Patrick Berry’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “One-Word Answers”—Laura’s review
This week, we seek a place where you might give one-word answers. Let’s go look.
Right off the bat, I noticed that every entry in the grid is a single word, except for the longer theme entries:
- [17a: Judge who’s often in the gallery?]: ART CRITIC
- [21a: 1963 spy film starring Paul Newman as a Nobelist]: THE PRIZE
- [28a: Apartment window sign]: FOR RENT
- [41a: Enjoy home cooking]: EAT IN
- [50a: White-collar daily grind]: RAT RACE
- [58a: “It’s been a long day!”]: I’M BUSHED
- [66a: Member of a Sleepy Hollow love triangle]: BROM BONES
First observation: Both two-word entries I’M BUSHED and BROM BONES can become one-word entries when you change the first letter: AMBUSHED and TROMBONES, respectively.
Aha! Maybe you can change the first letter of each two-word entry to make a one-word entry? Turns out, not necessarily the first letter, thusly:
ART CRITIC == ARTHRITIC
THE PRIZE == THEORIZE
FOR RENT == TORRENT
EAT IN == SATIN
RAT RACE == RETRACE
I’M BUSHED == AMBUSHED
BROM BONES == TROMBONES
The changed letters spell out HOT SEAT, which I suppose is a place where you might give one-word answers. Yes? No? Five?
What’s particularly elegant — almost easter-egg-ish — about this mechanism is that changing the letters in those across entries also results in perfectly cromulent down entries at those crossing points, respectively:
The puzzle becomes, in essence, a one-word entry themeless. Very nice! Anyway, I’m bushed, or I’d write more. Let’s have Bing Crosby as BROM BONES — the Gaston of his day — sing us out: