WSJ Contest — Friday, November 2, 2018

8:02 grid, 10 minutes meta (Laura) 


Marie Kelly Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Mirror Distortion”—Laura’s review

WSJ Contest - 11.2.18 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 11.2.18 – Solution

Here’s a grid design that you don’t find every day — instead of rotational symmetry it has left-right and top-bottom mirror symmetry. It’s titled “Mirror Distortion,” so that’s appropriate, and a big hint as to what to look for in the grid.

We have a set of eight paired entries that have mirrored portions:


I didn’t quite know what to do at this stage and let my mind wander a bit … and it popped out at me: another set of letters makes the “frame” of that “mirror”:


And there’s our eight-letter word answer: FUNHOUSE — a place where you might find some mirror distortion. I liked this one! It’s been a good week for metas. I’ll leave you with this excellent video featuring [22a: Reggae legend who duetted with Mick Jagger on “Don’t Look Back”]: PETER TOSH.



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5 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, November 2, 2018

  1. Frank Ho says:

    Those 8 letters are not the “frame” but the distortion. When you look at the pairs of words and mirror one versus the other, those letters are the only ones that are different.

  2. JohnH says:

    I actually got one. Go figure. As usual, I didn’t gain from setting the puzzle aside, but this time because I didn’t have to. I was looking for something like it from my first glance at the title and the grid’s symmetry, while the number of letters in the answer had me focused on the right theme entries.

  3. Burak says:

    As Frank Ho already mentioned, the entirety of the words are actually mirror images, not the halves. I figured out the theme a quarter of my way in, and then used that knowledge to fill in SLATHER and NITRATE. After last week’s fiasco on my part, I needed an easy meta, so this served its purpose well.

  4. John Lampkin says:

    Beautiful meta, and a good one to share with friends as an introduction to what metas are all about.

  5. Dan Seidman says:

    This is one of the most impressive constructions I’ve ever seen. It would have been hard to come up with any eight-letter word, let alone one perfect for the theme.

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