WSJ Contest – Friday, January 29, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


Todd McClary’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Here on the Map”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest - "Here on the Map" - 1/29/16

WSJ Contest – “Here on the Map” – 1/29/16

Matt Gaffney has the week off, and constructor Todd McClary is up, not only with this week’s WSJ contest puzzle, but also another fine (but *SPOILER ALERT* trivial?) one with Peter Gordon over at Fireball Crosswords. This one asks for a type of geographical feature, so let’s see (or *SPOILER ALERT* hear?) what crumbs may lead us to the solution.

The puzzle offers three “examples” (two with two entries and one with three entries) and three “locations”. The examples are:

  • 1a. [Service seat], PEW + 65a. [Speedy transport], JET – the latter entry had me first thinking of Boeing, which is a famous employer located in Washington State (see locations below)
  • 4a. [Breather], LUNG + 29d. [Congressional divider], AISLE + 63a. [Act the shark], LEND
  • 8a. [Big name in sauce mixes], KNORR + 63a. [1,000 kilograms], TONNE

The three associated locations are:


Well, after my Boeing thought didn’t go very far (I mean could Knorr be based in Alaska?), I thought all of these locations have a coast on an ocean. Looking at a map of Washington state, I noticed Puget Sound, a famous inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Hmmm…Puget sounds a lot like PEW + JET, doesn’t it? Would the others work that way?

LUNG + AISLE + LEND sounds something like Long Island, which indeed is on the Eastern Seaboard, and KNORR + TONNE leads us to Norton Sound, an inlet of the Bering Sea. These are all sounds (and not only that, one has to “sound” them out to get their reference), so we have our meta solution, sound, which is a geographical feature.

The only thing left for me (other than to sit in wonder and admiration with the appropriateness of “sounding out” words that name sounds) was to figure out the title reference, which I now think refers to the homophone “hear” for “here,” since, in essence, we have to “hear” on the map to get the meta solution. Bravo!

I invented gangsta rap!

The rest of the puzzle had its trouble spots for me, most notably having ARAL for ALAI, the Kyrgyzstan mountain range, and the adjoining TRÈS for C’EST that completes the phrase [“___ magnifique!”]. Speaking of words of a French origin, our MELEE comes from the French mêlée, “to mix” (it up). Gangster Meyer LANSKY is a new name to me (who likely saw his share of melees), that I’m sure I’ll promptly forget minutes after posting this blog entry. Acronym ISS is a bit unusual, I never saw “Galaxy” so I had no idea that the International Space Station was destroyed in it. Finally I enjoyed seeing the newish BURJ Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, found in Dubai, UAE. (Was this the building that had a spectacular fire recently?)

As for the puzzle, I’ll repeat, c’est magnifique!

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1 Response to WSJ Contest – Friday, January 29, 2016

  1. Scott says:

    I found this to be a pretty good puzzle. Took me a while to get the meta. All in all, very enjoyable.

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