Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “You’ll Take One Soon”—Laura’s review
Take one what? When? I solved the grid, then got bogged down in work stuff and vacation planning, then realized I needed to write and schedule this post earlier than usual because road trip, so asked for the teeniest of hints to get a move on.
We’re looking for a five-letter noun, and we have five themers, with no apparent referential connection:
- [17a: Got there late]: WASN’T IN TIME
- [25a: Depressingly enthusiastic]: ALL TOO EAGER
- [38a: Specialty]: FIELD OF ENDEAVOR
- [48a: Words to someone offering unwelcome advice]: WHO ASKED YOU
- [57a: Fancies oneself underpaid]: WANTS A RAISE
Well. As stated above, I futzed around a bit, then began to worry that I would post a review that WASN’T IN TIME, so I was ALL TOO EAGER to ask for a leetle hint. It was kindly suggested by metapal Jesse that I focus on the first letters of the words in the themers (WHO ASKED YOU, Jesse? Oh, right: I did). And that broke the whole thing open in this here FIELD OF ENDEAVOR. (Yo, Amy? If I’m gonna keep blogging these, I WANTS A RAISE!)
So if we look at the first letters of themers, we get words. And those words just happen to have homophones in the clues:
WASN’T IN TIME –> WIT –> [56a: Whit]
ALL TOO EAGER –> ATE –> [50d: Eight]
FIELD OF ENDEAVOR –> FOE –> [30a: Faux]
WHO ASKED YOU –> WAY –> [12d: Weigh]
WANTS A RAISE –> WAR –> [69a: Wore]
What entries do those clues clue?
[56a: Whit]: BIT
[50d: Eight]: OCTET
[30a: Faux]: UNTRUE
[12d: Weigh]: GAUGE
[69a: Wore]: HAD ON
Take the first letters of those entries and you get B – O – U – G – H, BOUGH, which is a five-letter noun, and our answer. Wait, how does that relate to the title? BOUGH is a homophone for BOW, and “You’ll Take One Soon” — that is, once you’ve solved the puzzle. Vary gneiss, Matte! Eye doug. Ewe?
Sure, [11d: Carrie’s “Sex and the City” love]: MR BIG is a character played by Chris Noth on HBO. But those of us who came of age in the early 90s will never forget that dramatic key change. When is someone’s college a cappella group going to revive this song?
Ingenious. Unfortunately, I was neither in nor genius. ?♀️
Loved it. The title does so much heavy lifting in the best possible way. Take One word from each three word entry. The homophones in the clues are each one word (that is, the clues are one word). Take one letter from each. Then take a bow.
Side note: I am consistently baffled by the lower star ratings for WSJ metas. I sense that if this ran on MGWCC as a week 3 it would garner at least 4 stars.
As I often say here, the star ratings are meaningless and shouldn’t be used as a factor in judging a puzzle’s quality.
If Matt comments here, he can confirm or deny whether your interpretation of the title is correct, but IMHO, “You’ll take one soon” meant “You’ll take a bow soon” and that’s it. Nothing to do with taking words or taking letters.
(“This was insane”)
It took me a long time to catch on to the meta mechanism but I was greatly excited when I did. Loved it.