WSJ Contest – Friday, September 16, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


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


WSJ Contest – 9/16/16 – “Title Search”

Today we have rather long instructions for our meta solution: a common three-word phrase (consisting of three of the puzzle’s Across answers) that would make a good title for this puzzle. There can’t be that many common three-word phrases made up of the non-themed Across answers, so I’m hopeful this will be one of our easier contest puzzles. (Good thing, as I’m participating in the Killington Spartan Beast Challenge this weekend!)

Seems as if we have four theme answers to guide us on our way:

  • 17a. [Geology’s domain], SOLID EARTH, I’m likely to run into a lot of the non-solid variety of earth this weekend as the forecast is for rain on Sunday!
  • 52a. [Athletic conference for Howard University], MIDEASTERN, I believe Howard is an African-American college in DC, but not sure about that.
  • 11d. [Game requiring no equipment], HIDE AND SEEK, true dat.
  • 24d. [It’s usually a dog, but occasionally a monkey or small horse], GUIDE ANIMAL, dogs yes, but I’ve never seen a blind person led around by a monkey or horse.

You callin’ me NERDY?

As noted above, all four phrases have the letters IDEA appearing consecutively, so we’re on the hunt for a three-word phrase that is implied by these embedded ideas. Starting with 1-Across, I found HOLD and seeing THOUGHT in the center, I scanned the grid for THAT, found at 10-Across. So put them together and we have “hold that thought,” which is what the four theme answers do (if you consider an “idea” as a “thought,” which I do).

Not my favorite meta of Matt’s of late; I found all but HIDE AND SEEK as somewhat speculative theme phrases. Also, I would think it’s hard to get this wrong as how many common three-word phrases can be found other than the correct one? (Certainly NERDY ORIBI SKIMPS wasn’t much competition.) Have a good week!

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5 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, September 16, 2016

  1. Scott says:

    I liked the puzzle.

  2. Dan Seidman says:

    Nerdy Oribi Skimps would be a great name for a band.

  3. Bret says:

    Oh man, it’s not Freeze Tricky Nanny?

  4. Thomas says:

    TRICKY NERDY TRUTHS seems like a plausible enough title for nearly any puzzle.

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