WSJ Contest – Friday, November 25, 2016

untimed (Evad) 


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

WSJ Contest - 11/25/16 - "City Folk"

WSJ Contest – 11/25/16 – “City Folk”

Welcome to another week of the WSJ contest, this time we’re looking for a state capital. Only fifty to choose from, let’s narrow down the list:

  • 17a. [Americans who are always bragging about their wealth?], WORTHIANS – Fort Worth, TX, although there is also some support for the Fort Worther demonym. Wouldn’t these instead be Americans who are particularly deserving?
  • 30a. [Americans who like to perform a “doble” dance?], PASOANS – El Paso, TX
  • 37a. [Americans who live in trees?], ARBORITES – Ann Arbor, MI, we’ve hired an arborist here to help us clear trees from our property
  • 48a. [Americans who love “Cabaret” actor Michael?], YORKERS – New York, NY, we just saw a local production of “Cabaret” and was pretty impressed with the quality given our small-town-out-of-the-way locale
  • 63a. [Americans who are jealous of Cleopatra?], ANTONIANS – San Antonio, TX, or perhaps big fans of speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno?

So it’s obvious that each of these is the second half of a two-word demonym, so I began by wondering if these five cities had something else in common (three are in Texas, most are large but not the largest in the country), or we were to do something with the omitted first words (FORT, EL, ANN, NEW and SAN), but neither tack seemed promising. Then, I considered backsolving by coming up with state capitals that were also two words and was surprised by how many there were:

  • Little Rock, Ark. (ROCKERS)
  • Baton Rouge, LA (ROUGEANS)
  • Des Moines, IA (MOINSITES, MOINSERS, MOINSIANS or, my favorite, MOINKERS)
  • Saint Paul, Minn. (PAULITES)
  • Jefferson City, MO
  • Carson City, NV
  • Santa Fe, NM (FEANS)
  • Oklahoma City, OK

I dismissed (perhaps rashly) those that were a “city” as that didn’t seem to fit the model of the theme entries. That left me to suss out the demonyms for the five remaining and they are noted in parentheses above. (I’m somewhat bothered by the fact that there are no “official” demonyms of U.S. city dwellers, as there seems to be no national registry of them and depend on which locals you ask.)

There’s also that entry of SYRIANS or [Aleppo people] hanging out there. (I wonder if Gary Johnson had trouble filling that one in?) I started to consider that some state capital demonym might end with that, but nothing seemed close. I perhaps unwisely considered it an unfortunate distraction on the meta hunt.

Maybe an AHA moment here, if you take the first letters of the words that were omitted, you have FEANS, which is the second part of Santa Fe’s demonym. Gonna submit Santa Fe and cross my fingers. (That might also explain why the easier-to-clue ROCKERS wasn’t used, as an L wasn’t needed.) Hope this one was easier for you than it seemed to be for me, perhaps I can blame it on an overdose of tryptophan!

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10 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, November 25, 2016

  1. Stephen McFly says:

    Enjoyed this one. Glad the five themers didn’t lead to a five-letter capital city. I sadly went as far as looking at a US map to see if circled a city before having the a-ha moment.

  2. Kevin McGee says:

    I also looked up cities in Texas, and found that there is an “Anton, TX” and a “Yorktown, TX”. That might lead to a meta answer of “Austin, TX”, but that seemed a little too obscure.

  3. Scott says:

    I was so close. Got FEANS but never made the final connection.

  4. Tony says:

    Saw the second half of the city names on the theme answers and wrote down the first names, giving me:


    Saw FEANS reading down, and immediately hit on Santa Fe.

  5. Benji says:

    I managed to get the missing first words, but for some reason decided to throw them all together and look for anagrams. I found Santa Fe, but was left with a bunch of useless letters. Whoops!

  6. Matt Gaffney says:

    A funny one is LAS VEGANS. True!

  7. Eric Maddy says:

    Took me a minute. I had


    and wanted it to be FRANKFORTEANS, even though that didn’t really “fit” the pattern, Fortunately I reconsidered….

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