MGWCC #271

Crossword 2:30
Meta -2:29 

MGWCC #271

Hi all! Welcome to Episode #271 of Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest. You’ll notice that there are some capitalized words in this post, and that’s because it’s Andy here, filling in for joon for the next two weeks. It’s the second week of August, but because last month (Guest Constructor Month) ran a week long, this is Week 1 of 4 in “August.” Matt’s back at the helm with a puzzle called “The Need for Speed,” and this week he’s asked us for a famous crossword tournament. Seems like a sufficiently Week-1-esque challenge, no?

There are 6 long, silly phrases in the grid:

•    {Person who writes an online review for every single restaurant they dine at?} is a YELP ZEALOT.
•    {Discipline that deals with questions like: “What is the sound of one dandruff flake falling?”} is SCALP ZEN.
•    {Home for young animals only?} is a WHELP ZOO.
•    {Shavings scraped from seaweed} are KELP ZEST.
•    {Chug down a clear alcoholic drink?} is to GULP ZIMA.
•    {Standard, poorly-described character in apocalyptic novels?} is a PULP ZOMBIE.

What do they all have in common? I first noticed the Z in every entry. And, hey, look! There’s a P before all the Zs. And there’s an L before all the Ps! Which means that each theme entry has the consecutive sequence of letters LPZ. It’s no coincidence that this puzzle was posted on the eve of a major crossword tournament, and puzzlers in the know will recognize LPZ as a standard abbreviation for LOLLAPUZZOOLA, this week’s meta answer. Even if you’d never seen the abbreviation LPZ, I’m guessing most people inferred that it had something to do with Lollapuzzoola, especially given the timing of the puzzle. And if you’d never heard of Lollapuzzoola, then you might have been out of luck. But, also, if you haven’t heard of Lollapuzzoola, then you haven’t been reading enough of this blog (joon, Amy, and I all mentioned it last week)!

I thought this was an easy meta, even for a Week 1. The field of possible candidates for a “major crossword tournament” is pretty slim (though googling “LPZ” isn’t particularly helpful), but I’d still guess that a lot of people (over 500, tentatively) are going to submit a correct answer this week. Not a lot to say about the theme, other than that it’s well executed. The phrases are goofy and nonsensical across the board, which I liked, especially given that there’s not much you can do with “LPZ.” What’s more, we get six theme entries and the fill is still smooth. What did you all think?

See you next week!

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12 Responses to MGWCC #271

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks, Andy. 532 correct entries this week.

    It was great meeting/seeing so many solvers at LPZ6! Nothing will keep me away from LPZ7.

  2. Jeff G. says:

    I had a pretty good idea of the answer after reading the instructions, but haven’t seen it referred to by LPZ. Just happened to see Matt’s tweet “on my way 2 NYC 4 LPZ 6″ and all guesswork was eliminated. Maybe we’ll see 7 theme answers around this time next year! Well done Matt!

  3. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    After I had submitted Lollapuzzoola as the answer, I had a slight twinge at the second thought that there were indeed six theme answers, leading to the possibility that the desired answer was “Lollapuzzoola 6″.

    Fortunately, with the recent (?) redesign of the MGWCC site, I could see that my answer had been accepted.

    And it was indeed great fun at LP6!

    • Norm says:

      Had exactly the same thought re L…6 and the 6 theme answers, but Matt asked for “a” tournament, not a specific one, so I figured it was safe to go “generic.”

  4. Jonesy says:

    maybe googling LPZ isn’t very helpful but googling lpz crossword or lpz crossword tournament each have lollapuzzoola in the top 3 results (prior to this post it was in the top 2)… helps to add the answer category!

  5. Jeffrey K says:

    Jeffrey’s Rule in effect today: The number of meta comments is inversely proportional to the meta’s difficulty.

  6. Brian Cimmet says:

    I think Matt’s meta officialized LPZ as our abbreviation. I never cared for LP — it’s already a thing, and besides, I like three-letter codes.

    Thanks, Matt!

  7. Jeff says:

    Oops, I forgot to do this last Friday because I was busy going to (and hosting the weekend of) Lollapuzzoola!

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