WSJ Contest – April 1, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Look What You Started!”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest - 4/1/16 - "Look What You Started!"

WSJ Contest – 4/1/16 – “Look What You Started!”

Today we are looking for a well-known company, and luckily for us, not only are the theme answers the longest across clues, they all have a year in parentheses after the clue. To wit:

  • 17a. [Scene of many jokes (1975)], PEARLY GATES – whereupon St. Peter is waiting to meet the recently deceased with some type of ledger or chronicle of one’s earthly endeavors
  • 26a. [What many people hold down (1976)], STEADY JOBS
  • 39a. [Spatula cousin (1980)], PANCAKE TURNER – how is this different than a normal spatula?
  • 54a. [Eastern balance (1994)], YIN AND YANG
  • 63a. [Son or daughter, often (1982)], PRIDE AND JOY

Solving from the bottom up, I first thought all theme entries would be joined by an AND, but ’twas not the case. Solving in that direction too made me first fear an epic meta fail, as JOY and YANG weren’t as familiar last names to me as the ones toward the top.

So who are these founders?

  • Bill GATES founded Microsoft, 1975
  • Steve JOBS founded Apple, 1976
  • Ted TURNER founded CNN, 1980
  • Jerry YANG founded Yahoo!, 1994
  • Bill JOY founded Sun Microsystems, 1982

To get another company, I figured we’d either take the first letters of their first names or of the companies they founded, and as you see above, the latter leads us to this week’s meta answer, MACY’S, founded by R. H. Macy in 1858. This particular set of founders is tantalizingly all in the software/technology field, with the exception of CNN, and they are in chronological order, except for the final one, so a couple of small demerits for those infelicities. I guess it would also have been more appropriate if these last names started their respective theme entires, but there appear to be more options with the configuration Matt chose here.

I enjoyed the mathy clue at 56a. [Mean at MIT] or GPA, as “mean” in this case refers to an arithmetic average. I hadn’t heard of [TV journalist Rita] COSBY, but glad Matt took the high road on cluing that entry. Finally, I was thinking of glass pianos, reading the clue [Piano glass], but instead we’re talking a glass you drink out of, and a TIP JAR.

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3 Responses to WSJ Contest – April 1, 2016

  1. Tony says:

    I love rereading the thene entries after grokking the meta. Gives a whole new meaning to “PANCAKE TURNER”

  2. Scott says:

    I found this puzzle to be excellent in terms of both fun and degree of difficulty.

  3. Jim Peredo says:

    All four corners in this grid are really nice, each with a minimum 6-letters in the Down direction.

    Joy was tough to figure out using Google and there was no way I would know his name, but one lucky search got me there. I already knew the meta answer at that point, but I just wanted it to be sure. Fun puzzle.

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