WSJ Contest — Friday, July 31, 2020

Grid: 7ish; Meta: 10ish  


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Tormented Artists”—Laura’s review

This week, we’re looking for a food often painted by artists.

WSJ Contest - 7.31.20 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 7.31.20 – Solution

There are six long acrosses, and they’re kinda wacky:

  • [7a: Annual festival when everybody eats a trendy fish dish?]: POKE HOLIDAY
  • [23a: Pack animal that tells brazen lies?]: LLAMA GASLIGHTER
  • [33a: Elevator built in the 1930s?]: PREWAR LIFT
  • [43a: Really cool bit of computer animation?]: EPIC EFFECT
  • [51a: Co-workers who always cut you down?]: SNIDE ASSOCIATES
  • [61a: What happened that time when a Jedi made noise with his teeth?]: YODA GRITTED

Given that the theme has something to do with artists, I had them on my mind, and noticed right away that YODA GRITTED contains “GRITTE” — which is part of an artist’s name. It didn’t take me too much longer to assemble the collection:


At this point I was stumped for a few minutes — what do I do with this list? Until it occurred to me to list their first names in the order of the first part of each last name:

Georgia O’Keeffe
Rene Magritte
Andy Warhol
Pablo Picasso
Edgar Degas
Salvador Dali

… and there you have it: GRAPES, a food often painted by artists. Fun one!

New clue for LLAMA GASLIGHTER: [Learned League player who keeps telling you, “What are you talking about? Today’s match questions were so easy. You must’ve been reading them wrong!”]


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6 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, July 31, 2020

  1. Neil B says:

    I saw that HOL was in first theme answer and WAR in 3rd. PIC was in 4th and ASSO in 6th. MAG was in 2nd and RITTE in 6th answer so I thought tormented artists were the names broken in 2. Also DA and LI wee floating around. This led nowhere obviously and I almost sent in grapes as it seemed like a good answer

    • austin says:

      “this led nowhere obviously”? what’s obvious about that leading nowhere? it was exactly what you were supposed to notice.

  2. PJ says:

    The theme answers are all two words. The artists’ last names span the first and second words of theme answers. Just not the same theme answers. The first letters of the first names of the artists, taken in the order that the first part of the last name appears give us the answer.

    That’s some pretty good stuff! I didn’t get it but wow!

  3. Dan Seidman says:

    I enjoyed this, but I thought the instructions made for an obvious guess. I would have made it less specific, like “something often painted by artists”.

  4. Matthew Frumess says:

    I saw the artists and that they were side by side, in pairs. I Googled each artist and discovered that they all had painted pears, individually. So my answer was…pears! I kinda like it… Oh well…

  5. Garrett says:

    5 Stars from me. I loved this meta.

Comments are closed.