MAD Launch Contest


MAD Contest Puzzles

[1/13:  Please see UPDATE under Contest Details & Instructions at the bottom of the page.]

[2/5:  Thank you for participating in the MAD Launch Contest.  The puzzle answers are here.]

Welcome to the MAD Launch Contest page, and congratulations on making it this far.  Your ability to find this page is a good indicator that you read English, in which case you should have a shot at winning a prize.  To improve your chances, however, it will help to know a few things.

You’ll find three movie-themed puzzles below, giving you three ways to enter the contest.  Each puzzle has a final answer, and you can enter the contest by submitting the final answer for one, two, or all three puzzles.  The more correct answers you submit, the better your odds.

You’ll also find the contest instructions below, which you’ll need to follow if you hope to win a prize.  Contest submissions must be received by January 31, 2010.

Here are the three puzzles:
1.  MMX — a crossword puzzle
2.  FilmFest 101 — a puzzle that’s not a crossword puzzle
3.  Favorite Film — a “puzzle”
that’s not really a puzzle


The crossword puzzle is available in two formats:  Across Lite (.puz) and Adobe (.pdf).  Take your pick.

     MMX (.puz)
MMX (puz) 

     MMX (.pdf)
MMX (pdf)


1.  Solve the crossword puzzle.
2.  Follow the special instruction for the MMX final answer.  You can read it by highlighting the four lines below:
      Astute solvers (like you) will note that two clues in the crossword are anagrams
      of each other, with their answers, taken together, forming the title of a 1978 film
      that is consistent in a way with ten of the Across answers in the grid.  The full
      ten-letter film title is the MMX final answer.

      Or, to see the special instruction on a new page, click here.
3.  See below for contest instructions on final answer submissions.

I’d recommend following the order of the instructions as offered, though you’re welcome to solve the puzzle any way you wish.

If you need to download a free version of Across Lite or Adobe Reader, here are the links:
Across Lite — Litsoft site (v1.2) or New York Times site (v2.0) (v2.0 recommended, but either will work)
Adobe Reader — Adobe site

FilmFest 101

This puzzle is not a crossword puzzle.  There is no grid to fill in with answers.  In fact, I’ll be giving you the answers first.  That’ll make this puzzle duck soup, right?

FilmFest Program

FilmFest 101 will be presenting 100 films ranging from the early days of cinema to what’s playing now at a theater near you.  Let’s take a look at the films in the program.

10 Things I Hate About You20128 MileA Clockwork OrangeA Trip to the MoonAbsence of MaliceAmerican BeautyAnd Now... Ladies and Gentlemen...Around the World in Eighty DaysAu Revoir les Enfants
Belle de JourBeyond the ForestBigBound for GloryBraveheartBroken BlossomsCars Catch-22Cléo from 5 to 7Dancer in the Dark
Dark PassageDead Man WalkingDeep ImpactDial M for MurderDinerEaster ParadeEasy StreetEyes Without a FaceFace/OffFallen Angel
Forbidden PlanetFrost/NixonGertie the DinosaurHarlan County, U.S.A.His Girl FridayHotel RwandaHow Green Was My ValleyI'm Not ThereIn Cold BloodIntolerance
La Dolce VitaLast Year at MarienbadLawrence of ArabiaLes Enfants du ParadisLolitaMartyMaskMirageMr. ArkadinMulholland Dr.
Mystic RiverNetworkNorth by NorthwestOdd Man OutOn the BeachPattonPhiladelphiaPicnic at Hanging RockPlanes, Trains and Automobiles Prizzi's Honor
Public EnemiesPulp FictionRabbit-Proof FenceRanRandom HarvestRear WindowRepas de BébéShineSilver StreakStrangers on a Train
SupermanThe Blue AngelThe Bourne IdentityThe Curse of the Were-RabbitThe GeneralThe Great EscapeThe Great Train RobberyThe Hitch-HikerThe Hurt LockerThe Kiss
The LeopardThe ManThe Pajama GameThe Paradine CaseThe Polar ExpressThe Stratton StoryThe Tree of Wooden ClogsThe Winning TeamThe WrestlerThone of Blood
T-MenTwentieth CenturyW.WalkaboutWest Side StoryWhite HeatWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Wuthering HeightsYojimboYou're Darn Tootin'

(If fewer than ten columns display in your browser, click the upper-right button in the top banner to expand the width of the page.)

FilmFest Screening Schedule

The films in the program will be presented in a series of screenings.  Each screening will consist of at least two, but no more than five, films.  Any film may appear in one, but no more than one, screening.  If the description of the screening applies to a film, that film will be presented as part of the screening.  Let’s take a look at the screenings.

