Marie Kelly Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Now Showing”—Laura’s review
This week we’ve got a grid with left-right symmetry, and we’re looking for a two-word phrase.
[19a: TV series with “hosts” who rebel]: WESTWORLD
[22a: TV series whose first winner was BeBe Zahara Benet]: RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE
[53a: TV series set at the Stratford Inn]: NEWHART
[55a: TV series featuring rapper Paper Boi and his cousin Earn]: ATLANTA
[62a: TV series set at the Pearson Specter Litt law firm]: SUITS
I didn’t see any entries into this meta, even using some tried-and-true extraction methods: making lists, looking at letter patterns, etc. Thinking laterally, I tried another approach, and started ideating on what other things the shows had in common: the first three all involve hosts, the second two are about college dropouts; they’re all currently being broadcast except Newhart — but nothing. Then I made a list of the networks each show has appeared on (mostly; RuPaul’s Drag Race has been on both LOGO and VH1) — didn’t really see anything there, until the slightest of nudges from a pal in my solving group led me back to the networks, which are, respectively:
… and there it was, right at [1a: Bindle bearer]: HOBO. For each network, there is a corresponding additional entry in the grid that has one extra letter, like so:
… which makes ON AIR, a two-word phrase that is somewhat synonymous with the puzzle’s title, “Now Showing.”
This was a nice one, just tough enough without being maddening, and it rewarded my TV trivia knowledge. What did you think?