WSJ Contest — Friday, February 28, 2020

Grid: 6:25; Meta: 9 minutes  


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “2+2=5″—Laura’s review

Matt challenges us to find a word heard in math class. Math is hard, according to Barbie, so let’s see how we do.

WSJ Contest - 2.28.20 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 2.28.20 – Solution

There appear to be five themers:

  • [17a: Olivia Colman won Best Actress for playing her in 2018]: QUEEN ANNE (in The Favourite)
  • [26a: Cameo makers]: GUEST STARS
  • [40a: Journalists often have them]: EXPENSE ACCOUNTS (rarely, nowadays, I’d think)
  • [48a: Educational initiative since 2010]: COMMON CORE
  • [64a: Devote time to locating]: SEARCH OUT

I mucked around for a bit, looking for things that could be “twos” — i.e. the Es and Ns in QUEEN ANNE, the STs in GUEST STARS — until it jumped right out at me, since QUEEN ANNE and QUANT are in the same row:

Soviet propaganda poster by Yakov Guminer, 1931

Soviet propaganda poster by Yakov Guminer, 1931

2+2=5 because two letters from QUEEN plus two letters from ANNE, plus one more letter, equals QUANT. Thus:

QUEEN + ANNE = [19a: Financial wizard, for short]: QUANT
GUEST + STARS = [44a: Zest]: GUSTO
EXPENSE + ACCOUNTS = [1a: On the nose]: EXACT
COMMON + CORE = [48d: Winter warmer]: COCOA
SEARCH + OUT = [55d: Gyeonbokgung Palace’s city]: SEOUL

Take the letters added to the two added twos in order to get the five-letter words, and you get T O T A L, which is a word heard in math class and our answer.

Do you believe that 2+2=5? If everyone believes it, it must be true. The concept has a looong history, from many years before Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty Four, as a figure for the false dogma that a successful propaganda campaign can get its adherents to believe (through coercion or simple gullibility).

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5 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, February 28, 2020

  1. Matt Gaffney says:

    Thanks, Laura. I wanted to make the five-letter words stand out as much as possible (using the Q and X in QUANT and EXACT, e.g. or the repeated letters in COCOA). QUANT being on the same row as QUEEN ANNE just happened to work out.

  2. John F. Ervin says:

    I believe you have a mistake in the grid. 67A=tAd & 52D=oneAl

  3. Richard Romano says:

    A small amount is not a ‘tid’ … It is a ‘tad’ … Perhaps. EDIT.

    Physician. Heal thyself.


  4. David Roll says:

    Shaq is O’Neal

Comments are closed.