WSJ Contest — Friday, September 11, 2020

Grid: 7; Meta: 10  

 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Where’s the Rest?”—Laura’s review

This week, we need to find a four-letter verb that [Matt] hope[s] this puzzle doesn’t make you want to do.

WSJ Contest - 9.11.20 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 9.11.20 – Solution

No standout themers, so something else must be going on. Aha! A bunch of clues don’t match their entries regarding number:

  • [34a: Haunted house shouts]: BOO
  • [55a: Tampa Bay team]: RAY
  • [2d: Cherbourg cheeses]: BRIE
  • [58d: World-weary exhalations]: SIGH
  • [64d: The Black and the Bering, for two]: SEA

First step: Pluralize those entries in order to match their clues, and you get:

BOOS
RAYS
BRIES
SIGH
SEAS

Next step: Realize that these are homophones of five other words (all of which, nicely, use a Z):

BOOS ==> BOOZE
RAYS ==> RAZE
BRIES ==> BREEZE
SIGH ==> SIZE
SEAS ==> SEIZE

Next step: Discover five additional entries in the grid that are synonyms of those homophones:

BOOZE ==> [61a: Sauce]: HOOCH
RAZE ==> [30a: Destroy]: OBLITERATE
BREEZE ==> [51a: Wind]: GUST
SIZE ==> [17a: Magnitude]: DIMENSION
SEIZE ==> [41a: Commandeer]: USURP

Put those in grid order, and they spell DOUGH. Is that the answer?

N’oh! DOUGH is a five-letter noun. There’s another step: Apply the same pluralization:

DOUGH ==> DOUGHS ==> DOZE, which is a four-letter verb that [Matt] hope[s] this puzzle doesn’t make you want to do, and our answer.

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11 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, September 11, 2020

  1. Martin says:

    And dozing is also called catching some Zs. Very cute.

  2. Barry Miller says:

    Loved it. Zzzz.

  3. Austin says:

    i liked that the clues for the synonyms of the homophones are all one word, and they’re the only one word clues in the puzzle.

    title can also be read as “where’s the [Rest]?” Rest being a clue for DOZE.

  4. Mary Roque Flaminio says:

    Matt called this one level 2.5. I thought it was harder than that.

  5. Torridd says:

    I didn’t catch SEAS, but got the answer.

  6. Gerd Flanston says:

    I was thinking Bach[s] would have been cool for BOX

  7. BrainBoggler says:

    I somehow missed the step of finding synonyms for the “z” homophones and settled on DOZE by adding “ze” to the final word of the instructions, “do”. I knew it didn’t feel right since I wasn’t creating it to represent a plural form of anything, but it clicked so well with the “rest” in the puzzle title, so I decided I didn’t need to sleep on it. On that note, I kept thinking about the instructions and Matt not wanting us to doze from perhaps being bored with the puzzle, but some of us may have wanted to doze after solving just to give our brain a rest! Great puzzle, Matt.

  8. cyco says:

    Man, I got to DOUGH and then messed it up – went down a rabbit hole looking for a synonym of DOUGH in the grid and settled on MONAE (for money). But that doesn’t get you a four-letter word, so I arbitrarily went with MOAN and called it a day. DOZE makes perfect sense in retrospect!

  9. Mister G says:

    As I get more experience solving these, a strategy I see recommended often is that if the contest answer has X letters, look for X relevant clue answers. In this case, the solving tip threw me off for a long while, because the clue for SEA didn’t pop out as being “mis-pluralized” as much as the others. Hence I was left staring at DOGH for the longest time. I finally realized USURP might be useful and successfully back-solved from there.

  10. RAD2626 says:

    Almost submitted ZZZZ thinking it fit the title and having gotten the first two steps. Bothered me that there were five mismatched plurals and ZZZZ is -um -probably not a verb. HOOCH led me down the right path. Terrific puzzle. 5.0 in my book. Multiple steps but doable.

  11. Win Gruening says:

    I’m still st level 1…went with ADD”S”.

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