MGWCC #194

crossword 4:23
puzzle DNF 3 days 

it hasn’t happened in a while, but here we go again: i’m trying to blog matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest without first having solved the meta. episode #194, “Mis Universe”, challenges us to identify a well-known mountain. what are the clues? well, five entries have starred clues:

  • {He was executed on May 23, 1701*} clues CAPTAIN KIDD.
  • {“Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” actor*} is KAL PENN, later of house and now of the obama administration.
  • {“Gladiator” director*} is RIDLEY SCOTT. i associate him more with alien. he directed that, too, right? i don’t even think i knew he did gladiator.
  • {Glamorous comics reporter, 1940-2011*} is, apparently, BRENDA STARR. i don’t know who this is, but in a puzzle i did some time over the weekend, this came up as a clue again (i think for STARR).
  • {“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” author*} is FANNIE FLAGG. this is a decidedly half-familiar name: i definitely didn’t know it, but once a few crosses were in place, it rang a bell.

so the first thing to notice is that these five theme answers are all people. the second is that their last names all end with a doubled consonant. that much was easy (and was suggested by the missing S in the title). but using those letters gives us DNTRG, which isn’t a well-known mountain.

on my third pass i had an epiphany: FANNIE FLAGG is FLAG with an extra G, and there’s a UNION JACK in the grid. indeed, they even cross each other at the I. i quickly found three more of these:

  • {Musical with the song “Food, Glorious Food”} is OLIVER!, which is about the title KID. i wasn’t super-sure of this one (i thought it might be NED of the {1990s FOX sitcom “___ & Stacey”}, but that turned out to be a grownup), but nothing else crossing CAPTAIN KIDD was at all plausible.
  • {Telephone inventor} is alexander graham BELL, a notable SCOT.
  • {Cygnus component} is DENEB, a bright STAR.

but that’s it. there’s no PEN crossing KAL PENN. i thought it might be {Unreliable person} FLAKE, and googling flake pen turns up a few hits, but it’s not really a thing. also, in every other instance, the crossing word has been clued in the same context: the clue for BELL, for instance, refers to the SCOT in question, as opposed to the common noun (or uncommon verb), or a different proper noun. so it wouldn’t really be kosher to clue FLAKE as a person but still use it as a kind of PEN.

what can we do with this? well, there are four letters where the theme answers cross (circled in my screencap above), spelling out INIL. that’s not a mountain, nor does it anagram to one. more to the point, when four theme answers fit a clearly intentional pattern and one doesn’t, you damn well better be doing something with the 5th. and that’s where i’m stuck.

i’ve pretty well convinced myself of this, but let’s just all agree that none of the crossings of KAL PENN are examples of PENs, okay? here’s the list: SHREK, ASK NO, YIN, DON HO, FLAKE, UPC, AJO. okay. it turns out there actually is a mount ajo, but it’s not exactly “well-known”, and that still wouldn’t explain what’s going on with PEN.

my working hypothesis right now is that there is a well-known mountain whose name is also a kind of pen. the existence of such a thing would, for me, solve the meta. but i haven’t thought of it yet, if indeed it exists. tall mountains, biblical mountains (ararat, sinai, horeb, nebo), fictional mountains (mount doom, death mountain, bald mountain, the murderhorn)… just lots of striking out.

one nagging detail is: why “Mis Universe”? the first part makes sense, given the theme. the second… not so much. are we supposed to be thinking of an extraterrestrial mountain? the only one i know of is mars’s olympus mons, and i just don’t see any justification for it.

from an architectural standpoint, there are 9 theme answers, many of which are quite long, and 8 of them are required to be in intersecting pairs. that explains the 80-word grid with 4 cheaters (the one below BELL, for instance, has to be there in order for BELL to intersect RIDLEY SCOTT at the L). there could be one more theme answer in here, but i’m betting not a whole bunch more.

