Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Connect the Dots”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upWe have a holiday-themed puzzle this week and we’re in search of a seasonal carol. There seems to be just one explicit theme entry in this one (significantly of mirror, as opposed to rotational, symmetry):
- 17a. [It’s round like the dots you need to connect, and associated with Santa (like what you create when you do)], THE ARCTIC CIRCLE
So what are these “dots” that are “round” that we “need to connect”? Well, the letter O is round, so in the image above, I roughly drew lines connecting them. Looks quite like a Christmas Tree, doesn’t it? But Matt takes it one step further, asking for a seasonal carol and that would be O Christmas Tree, which is quite literally what I have drawn.
Fun reinterpretation of a holiday classic! Some other random observations:
- I felt the crossing of Mike ENZI with EZRA Klein at the Z was a bit unfair for the name-challenged (such as me). I did infer it though.
- Any regular viewer of MSNBC in primetime would have this connection to PELOTON
- I’ve never heard of the chain SPA LADY, how popular are/were they?
- A DOCTOR is a pretty unattractive partial, but the clue did remind me of this. (I seem to be a real victim of TV advertising, don’t I?)
- Bonus thematic material with [Recipient of coal from Santa, perhaps] for BRAT
- Did you know that an EMU lays golden eggs? I certainly did not!
One more contest puzzle in 2017–how did this year treat you? It’s appropriate to reflect on the enjoyment these puzzles provide us and to be grateful for Mike, Matt and all the other constructors with whom we match wits.
Will “O Tannenbaum” also be accepted as a correct answer?
I was wondering the same thing. I got the drawing, so for once I had a convincing answer, and I liked the puzzle. I did find some of the fill too far toward trivia.
One would thinks so, it’s Bloody Christmas!
That was the NYT.
Yes, according to Mike Miller, either was accepted:
“Merry Christmas solvers–and congratulations on one of our biggest turnouts ever. Here’s a brief preliminary report: 1,616 entries. 1367 correct (“O Christmas Tree”) plus another 200 for “O Tannenbaum” which we also consider correct. Check my math, muggles, but that’s about 97% correct.”