Marie Kelly’s Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Mind the Gap”—Laura’s review
I’m back from Lollapuzzoola and a week-long family vacation. Thanks to Derek for covering last week’s WSJ contest (I solved it post-Lolla in a Chelsea bar with my trivia team after we placed 3rd).
We’re looking for a six-letter noun, and the title warns us to mind the gap. Which gap? Let’s take a look at the starred entries:
- [17a: *Post-parade detritus]: TICKER TAPE. Now that stock tickers are electronic, what gets thrown at parades?
- [21a: *“All Along the Watchtower” songwriter]: BOB DYLAN. Recorded in 1967 for John Wesley Harding, but familiar to many from the 1968 Jimi Hendrix Experience cover. And also an important plot twist in Battlestar Galactica.
- [32a: *It may make waves]: CURLING IRON
- [42a: *Heckler from the dugout]: BENCH JOCKEY. This one was new to me. I Learned a Thing.
- [54a: *Bravura performance]: STAR TURN
- [60a: *Selenium-rich snack]: BRAZIL NUTS
Nothing seems to be related from the meaning or sense of the themers, so let’s go to an extraction method from Metasolving 101: Put things in a list, and see what emerges:
We were told to mind the gap, so in my list I included the “gap” in each two-word phrase. Hmmm, could something go in there? Wait, BOB ends with B, and DYLAN begins with D — in that gap we could put C. Do the other gaps between words work that way? Why, so they do!
TICKER S TAPE
BOB C DYLAN
CURLING H IRON
BENCH I JOCKEY
STAR S TURN
BRAZIL M NUTS
And there’s our answer: SCHISM, which is a kind of gap or break. I thought this was an excellent “advanced beginner” meta — in that, it wasn’t immediately gettable from the entries, but took just one more step of lateral reasoning. Your thoughts?