MGWCC #207

crossword 6:00
meta … not yet 

hello and welcome to episode #207 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Oh, It’s a Clue!”. this week, matt asks us to name one of the 15 Cabinet departments of the U.S. government. here are the theme answers, which each do a sort of clue/answer reversal, with the lexical entry serving as the clue and a very clue-like description going in the grid:

  • {HIGHLANDER} SUV MADE BY TOYOTA.
  • {BRAZIL} LUSOPHONE NATION. “lusophone” is a good word. the national epic of portugal is os lusíadas (the lusiads), which is how i remember this. both come from the ancient roman name for the province, lusitania.
  • {HOLA} GRANADA GREETING.
  • {BROCCOLI} FOOD WITH FLORETS.
  • {RICHARD GERE} PRETTY WOMAN STAR.

the first thing i noticed was that the first two (HIGHLANDER and BRAZIL) are 1980s movies. but that was before getting to the bottom three, which are not movies at all, to my knowledge. the second thing i thought of was figuring out alternate answers to those “clues” in the grid. the last one, for example, jumps off the page as being a clue for julia roberts. likewise, FOOD WITH FLORETS describes only cauliflower (and broccoli). the others, however, are somewhat more ambiguous. let’s make a list of possibilities:

  • SUV MADE BY TOYOTA: 4runner, FJ cruiser, land cruiser, sequoia. if we expand to crossovers, we can add things like matrix, RAV4, and venza.
  • LUSOPHONE NATION: portugal (obviously), angola, mozambique, cape verde, são tomé & príncipe, guinea-bissau
  • GRANADA GREETING: lots of things this could be: saludo, buenos dias, buenos noches, que pasa, como estas …
  • FOOD WITH FLORETS: cauliflower
  • PRETTY WOMAN STAR: julia roberts. for the sake of completeness, we can look up supporting roles on imdb: hector elizondo, ralph bellamy, jason alexander. but none of those are really “stars” of the movie.

now then—what cabinet department is suggested by these? damned if i know. google could not solve this one for me when i tried “cauliflower roberts” or any combination involving those two and various toyota models. there’s no obvious hint at names of secretaries or anything like that. (i just spent a few minutes perusing the historical names of the secretaries of each department. there’s a lot of them.)

so what else could be going on here? the title, in addition to drawing us to the idea of using those grid answers as clues, might contain a hint about the letter O. but if that’s the case, i don’t know what to do with this.

random musings that haven’t led anywhere yet: FLORETS contains most of the letters of FORRESTAL, the first secretary of defense; likewise COMO ESTAS maybe maybe hints at andrew CUOMO, who was HUD secretary before he was governor of new york. but i can’t help thinking that it would be a pretty tough (and kind of weird) meta if we were supposed to know the names of historical cabinet members. except for the famous ones, of course. so the fact that julia ROBERTS is the PRETTY WOMAN STAR and that the first secretary of HHS (when it was renamed from health, education, and welfare) was named patricia roberts harris probably has no significance. this is especially true because i think “julia roberts” is the answer to PRETTY WOMAN STAR, not just “roberts”. if matt had only wanted roberts, the clue to 59a would have been GERE, not RICHARD GERE.

i briefly considered the notion that each clue corresponds to a different word in the grid, but frankly, the grid is already thematically “full” with the 5×15 themers. it’s actually a pretty good grid considering the 75 theme squares. so i’ll go ahead and venture that there is no “hidden” theme material in the grid. and the clues don’t seem to have anything obvious (like an acrostic or some such).

hey, i just noticed/remembered that ESTAS is actually in the grid at 53d. so probably the “answer” to GRANADA GREETING is something other that “como estas”.

well, it looks like i’m out of time and didn’t come up with the necessary “aha”. i don’t even really know what to guess, but a 1 in 15 shot is better than nothing so i’ll send something in. my hat’s off to those of you woh got this, and do let me know in the comments what i missed.

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78 Responses to MGWCC #207

  1. JanglerNPL says:

    Sequoia, Mozambique, buenos dias, cauliflower, Julia Roberts.

