JOON PAHK’s mgwcc — matt’s review

crossword 6:00; meta 1 minute 

greetings, matt gaffney here guest-blogging the 214th episode of jpwcc. the first of this month’s four guest constructors is JOON PAHK, well-known in puzzle-land for many reasons (constructing, blogging, jeopardy!ing, solving, being an all-around nice guy, etc.). he’s certainly the aptest person to get the ball rolling on guest constructor month.

In his instructions JOON asks us to a find a pair of symmetric entries that would form a good 5th theme answer. Let’s see what the long answers give us:

tightly-pahked grid

20-a [He played John Connor in "Terminator 2"] = EDWARD FURLONG.

34-a [Collection of young swingers?] = LITTLE LEAGUE.

41-a [Inspector Lestrade's employer, in Sherlock Holmes books] = SCOTLAND YARD. i’ve read all four Sherlock Holmes novels repeatedly, but I’m stretching the 56 stories out over my lifetime on purpose because i don’t want to have read all of them until later on in life. i’m at about 40 so far. no spoilers, please. the best one so far, as everyone agrees, is “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the basic premise of which is extremely clever and surprising even 100-plus years later.

56-a [Emperor Zurg's archenemy, in film] = BUZZ LIGHTYEAR. Not to be confused with Nancy Zerg’s archenemy, who is…well, you know.

FURLONG, LEAGUE, YARD, LIGHTYEAR…hey, those are all units of distance, as in the title, “distance learning.” that can’t be a coincidence! is there a set of symmetrically-placed entries that forms a phrase ending in a unit of distance? ELATED BORDER? SPEEDO BROWNE? ACCEPT CYRANO? coming up blank…LEAD FOOT? oh yeah!

so LEAD FOOT it is, which was submitted by about 455 entrants (exact number coming soon).

JOON had a lot of fun with the clues:

18-a. [Dutch midfielder De Jong who karate-kicked Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup Final] don’t watch this if you’ve got a weak stomach. JOON informs me that NIGEL received only a yellow card for it (!!).

32-a. [Island where Hephaestus crashed when Zeus hurled him off Mount Olympus] = LEMNOS. I hear they have solemn melons there.

11-d. [Hideous denim/Lycra fashion "innovation" with a portmanteau name] = JEGGINGS. don’t watch this if you’ve got a weak stomach.

22-d. [Curved molding that sounds like an expression meaning "gosh"] = OGEE. love it.

i think this was an excellent week 1 meta. let joon feel the love in comments; he’ll be back here next week blogging guest constructor #2‘s puzzle.

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24 Responses to JOON PAHK’s mgwcc — matt’s review

  1. Matthew G. says:

    Nice puzzle, nice meta. I guess if Joon had blogged his own puzzle, it would have been too, well, meta.

    The only hard part for me was finishing the NE part of the grid. I’ve never heard of JEGGINGS, and because I mis-guessed LESBOS for LEMNOS originally, it took forever to work that corner out.

  2. Erik says:

    great stuff, joon. would that make an architect an OGEE WHIZ?

  3. Jeffrey says:

    Never heard of AFK and FOOT didn’t come to mind so that F was blank and I figured I could get the meta without it. Went through every (other) symmetric combo with no luck. wondered why ASK/SOOT wasn’t used as an easier crossing. Then aha – FOOT.

    nice job joon. Matt, nice try but you used at least 3 capitals.

  4. Jeff G. says:

    Great puzzle, nice meta. Excellent job “guest constructing” Joon!

  5. Paul Coulter says:

    Good job, Joon. I liked the nod to the Ivy League (with Lemnos, a fine Homerian location) in between.

  6. Themutman says:

    I also had problems with the FOOT/AFK crossing, as I had a lightly penciled in R there. Made the week 1 meta quite the challenge as I went thru grid three times before finding my mistake.

    Great job Joon!

  7. Abby says:

    I mistyped FOOT as FOOD and spent ages not finding the answer. D’oh! Once I fixed that, worked it right out.

    Always wondered why they went with “jeggings” instead of “leans” since they’re skinnier than skinny jeans (well, if you are). Despite my penchant for leggings, I’ve never worn jeggings myself. (And thought the dis in the clue was hysterical.)

  8. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Joon, loved your puzzle, and the cluing; can’t believe I didn’t figure out the meta, especially since the directions were so clear and explicit. Metas don’t seem to be my thing yet, but still hoping to correct that.

