WSJ Contest — Friday, September 20, 2019

grid: 9ish minutes; meta: same  


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “For Good Measure”—Laura’s review

This week, we’re looking for a unit of measurement.

WSJ Contest - 9.20.19 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 9.20.19 – Solution

Step One: Note that there are four longer acrosses that seem unrelated in regard to surface meaning:

  • [16a: Grade aid]: EXTRA CREDIT
  • [26a: Asset for investors and city drivers]: STEADY NERVES
  • [43a: Gate crasher]: BATTERING RAM
  • [58a: “No, thank you,” e.g.]: POLITE REPLY

Step Two: Consider that there might be something hidden in the entries, like so:


ACRE, DYNE, GRAM, and LITER are all units of measurement, like our meta answer should be. Just lining those up doesn’t get us anything, so how do we get from these to the answer?

Step Three: Notice that each unit corresponds to a very brief clue that denotes what each measures, like so:

  • ACRE == [20a: Area]: PLACE
  • DYNE == [48d: Force]: IMPEL
  • GRAM == [7d: Mass]: NODE
  • LITER == [39d: Volume]: TOME

Step Four: Solve the meta! Those entries line up to spell PINT, which is a unit of measurement.


[65a: Cary of “The Princess Bride”]: ELWES had this to say about a rumored remake:


Would somebody check the men’s room for a Hugh Jass? Why can’t I find Amanda Huginkiss? Here’s a supercut of [19a: Victim of crank calls from Bart]: MOE.


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14 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, September 20, 2019

  1. Steve Beard says:

    I somehow derived a fifth unit hidden in the central GIGUE = GIG (as in gigabyte) which is a unit of information (per Wikipedia) Alas, this rabbit hole has no egress!

  2. pgw says:

    I enjoyed finding the wordplay in this one but it seems like it might have been solvable without it – if you just anagram the starting letters of the four entries that are clued by a [thing that can be measured], you get the answer. Maybe it would have been good to sprinkle in a few others that weren’t involved in the meta – Velocity, Distance, Time, etc. But overall, I liked it.

  3. ant says:

    My own rabbit hole also involved a fifth entry…one that I could not find. The first letters of the hidden words did not spell anything, nor did their measurements (Land, Force, Weight, Volume). However, their LAST letters were E-E-M-R…oh so close to METER. Now where is that hidden unit of measurement that ends in T?
    With “For” Good Measure, I should have known better.

  4. Phoebe says:

    I always forget to look at the clues- I had written down area, force, mass and volume, but focused only on the grid and got nowhere.

  5. Barney says:

    I honestly don’t understand the low ratings on so many puzzles these days. I’m almost reflexively going to rate them all as 5 to counter that.

  6. Lake Livin says:

    I briefly considered whether “cent” might be a fifth unit, but it wasn’t as “clean” as the others, not in a long across, and too obvious instead of hidden across two words. I think Mike gifted us this week by isolating the relevant units in the clues instead of including them within a longer clue.

  7. David Roll says:

    I got the correct answer by using different reasoning, which much to my surprise worked. Three of the units of measure were four letter words–one, liter was five letter, and I was looking for a four letter answer. A liter is larger than a pint by a small amount so it seemed that “for good measure'”could be interpreted as a little extra than a pint–Who’d a thunk it!!

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