WSJ Contest – June 23, 2017

untimed (Evad) 


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

WSJ Contest – 6/23/17 – “Conservation Efforts”

We’re looking this week for a valuable resource. I wonder if it has to do with resources we use when solving metas? It’d be interesting to hear from others if meta-solving requires a slightly different set of pattern-matching skills than “just” solving regular crossword puzzles. Sumthin’ to chew on, for sure!

Anyway, back to this week’s puzzle. Seems there is only one obvious theme entry in the center:

  • 41a. [Conservation phrase to use three times], WASTE NOT WANT NOT – I read that this proverb dates back to 1772, but also had an earlier, even more alliterative version, willful waste makes woeful want (1576). That longer version of course would not fit in a standard weekly crossword grid!

I kept 17a. [Captures the zeitgeist], RIDES A WAVE and 65a. [Like many debut albums], SELF-TITLED in my back pocket at first, ready to add to the meta clues if needed. It wasn’t too long into this one that I noticed many other shorter words in the grid which were anagrams of WASTE and WANT, with the addition of one other letter. To wit:

  • NEW AT
  • A SWEET – an odd partial that set me on the meta path

From top-to-bottom, you have ENERGY, indeed a valuable resource. I’m pretty impressed that Matt found this set of six words that included the extra letters in order to spell the meta solution. Nice tie-in to the proverb and meta instructions as well.

I’ll close with one of my favorite clues in this one, 11d. [You, presumably] for EARTHLING, as I agree that that’s a pretty safe presumption to make! On the other hand, I’m not sure I’ve encountered BIV in a grid before, but it quickly came to me clued as the FITB, [Roy G. ___], or the mnemonic used to remember the colors of the rainbow.

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2 Responses to WSJ Contest – June 23, 2017

  1. Diana says:

    As the main cook in my house, I cheerfully say on a regular basis, “Waste not, Want not!” to my family as I slop out their leftovers. They are not that impressed. Now I’m thinking of using “willful waste makes woeful want”. At least the first time I say it, they’ll actually lift their heads up towards me and say, “Wait. What?” So, thanks for that info, Dave Sullivan.

  2. JohnH says:

    Well, ok. I didn’t enjoy the fill, with its clusters of proper names. While the one literature entry was a gimme for me, I almost failed under the weight of a “TV character,” Dwight Yokam, Three’s company, a sitcom, and merely a “series.” No more TV, please, just for today!!!!

    The answer wasn’t as hard. More TV did distract me. I didn’t know “Bates Motel,” and “Psycho” had me thinking of Norman, so I briefly wondered if the dropped N in what turned out to be the TV character wasn’t part of a rebus-like theme.

    But then I quickly noticed the overlap of entries with WASTE and WANT. Still, I’d have felt this more solid had they either fallen symmetrically or avoided additional occurrences of W in not that different situations, such as (going down) NEWT looking close to WANT. (I could almost compare ALL WET to WASTE, but not as easily.) For that matter, WENTAS includes the letters in WANT, too. Yes, I know I had to bite my lip and think of entries that required just one more letter, and quickly I did, but still. Made the theme only so-so for me.

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