bleah. well, it’s almost the deadline, and … hey, wait a sec. i don’t really know why, but i just googled mont blanc and the first hit that came up was “Montblanc – Luxury Watches, Writing Instruments, Jewelry & Leather”. (mont blanc, of course, is also the highest peak in the alps.) they seem to make pens, so i’m going to send this in and hope it’s right. i kind of think it is, but yikes, that was tough. i must have had some inkling (*rimshot*) about mont blanc and pens, though, right? otherwise, why would i have googled it?

anyway, i don’t know what to make of this meta. the theme is really cool, but the fact that solving it relies so specifically on this one piece of information (knowledge of this particular pen company) makes me uneasy. i guess i’ll give it four stars. obviously matt must’ve thought the mont blanc thing was common knowledge, because given the grid, there are any number of other instruction sets he could have given to lead to a more straightforward solve (once you grok the theme). or maybe he could have put BIC in the grid somewhere (but not crossing KAL PENN) and asked for the misplaced grid entry. i dunno.

odds & ends:

  • {Horrible 1990s R&B group Color Me ___} BADD was a gimme, but then it was also a theme distracter for me. i mean, there’s the weird spelling, and there’s the fact that the clue calls them out as being “horrible”, i.e. BAD. that didn’t go anywhere, though, and the presence elsewhere of BRR and EBB made me think i wasn’t supposed to worry too much about BADD. plus, that entry had to end with DD because of the theme answers CAPTAIN KIDD and DENEB in close proximity, so perhaps it was always going to be a distracter. maybe the “horrible” in the clue was just a coincidence?
  • {Shot in the arm, maybe} is JAB. good clue.
  • {Box of crackers?} is a SAFE. great clue. much better than {Box of yeggs?}.
  • {Makes less cool} HEATS and {Work on your computer} EBOOK. man, matt is on a roll here. i’m starting to wonder how i did this crossword in under 5.
  • {Watch for a lot of money} looks like a verb for a lucrative babysitting gig, but no, it’s a noun: ROLEX. i briefly wondered if they made pens.
  • {Bunker in the Old South} is ENG, one of the original siamese twins. i think they lived in north carolina.
  • {Trendy rug of the 1970s} is a RYA. i learned this in my scrabble days (handwoven scandinavian rug, not to be confused with PYA, a copper coin of burma/myanmar); i’m not sure i’ve seen anybody other than matt use it in a crossword.
  • {Fight back against} clues REBEL, but i think the clue is wrong. it should be {Fight back (against)}.
  • {Conservative figure, perhaps} is a RABBI, if he’s not orthodox or reform.
  • {Yuca con ___ (Cuban dish)} AJO? no clue. is this dish a steely dan specialty?

okay, that’s all for me. another deadline solve. how’d this one treat you? i’m particularly interested in hearing from you if you A) worked out the theme but couldn’t pull the meta, which is where i found myself for a few days, or B) if you did get the meta, how sure were you of your answer?

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64 Responses to MGWCC #194

  1. Bruce S. says:

    I got it as well. As soon as I recognized what was going on (3 days in) I knew it was Mont Blanc. In my mind the name is more famous as a company than a mountain, but that isn’t saying much, my mountain knowledge is limited. I wanted it to be Space Mountain based on the title.

  2. zifmia says:

    Well, I never got past the double letter last name, but as soon as you said “a well-known mountain whose name is also a kind of pen” I instantly thought Mont Blanc.

    Not that I have any personal experience with these; I would be looking more for a “Mount Bic”

  3. Al says:

    Had a pretty similar meta experience. I knew Mont Blanc pens, but it didn’t really have that meta click, primarily because Bell and Oliver didn’t seem as clear cut to me for SCOT and KID as Union Jack and Deneb did, so I wasn’t sure I was on the right track. Plus all the odd examples of numbers in the clues threw me off, 565?, 1953?, etc. Anyway, I sent in Mont Blanc at the end, so it all worked out.

  4. Matt Gaffney says:

    50 right answers this week, on the dot.

