Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Understated”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upShort post this weekend due to the whirlwind which is the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford. We’re in search of an adjective, which isn’t a lot to go on, but I did think about the title a bit before I began solving this one. I first thought that we would be looking for letters beneath (“under”) state abbreviation codes, but since there are so many, I thought this would make one long adjective. Perhaps they would spell out some instruction that pointed at the adjective? Anyway, at this point I went ahead and started to solve.
Without going into a lot of detail (see grid image), there are 5 towns or cities without a reference to their states in the clue. All were familiar to me (particularly the reference to William Kennedy’s excellent Albany trilogy that I read many years ago), with the exception of KEARNEY, which I found was located in Nebraska. Nebraska has a postal code of NE, and hey, that’s part of KEARNEY. I found the same state patterns in the other 4, looked underneath them and spelled out the adjective SUBLIMINAL, our contest answer.
Pretty appropriate answer as it implies the state names are “hidden in plain sight” in the city names. (I wonder if CITY LINES, clued as [Urban limits] should also be considered meta material?) . The grid itself was pretty hard, I almost completely failed in that CITY LINES/MAITRE/SALAAMS/LIABLE area, but managed to finally eke out the solution.
Congrats to Team Fiend member, Erik Agard, overall winner of the ACPT!