Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Parts of Town”—Dave Sullivan’s reviewHowdy, folks! Evad back in the critic’s seat for this week’s Wall Street Journal contest puzzle. We’re looking for the two-word name of a U.S. location. . With only 2 9-letter and 2 8-letter entries, I turned to the clues to find our theme material. I found 7 that follow a similar pattern (and also echo the puzzle’s title):
- 40A. [Part of TP], (Toilet) PAPER
- 49A. [Part of BK], (Burger) KING
- 61A. [Part of PM], (Post) MERIDIEM -I tried MINISTER and then MERIDIAN first.
- 10D. [Part of UN], UNITED (Nations)
- 26D. [Part of CE], COMMON (Era)
- 28D. [Part of GM], (General) MOTORS
- 48D. [Part of AD], (Anno) DOMINI
So my first stab at the next step was to look for the other half of these two-word phrases in the grid. I came up short, but pretty quickly noticed some anagrams of the words I was looking for; in particular, LOTTIE for TOILET and GRUBER for BURGER. Hoping these weren’t just serendipitous accidents, I looked for the others. Sure enough, I found all seven:
- TOILET > LOTTIE
- BURGER > GRUBER – I felt the MAGOG/GRUBER crossing a bit cruel
- POST > STOP
- NATIONS > ANISTON
- ERA > EAR (for some reason, the hardest for me to find!)
- GENERAL > ENLARGE
- ANNO > NANO
Rearrange those 7 starting letters, gets you to ANGELES, which is indeed “part” of a two-word location in the U.S. It did bother me that the accompanying LOS wasn’t part of this mechanism, but after a nudge from a friend, I saw that 13D. [___ Lobos, “La Bamba” band] clued it. Not only did this make the meta feel more complete, it also added the two-letter abbreviation, LA in the clue (albeit with a minuscule “a”).
I’ll close with my favorite clue, 14A.’s [Dip in the Mediterranean], which didn’t reference a geographic feature, but the dip for pita (most commonly found in hummus in my culinary adventures), TAHINI. Happy 2019 to all!