  2. Andrew Greene says:

    All I got is that there are 14 words in the theme answers

  3. Matthew G. says:

    Yep. Pretty sure I got this one with 10 minutes to spare, as I came up with the same list as Jangler.

    It’s all about the vowels.

  4. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    My letter to Matt:

    Show my work? –

    Land cruiser
    Angola
    Buenos dias
    Oats (?)
    Roberts

    Of course, I could have saved myself three days of perplexity if I had simply noted that State and Labor are the only two departments in five letters! If I am correct about this, it renders this meta a week one or two, while last week’s (HANNAH) remains a week five or six!

    (BTW, intense googling did disclose that oats have florets — not that it makes my answer correct.)

  5. Matt Gaffney says:

    88 right answers this week, only a handful of which were guesses.

    Joon had the five correct alternate answers listed above: SEQUOIA, MOZAMBIQUE, BUENOS DIAS, CAULIFLOWER and JULIA ROBERTS, each of which contains the five vowels one time (like the title). Therefore the meta answer is the Department of EDUCATION.

  6. SEQUIOA is one of the puzzle buzzwords that screams “VOWEL PANGRAM” at me. So once I saw that on the list of Toyota SUVs I immediately solved it.

  7. Matthew G. says:

    Argh. I sent in Department of Housing and Urban Development, which contains every vowel — but not just once each.

    Meta 90% grokked is not enough. :(

  8. tabstop says:

    I was basically exactly where Joon was, except I hadn’t really bothered to make a complete list like that. Sadly even with Jangler’s hint, I’d still have to look at a list of departments to check which has the same property.

  9. J. T. Williams says:

    You might say the meta is truly wow!

  10. Paul Coulter says:

    I worked on this more than any other meta, trying everything Joon mentioned and many more fruitless avenues. I finally submitted D.O.A. (for the 1950 noir film,) commenting that’s how I felt after this one kicked my butt. I also mentioned that I almost submitted Homeland Security, due to Matt’s recent wedding. Now that it’s been explained, congratulations to Matt both on another brilliant construction and his marriage. And congratulations to those who cracked it.

  11. pannonica says:

    Oh It’s a clue, indeed.

    Did not come across SEQUOIA in my “research,” and forgot about MOZAMBIQUE.

  12. Bruce S. says:

    Arggh, picking alternative answers was too close to last weeks technique in my mind so I dismissed that almost instantly. Oh well. Spent a long time looking under many other rocks.

  13. Matthew G. says:

    I am going to be kicking myself for the rest of May for coming so close on this one … I was on such a high to have noticed the vowel theme, and then had so little time left to e-mail Matt that I sent in the first one with every vowel that I spotted, not having enough time to study the list to see if there was a more elegant fit, which, sadly, there was. Frustrated is too weak a word for how I feel right now!

  14. Joe says:

    Whoa! I was sure I was right (and still think I am) with LABOR.

    Bob Kerfuffle got it all right except for the O, which is OREOS. Those little cookies have florets in the design.

    L..and Cruiser
    A..ngola
    B..uenos dias
    O..reos
    R..oberts

  15. rmac says:

    I did the same thing as Mr. Kerfuffle, except with okra as the food with florets. I thought, “Nah, that’s crazy,” but then got a bunch of Google hits (some with pictures, even) for “okra florets”, and sent in LABOR. So I dunno. Are okra florets a real thing or not?

    – Russ

  16. marcie b. says:

    I got -Sequoia, Portugal, Ola, Cauliflower, and Roberts, all good answers to the clues! That anagrams out to CROPS which definitely equals the Department of Agriculture.

    And I was feeling so good about it … ahhhhh.

  17. Matt Gaffney says:

    Re the alternative answer LABOR — “oreo florets” gets no Google hits so that would have been a cruel thing for me to expect solvers to find! As joon points out, only broccoli and cauliflower are well-known for having florets. “Okra florets” gets only 3 Google hits for me, so no go there either.

    And the last clue would have read GERE instead of RICHARD GERE if ROBERTS alone were the answer. Plucking out ROBERTS alone for the R when the original clue referenced both names of her co-star is too arbitrary to be correct.

