Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Chain Gang”—Laura’s review
Coming soon! Lollapuzzoola, the best crossword tournament to occur on a Saturday in August (Saturday, August 17, to be exact) is sold out of regular table seats, but you can still register for a “clipboard seat” (I think this means you sit in a chair and bring your own clipboard) here, where you can also sign up to solve at home for slightly less of a financial outlay. Speaking of solving at home, since that’s how most of us solve (I’m also partial to solving at bars; it’s a great way to guard against being hit upon), you can still get this year’s Boswords puzzles to solve at home (Fun Facts: 22.2% of Boswords constructors are Fiend bloggers; 100% of Fiend bloggers who cover weekly metapuzzle contests are Boswords constructors).
Oh yeah, the puzzle! We’re looking for an American fast-food chain.
- [17a: Person in charge of keeping everyone’s morale up?]: SPIRIT CHIEF
- [25a: Someone who’s always trying to outdo you on Instagram?]: SELFIE RIVAL
- [38a: Place to store your throwable weaponry?]: SPEAR CELLAR
- [53a: Demand that the singer of “Tik Tok” laugh at your joke?]: GUFFAW KESHA (note: she no longer styles herself Ke$ha)
- [62a: “Has anyone seen Ms. Cyrus?”]: WHERE’S MILEY
As I was finishing this grid with its nonsense-y themers, I suspected the meta mechanism might have something to do with female pop stars … SPEARs, KESHA, MILEY … but no. With a metapuzzle, after a grid solve, I’ll often print just the filled grid to get the ol’ brain juices a-boiling … and I needn’t’ve bothered, as it jumped out at me immediately:
The pop stars alluded to in the three last themers were a nice misdirect, but what we were really looking for is the last names of five people named GUY:
Guy RITCHIE, British director and ex-husband of Madonna
Guy FIERI, restauranteur and food show host
Guy PEARCE, Australian actor (of Memento) whom I always mix up with Australian actor Hugo Weaving (of The Matrix and Lord of the Rings)
Guy FAWKES, 1570-1606, instigator of the Gunpowder Plot (“Remember, remember, the fifth of November…”)
Guy SMILEY, Muppet and “everybody’s favorite game show host” on Sesame Street
Count ’em: one, two, three, four, five guys named GUY. Our American fast-food restaurant is: FIVE GUYS, headquartered in Matt Gaffney’s resident state of Virginia, and recently the fastest growing restaurant chain in the US (there’s likely one near you).
Cookie Monster is not a particularly gracious game show contestant: