WSJ Contest – November 27, 2015

untimed (Evad) 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “You Better Shop Around”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest - "You Better Shop Around" - 11/27/15

WSJ Contest – “You Better Shop Around” – 11/27/15

If you’re already tired of the commercialism on conspicuous display for the holidays, this puzzle ain’t gonna help! We’re asked for well-known company. At first glance, only one potential theme entry seems evident:

  • 31a. [Neighborhood business, or a hint to finding the contest answer], CORNER STORE

Funny digression here, until I was well into adult-hood, I thought the phrase was “next store” instead of “next door” when referring to your neighbor. (When telling a friend this, her malapropism was “doggie dog world” for “dog eat dog world.”) Back to the puzzle, taking this “hint” literally, I started to look for one or more stores lurking in the corners. Sure enough there were four common letters in each of the 2×2 corners of this one:

  • EASTER and KIMONO crossed by EKBERG and AIRS AT (the latter with the somewhat tortured clue [Fills the time slot of, as a TV show]
  • PAD THAI and ONE WEEK (the latter clued with the interesting trivia fact: [Barenaked Ladies hit, or how long it topped the charts in 1998] crossing AEROBES and IKEBANA
  • PULASKI and SNOW PEA (the former featuring a bit of geographic trivia, [County in seven states, named for a Revolutionary War hero] crossing KEEP HOT and I ASSUME
  • And finally, Mayim BIALIK and SUNDAE crossing CRANIA and STROKE

So the four common letters were IKEA, which indeed is a company well-known for Scandinavian inspired build-it-yourself furniture with often frustrating instructions. Not much else to add on this one–I struggled with just one crossing: the I shared by [America’s second-largest labor org.] for SEIU (I see here, it stands for Service Employees International Union) and Mayim BIALIK (someone I recognize, but not by name). See y’all next week!

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7 Responses to WSJ Contest – November 27, 2015

  1. Scott says:

    Quick riddle. Why is IKEA like Matt’s cat OTIS?

  2. Scott says:

    Correct, Evad. IKEA and OTIS are both curled up in the corner.

  3. Tony says:

    I learned something from this puzzle. Never knew that counties & roads named PULASKI were for a revolutionary war hero. Growing up in Howard County, MD (considered by many as part of the Greater Baltimore Metro area), I would frequently drive on Pulaski Highway, which is a portion of US 40 just east of Baltimore.

  4. KJ says:

    Anyone have any idea how many entries/how many correct answers these WSJ contests elicit?

    • Nancy says:

      They publish it in the Friday Puzzle Comments on their own website:

      Here, for example, are this past Friday’s data:
      12:09 pm November 30, 2015
      Mike Miller, WSJ wrote:
      Contest Report:

      A torrent of entries during this holiday weekend, 930 in all.
      About 90% were correct. Wrong guesses include: Bodegas, Bakery, Walgreen’s, Cargill, McDonalds, Fannie Farmer, Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, Kia (so close!), Harrod’s, Macy’s, Nestle, 7-11, Banana Republic, Sears, Domino’s, Baskin-Robbins, Microsoft, K Mart (a few of those), Woolworth’s, Starbucks, Costco, Barnes & Noble, Circle K (nice idea), and Empire Crane. We can figure out how you get to Kia, K-Mart and Circle K, but the trail that led to the others is less clear. A meta-meta puzzle for you: where do all those other answers come from?

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