Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “What’s the Right Move?”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upBoard games are the order of the day in this week’s WSJ contest puzzle, and we’re looking for one way to move. Thinking of chess or checkers at first, I guess I was thinking of how pieces in those games move, but let’s see what the theme entries have to offer in terms of narrowing down our “moves”:
- 17a. [*Restaurant selection], BEERS ON TAP – Water Works
- 24a. [*Paint the town red], HIT THE BARS – Just Visiting / In Jail
- 32a. [*Permission to turn], GREEN ARROW – Go
- 39a. [*Whistle-blower of a sort], TRAFFIC COP – Go To Jail
- 46a. [*Diner table stain], COFFEE RING – Luxury Tax
- 57a. [*Future hyacinth, e.g.], FLOWER BULB – Electric Company
A final bonus entry helps point us in the direction of board games: 65a. [You’ll need a famous one of these to figure out the contest], BOARD. So it was thinking about how TAP can refer to a water faucet that led me a look at a Monopoly board.
I had forgotten how many symbols are on the non-real estate squares, and I’ve identified them above in my theme entry listings. I started with “Just Visiting” for the BARS, and taking the first letter of each square on the board, I got WJGGLE, which was close enough to WIGGLE (a way to move), I went back and saw that the square could just as easily be referred to as “In Jail.” So there you have it.
Matt has used a Monopoly board before in his metas, in fact, one was (as I recall) our top-rated puzzles the year it came out where the grid was only 11×11 and each word of the clues for the entries on the perimeter started with the same letter as that square on the board. (Sounds complicated, and it was, but also beautifully executed.) Today’s puzzle is a bit simpler in conception, but still quite fun. I’ll finish with a question about the clue for PREMIUMS, namely [Oxford charges]. Are we talking the school here? And what premiums do you pay or is that what students are called there?