Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Countrysides”—Laura’s review
This week, Mike wants us to find a world capital. Let’s see where we can start:
[19a: Capital that’s the site of the Áras an Uachtaráin presidential residence]: DUBLIN
[20a: Capital that’s the site of the Gouvernementsgebouw presidential residence]: PARAMARIBO
[54a: Capital that’s the site of the Amalienborg royal residence]: COPENHAGEN
[58a: Capital that’s the site of the Pallati i Brigadave presidential residence]: TIRANA
Four world capitals, and we’re looking for a fifth. On the meta-solving principle of “when you have some things in a list, make a list of other things that they suggest,” I listed the countries that these are capitals of:
Nothing came to mind that could further extract a solution from this list, until I asked my usual solving pal to help me focus (let’s say it louder for the folks in the back: if you are not at a tournament competition, there is NOTHING WRONG with asking for help or googling for information that would help with a crossword or meta answer). “Look to the grid,” he said, “Is there anything there that seems relevant to the themers?” And off I went! Turns out, the first three letters of those countries are right there:
- [53a: Furious feeling]: IRE
- [24d: California’s Big ___]: SUR
[42d: Beast’s abode]: DEN
- [10d: Priestly vestment]: ALB
What comes next after those three letters in the theme entries’ countries?
The capital of Peru is LIMA, and our answer.
I’ve heard enough from [47a: Kpop superstar]: PSY so how about [8d: Deck with a pool]: LIDO instead? I’d always thought this song was by Elton John, until I got the note, sayin’ toe the line or blow it and that was all she wrote.