MGWCC #199

crossword 5:48
meta 10 minutes with some pretty serious IMDBing 

greetings and welcome to episode #199 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “All My Children”. after attacking one of my knowledge-weak areas last week (pop music, in the elton john meta), matt goes after another this week by asking us to identify a well-known TV show. uh-oh. and it’s a week 4, too. well, what are the theme answers? there are 6 long across answers clued with a TV show in parentheses:

  • {Event to be next held in Toronto in 2015 (“Boy Meets World”)} is the PAN-AM GAMES.
  • {Doubling cube limitation, in backgammon (“America’s Next Top Model”)} is the CRAWFORD RULE. not being a backgammon player, i’d never heard of this, although i’m familiar with the doubling cube. apparently it applies when two players are playing a match to a certain number of wins rather than for monetary stakes.
  • {Butterfinger cousins (“L.A. Law”)} are CLARK BARS. do you guys remember the meta where we had to figure out matt’s middle name, “Get It Off The Table”? yeah, it’s clark.
  • {Gets power from (“Saturday Night Live”)} is HOOKS UP TO. we’d get a quite different clue for HOOKS UP WITH.
  • {Deli spread (“Solid Gold”)} is BROWN MUSTARD. i’ll take honey mustard or dijon, please.
  • {“All In the Family” man (anything on the Golf Channel)} is NORMAN LEAR. no idea.

so the clues are straightforward enough, but what about these parenthetical TV shows? honestly, i solved the meta and i still don’t really know. the first thing that struck me was that “anything on the golf channel” + NORMAN LEAR is probably a reference to golfer greg norman (aka “the shark”). so i tentatively wrote “greg” next to that clue on my puzzle. and then CRAWFORD RULES + america’s next top model made me think of supermodel cindy crawford, but i found out from the internet that she had no particular association with that show.

but greg + cindy + six theme answers + well-known TV show made me think of the brady bunch, perhaps because i’d recently seen two brady bunch-themed crosswords (including another contest puzzle last year). so i decided to look for the other children’s names (and hey, the title is also a big hint, right?). that led me right to CLARK + l.a. law = marcia clark, prosecutor in the O.J. trial.

at this point i was pretty sure brady bunch was the right answer, but i ran into a couple of little snags. one, i didn’t remember the names of the other brady kids. two, i had absolutely no idea what “solid gold” or “boy meets world” were. so i popped on over to imdb and wikipedia and read up. not really any wiser about the shows, i at least knew i was looking for peter, jan, and bobby. okay then:

  • peter PAN … boy meets world? i’m not really seeing the connection. i mean, peter pan is a boy from (arguably) another world. is that it?
  • jan HOOKS, saturday night live. apparently she was a cast member on SNL in the 80s. i had never heard of her. but at least the connection is watertight.
  • bobby BROWN, solid gold? dunno. it was a music talent search kind of show. bobby brown is a singer, but i couldn’t find anything saying he was on the show. he was on the show being bobby brown, i think. brown is also a color, like gold, but nothing about that has anything to do with bobby brown in particular. i dunno.

so there it is. six connections of varying kinds and strengths. sometimes they relate to the title of the show (peter pan, cindy crawford, marcia clark), sometimes to the subject matter (cindy crawford, bobby brown), sometimes to the TV show itself (jan hooks). and then there’s greg norman and golf. i mean, i’m still pretty sure brady bunch has to be the right answer, doesn’t it? but i don’t understand how the puzzle works. am i missing something? i’ll refrain from rating the puzzle until i know what’s going on.

fill roundup:

