WSJ Contest – Friday, February 12, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


Patrick Berry’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “It Takes Two”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest - "It Takes Two" - 2/11/16

WSJ Contest – “It Takes Two” – 2/11/16

Welcome to another commentary on the weekly WSJ contest puzzle. Today, we have a very timely “It Takes Two” challenge for Valentine’s Day weekend. Let’s begin with the theme entries (made obvious with the parenthetical addition to each clue):

  • 16a. [Great modifiers? (detergents)], ALL-TIME – ALL and TIDE are detergents
  • 19a. [Intimidate (numbers)], THREATEN – THREE and TEN are numbers
  • 33a. [Not yet toilet-trained (nations)], IN DIAPERS – INDIA and PERU are nations
  • 51a. [Offensive lineman (body parts)], HALFBACK – CALF and BACK are body parts
  • 57a. [Hard to read, perhaps (colors)], BLURRED – BLUE and RED are colors

Luigi Galvani avec les cuisses de grenouille

So, in each of these pairs, one letter has to be substituted for another to complete the set. The only question that remains, is which set of letters do we use for the five-letter word we are looking for? The original letters are (in order from top to bottom) MASHR, and the substituted letters are DEUCE. Makes a heck of a lot of sense to go with the latter as it’s a word that implies two.

I found this one of the easier metas since this contest series has begun–no question which entries were the theme entries and once told the category of the pair of words “hidden” in the theme entry, they revealed themselves pretty easily to me. I preferred Patrick’s earlier contest entry to this one; not only do I prefer metas that make me work a bit harder for that AHA moment, but this one felt like something more computer-generated that inspired by creative wordplay. YMMV.

Fun entries included BIG HAIR, MAALOX and Luigi GALVANI, infamous for twitching a muscle in a frog’s leg by exciting its nerve with electricity. He also pioneered the electrochemical process used in bonding a zinc coating to metal to prevent rust, named galvanization in his honor.

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5 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, February 12, 2016

  1. TheDopeFromHope says:

    A halfback is not an offensive lineman. Or am I missing something?

    • Tony says:

      Yeah, that threw me too. Must be a soccer clue as Evad points out. As far as I know, the fullback is primarily used as a pass blocker when not used in running schemes and can line up with the OL.

  2. Evad says:

    I wondered that as well, DfH. But after my misinterpretation of Matt’s clue last week for safeties, I figured it was just me. Perhaps the clue referred to midfielders in soccer?

  3. Tony says:

    Pterty easy, especially for a Patrick Berry offering.

    When I saw the title and the instructions, I initially thought the answer would be Tango and the themes entries would have something to do with the phonetic alphabet since we were looking for a 5-letter word and not a type of dance

  4. Jim Peredo says:

    Can it be anything but coincidence that MASHR sounds like a dating app?

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