Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “No Presents, Please”—Laura’s review
Matt challenges us to find an eight-letter adjective this week. So whadda we got? Eight longerish entries — maybe they could lead us somewhere?
[14a: Emerge from the ashes]: RISE AGAIN
[17a: Punish deservedly]: STICK IT TO
[20a: Use PayPal, e.g.]: SEND MONEY
[35a: Do a farrier’s job]: SHOE HORSES
[44a: Reach dry land]: SWIM ASHORE
[55a: Start over from scratch]: BUILD ANEW
[65a: Wound]: DRAW BLOOD
[68a: Add up]: MAKE SENSE
At first, with that title, I had children’s birthday parties on my mind — you write “No presents, please” on the invitation (or “Your presence is your present!”) if your house is already so full of crap that you can’t bear the thought of more toys/books/stuffies/Nerf guns/Pokémon cards/Star Wars Lego sets to clean up. And Matt has a newly one-year-old, so maybe that’s what he’s thinking too? But I couldn’t make that MAKE SENSE, so I decided to BUILD ANEW.
What do we have in our theme entries, listeners? Eight phrases, each beginning with a verb that is … hold on! … in the present tense. Hmmm, no present tenses, please? Let’s past-tense-ize these babies, and see if anything emerges:
STUCK IT TO
And there we have it: an eight-letter adjective: OUTDATED. I thought this would’ve been a textbook “week 2” Gaffney had it appeared in the MGWCC; in the WSJ it’s also slightly to the tougher side of easy, in that it took a leap of insight — but even then, it’s a classic meta that relies on lateral thinking. If I were teaching people how to solve metas (which I kinda am in these posts — I hope you’ve learned something), I might use this one as an example.
Ahem, Mr. G, [26d: Sister of He-Man]: SHE-RA is a hero in her own right, not just in relation to her male relations (#includemorewomenandfemalesuperheroes). Some of us are inordinately excited for this: