Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “What Should I Be?”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upThis week we’re in search of a six-letter answer to the title question. Almost immediately, I thought the letter I would be critical to solving this meta and was hoping to find only six in the grid. There was no obvious thematic material in the grid otherwise, so here are the entries that contained one of those six I’s in numerical across order:
- 8a. [Less trusting], WARIER crossing 11d. [Paul Simon’s “___ Rock”], I AM A – WARMER AND MAMA clearly superior fill here (so as to avoid the partial)
- 17a. [Costs for smokers and drinkers], SIN TAXES crossing 2d. [Speaker’s platform], DAIS – SYNTAXES and DAYS would arguably be less obscure choices here
- 31a. [Calm confidence], POISE crossing 32d. [“Rumor has it…”], I HEAR – POSSE crossing SHEAR also avoids a partial in the fill
- 39a. [Much-maligned], REVILED crossing 36d. [Exertions], DINTS – REVELED / DENTS, I actually like REVILED better but DINTS is an awkward plural
- 66a. [Hundredths of the Egyptian pound], PIASTERS crossing 41d. [Be a no-show in court], JUMP BAIL – PLASTERS would be much better, JUMP BAIL vs. JUMP BALL is a tossup in my court
- 67a. [Stood by], WAITED crossing 54d. [LL Cool J’s “Going Back to ___”], CALI – CALF and WAFTED seem to be another tossup to me, unless one thinks populous Colombian cities are obscure as fill
Take those substituted letters in order, and I “can be” MYSELF, which indeed it can be when referring to me as the object of a verb or preposition.
I found this a bit easy on the typical WSJ contest scale of late, but that’s ok as I’m in the middle of a pretty busy weekend. I enjoyed seeing an old friend ARLENE Francis of “What’s My Line?” fame, it’s one of the earliest shows I remember watching from my childhood. SHOOT POOL, DUDE RANCH and SKEWERED were other fill entries that needed no substitutions to improve.