  18. Gwinns says:

    I almost sent in Housing and Urban Development, but it seemed long and clunky, so I re-checked the list of Cabinet positions and found Education. Then, in the process of typing an email to Matt complaining that there were two answers, I noticed that the “list of 5″ only had 5 vowels each. Face saved at the last minute!

    I also cracked the meta from SEQUOIA– at that point I had SEQUOIA, PORTUGAL, QUE PASA, CAULIFLOWER, JULIA ROBERTS, and was able to backsolve Mozambique and Buenos Dias.

  19. Mike says:

    I submitted Labor also, as Okra is a vegetable with florets. Also, used Ralph Bellamy for the R (since Richard Gere was the clue, assumed we needed a first and last name).

  20. Ken / Cazique says:

    Matt, you did the
    most stunning meta
    in that word puzzle!

    Kudos, Sir Gaffney!

  21. ===Dan says:

    Wow. Well done. I was clobbered.

    It’s amazing what connections you can find if you look hard enough.
    The most contrived justification I found was for TRANSPORTATION
    LUSOPHONENATION ends with the last 5 letters in the clear, and alludes to the preceding 4 (via PORTuguese). PRETTYWOMANSTAR ends with the first 5 letters (scrambled), completing the spelling of TRANSPORTATION.

    the SUV and GRANADA are names of vehicles.
    Cauliflower has WOLF hidden in reverse: a name of a vehicle (not US, evidently).
    And JULIAROBERTS has a hidden LIAR which is half of a Jim CARREY movie, and half of CARREY is CAR.

    Of course, 51D is DOT, and you can ignore 56A DOI (interior) because CROSSING zones are under the jurisdiction of TRANSPORTATION.

    Oh, and
    Raold DAHL was married to Patricia Neal, who won an Oscar for her performance in HUD.
    HOLA with an AB Switch gives HOLB which alludes to Richard Holbrooke at STATE (OH! It’s a clue)
    and AGR appears smack dab in the center of the grid.
    (I ruled out EDUCATION because the best justification I could find was 32A + 61D, EDIE YOU. )

  22. Gene Faba says:

    I thought, 5 answers, 15 letters apiece.
    Only one department has 15 letters: Veterans Affairs

  23. rmac says:

    It’s amazing what connections you can find if you look hard enough.

    That’s what humans are good at … pattern recognition. Some people even see bunnies clouds.

    – Russ

  24. Gene Faba says:

    Oh, and Matt used “15″ in the clue

  25. Charles Montpetit says:

    I was going for:

    S..equoia
    T..imor
    A..lo
    T..(?)
    E..lizondo

    and was still trying to find a floret food that started with T, with 15 minutes to spare before the deadline, when a power failure wiped out my neighborhood. Sigh. Just as well, I guess.

  26. Patrick says:

    Maybe I’m picking nits here, but the HIGHLANDER clue threw me – the Highlander isn’t an SUV, it’s classified by Toyota as a Crossover vehicle.

    toyota.com/suvs
    toyota.com/crossovers

    Toyota SUVs = 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and Sequoia. Crossovers = RAV4, Venza and Highlander. So Highlander and Sequoia didn’t seem interchangeable like broccoli and cauliflower. So I thought the ‘error’ in the Highlander clue was significant.

    Not saying that I would have solved it if that wrinkle hadn’t been there, but it did cause some interference in my solving process. It was a good meta though. If the word ‘facetiously’ had appeared anywhere I would have nailed it!

  27. Daniel S. says:

    I stupidly didn’t even notice that all the vowels were used EXACTLY once, so I thought Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development were also possible answers. Luckily I still submitted Education, mostly because it was one word.

  28. ===Dan says:

    What also makes Education a so much better answer than Labor is that each of theme clue answers yields a unique solution. There’s only one set of AEIOU answers to the five clues, and only one AEIOU department (with no repeated letters).

    That was what drove me nuts while solving, that it didn’t make sense to have an acrostic-type solution if there were a variety of alternative answers to the the clues. You’d get a solvable puzzle, but it wouldn’t be as elegant. And elegance is what I was strongly expecting.