  1. Film titles with two letter M’s
  2. Films starring one-named singer-actors (includes singer-actresses)
  3. Films for which Bruce Springsteen composed and performed original songs
  4. Films in which Hitchcock cameos feature musical instruments
  5. Film titles that are names of trains
  6. Films with scenes of motorcycle crashes involving main characters
  7. Films with protagonists named McQueen
  8. Films with a color of the Irish flag in the title
  9. Films set primarily in Australia
  10. Films directed by women
  11. Films directed by men named Mann
  12. Films based (loosely) on works of Shakespeare
  13. Italian films that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes
  14. French films that won the Golden Lion at Venice
  15. Films from before 1920 in the National Film Registry
  16. Biopics about people who are namesakes of U.S. presidents
  17. Films featuring African-American presidents
  18. Films about the news biz
  19. Films with characters who get a new face through surgery
  20. Films about characters with amnesia
  21. Films with key characters who have reduplicated (i.e., repeating) names
  22. Films with key characters named Wallace
  23. Films featuring Our Gang actors in adult roles
  24. Films featuring the line “What a dump!”
  25. Films with Kevin Bacon

FilmFest Final Screening

The final screening will present those films among the 100 listed in the program that were not presented in the 25 screenings above.  The final screening has exactly one film from each of the twelve past decades of film history (the 1890s through the 2000s).  The films will be presented in reverse chronological order.

FilmFest Final Answer

There are no further instructions.  If you’ve gotten to this point, you shouldn’t need me to spell it out for you.  Congratulations!

If, however, you would still like help with the FilmFest puzzle, you can read MAD Movie Minutes during January for hints.  You’ll get a new hint every week.  (Here’s one hint to get you started:  the final answer is not listed among the 100 films in the program.)  If you’d like a one-page .pdf file listing the films in the program and the screening schedule, you’ll find it here.  Once you have the FilmFest 101 final answer, see below for contest instructions on submissions.

Favorite Film

The third “puzzle” is not a puzzle and does not require any puzzle-solving skills (and there was much rejoicing across the land).  The ability to read English, as noted, will be helpful for understanding the instructions.  Otherwise, you may need a translator (e.g., Babel Fish, Reverso, Bing, or your cousin who’s an interpreter at the U.N.; your cousin, though, may want a share of any winnings).

The final answer to the Favorite Film “puzzle” is the answer to the following question:

What is your favorite new film of 2009?

I’m interested in movies that were released last year–that is, not films from previous years (e.g., Slumdog Millionaire or Casablanca), even if you saw them for the first time in 2009.  I’m not going to quibble about exact release dates, especially for some foreign films (no English requirement here), but please be close.  If somehow you made it through all of 2009 without seeing a single new film, do not fear.  You have all January to catch up.

A few other notes:  One, I’ve asked for your “favorite” new film, which you may consider different than your choice of “best” new film.  However you want to look at it is all right with me.  Just pick one.  Two, to be clear, I’m not asking for your Oscar pick for Best Picture (we can do that some other time).  Finally, please send one film title only, not your top ten list and not multiple favorites that are tied in your mind for #1 (I’ll just use the first 2009 film you mention and that will be it).

Once you have your Favorite Film final answer (whew!), see below for contest instructions on submissions.

Contest Details & Instructions

The MAD Launch Contest is an opportunity for you not just to test your wits but to win a prize.  Here are the prizes:

Grand Prize:  $50 — one winner
Pretty Good Prize:  $25 — two winners
Maybe the Best Prize:  MAD About Movies Coffee Mug — five winners

The three puzzles in the contest are free.  The prizes, however, will be awarded to entrants who submit correct answers and pay a nominal entry fee during January.*  The entry fee is $3.50, minimum (any higher amount will be gratefully accepted as well).  It’s a single fee whether you submit answers for one, two, or all three puzzles.  That’s roughly what you’d pay your local barista to fill that new coffee mug, if you win.  Sounds to me like a good deal.  You can use the “Donate” button on the sidebar to pay via PayPal.  (Note:  The PayPal payment method is less than ideal, especially for small amounts such as this.  Maybe I’ll find a better alternative in the future, but for now it’s a solution that at least will work.  If you’d like to discuss other options, please send me an email.)

* UPDATE (1/13/10):  Please send in your entry even if you choose not to pay the contest fee (send either one, two, or three of the final answers—even if it’s only your “favorite new film of 2009”).  There will be a second, separate drawing, and you’ll be eligible for a non-cash prize.

As mentioned, your submission can be for one, two, or all three puzzles.  Either submit your final answers for one puzzle at a time (if that works for you) or all at once (preferred).  Please submit your answers via email (see below).  In the Subject line, you need to write either ONE, TWO, or THREE, the number corresponding to the number of puzzle answers you’re submitting at the time.  Please include your final answers for the respective puzzles in the body of your message, one final answer per line.  (Please, no need to “show your work.”  This is not a math test.  Final answers only.)  If  you make separate submissions for the different puzzles, please indicate that so I know to look for it.  If you make multiple submissions with different final answers for the same puzzle, I’ll accept only the last answer you submit.  If your email address for submissions is not the same as for your PayPal account, please let me know so I can tell if you’ve paid.

The number of correct final answers that you submit will determine your odds for winning a prize (provided you’ve paid the minimum entry fee).  If you submit a correct final answer for one puzzle, your name goes “in the hat” one time.  If you submit a correct final answer for two puzzles, your name goes in twice.  If you submit a correct final answer for all three puzzles, your name goes in five times.