  • {Nice rock} is ORE. double-cross! this isn’t a french clue. (nor is it a pun on gneiss, i think.)
  • {Competitor of Corona and Tecate} is SOL. a mexican beer, i take it, that i’ve never heard of?
  • {Scary-looking tool} is an ADZE. hey, remember when eduard SHEVARDNADZE was a MGWCC theme answer?
  • {Draft picks?} are OXEN, but you better believed i tried to shoehorn ALES into there.
  • {Part of TEOTWAWKI}: the END of the world as we know it. much nicer than having TEOTWAWKI itself in the grid, as matt did a few months back.
  • {Cheesy quintet} is N*SYNC. i really thought this answer was somehow going to denote five cheeses.
  • {“You say you want your story to remain ___” (U2 lyric)} is UNTOLD. unlike sir elton john, U2 is right in my wheelhouse; there was a time in the 90s when i had every lyric memorized (except for the unintelligible ones from “elvis presley and america” that i was never able to decipher). this one is from all i want is you.
  • {Hamburgers often sit next to this} is a sneaky clue for the ELBE river that, luckily, i never saw until the letters were all there..
  • {One of twelve} is just an EGG from a carton of a dozen. my first thought: one of the children of jacob (DAN and GAD are the ones with three letters). later, {One of seven} clued WRATH, so i was on the right track, except there are many more famous septets than, um, dodectets. (wikipedia suggests duodecet, but i’m not sure it’s any more of an authority than i am on this matter.) seas, deadly sins, wonders of the world, sisters, against thebes, habits of highly effective people, samurai, etc.
  • {1999, 2004 and 2011 NCAA basketball champs} is UCONN. this one’s for tyler, who won’t be reading this blog, i think. i filled out a bracket this year, and despite a shambolic performance overall, i still have a chance to take 3rd in my pool if kentucky beats ohio state in the final.

that’s all from me. tell me what i missed!

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32 Responses to MGWCC #199

  1. Jeffrey says:

    Ok, let’s count the things I know that joon doesn’t:

    1) Crawford rule
    2) Norman Lear
    3) Solid Gold. Not a talent search, but Top 40 artists lip synching their hits, as the Solid Gold dancers did their stuff.
    4) Boy Meets World
    5) Jan Hooks

    Joon, don’t go on Jeopardy. You don’t know anything. You’ll get hammered.

    Crawford + model led me to Cindy. Norman + golf led me to Greg. Cindy + Greg = Brady Bunch.

  2. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    “Peter” Pan and “Greg” Norman just jumped off the page, but when I first tried to decipher HOOKSUPTO, all I could think of were “Captain” or “Henry”!

  3. Matt Gaffney says:

    Well I was all psyched about this meta but then 1) it turned out to be too easy for Week 4 of 5 (317 correct answers, compared to 285 last week; I was going for 175-200 range), 2) and the meta seemed to confuse a lot of people who got it, which is obviously not desirable.

    I thought the meta would be too tough without the parenthetical TV shows, since a few of the names (JAN HOOKS, e.g.) aren’t exactly household. The idea was that they just point in some way, no matter how tangentially, to the target person. So Peter Pan is a boy who comes out into the world, Marcia Clark has a law career in LA, Jan Hooks actually was on SNL, Cindy Crawford is a model, etc. But the different types of nudges there left a bunch of people wondering what they’d missed.

  4. Patrick says:

    Found this week’s meta-trick similar to that of Week 2 (When Harry Met Sally). The names jumped out immediately, even though some of the associations were a little loose.

  5. I wasn’t up on the PETER Pan and BOBBY Brown connections, either. But, as a child of the ’70s, the CINDY Crawford, GREG Norman, JAN Hooks and MARCIA Clark refs could only mean one thing.

    In fact, I thought “The Brady Bunch” was too easy an answer for a week 4, so I guessed the ’70s Saturday morning animated series, “The Brady Kids”.

  6. neil Bellovin says:

    kicking myself as i thought of Jan and Greg right away but went in differnent direction. very good puzzle

  7. Ed says:

    I solved the crossword on Friday but made no headway with the meta so I put it aside until this morning. When I looked at it this morning Greg Norman jumped out at me (the Golf Channel clue helped a LOT, I don’t know if I’d have figured it out without it) and I figured I had to put first names to each of the first words in the theme answers. Cindy Crawford was then obvious, and for some reason The Brady Bunch then came to mind, although I’ve never seen the show. After using Google to get the names of the Brady kids everything fell into place and additional Googling confirmed Jan Hooks and Marcia Clark (I’d forgotten all about her) and their ties to SNL and the law. Yes it was easier than last week’s (which I didn’t get), but I think it was very fair.