  5. Paul Coulter says:

    Curses, Matt you broke my nice little mini-string of 11. I was convinced the asterisks (stars) denoting the theme clues were significant. I wonder what Joon’s record is for correct answers in a row? Or is it someone else? Anyone feel like claiming the record, or sharing their personal best? I sent in my granddaughter’s guess of Space Mountain without much hope. If this had been Week 1, I would’ve guessed K2, or if I’d been in a disputatious mood, I was thinking a good alternate answer would be Mons Wolff on the moon, since it satisfies the double letter ending, reducing to an English word like the theme entries, and the apparent space theme. Perhaps Maxwell Montes on Venus is better known, though it doesn’t reduce to a word with the single letter ending. I was also thinking BIG (kid) ROCK (star) CANDY (this is where it broke down, though there was an 80s singer named Candy Pennella.

  6. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    Never got beyond MOUNT MITCHELL, the highest mountain in the USA east of the Mississippi, even considered K2.

    But I think I can explain one little point now. I looked up “Mis” and it is French for “placed” (as in mis en scene?) As I read Joon’s breakdown of the puzzle, I thought of the answer before reading it – not that I ever would have gotten it on my own!

    And would you believe I had mis-read 6 D as 16 A, put in OLIVERTWIST, and said, how could Matt make a mistake like that!?! (Corrected later, of course.)

  7. I was offline all weekend climbing Mt. KATAHDIN so I didn’t even look at the puzzle until Monday night. I threw “kid star flag pen key” into Google which kinda pointed at Francis Scott Key, but that line of thinking didn’t go very far beyond that. I noticed the UNIONJACK but not DENEB, OLIVER, or BELL.

    I don’t feel too bad about missing this toughie since I didn’t spend much time on it; I threw out KATAHDIN as my guess (although I don’t know if it’s that well-known outside of New England), in the ironic off-chance that the mountain I was at was the answer.

  8. pannonica says:

    Paul Coulter: If you want the asterisks to be significant, how about this:

    The distinctive white pattern on the caps of Mont Blanc pens (which is also incorporated into the logo) is meant to signify the snow-covered mountain top. It also resembles an asterisk.

  9. Matthew G. says:

    The one part of the puzzle Joon found hard is the part I would have found easy, had I gotten that far into the meta. I do think Mont Blanc pens are very famous. If you say “name a high-quality pen company,” it’s the first one I think of.

    I didn’t get that far, though. I saw that each theme entry’s second word remained a word even if the second of its double letters were dropped, but I didn’t notice that each crossed a specific instance of that word. So I cycled through a lot of vague guesses.

    But as it turned out, this week was my turn to be a lucky guesser, as I _did_ send in Mont Blanc anyway with about 2 hours till deadline. Despite not grokking the crossing part of the meta, I had a hunch that the center theme entry would be key. I saw PEN in there and thought, “Hmm, Mont Blanc?” Then I looked up above and saw INK hiding in CAPTAINKIDD. The latter was not an intended clue, I’m sure, but it coincidentally nudged me toward the right answer. Then, finally, I saw that KALPENN hid not only PEN but also ALP, and so I decided to send in Mont Blanc and move on with my workday. To my surprise, Matt e-mailed me right back to say I’d guessed right. Better to be lucky than good!

  10. Jeffrey says:

    Never heard of Mont Blanc pens so I’m glad I didn’t spend a lot of time on this one.

  11. Jeff L says:

    I’d never really heard of Mont Blanc pens either, but once I figured out what I was looking for, I just googled “famous pens” and got the answer in five seconds.

  12. Never saw the crossings, so I went with a mountain that fit the theme of “remove the last doubled letter to get something else”: Pelee (forgive my lack of accent), the volcano with the highest single death toll of the 20th century.

    I very much doubted that it was as simple as that, but I thought there was a non-zero chance that what I was supposed to be doing could lead to that solution anyway.

  13. joon says:

    I wonder what Joon’s record is for correct answers in a row? Or is it someone else? Anyone feel like claiming the record, or sharing their personal best?

    paul, my best streak is 91 in a row (from MGWCC #9 to 99, inclusive). i made a very careless error on #100. i made another careless error on #138, and then on #159 i was legitimately stumped. interestingly, it happened again on #160—although i did figure that one out, i was 2 minutes past the deadline.

    matthew, i don’t really use pens, so if you had said to me, “name a high-quality pen company”, i would have no answer to that. but i’m glad it seems to be more famous among the non-me population. jeff, i like your idea of googling famous pens. wish i’d thought of it! i was thinking ballpoint, quill, fountain rather than brand names.

