4
    trip payne 3
    dan feyer 2

  15. Is there any way to forward-solve this puzzle? I.e. is there any way to get John Neill → John McNeill without knowing a priori that the answer is an ACPT winner?

  16. Abby says:

    Wondered that myself, Adam. There are a few John Neill’s famous enough to be in Wikipedia, and one (the one you get under that name) is Irish. If there’d been a clue anywhere (say the title) that led there, it would’ve been better, but with the small number of possible answers, it’s good as it stands, I think.

  17. James Schooler says:

    I’m with Meg–I thought that there was no way “John McNeill” could be the answer when I sent it in; it was just too easy, especially when Matt provided us the the list of ACPT winners.

  18. Abby says:

    I’ve used a lot of them over the years, but I’m not sure I’ve seen SCRUNCHY spelled with a Y. Then again, I’ve not bought them one at a time, so that’d make some sense. One of the brand names is Scünci, which would be the favorite of hair metal bands, I’m guessing.

  19. Matt Gaffney says:

    Karen (vulgar language alert):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl77IyWcbWU

  20. Pete M says:

    @joon: I’m pretty confident that the trivia question will no longer apply next year, but likely will again in 2017.

  21. joon says:

    for the trivia question to apply next year, the 2012 champ would have to be jon delfin or somebody who’s never won before. i don’t think it’s better than even money, but i think the combined chances of howard, anne, and francis (and a few choice others) are not inconsiderable.

    the 2017 prediction, on the other hand, is outlandish. :) sure, dan looks unbeatable now, but 7 years ago, nobody had ever heard of him. a lot can change in a few years.

  22. Jeffrey says:

    Remember how important accuracy is. If Dan had gotten even 1 letter wrong in any of puzzles 1-7, he would not have been in the finals. That’s all it takes at that level.

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