  29. Dave Taube says:

    AGR in the exact center of the puzzle threw me off. Totally clueless. Again.

  30. John says:

    Didn’t get this and don’t feel bad about it. In the same vein, i was looking at Sequoia/Land Cruiser; Portugal; buenos dias, cauliflower; Julia Roberts as alternates but i couldn’t grok a thread stitching them together. Seeing the answer – i still can’t. The vowels – scattered about – are represented once in each, and that’s the “get”, really? A meta only a linguistics major could love. I actually really like the answer LABOR and think the journey to find it properly clever, more like an embedded gem. I wish i had figured that out!

  31. Dan Seidman says:

    I’m another one who got the gimmick as soon as I saw Sequoia.

  32. joon says:

    wow, this would have been challenging even if we had been given SEQUOIA, MOZAMBIQUE, BUENOS DIAS, CAULIFLOWER, and JULIA ROBERTS. toss in the ambiguities on the first three and it becomes a killer. i’m very impressed by 88 of you.

  33. Erik says:

    the worst part is i’m pretty sure sequoia was in another MGWCC ages ago, i remembered it, i knew that it had all the vowels, and i couldn’t connect it to anything. beating myself up in the worst way.

  34. Anne E says:

    LOL, I sent in LABOR using the same four for L,A,B, and R as others have mentioned, and “onion blossom” as the food with florets! Never heard of Sequoia so wouldn’t have gotten the correct answer. Totally agree with joon’s 12:28 comment.

  35. Tyler says:

    Broke through and solved it at about 10:30 AM ET. Came very close to submitting Homeland Security, but thought better of it.

    Nobody is more surprised by my recent run of success than I.

  36. Abby says:

    Now I’m even more annoyed I didn’t really try (and missed) last week since I got this one. Ugh.

    I guessed about half the words the first time and noticed they all had a U in them. Then I noticed, oh! all the big 5 are in there! Then it wasn’t hard to finish up.

    I seem to get the hard one and the easy ones. It’s usually week 2 or 3 that trips me up…

  37. I Before E says:

    I sent in ENERGY. I got Sequoia, Portugal, Buenos Dias, Cauliflower, and Julia Roberts, then noticed that if I changed Buenos Dias to Salud, the initial six-letter progression was SPSCJR, which decoded Cryptoquip-style could only be ENERGY. Oh well, sometimes I over-think things, although more often I under-think. But I always enjoy the underlying puzzle. Thanks Matt.

  38. Scott says:

    I submitted LABOR for nearly the same reason as Bob Kerfuffle.

  39. Don Byas says:

    Matt Gaffney, the puzzlemaker with EUNOIA.

  40. jefe says:

    Made about the same progress as joon, then was stuck. Considered guessing Education because crosswords can be educational, and I’m a teacher…but went with Labor, being 5 letters and a friend just gave birth.

    What with the relatively tough weeks 2 and 3, week 4′s gotta be a doozy…

  41. Pete Rimkus says:

    Sounds like I went down all the same dead-ends … never saw the AEIOU connection though.
    Matt – I hope you make things easier on your new bride than you do on us…

  42. Themutman says:

    I realized that the entire clue was not needed to get the secondary answers:

    SUV – Armada
    Lusophone – Portuguese (man-o-war)
    Spanish Words – Spanish Armada (reaffirming Armada above)
    Food – Army Food
    Roberts – the Air Force base

    Clearly this points to the Department of Defense, my personal choice for this week’s alternate answer award.

    I am sure everyone who submitted this with me will agree :)

  43. Al says:

    I drive a Sequoia (yes, I know it’s a gas guzzler, but it holds a lot of hockey bags :-), so once the title told me that the theme entries were clues, that was first on my mind for the Toyota SUV. I then googled Lusophone and the Q in SEQUOIA and MOZAMBIQUE caught my eye. The vowel thing popped out to me at that point, and the other entries and title confirmed it.

    It was nice to get a hard one this time after failing so miserably last month.