  9. Evad says:

    I always think of LIGHTYEAR as a unit of time, not distance. Maybe now I’ll remember this puzzle and catch myself in time! Nice to see how guest constructors handle the Matt meta challenge.

  10. pannonica says:

    Blame Han Solo, Evad.

  11. abide says:

    A meta not too hard to fathom.

  12. Evad says:

    I actually blame Hope Solo. We have the same doctor and those diuretics seem to impact my ability to reason correctly.

  13. pannonica says:

    If you’d blame Napoleon Solo, you could cry uncle.

  14. joon says:

    thanks, everybody. i had a lot of fun with the clues for this one—without the space restrictions (or populist editing style) of a newspaper crossword, i went to town on a few of the clues, e.g. PENPAL and NOTEBOOK in addition to the ones mentioned.

    AFK means “away from keyboard”; i realized somewhat belatedly that this puzzle had a lot of internetisms in it, what with AFK and VOIP (voice over internet protocol), and actually 42d was originally LULZ before i thought better of it. (this happened while i was writing clues, as it turns out that LULZ is pretty hard to clue.)

    there was another tricky crossing at LEMNOS/MAUD; i wish i’d thought of using an anagram, as in matt’s writeup, since LEMNOS isn’t all that famous. but i did think that an actress named _AUD had only one plausible guess, so i don’t feel too terrible about that. a little worse about the crossings with crosswordese OGEE and YSER, which is part of what went into my thinking for the OGEE clue.

    pannonica, i think han solo is to blame for “parsec”, not “light year”, being mistaken for a unit of time.

  15. Sam Donaldson says:

    This Star Wars geek has to chime in here. Han Solo was “mistaken” about parsecs, not light-years. He claimed that his ship had “made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.” Whether this is, in fact, a mistake, is subject to debate. Take it away Wikipedia:

    As [the parsec] is a unit of distance, not time, different explanations have been provided. In the fourth draft of the script, Kenobi “reacts to Solo’s stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation.” … On the A New Hope DVD audio commentary, Lucas comments that, in the Star Wars universe, traveling through hyperspace requires careful navigation to avoid stars, planets, asteroids, and other obstacles, and that since no long-distance journey can be made in a straight line, the “fastest” ship is the one that can plot the “most direct course,” thereby traveling the least distance.

    But Evad’s right–it’s Hope Solo’s fault.

  16. pannonica says:

    Ah, but what is a parsec but 3.26 light years? It’s an inferential, associative slide. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  17. Paul Coulter says:

    Joon, first thing I noticed when looking for a pair was sec. Found pee, not that it was symmetrical, but there was no par. Then found foot, not in mouth, but lead was just as tasty.

  18. Bruce N. Morton says:

    Can’t believe I knew something vaguely computer-related — AFK — when others didn’t. I blame watching Hope Solo for many of my mental lapses. :-)

  19. joon says:

    pannonica, the sec in parsec has nothing to do with time. parsec is short for parallax second; it is the distance at which one astronomical unit (the mean earth-sun distance, about 93M miles or 150M km) subtends 1 arc-second of parallax. the year in light-year, of course, is related to the time unit.

  20. Jeffrey says:

    Never heard of Hope Solo, so all I can add is the immortal lyrics from The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room song:

    Bird 1 – I sing so beautiful, I should sing solo!

    Bird 2 – Si, so low we can’t hear you!

  21. Christopher Jablonski says:

    Originally I thought LIGHTYEAR was the odd theme entry out, as the other ones use quaint, nonstandard measurements (including foot, of course). But at the very least, the light-year is non-SI, and that’s good enough for me. Fun puzzle!

  22. pannonica says:

    joon: I was just working with the superficial aspects, “second” and “year.” That’s what I meant by inferential and associative (although I see now how that may have been misleading, since we are talking technical). Despite having only nominal acquaintance with parsecs I was pretty sure it was angular because I know what parallax is.

  23. sps says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit, that with three teenaged girls, JEGGINGS was one of my first entries. I mean, really, how could I forget the eyeroll and explanation when I asked my eldest what she was wearing: “They’re jeggings, Dad, all right?”

    Great puzzle, Joon.

  24. granbaer says:

    I had never heard of jeggings until this puzzle, and only got it by default with the fill. Then, the next day I was shopping with my 11 year old granddaughter and there they were–jeggings at Target! And she even wanted a pair!

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