  8. HH says:

    “…and for some reason The Brady Bunch then came to mind, although I’ve never seen the show.”

    That’s just sad.

  9. Lance says:

    I had a brief moment of stupidity while searching for confirmation of the kids I didn’t initially recognize (Jan & Peter clues)…I actually googled Peter Panam to see if he was a strangely named actor I’d never heard of.

  10. Todd says:

    I got it pretty quickly, but I too had problems with some of the references. I’m old enough to know all the shows, and the best I could get was that as noted Cindy Crawford is a model, Marcia Clark had maybe been an advisor to L.A. Law (like M*A*S*H had a physician review all their scripts), and that the number of years that Boy Meets World was on made it seem like a show about a boy who (almost) never grew up . I figured Bobby Brown might have been on Solid Gold at one point or another (or maybe Soul Train?). Greg and Jan were straightforward, and as others have noted, with two, the title and the meta instructions, the answer was obvious. Without the show references, it probably would have been a real week 4 (or maybe 5) puzzle, but I’m not complaining.

  11. Howard B says:

    Opposite experience here. Figured out Cindy and Greg, and then I should have immediately been able to find The Brady Bunch. But it just didn’t click with those 2 names. And not knowing any of the other names, or at least finding their connections, made it necessary that I solve the meta using 2/6 names. Which frustratingly, I could have. Should have. Conceivably.

    All other themes and names were ungettable for me here. But it’s nice that this was a flexible enough meta that you could find a subset of them and figure it out. Think I just needed one or two more.

  12. Did not like this one, it’s too inconsistent in the way the person is clued from the show. I found James Brown instead of Bobby Brown, who had a 1977 album titled “Solid Gold: 30 Golden Hits”.

    I did find Jan Hooks and Greg Norman, but knowing all of the Brady kids off the top of my head (I might have seen the show a few times decades ago) made it not click for me.

  13. Wayne says:

    Based on just the prompt and the puzzle title, I was planning to send in “The Brady Bunch” as a guess. When I saw that there were six theme answers, I was sure that had to be it. But by the time I’d finished the grid and solved the meta, I was less sure than when I started. I wonder if I would have solved it had the title been more enigmatic.

    Mind you, I’m not complaining. I’m in your head, Matt. Bring on week five!

  14. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I saw Cindy Crawford, Greg Norman, and Jan Hooks and guessed “The Brady Bunch” without making one lick of sense out of the other three theme answers. Easy-peasy!

  15. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    P.S. – Am I the only one who considered “Broderick” Crawford?

  16. Paul Coulter says:

    I’m with the others who caught the Cindy and Greg references immediately, with Marcia trailing by a minute. And I agree this was far too straightforward for a Week 4 – with four relatively easy puzzles so far, I’m thinking, uh-oh, we’ve seen this pattern before – there’s going to be a killer on Friday. Maybe it would have been better to insert the associations elsewhere in the puzzle. Probably too difficult to make them crossers, but it would have been about the right degree of difficulty if Matt had included words like golf, law, magic, comedy, model, and singer (or maybe Houston as a tribute) in the fill or clues. And darn you, Matt, I’ve had the Brady Bunch theme song stuck in my head all week.

  17. Dannoz says:

    So proud to so quickly figure out a Week 4 until I convinced myself that it was indeed a rather simple meta. Greg and Cindy set me on the right direction and only minor research confirmed the rest. I remember Jan Hooks well and that Solid Gold was a poor imitation of Soul Train. The benefits of Boomerdom. Great puzzle! Thanks!

