WSJ Contest – April 20, 2018

untimed (Evad) 


Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Call of the Wild”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up

WSJ Contest – 4/20/18 – “Call of the Wild”

Ok folks, this week we’re in search of a five-letter word that is a homophone of another word. Well all homophones involve “another word,” so that part of the instructions seemed a bit superfluous to me, but no matter. Let’s sally forth, shall we?

Good news this week in that we have five pretty obvious theme answers and a five-letter word that we’re looking for. Here are the theme answers:

  • 17a. [Folks with titles], HOME OWNERS – “titles” as in “deeds”
  • 19a. [Short-lived sitcom starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen], TWO OF A KIND – twins, weren’t they?
  • 38a. [When Benedict Arnold’s treason was discovered], SEVENTEEN EIGHTY – as a Vermonter, he’s next on my biography list to read, just as soon as I’m done with the Green Mountain Boys’ Ethan Allen
  • 58a. [Supplies for needle workers], TATTOO INK – my guess is tattoo artists refer to their supplies as just “ink”
  • 62a. [Grammy, for one], MUSIC AWARD

So given the title, the “calls” of the wild came up pretty quickly from these entries. But what to do with them? It wasn’t long afterwards I saw HOARSE sitting over to the left of the grid and thought, “Hey, that’s a homophone of HORSE, which neighs.” Do the others have homophones? But other than CHAT, which is the French word for CAT, I couldn’t really see similar connections. So I almost just submitted HORSE and planned on leaving it at that.

But I’m glad I thought more about CHAT, it just being one letter off from CAT, as HOARSE is from HORSE. That led me down the trail of discovering DOGE, PRIG and CROWD, so we actually had 10 theme entries in this puzzle. Those extra letters spelled EARHD if read from across to down entries or DEARH if in strict numerical order. Neither is a word, much less a homophone, but if one shuffles them, HEARD is, and an apt homophone of HERD. I’m surprised a bit at the need to anagram these letters, so hope my submission ends up being correct.

I’ll finish with my fave clue of the rest of the fill: [Post-trip assurance] for “I’M OK!”. That’s “assurance” not “insurance”! Thanks in advance to Team Fiend’s Laura who will do next’s week commentary as I join over 30k runners in Nashville for its annual Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon.

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8 Responses to WSJ Contest – April 20, 2018

  1. Frank Ho says:

    If you use the order of the animal sounds listed in the grid to associate with the animal entries with the one extra letter, then the extra letters in order will spell HEARD, no anagram is needed.

  2. I believe HEARD is correct, too, but it doesn’t require an anagram. They’re in thematic order:

    MEOW –> CAT –> CHAT
    WOOF –> DOG –> DOGE
    OINK –> PIG –> PRIG
    CAW –> CROW –> CROWD

    (Edited to add: Yup, Frank just beat me to it.)

  3. Burak says:

    I’m relatively a newbie to the WSJ meta puzzle so it’s probably easier to impress me, but when I figured this one out on Saturday, I simply stared at my computer in awe. How can you construct such a complicated meta, with a fill that’s smoother than an average NYT puzzle? How is that even possible?

    Amazing stuff.

  4. Patrick says:

    I submitted NEIGH, figuring that it was the only one of the animal sounds which contains five letters and that is a homophone of another word (NAY). That fulfills both requirements of the meta instructions.

    • Barttels says:

      I’ve never seen a meta that pulls the answer straight out of the grid. Neigh was the start (for me), not the finish.

  5. Dan Seidman says:

    I really liked this one. It was complex but fair, and the final answer and its homophone both tied into the mechanism.

  6. Norm H says:

    One of the best metas I can remember from “Marie”.
    — Well-titled.
    — In-the-language theme answers (OK, 1780 is a little random, but it’s definitely real) with relatively obvious sounds embedded.
    — A great next step to include the animals with an extra letter — first one I noticed was CROW[D].
    — Having the extra letters spell a word that’s a homophone for a group of animals.

    Loads of fun, theme-dense, with a few nice “aha” moments. Superb.

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