MGWCC #196

crossword 3:34
puzzle -3:34 

super-easy puzzle this time out for the 196th episode of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “See? See?”. matt instructs us to identify a vegetable. having seen that and the title, i guessed the answer, but of course i went ahead and solved the crossword anyway. 20 seconds into the solve, i knew i had it right. here are the theme answers:

  • {They may eventually be used in candy bars} CACAO BEANS.
  • {Gospel singer with 10 Grammys} is CECE WINANS, a name i know only from previous crosswords.
  • {Restaurant chain known for its buffet} is CICI’S PIZZA, a name i know only from this crossword. are they regional?
  • {Songwriter who didn’t work alone} is a CO-COMPOSER. this could have been COCO CHANEL, but there were already two proper names. and it could have been COCOA PUFFS, but COCOA is closely related (botanically and etymologically) to CACAO, so matt made a good choice.

do you see, see the pattern? it’s a vowel progression theme on steroids. C_C_ with the same vowel filling both blanks, proceeding AEIO. what’s next? why, the cucumber, of course. i couldn’t think of any other word, name, or phrase that starts that way except for a variant spelling of the irish mythological hero cuchulainn.

so this was super-easy, but i love the theme. a fresh take on a tried (and, often, tired) theme genre. no, i’ve never heard of CICI’S PIZZA, but that’s okay—the back was PIZZA and the front was instafilled based on the theme anyway.

odds & ends:

  • {Element #10} is NEON. if you haven’t done patrick blindauer‘s free monthly puzzle for march yet, prepare yourself for an epic brainduel.
  • {Clark and Cochran’s judge, in a 1995 case} is ITO. heh. inside joke from a couple weeks ago, when i chided matt right here in this space for cluing ITO as {Marcia and Johnny’s judge, in a 1995 case}.
  • {“How’d your tennis match go?” reply} is I LOST. well, if that’s your attitude, no wonder.

that’s all for me. see you in the comment box!

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22 Responses to MGWCC #196

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    510 correct answers this week, destroying the old record of 460. We have a Cici’s Pizza in Staunton, so maybe I should celebrate there.

  2. Erik says:

    my friend says he ate at cici’s once and there were bits of raw egg in one of the desserts. but it’s super delicious. so i still go there, like, all the time

  3. David says:

    Clark and Cochran also fits the See? See? theme.

  4. Doug P says:

    I was racing through this one, and I assumed the last theme entry would be a name, so I originally parsed it as Coco M. Poser.

    Congrats on breaking 500, Matt. On to 1000!

  5. MM says:

    I wouldn’t say Cici’s's regional, but it looks like there aren’t any in your (joon’s) neck of the woods.

  6. Matthew G. says:

    There’s only one Cici’s in the NYC metropolitan area, and going by that map it looks like it might be a concession stand at MetLife Stadium. In any event, it was unknown to me, but of course a gimme from the rest of the theme.

    Probably wise for a Texas-based pizza company not to expand into the pizza-snobbish NYC area. Justly or unjustly, we’d probably resist.

  7. Tony says:

    This is the second time in a matter of months that I finished the puzzle Friday, set it aside, and then before I knew it it was just before 2:00 PM on Tuesday. :(

  8. Paul Coulter says:

    I ate at a Cici’s once in Florida. It’s an inexpensive all-you-can eat buffet. My whole family agreed the pizza was surprisingly good. When I asked, they even made an anchovy pizza for me, which they don’t ordinarily put out.

  9. Old Geezer says:

    Try the mac and cheese pizza. Heart attack on a crust.

  10. Gareth says:

    Related word: cucurbit

  11. Cole says:

    You couldn’t work out a question to which Cucu Diamantes was the answer? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucu_Diamantes

  12. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    @Matthew G – No, the CiCi’s in East Rutherford, NJ, is in a little strip mall (admittedly not too far from the football abomination), just around the bend from the Panera’s, Baja Fresh, Clove Indian restaurant, et al.

    As Paul Coulter notes, the food is surprisingly good, or not awful, where you have available unlimited supplies of salad, soup, garlic bread, pasta, variously-topped pizzas, and a choice of cinnamon buns or gooey brownies, and all the drink you can get down.

    Used to be a Senior like me could get out for $6.00 plus a tip; last time I was there it had gone up to $6.25.

    No, I have no financial interest in the franchise!

  13. Dave Taube says:

    No CiCi’s in Oregon either. Funny, but very easy, puzzle.

  14. Dannoz says:

    IMHO, CiCi’s is preferable only to starvation.

  15. Gabhain says:

    I thought about cucumber, but the clue was “a vegetable.” Cucumber is a fruit. Something else about the puzzle gave me the feeling I was missing something, so I put it aside for later. Later came last night during a pause in the election results. Oh well.

  16. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    @Gabhain – The complete text of my submission to Matt -

    So is a cucumber really a vegetable? After all, it has seeds, one of the defining characteristics of a fruit. My weaselly friends at the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary say. “cucumber . . . the succulent fruit of a vine (Cucumis sativus) cultivated from earliest times as a garden vegetable . . . ”

    At least the Supreme Court has ruled on tomatoes!

  17. Evad says:

    Anyone else remember the Okra debates?

  18. joon says:

    just because a cucumber fits the botanical definition of a fruit does not mean it can’t also fit the common definition of a vegetable. i don’t know where people got the idea that fruits and vegetables are disjoint sets.

    vegetable, n.
    1 a plant or part of a plant used as food, typically as accompaniment to meat or fish, such as a cabbage, potato, carrot, or bean.

  19. pannonica says:

    The relevant terms are culinary vegetable and botanical vegetable.

  20. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Thanks, pannonica, for the culinary vs. botanical terms. Will try to remember that.

    I’m with Gareth on the members of the Cucurbitaceae family (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbitaceae), which includes squash, pumpkin, melons, and even cucumbers. Never realized that zucchini and cukes were actually cousins, though.

    My initial reaction to the puzzle was “Is CiCi’s Pizza regional?” and Matt hit me up with the website store locator link. Turns out there are a smattering in the Chicago suburbs, though I don’t recall ever passing any. Flash forward a couple days and boom, I see a TV commercial for CiCi’s. With Bob Kerfuffle’s recommendation, maybe I’ll try it sometime–but then I’ll be pissed off when the non-senior price is more than $6.25.

  21. Old Geezer says:

    You can also get three mediums for 9.99

  22. Matthew G. says:

    In Michigan for the weekend and saw a CiCi’s Pizza along the road. Was pleased. Then remembered this thread and kept driving.

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