Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Grinning from Ear to Ear”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upThis week we’re looking for two non-theme answers in the grid that could be combined to make a fifth theme entry.. So what are the first four theme entries you ask? They are our longest across entires and clued with question marks:
- 17A. [Gathering with seminars like “Oasis Etiquette”?], CAMEL CONVENTION – would one of the breakout sessions be “Do Bactrian camels have to get through Thursday of a work week to feel relief?”
- 28A. [How much more you sold that marionette for than it cost to build?], PUPPET PROFIT – whenever you see “marionette” in a clue, the much more common term puppet must be in the entry.
- 45A. [Song like “Ode to My Swiss Army Knife?”], GADGET BALLAD
- 58A. [Promotional literature in an ancient Roman showroom?], CHARIOT PAMPHLET
With a nudge from the title, it’s pretty clear that all of these words can be appended with the suffix -EER to make a new word. (Cameleer and gadgeteer were the ones I was least sure of.) So we were left with the task of finding two other entries in the grid that one could add this same suffix to, and we find them symmetrically placed at 9 Across, MUSKET and 66 Across, SLOGAN. I think “musket slogan” parses a bit better than “slogan musket” so I submitted the former. I also added the clue [It keeps you going when the British are coming]. Not sure if the addition of a clue might get me a leg up on the weekly mug prize, but it can’t hurt.
Pretty wide open grid, the symmetric NEVADAN and MIAMIAN had me a bit befuddled as I was beginning my meta hunt. Not sure I like the plural form of VINOS for [Trattoria drinks], as I think of wine as a collective noun and one wouldn’t say we had “wines” at lunch (unless you’re like us and one wants white and the other red, so we end up buying two bottles). And an EELPOT just sounds gross.