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!