  14. Ron Roberts says:

    I put Liskamm because it’s in the Pennine Alps. Makes since to me. Liskamm ends in double letters and the word Penn is the clue word. This answer makes more since than any of the others. What do you think Matt

  15. Bruce S. says:

    I was also temporarily thrown by the fact that the exact center of the grid was an anagram of NEPAL so was thinking Everest for a while.

  16. ===Dan says:

    It was 11:59:58 and I had to send something so I wrote “Old Smokey.” It almost occurred to me that FLAKE represented “all covered with snow.” If I hadn’t googled the bizarre connection to FLAKE PENS I might have stumbled across the right answer, but probably a bit after the deadline.

  17. J. T. Williams says:

    Yep, another one who was on a parallel wavelength with Joon, although the correct pen/mountain finally clicked for me yesterday afternoon while I was doodling at my desk at work. Also got the meta in the same way, by seeing Union Jack crossing Fannie Flagg, although I didn’t immediately nail the Scot/Bell crossing. When I finally thought to wikipedia AGB, I knew that had to be the meta, so I set off trying to think of a type of pen that was also a famous mountain.

    I was stuck on K2 for the longest time. It was my first guess just because of the double letters, but I felt like that was too obvious for a week 3 puzzle and thought it more likely that K2 was a trap for those who did not fully grok the meta. But if you Google K2 pen, you will find that there is a ballpoint pen called the K2. And unlike the Everest Pen or the Matterhorn Pen, it is not commemorative of the mountain. So I thought that very well might be the answer, even if it were a bit dissatisfying.

    Then when I finally thought of Mont Blanc while I was racking my brain for famous mountains, it clicked immediately. Definitely a much better known pen than the K2! I’m curious though if anyone sent in K2 after an errant Google, and if so, whether Matt would accept it as an alternate answer. I think a good case could be made for it unless there is something else in the puzzle I’m missing that also points to Mont Blanc.

  18. Gareth says:

    Gave up. Stumped. Sent in Mount Whitney.

    I had UNIONbAnK – true story! That alone meant I had no chance. Assumed the answer made sense in some way I didn’t understand. Didn’t notice UPn should be UPC because UPN is a thing. The additional theme entries explain the cheaters, whose existence I had puzzled over. Lesson: theres always a reason for unexplained construction aids! I actually stumbled on the PEN/Mont Blanc factoid when trawling clues.csv (the clue file for CC for Matt Ginsburg’s database – I was that desperate!) for possible answers. Didn’t connect the dots: doh! I had the answer and it slipped through my fingers. Are they sold in South Africa? I’ll remember to ask my brother who worked in stationery for a length of time… Well played Matt!

  19. Grant says:

    I figured this thing out on complete accident Saturday night. I pulled out star, scot, flag, kid and pen fairly quickly. Looking at them in that order I kept thinking of the color white (white star, white flag, scots have a white complexion). I couldn’t get that line of reasoning to work for kid or pen but I knew white is spelled blanc elsewhere so mont blanc popped into my head when staring at Penn running in the middle of the grid.

    I had to verify it though so I let it sit until Monday and took a stab at it again, finding the actual theme after several hours of looking. I didn’t send in an answer though, I just started trying these last week (which I missed incidentally) so I may start submitting answers next month.

  20. Grant says:

    As far as luxury pens go, Mont Blanc and Cross are the two that I know of.

  21. Andrew Greene says:

    I had “Kitt Peak”.

    Here was my reasoning: Eartha Kitt is a name with the same pattern as the others — a famous person whose last name’s final letter is doubled, and if you truncate the doubling you get a common English word.

    The EARTH in EARTHA could relate to “Mis(s) Universe”

    Finally, Kitt Peak is the site of a famous observatory, which also ties in to EARTH-a and Universe.

