WSJ Contest – Friday, May 19, 2017

untimed (Evad) 


Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Bon Voyage!”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest – 5/19/17 – “Bon Voyage!”

Bonjour, mes amis! Today, we’re taking a trip to a vacation destination. So let’s pack our bags and begin our trip.

Five theme entries have clues that are (imho, needlessly) starred:

  • 17a. [*Smart], SHARP PAINBread
  • 25a. [*”Jaws” sighting], DORSAL FINEnd
  • 36a. [*Lingerie innovation of the 1930s], UNDERWIRE BRAS – this one was a bit tough in that “brassiere” comes to us from the French, Arm.
  • 49a. [*FaceTime session], VIDEO CHATCat
  • 59a. [*Hydrant feeder], WATER MAINHand

A Boston fixture

Taking a strong clue from the title, I discovered that the second word of each theme phrase is what my high school French teacher might call a “false friend”: French words that look like an English word, but mean something completely different. Take the first letter of each of those English translations and you have BEACH (or should we submit, plage?). Et voilà, le jeu est fait.

Fun meta, I guess I was in a geographical mind before hitting up on The French Connection, as it were. I’ll end with my favorite clue which was 16a. [Legend in the auto business], featuring a “hidden capital” for ACURA. Au revoir!

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12 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, May 19, 2017

  1. Nate says:

    Enjoyed this one, but I wasn’t sure if the answer at the end should just be beach, or French beach (as a more specific destination), or maybe beach translated back into French as you suggested. Either way, the “false friends” were nicely chosen so as to not be so immediately obvious.

  2. Martin says:

    “Bra” is not a French word. Arm (singular) is “bras.” I thought that was a serious flaw.

    • Martin says:

      Oops. I forgot that I discovered it was BRAS plural. For some reason I saw BRA at first and thought it a flaw but realized a bit later it was BRAS. And now I’m reliving the whole episode!

      • Evad says:

        I made the same mistake in my commentary, Martin. You’re correct, bras is both singular and plural in French.

  3. Scott says:

    Nice puzzle. I did not get the meta. I’m not sure I was ever on the right track. But it was a good puzzle nevertheless.

  4. Eric Conrad says:

    I have very little French but am thankful for the old Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square, Cambridge, for helping me notice “Pain”. All those coffees and croissants finally paid off!

  5. JohnH says:

    I didn’t have a clue, not seeing any commonalities in the theme entries, and I can read French. Oh, well, as usual I’m just not getting the setter’s jokes.

  6. Stephen McFly says:

    I got severely stuck on (S)PAIN, FIN(LAND), BRAS(IL), and couldn’t make anything of the last two.

  7. Glenn (the other one) says:

    Fun puzzle to do. But wouldn’t have gotten the meta. Ever.

  8. Garrett says:

    I saw that SHARPPAIN could become Spain by dropping HARP, and started thinking about coastal cities in Spain. Barcelona hit me and then I noticed that you had the Bar in BRAS, and I soon discovered I could spell Barcelona from the other letters in the other theme entries, so I went with that.

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