Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Presidential Suite”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upA rather timely meta this week as we’re in search of a position at the White House. So if it’s not the POTUS himself (too much of a giveaway with the title), than perhaps it’s the First Lady (or First Daughter, who apparently will assume the offices of the outgoing Michelle Obama). Let’s take a look at the theme entries (starred again this time, so we won’t miss the middle one I guess, shorter than the two adjoining non-themed 9-letter entries) and see:
- 17a. [*They’re chewed by the Quechua], COCA LEAVES – I imagine the ADA would not approve of what these do to their choppers
- 23a. [*Ramones classic], I WANNA BE SEDATED – okay, time for a musical interlude, no?
- 36a. [*“Very well done!”], I LIKE IT – that’s a heckuva lot of punctuation in that clue!
- 45a. [*Hit the detonator], BLASTED DYNAMITE – ok, technical foul here, this is hardly a standalone phrase, unless it’s something a Brit might say when her TNT fails to explode
- 53a. [*Impudent fellow], JACKANAPES – pretty hard to hide Jack otherwise
So, presidential nicknames are the order of the day, and we have in order: CAL, ABE, IKE, TEDDY and JACK. Hmmm, is there some type of job that’s a CAITJ or some anagram of that? Nope, back to the drawing board. Instead let’s look at their full names:
- Calvin Coolidge
- Abraham Lincoln
- Dwight Eisenhower
- Theodore Roosevelt
- John F. Kennedy
Aha, CADTJ doesn’t work, using their first names, but CLERK sure does using their last names. Though I’m sure there are clerks in the presidential administration, I doubt many of them hold positions at the White House itself. (Most are probably squirreled away in some dark ’70s office building, like the one I used to work at when I was a contractor for the EPA in DC, destroyed 10 years ago.)
Fun meta, too bad “Dutch,” “Bubba” or “Dubya” weren’t as amenable to being hidden in longer phrases. Clues I enjoyed included [Solution from an optometrist] for SALINE, [Mobile location] for ALABAMA (though I’d prefer a clue that referenced Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home” there) and [Piece of silver?] for ATOM (we’re talking Ag here). I also learned that COBRA is Portuguese for “snake,” which makes me wonder if they don’t have any other type of snake native to their country.
Until next week!