    The correct answer, of course, is much better. Perhaps if I hadn’t ended up guessing that an ONIONSACK was the British equivalent of a “wind sock,” I might have spotted the real theme.

    Maybe Matt will run a list of the best wrong answers.

  22. Jeff M. says:

    I had Grand Teton…four of the five double letters (when scrambled) spelled, “GRND” and the double T in the SE sat next to an I, T, O and an N. Oh well.

  23. Karen says:

    Rats! This is the first one I remember that I really believed I solved but was completely wrong. Looked for a mountain ending in a double letter and common word without the double, couldn’t think of one, took Universe in the title to mean an extraterrestrial mountain, checked the Wikipedia list, and Mons Wolff jumped out at me. It did worry me a bit that it sounded like a really obscure mountain, and that there might be others fitting the letter pattern, but I thought I had this one. Turns out I completely missed the part about crossing entries.

  24. Tyler says:

    And my losing streak hits five months. I’m quite familiar with Mont Blanc pens and still couldn’t get it. Having the pairs cross was kind of mean, as it SCREAMED “take the crossing letters”. I figured three of the four I’d found were correct and entered Sinai.

  25. *David* says:

    I sent in Matterhorn even though it wasn’t a last name with the mat/matt connection. I felt it didn’t fit the meta properly but didn’t have anymore time to look at it.

  26. David says:

    I had Grand Teton as well – 8 of the 11 letters were comprised of G, R, N, D, and T, all of the consonants. But there was no AHA moment to it, felt a bit forced, so I wasn’t confident.

  27. Paul Coulter says:

    Joon – thanks for the stats – something to shoot for.
    More useless factoids gleaned over the weekend while searching for a quasi-famous space mountain with a double letter – the L-langon Mountains on Vulcan are where Spock experienced his coming of age ritual. Mount Tantiss on Planet Wayland contained the Emperor’s secret storehouse in Star Wars.

  28. Abby says:

    I was going to do Mont Blanc, but Rolex makes ritzy pens too, so I tried to complete the set of words. Guess I should’ve limited to word that checked the theme words, but I’d only highlighted the word part so it didn’t look that weird.

    If not for Rolex in there, I would’ve done it, but it was too weird of a word to ignore. :-(

    As was, I used the first letters of my words and got ROUND. Wasn’t crazy about it, but it used all five.

  29. James Schooler says:

    I used to own a Mont Blanc pen; that’s why it clicked for me. Hmm…I wonder where it is?

  30. Amy says:

    I spent most of my time trying to think of a Scottish children’s book where a kid plants a flag with a star on it on a mountain. Then I thought about Mont Blanc for about a day but didn’t see any crossings other than Union Jack so I couldn’t make it fit. Sigh.

  31. Someone mentioned it, but the ALP hiding in KALPENN was I’m sure deliberate on Matt’s part, and that’s an awesome little nugget that bumps this puzzle up a whole star for me.

  32. ===Dan says:

    I also discovered that DDGGNNRRTT + MIS + AEIOU (“the universe of vowels”) almost anagrams to RANDOM DRUG TESTING.

  33. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Here I figured that Don Ho was a “pen” in the sense of “writer” (here a songwriter), not thinking that the meta answer would just be the missing 10th theme entry (though Matt had used that device not long ago). INNIL still makes nothing, but the second letters spell out LEONE in grid order, so I thought maybe I was supposed to read LONEE and undouble the final letter as in FLAGG, STARR etc. to get LONE Mountain – which is a reasonably well known landmark, albeit not actually a mountain. Curiously there’s another route to LONE: look at the *clues* that end with double letters, including the 1′s of 411 and 2011, to get L11, and again undouble at the end to get L1 = LONE!

  34. Jason says:

    If you take the next letters of DGNRT you get EHOSU which anagrams to HOUSE which is a really small mountain in the US. That’s all I could come up with.

  35. Howard B says:

    Nope. I was missing 2 crucial pieces of info: Mont Blanc = pen, and the BELL = SCOT connection. Just didn’t see it so couldn’t solve this one here. Very clever and original.

