Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Continental Drift”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upWelcome back from a two-week holiday hiatus to the weekly Wall Street Journal crossword contest. Biweekly constructor Matt Gaffney is up again and he’s offering us a geographical meta this week. We are asked to name a proper noun, which could be pretty much anything, so let’s see where the theme entries (instructions) lead us.
- 17a. [To get the contest answer, start with one of these], BIG CITY IN AFRICA – with the Y in place, I threw in COUNTRY. Given that (as we’ll see later on, *SPOILER ALERT*), he’s going for a capitol city, I wonder why the seven-letter CAPITAL (corrected, thanks Amy!) wasn’t used here instead. Would that have given too much away?
- 25a. [Then do this to your result from 17-Across], CHANGE ONE LETTER – funny how instruction puzzles all tend toward 15-letter entries; I guess since there’s so much latitude in how one describes an instruction step, constructors aim for the longest entries possible.
- 41a. [Then do this to your result from 25-Across], TURN IT BACKWARDS
- 53a. [Now you have the answer, one of these, and without leaving the continent in 17-Across], NATIONAL DEMONYM – from the Greek dẽmos, or tribe, a “demonym” is what a group of people call themselves, taken from the name of where they live, such as Cantabrigians or Cardiffians.
Until next week!