Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Now You See It, Now You Don’t”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upToday we’re looking for a seven-letter word you always see in crosswords. Intriguing, since I can’t think of any word, seven letters or not, that I’ve seen in every crossword I have done. But perhaps I’m taking the instructions too literally, which seems to be a common complaint these days. Anyway, we’re once again presented with a grid with no obvious theme answers (long acrosses), but as I began to solve, I did find some curious rebus action going on, all clued in a similar way as the meta instructions:
- 1a. [That Great Lake you always see in crosswords], MICHIGAN – I wanted the four-letter ERIE at first, which is a much more common crossword entry
- 10a. [That Nevada city you always see in crosswords], LAS VEGAS – RENO is the more common entry
- 25a. [That Will Smith movie you always see in crosswords], I ROBOT – actually I do see this entry a lot (but perhaps not “always”). Following the pattern above, my tentative replacement was MIB, but once I put these all together, I realized Matt was looking for ALI here.
- 29a. [That district of Manhattan you always see in crosswords], FLAT IRON – SOHO is more common
- 46a. [___ Mountains (that Europe-Asia-straddling range you always see in crosswords], CAUCASUS – well, I see the four-letter URALs a lot more frequently in my crosswords
- 59d. [That spaghetti sauce brand you always see in crosswords], CLASSICO – PREGO doesn’t fit in four letters, but RAGU does
- 62d. [That quarterback Manning you always see in crosswords], PEYTON – though more famous for his football prowess, Peyton’s brother ELI outshines him as a more common crossword entry
So, if we read from the top the first letters of the entries that one certainly more frequently (I’m still not ready to commit to “always”) finds in crosswords, we have ERASURE, which is actually a pretty uncommon word in the crosswords I solve, but I suppose helps in those cases I need to change an entry. I get that the title is implying that a solver would put the more common entry in first and then need to erase that to put in the rebuses, but it still seems I’m missing how this answer fits the meta instructions (or that I don’t have the right answer!)
I enjoyed the meta, and thought it a jaunty wink at those of us who see many of these entries daily in our puzzles due to their length and felicitous consonant/vowel alternations. As far as the “regular” fill in this one, I enjoyed ACID TRIP and the mini-theme entries of ONE VOLT and TWO-TONE.