  18. Matthew G. says:

    I got nowhere with this. I became convinced early on that “All in the Family” + Golf Channel just had to involve the word “Bunker” in some way, and I was never able to let go of that. When “All in the Family man” turned out to be NORMAN LEAR, I assumed that this was going to be one of the metas where the grid contains an unexpectedly obscure answer rather than the expected familiar one, and you then figure out how the more likely answer works in (as in the Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da meta). Made the model=Cindy connection, but I’ve never heard of golfer Greg Norman.

  19. Gareth says:

    Although I think I have watched a rerun or two, the BEQ meta is actually what had those names committed to memory, at least some of them, enough of them; although I only realised that fact when Joon (sorry joon), brought up the puzzle… I too searched in vain for Peter Panam; I also had to confirm to myself that there really was someone called Jan Hooks and Marcia Clark…

  20. J. T. Williams says:

    I thought the real trap was Jan Hooks, who actually WAS connected to SNL, which would make you think that the others were similarly connected. Cindy Crawford as a model was a pretty obvious connection, whether you knew that she was not connected to the show or not. But for me the piece that made it all fall into place was Marcia Clark, at which point I quickly realized that the parentheticals were tangentially related by subject, not TV show. Solid gold is a perfectly valid clue for Bobby Brown, who apparently is a recording artist of some notoriety. Peter Panam was just brutal though, especially with ABC crossing references to both PanAm and Boy Meets World. That got me off on several time-wasting searches and tangents!

  21. David says:

    Right in with the others who got the meta off of Greg (Norman) and Cindy (Crawford). I was a very infrequent SNL watcher in Jan Hooks’ day, but did remember some absolutely hysterical skit where she (and maybe others) did a send up of Amy Fisher and Mary Jo Buttafuoco. I think the removal of the TV shows in parentheses would have made this a perfect Week 4 meta.

  22. Abby says:

    I puzzled this one out at Sunday brunch. I’d thought of Jan and Greg immediately since they really were on the TV shows (looked Greg up to check- senior and junior!), but being a fairly loyal ANTM viewer, I couldn’t recall Cindy being on there. Then I thought, “Wait, what if they’re >not< TV shows…" and the rest fell into place. With those six names spelled right, what else could it be? (Besides one of the spinoffs, and they're more infamous than famous.)

    My only confusion then was that I thought (for some reason) that the instructions had asked for a TV show from the 80s, so I had to go back and reread it.

  23. Matt Gaffney says:

    Yeah, shoulda left the TV shows off. Damn! Thought it’d be too hard without them.

  24. MountainManZach says:

    I suspect you would have been FAR below your target without the TV show names…

  25. Noam D. Elkies says:

    So I guessed right that it was yet another celeb-name puzzle (though I thought incorrectly that it had to do with the genres of the parenthetical shows, since each of the six is different). Just as well I didn’t have the time for hunting down the relevant information in IMDB or the ike, because even if I did solve the metapuzzle I’d derive no pleasure from it. Clever choice of title, though.

  26. PJ says:

    Matt–you’ve been flirting with Marcia Clark for a few months now (third reference). Too much OJ in the morning? People will talk!

  27. Marcia R. says:

    Bobby Brown was a founding member of an R&B group called The New Edition.

    They were on Solid Gold…….

  28. Amy Reynaldo says:

    @MountainManZach: You wouldn’t happen to be the NYT applet user with the screen name “zachugly,” would you? Whoever that is, he posts some impressive times (but doesn’t seem to have outed himself anywhere).

  29. Erik says:

    What Gareth said re: BEQ meta

  30. jefe says:

    Agree with Wayne; TV show+”All My Children”+6 themers practically screams “Brady Bunch”.

    But did anyone else even consider that it could’ve been Joan Crawford?

  31. Dunbunny says:

    @bob k. re broderick crawford… No.

  32. Cole says:

    My problem was getting stuck on JOAN Crawford for too long before Cindy popped up and noting that PETER Tork was somehow associated with Boy Meets World and not quite seeing PETER Pan as connected with the show. But GREG JAN and MARCIA were enough to get the solution.

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