WSJ Contest – Friday, August 26, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “My Treat!”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest - 8/26/16 - "My Treat"

WSJ Contest – 8/26/16 – “My Treat!”

So today we’re looking for a tasty treat – hard to think of a dessert item that is universally considered “tasty,” but I’m game!

Unusual grid design, with lots of black squares (I count 44) limiting the lengths of the puzzle entries; only two are long enough to be traditionally considered as theme material:

  • 18a. [Hue tongue], VIETNAMESE – nice misdirection with the ability to hide that trailing accent on Huế. I’m not familiar with Vietnamese diacriticals, extra points for a commenter who can fill us in on the various flavors of them and what they sound like. (Note 4d.’s clue for CEDILLA as well!)
  • 59a. [They’re used to track work], TIMESHEETS – no argument there.

But, looking more carefully, one finds at least one other potential theme entry in the center position:

  • 38a. [“My treat!”], IT’S ON ME – the clue shares the same phrase as the title, so this is significant.


This same constructor created a similar puzzle back in December called “Step On It!”, so here I started searching for ME sequences and looking at the letters that were above (“on”) them. If you read in sequence the letters highlighted in the picture of the grid above, you get ICE CREAM SUNDAE, which I find tasty, but perhaps not to those who are lactose intolerant. (Do they make tofutti sundaes?)

Cute idea, but that sense of déjà vu bothered me a bit during the solve. Funny to find homophones BEA and BEE in adjoining across entries, and I wonder if a MOVER actually “leads the pack”? Doesn’t the packing happen before he/she arrives? A couple of opportunities to learn about female animals–a HEN is a distaff pheasant and a female gerbil is called a DOE. My favorite clue has to be at 12d. [Bridge position] for NOSE. Nice misdirection there!

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3 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, August 26, 2016

  1. Bob Kerfuffle says:

    My understanding of MOVER was that as in the expression “Movers and shakers,” a mover would be someone in a leadership position.

  2. DRC says:

    Mover – as in moving from one location to another – i.e. requiring packing

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