Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “A. Crossword Puzzle”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up
Salutations, my solving friends! Today’s WSJ Contest puzzle asks for a well-known store. Would it be Saks, Bloomies or Macy’s, I wonder? Let’s soldier on.
Our five theme entries are again the longest entries in the across direction:
- 17a. [D.C. landmark blown up in the movie “Arlington Road”], FBI BUILDING – my virtual “ear” wants a definite article in front of that phrase
- 24a. [Dr. Julius Richmond and Dr. Antonia Novello, for two], SURGEONS GENERAL – I like how the plural of this adds an S to the first of the two words. If I were to name a surgeon general, I would come up with C. EVERETT KOOP, who, as I read on his Wikipedia page, was known as the “only surgeon general to become a household name.”
- 38a. [Spaceship Earth at Disney World, and others], GEODESIC DOMES – unfortunately its placement in the grid requires another plural, but are there others? Indeed there are. Again another name sprang quickly to mind, that g.d. inventor, BUCKMINSTER FULLER.
- 52a. [1993 novel that won the Pulitzer Prizer], THE SHIPPING NEWS – one of just a handful of books I have enjoyed so much that I’ve read twice, written by ANNIE PROULX, also of Brokeback Moutain fame.
- 61a. [1930 novel whose title comes from “Twelfth Night”], CAKES AND ALE – this I haven’t read, but see it’s by SOMERSET MAUGHAM.
So as I started to think about the names associated with each of these entries, J. EDGAR HOOVER came to mind for the FBI building. And, hey Hoover has a famous initialized first name as does Koop. Could Fuller, Maugham and Proulx have similar associations? Indeed they do, and reading top to bottom, we have J. C. R. E. and W., which spell out a store famous as well for a beginning initial, J. CREW and our meta solution. Et voilà!
Nice association between the famous names (some more famous than others for that first initial), the title (that begins with the initialized A.) and the name of the store. Well done, Matt! I also learned from the puzzle that TAOS is not only a city and county of New Mexico, but also a language. SND as an [Audio file extension] is pretty unusual in my experience, WAV’s and MP3/4a’s are much more common to me. “BUT I WAS” is also an unusual entry, clued as [“You were supposed to be” retort]. Finally, I’m not sure Matt is up on the recent fashion trend where OVERALLS can indeed be worn with a belt.