Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “ET CETERA”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upGood morning (or evening, depending on when you visit this blog), folks. This week we have a title in caps (at least in the AcrossLite version) and instructions to find a famous American. We’re left to our own devices in the main to find the thematic material in this one–no stars nor longer across entries that stand out; however, there is one tantalizing clue left at the end of the grid:
- 69a. [Colossal (this one’s a little different from the other 8 words)], GIANT
So I inferred from that that there are 9 words (not multi-word entries such as RED HERRING, notably) that have something in common, although this last one is a “little different.”
The title had me thinking of Latin, and then Roman numerals, especially with the surfeit of I’s and L’s in the grid. Roman numerals are generally capitalized as well (exc. I guess as prefatory pages in a work of nonfiction or an outline), so I felt somewhat confident of this insight. Also, there was that Latin entry ET ALII in there as well (“among others”), echoing the title (which translates roughly as “and the rest”). Finally, the clues for TREVI (mentioning Rome) and for EMPIRE, namely [Roman or Holy Roman], when the latter could’ve been more timely clued referencing this popular Fox series, all had me in the mind of toga parties and chariot races.
There’s a couple of problems with this approach, unfortunately. GIANT has but one Roman numeral (the I) and even if that’s what makes it “a little different” from the other 8, why not choose any other word with an I in it (like POI)? And there are so many words that have sequences that could be considered Roman numerals: FILM, ICI, DICTATE, PRELIMS, INDIANA, ONEILL, ICE WAGONS, MIRED etc. that one would have many more than 9 in total and lots of numbers like 49, and 51 repeated a lot and then some outside the gird (like DIC for 599 or MI for 1001).
My last stab was to interpret the title as truncating a list, or perhaps removing letters from a word to get another word. GIANT and GIT seemed encouraging, and I also found PSST and PST, but not another 7. Guess I’m stumped and look forward to hearing from those of you who were successful with this one.
[Edited by Matt to add meta solution grid:]