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.
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:
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).