  44. Louis says:

    I’m also in the LABOR camp and thought myself clever for solving the meta. The five clues led me to force the alternate answers to be LAND CRUISER, ANGOLA, BUENOS DIAS, OMELETTE (people put all sorts of stuff in them), ROBERTS.

    Matt is just more clever. :)

  45. Bruce N. Morton says:

    To all who solved the meta: Iminaweofu. Way beyond me, but I’m trying to learn the needed out of the box thinking. Maybe I spent too much time congratulating myself for knowing the word “lusophone.”

  46. Colin says:

    Doing cryptics got me this time, I couldn’t help but repunctuate “oh, it’s a clue” to “OH: It’s a clue” And since OH is a state and there’s 15 letters in STATE Department…I’d actually try to defend it if it didn’t totally throw out all the data in the theme answers.

  47. Peedee says:

    I can’t believe I got another meta Joon didn’t get! I struggled with this all weekend and had to google Toyota SUVs and Lusophone nations (Mozambique? Who knew!). Julia Roberts and Cauliflower were gimme alternates, but when I think of Granada, I think of the Caribbean island (wasn’t that the one Reagan invaded to free US medical students?). That held me up for a while. When I saw the list of Toyota SUVs, I realized Sequoia was the most linguistically interesting because it’s a short word (the shortest?) with all 5 vowels. That is what cracked the meta for me.

  48. David says:

    I had LABOR With okra florets as well. Oh well.

  49. Garrett Hildebrand says:

    Joon seems to be the only one to make mention of doing something with the letter ‘O’. He wrote: “the title, in addition to drawing us to the idea of using those grid answers as clues, might contain a hint about the letter O.”

    I found three interesting things to do with this:

    1. There are nine O letters in the five theme answers. Only ‘Education’ has nine letters.

    2. There are six O words in the five theme answers. Only ‘Energy’ has six letters.

    3. There are 14 O words in the entire grid. Only ‘Transportation’ has 14 letters.

    After noticing this, I started looking for something to support one of these choices–something that would make it a lock. I could not support energy at all. Like Dan, I got transportation the same way except that I did not infer the PORT from Lusophone. I just saw that there were the letters required in the five theme answers. But because they were not connected in any other way, I decided transportation could not be what was being looked for.

    That left me with education. But I still felt that was just a possible coincidence and wanted to find something more, so like all the other people who got it I made my list of alternate answers. Initially I started googling items in my list for site:ed.gov, and I got a number of hits that could be connected in some way. I decided to submit before I forgot to do it (which I’ve done before; this was already end-of-day Monday). But I eventually was able to see the vowel connection later that evening. I already thought the meta was wickedly clever, but then when I got that aha moment I decided it was brilliantly subtle.

    Interesting that the OIAUE of the title is identical to the vowels in Mozambique except that the IA is swapped.

    Other trivia:
    Consignature has the same vowel pattern as “Oh, It’s a clue!”.

    Euphoria has the same vowel pattern as Sequoia.

    Contrafissure has the same vowel pattern as Mozambique.

    Can’t think of _anything_ that has the same pattern as Buenos Dias

    Audiphone and auriscope has the same vowel pattern as Cauliflower.

    Also can’t think of anything for UIAOE in Julia Roberts.

    Eustachio has the same pattern as is found in Education (Bartolomeo Eustachio is one of the fathers of modern anatomy)

    Oh, and one last thing to add. If you take the last letter of each word in the five theme answers, FOODWITHFLORETS yields DHS. Almost went with that one too.

  50. Erik says:

    i just got stuck behind a toyota highlander in traffic… insult to injury.

  51. Neville says:

    I had mentioned that JULIA ROBERTS is ‘sUpErvOcAlIc’ to a friend Friday night, so I naturally got this straight away when I solved the puzzle later on. Seemed pretty straight forward to me, but I guess I just remember silly things like that.

  52. Joan says:

    How do you pronounce “supervocalic?” i.e., where is the stress…….

  53. jefe says:

    Today’s CS clues OREO as having florets, so that should be fair game.

