Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Build Your Brand”—Jeremy’s review
Please welcome back guest blogger and solving buddy Jeremy K.!
The answer to this week’s contest crossword is a well-known company.
The grid dropped in fairly quickly for me with only a few hiccups due to proper nouns (RAO, BERT), SED, and BSIX, but the crosses were all helpful. The five clear themers were easy to identify, setting up a clear focus for investigation:
- TORN CURTAIN
- 17-A [1966 Hitchcock thriller]
- TOASTER OVENS
- 23-A [Kitchen appliances]
- PREMIUM GASOLINE
- 39-A [It’s pricey at the pump]
- SHOPPING CART
- 49-A [Alternative to a handbasket]
- CEREAL AISLE
- 59-A [Kid’s favorite section of the supermarket, maybe]
Now what? The themers are all two words, so initially TC, TO, PG, SC, CA, but that didn’t generate anything. The proverbial foot in the door of this meta, for me, was thinking how a SHOPPINGCART could be a [Useful tool when you’re hitting a target] if read as “Target” — i.e. the store. Finding the others was enjoyable as I really had to work at parsing the clues in just the right way — lots of small aha moments.
Ultimately, there are five BRAND names in the clues:
TORN CURTAIN [22a: Job for a singer] ARIA
TOASTER OVENS [68a: Frequent openers and closers in a subway] DOORS
PREMIUM GASOLINE [1d: Must-have for a mustang, maybe] OATS
SHOPPING CART [55a: Useful tool when you’re hitting a target] BOW
CEREAL AISLE [6a: It has abundant life] EARTH
Read as brand names, these clues link to the five themers. The initial letter of the actual answers for those clues, when placed in themer-order, spell out the meta answer: ADOBE. “Can you say that for me?”
This was an excellent meta (Mikey Likes It!) as the mechanism produced just the right amount of resistance for a highly enjoyable solve. Bravo, Matt!
(and Thanks, Jeremy!)