Marie Kelly’s (Really Mike) Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Egg Hunt”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up
With Easter this weekend, we have a timely meta to solve as we go on our very own egg hunt. And as we look for eggs, we should also keep our eye out for a seven-letter name of a bird. So where are these eggs? They’re in seven across clues:
- 17a. [When many eggspensive ads run], SUPERBOWL SUNDAY
- 22a. [Big eggsporter of diamonds], BOTSWANA
- 30a. [Home of Travelocity and Eggspedia], INTERNET – could’ve been ERNE, but more on that later
- 35a. [Eggsamining thoroughly], PROBING –
- 48a. [Eggsotic bloom], HIBISCUS
- 52a. [Third party in a real estate eggschange], ESCROWEE – probably the entry that got most solvers on the meta trail (it did for me)
- 57a. [Profit at another’s eggspense], FEATHER ONE’S NEST – a nice entry that continues the avian theme
It can’t be an eggstraneous coincidence that there are seven egg clues and we’re looking for a seven-letter bird, so I assumed that each entry would contribute one letter to the meta answer. But which letter? This constructor has already had a meta where the one letter that was doubled in book titles was used, but these entries don’t share that feature.Looking again at that one entry that seemed rather unusual, ESCROWEE, I noticed a bird hiding inside, CROW. Would I find birds hiding within the other entries as well? Sure enough, I found the others highlighted in red above. Once I had seven birds, though, how would I get yet another bird? Well, list them in a column:
TERN (not ERNE)
Reading the first letter of each of these from top to bottom leads us that “eggstra” bird: OSTRICH. Hope you didn’t put your head in the ground on this one!
Let’s eggsamine a few of the other clues and entries:
- Funny to find a six-letter partial at 29A, [Have ___], A HEART. This bird wouldn’t fly in the Gray Lady.
- Nice misdirection at 65A, [Pitcher’s goal], which had nothing to do with baseball, but instead with advertising or a SALE.
- Interesting way to clue that old French chestnut ÊTRE, [Start of le monologue d’Hamlet].
- I’ve never heard of eight-pack ABS, I’m still trying to develop six of mine.
- I had PEERED before PET SAT for [Watched a pair of boxers, say] thinking pruriently of BVD’s instead of dogs, I guess.
- Not a fan of REWRAP, I would’ve eggstirpated this entry if possible.
Fun Easter puzzle and meta! Thanks Dave.