  36. Scott says:

    What bugs me the most is that this meta was totally gettable…but I did not get it. This was totally fair (once again) and I just couldn’t grok the connection (once again). Aargh!

  37. Jimmy d says:

    Nice aha moment when I saw UNION JACK crossing Mrs Flagg… Even nicer aha when I googled a list of famous mountains and saw Mont Blanc… I only wish I was this smart in week one, when I confidently submitted GREYHOUND! :-P

  38. Joan says:

    Well I was SO clever when I Googled the list of Miss Universe winners and came up with Brook LEE (double letters) who was the last American to win the Miss Universe contest and who was from Pearl City, by Pearl Harbor in Oahu. So what else could it be but Diamond Head?!! Mount Tantalus is near there and was tantalizing but not well known. I was misled by Mis Universe and Miss Lee.

  39. Blanche says:

    Mont Blanc was my immediate reaction after solving the puzzle, but I couldn’t figure out a meta that would justify it, so I sent in Jungfrau, mostly because of the ALPEN in the center, and the KID and the two women’s names, and the title. I should have followed my own advice to students, which is to go with their first instinctive answer when taking an exam.

  40. Jan says:

    I am now kicking myself, as I noticed the Union Jack/Flag coincidence, and I own a Mont Blanc pen that I use regularly. Before I even did the puzzle, I was hoping it was Kilimanjaro, which my husband successfully summited on Sunday (in bad weather – the next several groups were turned back). Then I did the puzzle, and thought that maybe all these people were redheads – nope; so it isn’t Uluru. Finally submitted a mountain on the moon that ended in a double consonant, Mons Wolff.

  41. Charles Montpetit says:

    I stopped thinking *way* too early and thought that the mountain’s name would just end with a vowel-and-double-consonant, so I sent in EYJAFJALLAJOKULL (the Icelandic volcano that stopped European air traffic for several days in 2010). I even undermined my own entry by berating Matt for not thinking of about 40 other possibles which, while less famous, might also be considered well-known to some people… including IDUNN Mons on Venus. But since I live in the city that hosted the “Jeux Olympiques d’___ de 1976″ (25-down), my second-favorite would have been Mont SCHARR, popularized by this local rock band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeTl0YocwPs. Oh well…

  42. cybergoober says:

    If nothing else, the comments here document the fact that Gaffney-grokking is an activity that claims a large share of our gross national brainpower, and creativity!

  43. John says:

    I think Tyler just gave Matt another cool meta idea.

  44. Pavel Curtis says:

    I was *so* close! I noticed UNION JACK crossing FANNIE FLAGG and DENEB crossing BRENDA STARR, got very excited, and then asked “What was CAPTAIN KIDD’s first name? Was it perhaps OLIVER?” Darn, it’s William. Man, I was so *sure* that that was an important insight…

    Sigh. Right insight, wrong question. I’m pretty sure that if I had only carried on the pattern properly to note that OLIVER was, indeed, a KID, I would have pushed through to find BELL as the SCOT and then the meta answer.

    But I didn’t. Pop goes February for me…

  45. jefe says:

    Argh, spent all weekend staring at this. Went with Mount Mitchell, but thought of just about every wrong answer listed above.

    As soon as I saw Joon’s “my working hypothesis right now is that there is a well-known mountain whose name is also a kind of pen”, I knew it was Mont Blanc. Guess the ALP in KAL PENN was important after all.

    Oh well, now I know to look at crossings for tough metas. (The asterisked clues steered me away from looking at the surrounding fill.)

  46. Lois says:

    Re rya, I just did an old Maura Jacobson puzzle that used the word.

  47. Cyrano says:

    I got as far as Francis Scott Key being somewhat related to most of the theme answers FLAG, PEN, SCOT, STAR, not so much KID, and after not being able to come up with a mountain that had any relevance to the national anthem, ended up staring a lot and sending in nothing. I agree with jefe, that the asterisks distracted me from looking for a more grid-based, as opposed to answer-based, solution. But I have no problem with the answer, I know Mont Blanc pens. I say nice challenge Matt.

