WSJ Contest – Friday, October 19, 2018

untimed grid, 3 days meta (Derek) 


Marie Kelly’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Off Base”—Derek’s review

A very timely contest puzzle with a baseball theme. The World Series starts Tuesday night, and there are very many Dodger fans that are excited and hopeful that they will finally win their first World Series title since 1988! But I digress …

In this week’s contest puzzle,it asks for a baseball term.  You can change a letter in each of the theme entries to get a word that is an MLB team name:

  • 18A [Lump in a cup] SUGAR CUBE (CubS)
  • 20A [CEO’s dream] HIGH MARGINS (MarLins)
  • 39A [Some corporate charitable gifts] VOLUNTEER GRANTS – (GIants)
  • 58A [Co-writer of “Le Freak” and “We Are Family”] NILE RODGERS – (Dodgers)
  • 61A [Diner souvenirs] PLACEMATS – (MEts)

The correct team name letters spell out the word SLIDE, which is the answer, and which also seems like a lost art sometimes when watching baseball games! It took me forever to see this, and it really isn’t that difficult. I am horrible at metas, though, so that is my excuse! One of these days I will get a complete month on Matt Gaffney’s site. I have been trying, literally, for years. I got 3 of 4 only one time, and the one I missed was the third one, not the hardest last one! But Mike (Marie) did this one, not Matt, so I will stop talking about him. A solid 4 stars for a neat sports-related meta.

A few more things:

    • 24A [AK and HI became states during his second term] DDE – I am among many now alive that have never seen a state added to the union. Most people from the late 50s and before have likely seen at least one state added during their time on this earth. Perhaps Puerto Rico someday?
    • 44A [University of Oregon setting] EUGENE – They lost this weekend to Washington State, but the story was that the ESPN Gameday crew was in Pullman, WA, for the first time, even though there has been someone following the pregame show around for several years waving a WSU flag in the background! In the big picture, it doesn’t matter, since the Pac 12 Conference is highly unlikely to get a team in the playoff. My Wolverines, however, are sitting pretty!
    • 2D [First carrier to deploy the Boeing 737-300] US AIR – Interesting factoid, I suppose. American Airlines swallowed them up a few years ago.
    • 6D [“You Gotta Be” singer] DES’REE – This goes back a little. You’ll remember this song once you hear it!

  • 10D [“The Rookie” network] ABC – This is also timely, as this show just started. I was a big fan of Castle, but I am not anxious to watch this yet. Is it any good?
  • 52D [Hairy Himalayans] YETIS – There is more than one??

I will try another one of these posts sometime again!

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4 Responses to WSJ Contest – Friday, October 19, 2018

  1. JohnH says:

    I got stuck on NILE crossing ETRO.

  2. Scott says:

    Was thrown off a bit by 27a RODEON (Red) and 47a RATTLE (Ray), but they were not plural and couldn’t find a way to make the meta work… Nicely done.

    Also, where’s the American league here?

  3. HomeSkooled says:

    When I first printed the puzzle, I took a quick glance at the instructions and misread them as looking for a “baseball team.”

    When I later picked it up to solve, I noticed the mistake and continued without thinking about it again. But for some reason upon reading your review, I noticed that the conceit also applies to the instructions (change one letter)….Pretty cool!

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