  54. James Schooler says:

    Like Bob, Joe rmac, Mike, Anne E, Scott, jefe, Louis and David, I sent in Department of LABOR. ugh.

  55. I had CAULIFLOWER and JULIA ROBERTS right away, but didn’t see the vowel connection until I looked up Toyota SUVs and SEQUOIA jumped out at me. I assumed MOZAMBIQUE was the country without checking, but then, I am ashamed to admit, had to go looking for lists of Spanish greetings to find BUENOS DIAS.

    And regarding one of the clever comments above:

    Oh, Cazique.

  56. Donimo says:

    Lest the internet be accused of not knowing something, Googling “sequoia” and “cauliflower” brings up two questions asking what the words have in common. Other words with the five vowels are listed and one lists “education”. Neither question was answered, but I fixed that. Now the internet knows everything again.

  57. Joshua Davey says:

    I sent in LABOR as well, but I was put off by the non parallelism of RICHARD GERE and ROBERTS. I justified it with ROY ORBISON instead, a star who sang “Pretty Woman”

    It seems like a lot of people sent in LABOR. I wonder if this is the most popular wrong answer in the history of this puzzle.

  58. Noam D. Elkies says:

    @Garrett Hildebrand: a word list turns up “Puerto Rica[n]” for the same order as “buenos días”. Others are “superdominant”(*), “unrhetorical”, and (with all six vowels) “unrecognizably” and “unrhetorical”.

    As for the puzzle: I got it thanks to “sequoia”, and agree with those who found it ingenious but somewhat marred by the alternative answers to three of the five theme clues.

    Quite a nice puzzle otherwise. I’m surprised that MATT defines 28D:NAGGY that way soon after his wedding… Apropos of which, I see that Pete Rimkus commented “I hope you make things easier on your new bride than you do on us” — well he only gets that way once a month, which I gather might be the same as he’ll get from his new bride (being happily single myself I do not speak from experience).

    NDE

    (*) “Superdominant” is music-theory term that’s rare even in music theory, since it’s usually (albeit less logically) called the “submediant”; it means a harmony based on the sixth degree of a scale, being above the fifth degree (“dominant”). The analogous “supertonic” (second degree) is much more common.

  59. abide says:

    Considered the alternate answers of JULIAROBERTS and CAULIFLOWER but the other three had too many choices…. so I spent three days considering craziness like NEOPOLITANO having almost all the letters as LUSIPHONENATION, viewing portraits of Attorney Generals (check out Ramsey Clark), and creating alternate metas for future Cabinet puzzles.

    Last night I noticed the title had one of each vowel, and so did EDUCATION. I submitted that just to get on with my life. Still never noticed my original alternate answers (or any other possible answers) fit the same pattern. But maybe my subconscious did?

  60. Garrett says:

    @Donimo — amazing that came up in google. I wonder if Matt stumbled across that. A link to look at: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_connection_to_ambidextrous_cauliflower_exhaustion_auctioned_tambourine_crematorium_ulceration_sequoia

    Supervocalic — wow! UEOAI — swap the AI and you have a match for one of the vowel patterns.

    I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. These have made this Uzbek into a party!

    @Jim S.: so glad I did not come up with labor, I would have submitted it for sure. But I did not stray from cauliflower.

    And on that note, someone mentioned florets in connection with OREO in the CS. I swear I’ve seen that before. In this case I am glad I forgot about it. It would have hosed me had I remembered.

    Anyone have a citation for the other instance of this?

    A kudo to Matt — I am constantly amazed by the freshness of your meta mechanisms.

  61. Neville says:

    Joan, I say SU-per-vo-CAL-ic, with more emphasis on CAL than SU. I always bungle those ‘ and ” markings you see in the dictionary, so I’ll pass on attempting that ;)

  62. pannonica says:

    Peedee: That place is spelled Grenada.

  63. Myron M. says:

    There’s a brief section in the book “Word Freak” about supervocalics that mentions Julia Roberts. That was what sent me in the right direction for this one. Feeling better about missing last week’s now. -M

  64. Garrett says:

    @Noam — as was said famously in the movies — excellent dude! and also, most awesome.

