MGWCC #560 — Sunday, February 24th, 2019 — “Let’s Go Back to Your Place”

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of January 2015 MGWCC is a subscribers-only crossword. The cost is $26 per year, and you can subscribe (or get a free trial month first) here:


Title: “Island Time”
Instructions: This week’s contest answer is a well-known island.

The words didn’t fit, as solvers of last week’s puzzle noticed early on. That’s because creeping around the edges of the grid were four islands formed by grid entries extending out one letter to form them. So at 22-A we had [Company with amusing ads” for EICO, and you had to write a G to left of the grid to form GEICO. See all of these projections in the solution grid at top, provided by solver Andy Keller.

The four islands formed (in the proper geographical direction!) from four countries. Proceeding clockwise:

1-A [Country on the Caribbean Sea] = VENEZUELA, with ST. LUCIA off its northern coast
31-D [Country on the Atlantic Ocean] = AMERICA, with NANTUCKET off its eastern coast
74-A [Country on the Pacific Ocean] = AUSTRALIA, with TASMANIA off its southern coast
22-D [Country on the Baltic Sea] = ESTONIA, with GOTLAND off its western coast

The trick was: two letters are missing from each island, which are the two not used to clue the grid entry (they’re emboldened above). So you don’t need the S in TASMANIA for the answer B-MINUS, for example, or the A in GOTLAND to spell NAS. Those eight unused letters, moving clockwise around the grid, spell ATLANTIS.

422 solvers got it, which is about perfect for a Week 2 of 4. But many didn’t like the ratty fill necessitated by the ambitious theme, and which made parsing out the islands tricky for some. SNEE/VIK/ZECH in the upper-left was particularly tricky, and some were not familiar with the German letter Ü being called “U-UMLAUT,” which caused problems up there as well. These solvers had UMLAUT as the answer to the clue at 6-D [First vowel in Düsseldorf or Tübingen] and thought that was enough, but the umlaut is the dots themselves, not the letter.

This week’s winner, whose name was chosen at random from the 422 correct entries received, is A.S. of New York state. In addition to a MGWCC pen, pencil, and notepad set, A.S. will also receive a signed copy of my book Fast & Fun Mini Crosswords.


NOTE: Due to its late publication, the deadline for MGWCC #560 will be 3:00 PM ET on Thursday, February 28th. And it’s not quite a Week 4 (maybe a 2.5, I’d say) since I had an extremely busy week and wasn’t able to make my Week 4 idea work as well as I wanted it to, so I’m going to save it for next month…which is a five-weeker, so gloat while you can!

This week’s contest answer is a two-syllable adjective.

Solve well, and be not led astray by words intended to deceive.

MGWCC #560 — Sunday, February 24th, 2019 — “Let’s Go Back to Your Place”