Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Swim Meet”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upEditor Mike Shenk (“Marie Kelly” anagrams to “Really Mike”) returns this week to challenge us to find a body of water as hinted by the entries in this puzzle. I tentatively chose these four theme entries to begin my search:
- 18a. [Like kilts], KNEE-LENGTH – my first inclination, midis, was way too short to fit
- 56a. [Law student’s struggle], PAPER CHASE – featuring the great John Houseman
- 4d. [Beeline], DIRECT ROUTE – as some who raises bees, I can speak with some authority that the last things bees do when heading to and from the hive is take a “direct route.” In fact, in their earliest flights from the hive they circle around it to get their magnetic bearings so they know where to return to. I’m also amazed at how fast they can fly, no wonder their lifespan can be as little as several weeks during the demanding pollen season.
- 26d. [Commemoration of the victory at the Battle of Pueblo], CINCO DE MAYO – I sincerely doubt the Mexicans celebrated their victory over the French with margaritas and tortilla chips.
So with a strong nudge from the title, I noticed all four of these entries had a fish name in them. That alone didn’t seem enough to point to a body of water, so I began angling for other fish. I found four more:
- 9d. SOLEMN, crossing EEL at the L
- 37a. COHOST, crossing TROUT at the O
- 38a. ESCARP, crossing COD at the C
- 40d. “I WAS HAD“, crossing PERCH at the H
Put them all together, and you get LOCH, the Scottish word for lake, and our meta solution. Fun meta, if a bit on the easier side. (I ran a half-marathon on Sunday, so it was nice to have some extra non-meta time this weekend.) I had a lot of trouble with 7d. [Course requirement, often] with T?E?IME in place. I kept thinking of education (as Mike certainly intended), and wasn’t sure what the middle vowel would be for ANEMO or the consonant leading the obscure (to me anyway) TRET. Finally I realized we were talking golf here. I find it slightly ironic that I had trouble finding the NEMO (of ANEMO) in this one!
Tret, anemo, utile? The spirit of Maleska is strong in this one.
Along with the title, 51-a. [Where schools meet], SEA was the clue that triggered me that I should be looking for other fish crossing the ones in the theme answers.
I agree that that was likely an intentional nudge toward the meta gimmick.
Spent a long time trying to figure out WHICH loch it was. I figured it had to be either Ness or Lomond since who has ever heard of any others but couldn’t find anything pointing to either one. Ended up submitting just loch luckily.
I too panicked after sending in “LOCH,” wondering if I missed “Ness” in there somewhere. (lots of the letters near the crossings, and the “ESS” from BESS jumped out at me after I’d submitted my answer… and Lord knows, “Marie” is skilled enough to have pulled off such a coup).