Marie Kelly’s (Really Mike) Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Chasing a Pitch”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upWith the opening day of the Major League Baseball season earlier in the week, we appropriately are looking for a Major League Baseball team in today’s WSJ Contest puzzle. The tricky part of this one is to make sure we identify all the thematic material. The obvious clues to the meta are the four longest across entries:
- 20a. [Kickboxing and kendo], COMBAT SPORTS
- 33a. [Armada action], SEA BATTLE
- 40a. [Three-under-par score on a hole], ALBATROSS – a term new to me, I’d only heard this referred to as a “double-eagle” in the past
- 51a. [Majorette, at times], BATON TWIRLER
There are a couple lovely 11-letter downs, Y CHROMOSOME and CLANDESTINE, which I held in reserve if looking for a bit more theme material. Then I noticed 66a. [Home appearances, or where to look for the contest answer], AT BATS. Hmmm, there sure are a lot of bats out there, aren’t there? What would it mean to find something “at” them? Well, how about the letter(s) that follow them in each theme entry? That gives us STRO for the four above, which leads one either to a brand of beer, or the Houston ASTROS baseball team.
Since I was a couple letters shy of the latter, I looked for the missing two theme entries. I found the first symmetrically placed to this final clue at 1a. [Site of fighting in early 1942], BATAAN. This gave me that leading A I was looking for. Then to find the final S, I noticed that that final entry also had the word BAT in it and was followed by the S I was looking for. So six theme entries in all, a six-letter team, each letter following the string BAT in those entries. Eureka!
Some other more or less interesting thoughts:
- Funny that 17a. [“Think nothing of it”], DE NADA, had no cue that the answer was in a different language. Do folks say that in common English parlance?
- Nice collection of baseball clues with [World Baseball Class uniform letters] for USA, catcher-cum-spy MOE Berg, [Ballpark quaff] for BEER, and finally, the numbers for Tommy Lasorda (TWO), Phil Rizzuto (TEN) and Pee Wee Reese (ONE). In fact, there were so many of these I thought they might have meta import, but no.
- I wonder if DOES IT for [Words after that and easy] qualifies a 6-letter partial? Does it?