Patrick Berry’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Clued In”—Dave Sullivan’s write-upWe have a guest constructor this week for the WSJ Contest Puzzle, probably the most accomplished constructor on the planet, Patrick Berry. He asks us to find a fictional detective. Given the title (“Clued In”), I immediately thought of the Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau, what with that “clue” sound in his name. Turns out I had the wrong detective, but on the trail to the right meta device, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
Four theme entries seem apparent in the grid:
- 17a. [Shows some sadness], SHEDS A TEAR
- 22a. [University in Jonesboro], ARKANSAS STATE – never heard of the town or the school. Looks like their football team is named The Red Wolves; I would think the University of Arkansas’ Razorbacks are the most popular college team in the state.
- 45a. [Anheuser-Busch brew introduced in 1978], MICHELOB LIGHT – as I’m becoming intimately familiar with the Vermont craft beer scene, I’m amazed how many calories are in a pint of 8% beer. You don’t want to know.
- 53a. [They mind their manors], LANDOWNERS
So the title is a big hint this week, and it didn’t take me long to notice that each of these entries has a word imbedded within which is also the clue to another entry. Thusly:
- 28a. [Sate], FILL
- 53d. [Sass], LIP
- 9d. [Blight], MAR
- 48a. [Down], LOW – notably crossing two theme entries!
Put them altogether and you get FILL-LIP MAR-LOW or Philip Marlowe, the fictional detective created by Raymond Chandler in the ’50s. I liked this meta a lot, but I was a bit surprised to find other one-word clues that didn’t relate to the meta. Would’ve seemed a bit cleaner to have these 4 be the only ones, but who am I to question genius? I’ll close with a clue that had me scratching my head for a while, but finally understood that [A positive donation] for PINT was referring to a particular (and my) blood type!