WSJ Contest – Friday, June 24, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Double Features”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest - 6/24/16 - "Double Features"

WSJ Contest – 6/24/16 – “Double Features”

This week we are looking for a celebrity chef who would have made a good sixth theme entry. So I guess we have five theme entries to find in the puzzle. Not only are they the longest across entries, they are all wackily clued (with questions marks):

  • 17a. [Refused to look at the person in the mirror?], IGNORED YOURELF
  • 23a. [Result of leaving your eel in the oven too long?], CRISPY MORAY – sounds disgusting
  • 37a. [Person who fired arrows at the Apache?], CHICKASAW ARCHER – so are the Apache and Chickasaw warring tribes?
  • 52a. [Sound made when dropping an old movie player?], BETAMAX THUD – this one (and the indian tribes above) led me to think that the “double feature” we were looking for were things in competition, like VHS here.
  • 61a. [The happiest boat in the marina?], ELATED CATAMARAN

So despite my first thought about groups in competition, it became quickly clear that the “features” we were looking for were movie names, and, specifically three-letter movie names which ended each word of the two-word theme entries. (Frankly, I didn’t realize how many of these there were; I guess the Hud of THUD was the first that gave the gimmick away.)

So what celebrity chef has a first and last-name that ends with three letter movie names? Why, it’s MARIO BATALI, who is a pretty famous chef I would think most WSJ solvers would be familiar with. Excellent find, Matt!

THE IRISH, RECOOK (I’d use reheat here) and SPRAY AT seem a bit unusual as fill, but with five theme entries, I’ll give them a pass. I enjoyed seeing PHOTON clued as [Particle with no mass] as it reminded me of my partner in meta-blogging crime, Joon Pahk, who teaches Physics at Harvard. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!

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15 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, June 24, 2016

  1. JohnH says:

    This is so far out there in obscure territory. Even with the red highlighting, much less staring at the puzzle alone not knowing where to look and what to look for, I don’t recognize most of these. RED makes me think of “Reds,” which I did see (and admired). MAX makes me think, wasn’t there a “Mad Max,” but “Max”? HUD I recognize (but never saw), and RAN is a masterpiece. Oh, and ELF does ring a bell, although I don’t see children’s movies. But after that, forget it.

  2. Glenn says:

    >This is so far out there in obscure territory.


    • Matt Gaffney says:

      Come on, be real — ALI, RAY, ELF, RAN, HER…? These are anything but obscure. If you can’t use movies of this level in metas then you can’t use any movies at all. And you don’t need to know all 10, just enough to see the pattern.

  3. Abide says:

    I live in Chickasaw country, and to hit an Apache that arrow must have an ICBM attached. The Choctaws and French felt most of their sting.

    John, I had heard of all of those except MAX and SPY. Ray and Her were Oscar nominated.If you look at box office numbers , you may be the one living in obscuria. I know, not your cup of popcorn…

    • JohnH says:

      You know, I did see HER. (I’m a Spike J. fan.) I don’t recall the biopic at all, though, or the others I referred to. (Just looked up SAW, not familiar at all, on Meta-Critic, where it gets a 46, which is tantamount to worst movie of all time.)

      • Matt Gaffney says:

        No it’s not tantamount to that at all.

        And it has almost 300,000 votes at IMDb and made over $100 million at the US box office and had a bunch of sequels.

  4. Pete Muller says:

    This one stumped me.

    While some of the movies may be unfamiliar, enough are well known (ELF, HER, TED, RAN, SAW, …) to make it completely fair.

    While it is frustrating to work on a meta for a while and not get it (grrrrr), I’m still giving Matt 4 stars.

    Good puzzle!

  5. Scott says:

    Hold on! I submitted GORDON RAMSAY. The movie Don was a 2006 film. The movie SAY is an upcoming 2018 movie. This answer is also correct.

    • Amy L says:

      I thought of that too but it was way too obscure, so I looked some more. Mario Batali is actually two movies I’ve heard of without having to use IMDB.

  6. stephen jeffers says:

    I got the the theme right away although I agree about the obscurity.
    More to the point I saw CHE in ARCHER before I saw HER and my celebrity chef list gave me GIAta di LauRENTis
    So pleased I got it that I didnt go further

  7. Jim Schooler says:

    I noticed the ends of the theme answers and didn’t consider the title (Double Feature), saw Mario Batali on my list of celebrity chefs, but also saw Ina GarTEN. Head slap. Great puzzle, great meta!

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