MGWCC #205

crossword 3:21
meta -2:00 

hello and welcome to episode #205 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “On the Board”. this week, matt asks us to name a well-known board game. there are what look to be 6 theme answers:

  • {Not quite strong enough, as a putt} is JUST SHORT.
  • {The Aleutian Islands are there} clues the NORTH PACIFIC.
  • {No-risk proposition} is a FREE CHANCE.
  • {Get rid of your gas guzzler, maybe} is GO ELECTRIC.
  • {Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, with “The”} are the BALTIC STATES.
  • {Wave pool’s location} is a WATER PARK.

so instead of explaining the theme, maybe i’ll just post some pictures.

(i guess the “go to jail” square works just as well for GO.) so anyway, the answer is monopoly. and yes, this one was easy, but what a spectacular theme! all six of the theme answers are two-word phrases where both words are the first word of a monopoly square. (i consider “just visiting” and “in jail” to be separate squares, and it looks like matt agrees with me.) when i noticed the theme, i didn’t even realize that part—i was only looking at the second words. all six are perfectly natural, too, with only FREE CHANCE sounding slightly made-up.

if i had the idea of making a monopoly meta, i’d probably go with four or five theme answers, and have only one word in each one tie into monopoly. putting six in is already an achievement, but the double-barrel action on each one is really a jaw-dropper. it’s impressive enough that i just don’t care that the grid is oh-so-slightly asymmetric. i’m not sure why the grid is asymmetric, mind you—the theme answers, miraculously, pair off perfectly—but whatever.

as for the grid, well, there were a couple things i didn’t know. {2011 Best Supporting Actress nominee Janet} MCTEER, for one. okay, maybe just the one. there were a few partials and whatnot, but i can’t hold that against a six-themer grid. really, it was quite clean.

off to a great start this month!

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14 Responses to MGWCC #205

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks Joon, glad you dug it! 497 right answers this week.

  2. Paul Coulter says:

    Tip of the TOPHAT to Matt – by being DOGged, he really IRONed out a great meta. It’s a sure bet he’ll never be BOOTed from this game.

  3. Giovanni P. says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t notice that each theme entry was a pair of Monopoly spaces. Well played Matt.

  4. Gareth says:

    Agree, to make each entry double-barreled is astounding! I have now found my error – no mocking me please but I had tATERPARK! I was bemused, but moved on…

  5. Aaron Brandes says:

    The title also connects: “On the board” WALK

  6. Amy Reynaldo says:

    I’m with Giovanni. Whoa!

  7. Howard B says:

    IN SHORT, great meta.

  8. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Funny, it was the first words that I solved from; didn’t notice until sending in the solution that the second words amazingly work as well. Didn’t notice the sneakily asymmetrical grid until coming here. (Also didn’t notice 37D:MCTEER, which was just as well – that’s not first-week material – though we’re allowed to Google and not expected to solve for time, so such a flaw is much less significant than in an ACPT puzzle.) Thanks, Matt (and Joon)!

  9. Michael Utkus says:

    Great for a week one. Nice to get the right answer for the right reasons this week.

    Had a hard time figuring out what GOANS were, which crossed my BOING! Fortunately it did not affect the meta for me.

    Well done as usual Matt — and thanks for the Lithuania shoutout!

  10. Dave Taube says:

    Nice puzzle, Matt. I, too, didn’t realize that the long answers were adjacent properties on a Monopoly board. I suspected the answer was Monopoly even before starting the puzzling, and got the meta as soon as I got Pacific and Electric.

  11. Pete Rimkus says:

    “…and thanks for the Lithuania shoutout!…”


  12. Karen says:

    They’re not adjacent properties, that’s photoshopping (especially no railroads near the jail). I noticed the double duty during solving, and was impressed too.

  13. Andy says:

    I proposed some alternate theme entries in my submission e-mail, both 15 letters long:

    1. China bestsellers list
    2. Palm Beach or Bel Air, for example

  14. cybergoober says:


    Oriental Reading
    Luxury Community

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