  65. Elaine says:

    Okra has NO florets, for Pete’s sake; no wonder it doesn’t google when you type ‘okra florets’. The flowers resemble those of cotton (or hibiscus) and then a pod develops. We eat the under-ripe pods. For broccoli and cauliflower, we are eating the undeveloped flower buds, which are borne as florets; if you don’t pick them, they enlarge and finally open. Instant bouquet.

    I’m one of the guessers, and as usual I guessed wrong. I thought each clue referenced a country (ending with the USA) so I entered STATE, knowing it was too simple-minded. Mainly just a vehicle for saying ‘Congrats’ to Matt.

  66. Jared says:

    @NDE: I actually find the “submediant” naming convention to be very logical: the dominant lies a fifth above the tonic, and the subdominant a fifth below. The mediant is so-called because it lies about halfway between the tonic and dominant; so naturally the submediant lies halfway between the subdominant and the tonic.

    Ok, sorry about the music-nerd tangent. Carry on!

  67. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Jared–Right. More simply the submediant is simply the 6th. degree of the diatonic scale, i.e. in a major scale, a major 6th. above the tonic.

  68. Noam D. Elkies says:

    @Jared (and anybody else who might still care): you’re right, but it’s confusing because “sub-” and “super-” turn out not to have the opposite meanings that one might first expect. “Super-” means above, but “sub-” means inverse, not below: the dominant is in the same relation to the tonic as the tonic to the subdominant, and likewise mediant:tonic::tonic:submediant. It so happens that the subdominant is also directly below the dominant but that’s an accident here. (Though one still see the 7th degree, especially the flat 7th, called “subtonic” instead of something like “subsupertonic”…)

  69. pannonica says:

    “gintonic”

  70. Garrett Hildebrand says:

    I was wondering if anyone had made a list of other supervocalic names and found one written by the person who coined the term — Eric Chaikin. You’ll see it here after an introduction.

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/AEIOU%3A+120+known+human+beings.-a0107895164

    Some well-known supervocalic names are these:

    Bela Lugosi
    Chou En Lai
    Count Basie
    Patti Lupone
    Len Cariou

  71. Norm says:

    Dang! And I actually thought I had a week 3 for once. The answers were clues and the clues were answers, so I looked for an answer that needed a clue that would be one of the departments — and there it was at 51D: DOT or Department of Transportation (to be distinguished from Department of THE Treasury). Of course, now that I look at it more closely, that would be a pretty crappy clue (but I’m only a solver, not a constructor). Sigh. Fail.

  72. Pat Leech says:

    In keeping with the answer being a clue, picked Housing and Urban Development, since in fact the long key entries in fact house “and Urban Development” letters, in fact also include the letters for “Housing”. Oh, well…

  73. Abby says:

    I did a little check with the IMDb data and (assuming my pattern match was right), there are 7289 actors and 2869 actresses with supervocalic names. Not that you’ve heard of most of them, of course. (Edit: I forgot to take out the Ys the first time. Sorry, Yvonne Albinus!)

  74. Garrett Hildebrand says:

    @Abby — like to know how you did that search.

  75. Abby says:

    I keep a local copy of the data for my own applications. I grepped the list files. (I have a blackbelt in UNIX tools.) They don’t advertise it anymore, but, being user-contributed data they make it available (see http://www.imdb.com/interfaces/). Data’s updated weekly.

    (Don’t bother with trying to use their C programs- they don’t work well (even if you up the old limits). The Makefile will update your data files though.)

  76. Garrett Hildebrand says:

    I’d love to see that regular expression.

  77. Abby says:

    I used more than one- ^[^aeiouy]*[aeiou][^aeiouy]*… etc to get a word with five vowels, then filter for each vowel to make sure you have all five. I did it on the raw list file so there’s tabs and junk- easier if you pull the names out first. Fugly but functional.

  78. Peedee says:

    @Pannonica: Thanks for clearing up Grenada vs. Granada. (I guess that’s why they call it grenadine, huh?) Am I the only person on here that didn’t know the difference?

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