February 24, 2009


crossword 6:18
puzzle 9:56

well, well, what have we here? it's the 38th edition of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest! this week's contest, "Click for Puzzle," featured a not-too-tough crossword and then a doozy of a metapuzzle.

let's start with the crossword: the four-part instructions in the grid helpfully tell us: TO GET THIS WEEK'S / ANSWER WORD / JUST LOCATE / THE MISSING LINK. combined with the title, i was immediately thinking about hyperlinks. since you can't put hyperlinks into across lite files (or paper printouts), i figured there was some sort of easter-eggish link on matt's actual blog. so the first thing i did was scour the text of the blog post to find a hidden hyperlink; no luck. i even clicked on every actual link, to make sure it didn't take me somewhere surprising (à la rickrolling). nope; they're all legit. then i saved the HTML source file for the post and went over it with a fine-toothed virtual comb: nothing.

next step: re-read the contest instructions: This week's contest answer word is a five-letter surname. okay, so maybe i should look at that list of surnames over on the blogroll. hmm, several of these are five letters. maybe i should click them all to see if they go somewhere unexpected? nope. estes, hamel, jones, klahn, longo, payne, shenk. all legit. what's going on?

let's look at that list of names one more time. i know almost all of these constructors. patrick berry, joe dipietro, harvey estes, etc. is there somebody new on the list just for this week? wait one second, what's this nestled in here between patrick merrell and stan newman? missing! this, literally, is the "missing link" (really, the "missing" link) from the grid instructions. i dutifully clicked it (the title did tell me to "click for puzzle") and got... another puzzle. here it is (i'll save you the trouble of clicking back to matt's page). the instructions there read:

To get this week's contest answer word, solve this:

Take one of the surnames under 'Crossword Links' at MGWCC. Add a letter to the beginning of it and you get the medical term for a part of the human anatomy.

Take a second surname from that list, add two letters to the beginning of it, and you get a slang term for that same part of the human anatomy.

This SECOND name, which is five letters long, is this week's contest answer word.

Good luck, and I hope you had a ball with this week's contest!

well, i started at the top and looked for a name that could take a letter at the beginning. didn't take me long to find harvey estes, who can take a T to form... yes, TESTES. crude, but they are a part of the human anatomy. (or at least, my anatomy. amy's, not so much.) are there slang terms for those? i'd say yes. let's look at the 5-letter names in the list again: matt jones can take CO to become COJONES. ding ding ding! he's our winner. and yes, i "had a ball with this week's contest." quite the treasure hunt.

oh yeah, the crossword. i didn't think it was as tough as last week's, but a big part of that was the fact that i could fill in big chunks of the "theme" based on logical guesses; TO GET THIS WEEK'S / ANSWER WORD came pretty quickly. the bottom half was slower, but i got through it. notable stuff from the fill:

  • MITT romney [ran against Ron, John, and Mike in 2008]. i'm glad rudy didn't make it into the clue. can he really be said to have run? did he ever actually get around to campaigning anywhere?
  • unrelated to republican presidential candidates, THE DOLE is [Government handouts]. great fill there.
  • [Got] is PRANKED. very tough clue.
  • speaking of PRANKED, [Covers in Charmin, as a house] is TPS. this takes me back to my middle-school days, even though i've TPed just as many houses since middle school (that is, zero).
  • the toughest part of the grid was the lower right, with just-barely-familiar asian names NOBU matsuhisa and bao DAI mixing it up with KIKI someone and rather unspecific clues for MOLOKAI and ST SIMON. on the bright side, i did enjoy the clue for LOL: ["u r fun-e"]. but no EMO this week.
  • retro technology clue of the week: [A, C, and D, but not B] is DRIVES, as in disk DRIVES on a PC. i remember when computers had A drives, for floppy disks. i even remember when we had a PC with two floppy drives, and yes, the second one was indeed called B.

that's all from me this week. see you next time.