Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Grid Daring”—Laura’s review
This week, we’re looking for a ten-letter entertainment category. Are you not entertained? No? Let’s solve a puzzle, then.
There are four starred entries:
- [17a: *Fourth digit]: RING FINGER
- [30a: *Singles bar, sometimes]: MEAT MARKET
- [47a: *Patched things up]: MADE AMENDS
- [63a: *Deepest self]: TRUE NATURE
First observation: Each themer is a phrase where the first word’s letters are contained in the second word (just like in the puzzle’s title), with two leftover letters:
Second observation: Add a letter to each two-letter set of leftover letters to make a set of three-letter entries in the grid:
- [18d: Moroccan city]: FES
- [50a: “King Kong” studio]: RKO
- [42a: Hush-hush org]: NSA
- [65d: Recharge your batteries]: NAP
Those added letters, in grid order spell SOAP — which is an abbreviation for an entertainment category, but it isn’t ten letters, so to make the meta answer, we need to replicate the pattern followed by the title and the themers: a four-letter word followed by a six-letter word that contains the first word’s letters plus two extras. That gives us SOAP OPERAS, which is indeed a ten-letter entertainment category, and our answer. I’m not sure if there’s another step/confirmation that involves the leftover letters from the title or the meta (AN and ER, respectively). Maybe not my all-time fave of Matt’s metas, but doesn’t disappoint.
For some love this Valentine’s Day weekend, here’s “Heart-Shaped Box” from Nirvana’s 1993 album, [10d: Preparing for delivery]: IN UTERO.