MGWCC #248

crossword 2:40
meta -2:00 

hello and welcome to episode #248 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Animal Farm”, a first week puzzle so easy that … well, it was easy. quite possibly the easiest ever. the crossword itself was the fastest i’ve ever finished a MGWCC crossword, for one thing, and the meta didn’t take much thought. but that’s okay; march is a 5-week month at MGWCC, so there’s plenty of time for the puzzles to get fiendishly difficult. anyway, this week matt challenged us to name a farm animal. what are the theme answers?

  • {Beyond thrilled} TICKLED PINK.
  • {Utterly confusing} CLEAR AS MUD.
  • {The true author of Shakespeare’s plays, some claim} SIR FRANCIS BACON.
  • {Modern store checkout tool} DIGITAL PEN.
  • {Signature tune for Sonny & Cher} I GOT YOU, BABE.

and the answer is right there at 71-across (highlighted in my screencap), in the last entry of the grid: {Detroit’s baseball team}, the TIGERS. TICKLED PINK obviously refers to this children’s book, CLEAR AS MUD to this band, DIGITAL PEN alludes to william blake penning this poem, and I GOT YOU, BABE is a fairly obvious euphemism to the tiger woods “sex addiction” scandal. SIR FRANCIS BACON was a bit tougher, as you needed to know his oeuvre pretty well: bacon’s masterwork is his new atlantis, in which sailors lost at sea discover an island on which they eventually establish a new utopia. the greek allusion (atlantis) and the adrift-at-sea narrative both connote the 2002 booker prize-winning novel life of pi, the 2012 film adaptation of which just won a best director oscar for ang lee. anyway, it was a tidy puzzle for a week 1.

bullet points:

  • {Totally cool person, especially in comparison to 1-across last week} BADASS. it took me a moment to recall that last week’s 1-across was DUMBASS.
  • {Calif. newspaper} LAT. hey, speaking of recent MGWCCs…
  • {Soccer org.} FIFA. some day maybe we’ll see UEFA in a grid. huge game this afternoon between manchester united and real madrid. you can bet i’ll be … well, tivoing it, so that i can watch the match after work.
  • {Celebrity lawyer Gerry} SPENCE. i don’t think i know who this is.
  • {Boxer who’s a boxer’s daughter} LAILA ALI. seeing her full name in the grid (this isn’t the first time) always reminds me of the album OLE ELO.
  • {Words before bad news} I’M AFRAID and {Be incorrect} ERR. oh, all right. here’s the real answer, as if you didn’t know already.
  • {Solidify, as details} NAIL DOWN. nice answer, and nice clue. more evocative than {Secure using a hammer}.
  • {Tournament parts: abbr.} RNDS. hey! the ACPT is this weekend. come say hello between RNDS. i should be easy to find—i’ll be the one wearing the name tag that says “joon pahk”.

that’s all for me. hope to see many of you this weekend!

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16 Responses to MGWCC #248

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    646 right answers this week, with zero incorrect. New record, oink oink!

    • Jim says:

      Aren’t you going to get tired of/not have the time for reviewing all these entries? Better start making the puzzles harder!!

  2. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    Okay, the rule is, the harder the meta, the greater the number of comments, but this is strange.

    Either my internet connection is broken, or the only comment after 25 minutes is Matt’s report of the number of correct answers!

    Granted, it was the easiest meta ever (can’t imagine how people got DQ wrong, but some did.)

    Joon deserves praise for making the best of a meta that left nothing to be said and creating one of the funniest write-ups ever – and one which required quite a wide range of obscure knowledge, too.

    (I hope to be at the ACPT, too. I won’t give any clues as to how to identify me, as others may be inclined to run the other way.)

  3. Christopher Jablonski says:

    At this rate, next month’s first-week puzzle will be called “The Answer to This Meta Is ‘Tricorn Hat.’”

  4. hibob says:

    Huh? I thought the answer was PIG.

  5. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Somebody please explain BABE? Fortunately that’s the last of five clue, so I had already guessed PIG by the time I got there, but I had second thoughts once I did (though I eventually submitted the right answer): was this meant to specify a baby pig (i.e. piglet or suckling pig), or was it a reference to the 1995 and 1998 movies that Google turned up? Neither seems of a piece with the other clues, nor with a first-of-five-weeks-easy metapuzzle.

    For a mid-month version of the same theme I suggested the theme entries

    INDIGO INK (9)
    BERNARD MALAMUD (14)
    JONATHAN POLLARD (15)
    AUSTRALIAN OPEN (14)
    KITHAIRON (9)

    :-)
    —NDE

    • joon says:

      BABE is indeed the pig from the movies. super-famous. google is not the only one who remembers them.

      • Noam D. Elkies says:

        Great, yet another name that’s so bleeping famous that it means zilch to me (certainly no idea of it 15-18 years after the fact).

        Meanwhile, I see in other comments that I could have replaced the even less familiar KITHAIRON by IMMODESTY (or something like MISSPOKE, changing the OINK entry to something of matching length).

        NDE

  6. Mutman says:

    I am never going to visit Joon’s farm, should he ever own one!

    • joon says:

      tiger woods graduated from stanford university, known affectionately as “the farm”. come on, even in week 1 you have to think outside the box a little bit.

  7. mitchs says:

    Joon, for a few fleeting seconds, you got me!

  8. abide says:

    And Babe has a Kevin Bacon factor of 1 (through James Cromwell).

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