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