Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Getting Up to Code”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upThis week we’re looking for a major US city. Five long acrosses (all noticeably 3-word phrases) seem to point us in this direction:
- 17a. [One way to love somebody], LIKE A SISTER – I wonder if an alternate clue might be [Nun-esque]?
- 23a. [Triple-checking], MAKING CERTAIN OF – I imagine it’s more common to use “sure” than “certain,” but this works too
- 35a. [Utterly fails to be competitive, electorally], GETS NO VOTES – it would have to be a very small election in which one candidate gets absolutely no votes whatsoever. One would assume he or she would at least vote for him/herself, no?
- 49a. [“Riffing off your idea…”], ALONG THESE LINES – I wanted “those” before “these” as the “your” in the clue implies something away from you
- 56a. [Like summer camps and some cereals], JUST FOR KIDS – too bad “just for kicks” ([How some things are done]) wouldn’t fit, which seems to me a more common phrase. I’m not sure I would want my kid eating a lot of glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup) though.
So what’s going on here? Well the title mentions a code, and with each phrase three words, I first tried to see if I took the first letter of each of these words, would these 3-letter codes mean anything? Well, indeed they do: they are US airports (the “getting up” part of the title) as listed (with their cities) below:
- LAS – McCarran International in Las Vegas, NV
- MCO – Orlando International, FL
- GNV – Gainesville Regional, FL
- ATL – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, GA
- JFK – John F. Kennedy International in New York, NY
Some are named after their city and some not, so I thought the city names would be a more consistent path to the meta solution. Taking the first letter of each in turn, we have LOGAN, the name of the airport I have used more than any other, located along the harbor of Boston, Massachusetts. Since we’re looking for a city, that’s what I submitted.
I found this one pretty easy, let me know how you fared in the comments. I wish the thematic material were more solid as “stand alone” phrases–but I enjoyed how a solver had to take an extra step from the name of an airport to the city it was located in at the end of the solve. A few extra bits and pieces:
- 44d. [Noise from a nanny], MAAING – we had a recent discussion if goats say “maa” or “baa”; as someone who is raising them, I’m in the “maa” camp. We have a particular noisy one who “maas” all day–good thing our neighbors aren’t too close to our property!
- I hadn’t heard of the animated Johnny Depp flick, RANGO. Am I missing something special?
- Funny to see MERV Griffin in the fill–his legacy lives on with both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune as early evening TV staples
- I prefer EN VOGUE‘s Free Your Mind to Hold On, but both bring back some fun memories