All contest submissions and entry fees must be received by January 31, 2010 (end of day, Pacific Time).  Answers and winners will be announced the first week of February.

Your final answer submissions should be submitted in an email message:

  • Email address for submissions — contest[at]

Please use the address above for final answer submissions only.  If you have any questions or otherwise need to contact me, please use this email address:  john[at]

The Comments section is open but please, NO SPOILERS.  No discussion of any answers until after January.  Thank you.  (If your comment or question requires any mention or hints of potential answers, send me an email.)

A final word:  Your knowledge of movies will help you solve the puzzles.  Your powers of deduction will help as well.  If you get stuck on a puzzle, I’d suggest you put it aside for awhile and take another crack at it later.  That said, there are no restrictions on how to solve the puzzles (just don’t ask me for hints or answers).  Be as resourceful as you want to be.  The best research, by the way:  see a movie.

Good luck and happy puzzling!

Date Posted: 01 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 AM
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 AM
Posted By: John Farmer

Responses to this post » (14 Total)

  1. Nancy Shack says:

    I’m feeling kind of dense. How come, if you pay the submission fee and submit 3 correct puzzle answers your name goes in the hat 5 times? Is that just a bonus for getting all 3 correct? Good luck with this endeavor!

  2. John Farmer says:

    Exactly, Nancy. It’s an extra incentive for anyone providing all three answers. And thanks.

  3. Alex says:

    John —

    You can add the following lines to your .htaccess file to help Mac users download .puz files. If you don’t have a .htaccess file you can create it (in the root directory) and put this in there:

    ForceType application/octet-stream
    Header set Content-Disposition attachment

  4. Alex says:

    Grr, that didn’t come out right. Let me try it again.

    <Files *.puz>
    ForceType application/octet-stream
    Header set Content-Disposition attachment

  5. John Farmer says:

    Thanks, Alex, for the assist. I tried that and and a few other things. All seems to be working now.

    If anyone continues to have a problem opening the file on a Mac, please let me know.

  6. Peter Saputo says:

    I know you think all of the above instructions are clear, but I’m not getting it. I’ve done the Crossword (MMX) but cannot figure out how to submit the electronic version. Do I “attach” the saved file to the email? Do I make a “picture” of it and insert it in the email? Or something else? Please clarify.
    2nd: I don’t get the FilmFest instructions at all. Do I list all 25 screenings by question, with my answers? OR is the requirement to only submit the final 12 films (not included in the “screenings”) in reverse decade chronological order?
    The kicker here is: if I cannot account for all 88 other films, there is no way to construct the final 12. So far I’ve managed to account for 60 of the 88. You see my problem.
    Can anyone help? Thanks in advance.

  7. John Farmer says:

    Hi Peter,

    For the MMX Crossword, you do not need to send the entire puzzle. There is a 10-letter film title that is the “final answer” of the MMX puzzle. I’ve updated the page above to make it more clear how to read the instruction to the “final answer” for the puzzle. If you still have questions, please let me know.

    For the FilmFest puzzle, you do not need to send all the films for the 25 screenings OR the 12 films in the final screening. If you have the final 12 films listed per the instructions, the “final answer” will be something you can see looking at those 12 films. I’d like to clear up your confusion, but I’m trying not to give away too much either.

    For the record, one solver was able to identify the screening for about 60+ of the films, then was able to piece together the final answer. I was glad to hear that–it tells me the puzzle is solvable. And based on your comment, you might not be too far away.

    Solvers will be able to solve the final answer without ID’ing all 100 films. If you want to ID all 100, more power to you. All I need to see is the final answer. (There will be further hints, by the way, every week in the Movie Minutes posted on the front page.)

  8. Bob Fitzpatrick says:

    I just found this site yesterday through a link on Rex Parker’s NYT Puzzle blog.

    I love these puzzles! The crossword is A+. Who constructed it?

    I was not 100% accurate on the entire Film Fest list, but was still able to wrangle an answer that I’m 100% sure is right.

    Keep up the good work, John. Old retired guys need the mental stimulation.

  9. John Farmer says:

    Thank you, Bob. The puzzles were a collaborative effort of the entire MAD staff…which is…me. That said, I did have some other people look at them just to ensure they were solvable and accurate. Answers are coming in, and that’s a good thing. Glad you enjoyed the puzzles.

  10. […] contest puzzles for his new “Minute a Day About Movies” Web site. They can be found here (contest deadline: January 31). The site also has a regular puzzle […]

  11. Sarchi says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing with us this very useful information, I really appreciate

  12. […] website called MAD About Movies. January features a three-crossword contest you can enter here. I solved the first one and it was a lot of […]

  13. dmplctpho says:

    jumjibxch eczqt loycixi foko rzvhkfjpcpfbvhn

  14. Super Ketone Plus Review…

    Minute A Day About Movies » MAD Launch Contest…

Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

 Last 50 Posts
Change Theme...
  • Users » 1
  • Posts/Pages » 331
  • Comments » 576
Change Theme...
  • VoidVoid « Default
  • LifeLife
  • EarthEarth
  • WindWind
  • WaterWater
  • FireFire
  • LightLight