WSJ Contest – Friday, June 3, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


Peter Gordon’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Secret Ingredients”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

wsj0603 This week we are looking for a three-letter food. Yam, egg and pea come to mind, are there others? Let’s dive in and see.

Three theme entries are conveniently starred (I guess to helpfully exclude the 9- and 10-letter across entries):

  • 20a. [*He speaks the first and last lines in “Measure for Measure”], DUKE VINCENTIO – his last line is “So, bring us to our palace; where we’ll show / What’s yet behind, that’s meet you all should know.”
  • 31a. [*First woman to host “Saturday Night Live”], CANDICE BERGEN – I did not know that. I also wanted to spell her first name with an A instead of an I, but am glad I corrected that before I started diving into the meta!
  • 50a. [*1999 All-Star Game MVP], PEDRO MARTINEZ – his second year on the Sox squad.

Really a BLT+M+B

So 3 theme entries and a three-letter food put me in the mind of each entry contributing one letter to the food. The ICEBERG in Candice’s name was the first to jump out at me, could there be other “secret ingredients” lurking in the other two entries? ROMA was next (in Pedro’s name), but this bothered me a bit as it was just a type of tomato, not the whole name. (But as I thought more on this, iceberg is a type of lettuce in the same way.) So is there a food item that has lettuce and tomato and one other ingredient? Well how about a BLT? That means that BACON (or a type of bacon if consistent with the other 2 entries) must be hiding in the first theme entry.

Looking closer at DUKE VINCENTIO, I didn’t see the word bacon, or even a type of bacon (such as pancetta or prosciutto?), but I did notice the name KEVIN spanning the two words. And if we broadened the theme to say these “ingredients” are words (or names, in this case) that can precede B, L and T, we have our meta answer.

This meta really put a smile on my face–it’s a bit wacky, but completely inferable. I really enjoy metas like this one that have a bit of a twist that is unexpected. Three theme entries also allowed Peter to show off his constructing skills, with longer entries like IGUANODONS (a picture of this herbivore is here), SENIORITIS, ESPN ZONE and OPIUM DEN. Clues like [Business stat?] for ASAP and [Drop-dead ugly woman?] for MEDUSA added to the fun. My only small quibble is with the clue [Like partial mortgage payments] for UNAPPLIED–I thought that one way to reduce a mortgage’s principal balance more quickly is to make semimonthly payments, which obviously must be applied when paid if they are to be of any benefit.

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1 Response to WSJ Contest – Friday, June 3, 2016

  1. Scott says:

    Got the grid quickly but no idea about the meta. Looked at it later and the keywords jumped out at me and I solved it. Nice puzzle. I am going to eat BLT sandwiches this week!

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