MGWCC #262

crossword 3:02
meta about 10 seconds without instructions 

hello there and welcome to episode #262 of matt gaffney’s weekly crossword contest, “Group Activity”. i attempted this week 1 puzzle without the instructions, so … i didn’t exactly know what i was looking for. here’s what i found:

  • {Source of the saying “man does not live by bread alone”} DEUTERONOMY.
  • {Oldest of French-Canadian girls born on May 28th, 1934} YVONNE DIONNE. i certainly can’t name any of the other dionne quintuplets, but i remembered this one, perhaps because it sounds silly.
  • {One of Michael’s brothers} JERMAINE JACKSON.
  • {Duluth’s body of water} LAKE SUPERIOR.
  • {It’s pointed at things} INDEX FINGER.

okay, so these are all members of famous sets of five: the torah/pentateuch, the dionne quintuplets, the jackson five, the great lakes, and the fingers. i don’t see any other connection, so i’m guessing that the answer is just the number 5. and, checking the instructions, it seems i’m right. yay. back on the horse after having a modest streak snapped last week.

fill tidbits:

  • {Astrological sign that’s also a car} TAURUS and {Another astrological sign that’s also a car} ARIES. nice touch there.
  • {Element #56} BARIUM. my son could have gotten this one with no crossings, but not me. let’s see, barium is an alkaline earth metal, so it’s in group II. 54 is krypton, a noble gas. yeah, okay. so 55 is … cesium? is that right? bingo. yay me.
  • {Zuckerman or Kondracke} apparently these are two guys named MORT i’ve never heard of.
  • {___ Arias trial (recent murder case)} JODI. i believe this marks the first time i have seen a reference to this case anywhere other than on CNN. and i have to admit, i’ve sort of waiting for this to be in a crossword, but i figured it would be more likely ARIAS than JODI in the grid.
  • {Muslim who’s been to Mecca} HAJJ. this is not my understanding of the word. i think haj/hadj/hajj just means the pilgrimage itself; the pilgrim is called a haji. no? my sympathies if you ended up with IODI arias in your grid.

how’d you all like this one?

edit: i completely forgot to mention the 5-year anniversary of MGWCC. congrats to matt and thanks for 262 fun puzzles! definitely hit up his tip jar if you have enjoyed them anywhere near as much as i have.

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17 Responses to MGWCC #262

  1. Paul Coulter says:

    Matt, congratulations on your five year anniversary! You’re right – for many of us, MGWCC has become a highlight of the week. We appreciate very much the great amount of time and effort you put into these consistently outstanding puzzles.

  2. Matt Gaffney says:

    611 right answers this week. The 5 is relevant because this week is the 5th anniversary of my crossword contest.

  3. Matt Gaffney says:

    I guess it’s not gauche to put a Tip Jar Week link here:

  4. Noam D. Elkies says:

    Yes, clearly 5 is intended, though there are various hints of 2: DEUTERO-, INDEX FINGER (2nd of 5), BARIUM (Group II), two zodiacal cars, doubled UP in 3D, and even 21A:TWA which is Scottish for “two”. (And I suppose one can find other numbers too, e.g. tripled O in 8D, and ten in 50A:OS_X.)

    The count of correct solutions seemed to be approaching 555, but Matt says 611, so about 60 solutions were not yet counted. I don’t remember: is 611 a new record?

    • Matt Gaffney says:

      no, but 646 would be

    • Evad says:

      One thing those who follow the leaderboards closely should know is that there are more correct solvers than appear in the standings as some solvers do not choose to have their nicknames appear, and only submit using their email addresses. That’s why you’ll often see a discrepancy between the number on the leaderboard and Matt’s posting here.

  5. Alex says:

    You don’t remember Mort Kondracke? You have some SNL to catch up on.

  6. Adam Allen Sr. says:

    My first MGWCC puzzle and first metapuzzle correct answer! Looking forward to more challenges, thanks Matt.

  7. Jeff G. says:

    Matt, congrats on 5 great years! I missed out on the first year, but have enjoyed every week since. It’s amazing how you always come up with something new – even on vacation ;-)

  8. Wayne says:

    Solved it with Matt’s Week 1 Enhancement Method (didn’t look at the hint).

    This meta was also gettable using the Week 1 Acceleration Method (look at the hint, but don’t look at the grid).

  9. Jeffrey K says:

    If you keep printing the answer all over your webpage my success ratio will greatly improve.

  10. I misread the clue for 31A as {Zuckerburg or (name I’ve never heard of)} and quickly wrote in MARK. DUMBDARA didn’t seem obviously wrong on first glance, but then I was very confused why MARK was in the grid with a MARK in the clue for the intersecting 23D. But since this was an easy week 1-er, I didn’t even remember to come back around and fix that error.

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