  48. Paul Melamud says:

    The way I read KALPENN that helped solve this puzzle was that I first noticed the word PEN with the last “N” removed, but I *also* saw ALPEN, and wasn’t sure if we needed one or both, so carried them along a fair ways together.

    Except for an unfortunate diversion looking at the cross-letters like Tyler did, I was really amazed that this puzzle ended up asking for an ALPEN PEN, which could only really be Mont Blanc.

    That’s the elegance that really did it for me

  49. Co says:

    I got stuck on the double letters and was almost sure (but not enough to remember to send it in thrown by the three day weekend) it was K-TWO.

  50. Tyler says:

    John, it’s going to be really embarrassing when I screw that one up too.

  51. jefe says:

    Curious as to how many missed Week 1 but got this one.

  52. Evad says:

    I’m not sure I’ve seen a satisfactory (to me anyway) explanation of the title. Yes, I see that removing the last S of MISS mimics the behavior of the theme entries, but other than it becoming a French word, or an English prefix, MIS isn’t a word like the theme entries become. Is the idea that when you remove one of the double letters, you are “missing” it? It would’ve helped me if that had also become a regular English word like the others to confirm my hunch on how to solve this one. I also would’ve liked it as the second word in the title not the first.

    I was definitely on a Sound of Music vibe at first, couldn’t get Climb Ev’ry Mountain out of my head. Good thing SAM NUNN wasn’t in the puzzle or I would’ve submitted whatever mountain Julie Andrews was singing on top of (if that’s known).

  53. MM says:

    I’m with Evad. The title makes no sense (still)! From scanning lists of Miss Universe winners to reading about Les Mis, this meta was no fun (mostly because I couldn’t get it). I think “Cros words” would have been a better title (but, still, “cros” is not a word).

  54. Howard B says:

    MIs, plural of the musical note (that I call myself?) I guess it’s Scrabble-legal, but that’s all I’ve got.
    I’m too busy puzzling how I missed the BELL / SCOT connection here to wonder about the title yet though ;).

  55. Evad says:

    More Sound of Music, Howard! See what I was saying?

    How about “The Whole Truth and Nothing But” as a title? :)

  56. Matt Gaffney says:

    Evad — with the title I was going for “the theme entries are a universe of words where you make a final double letter singular.” I was aiming just to draw attention to the theme idea, but some solvers interpreted it as meaning the mountain was not on Earth.

    It would have been good to have MIS be a real word like the others, but I needed 1) a word ending in a double consonant, 2) and not one of the five I used in the grid (DGRNT), and then 3) it needs to make sense with the theme. I couldn’t find a title phrase like that — can anyone else?

  57. Matthew G. says:

    @jefe — Count me as one person who missed Week 1 but got this.

  58. pannonica says:

    Matt Gaffney: How about:

    • “Snow Cap” (Al Capp)
    • “Grim Task” (The brothers Grimm)
    • “Wrestling Mat” (?)
    • “Sly Fox” (Redd Foxx)

  59. How about “Deadliness”? As in, mountains are deadly?

  60. Evad says:

    Maybe going with “Mis World” instead of Universe might’ve been less misleading to those who looked extraterrestrially for Mount Meta.

    I do like pannonica’s tie-ins to names as the theme entries did that as well.

  61. Dan F says:

    I was thinking FLAKE PEN was a thing… so I was dealing with the five crossing letters… which anagrammed to ILLIN’.

  62. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I’m a little surprised this group doesn’t have more fancy-pen nerds.

    There’s a pen shop in Grand Central Terminal that sells Montblanc writing instruments:

    http://www.joonpens.com/Montblanc_pens

  63. pannonica says:

    Been there many a time.

    I prefer Pelikan to Mont Blanc, though. Then there are some others, a bit more esoteric.

  64. Don Byas says:

    @pannonica – yes! Al Capp. It gives you pen cap and snow cap, and it anagrams to ALP CAP! Along with Brenda Starr the comic strip red herring is fantasic.

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