Patrick Berry’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Group Outings”—Laura’s review
This week, we’re looking for a five-letter word.
Let’s see what we can find in the themers — or at least in the five longest across entries:
- [18a: Tips of wingtips]: TOE PIECES
- [24a: Discrimination based on social status]: CLASSISM
- [41a: Pierced with buckshot]: RIDDLED
- [55a: Sticks by the coffee maker?]: STIRRERS
- [61a: Cause to flee]: SCARE AWAY
Hmmm what do we notice? Turns out (and I needed a nudge to see this), each themer has a letter that repeats three times. That repeats thrice. That threepeats.
ESDRA? That’s a five-letter word, anagrams to DARES, but is it the answer? (Spoiler: It is not.) What was the title, again? “Group Outings” — what if each group of letters went on an outing? Like, if we took them out of the entries?
TOE PIECES – EEE == TOPICS
CLASSISM – SSS == CLAIM
RIDDLED – DDD == RILE
STIRRERS – RRR == STIES
SCARE AWAY – AAA == SCREWY
Turns out, those are all clues:
- [28a: Topics]: THEMES
- [41d: Claim]: RETRIEVE
- [15a: Rile]: IRK
- [34a: Sties]: PENS
- [47d: Screwy]: STRANGE
The first letters of those entries spell TRIPS, which are kinda “group outings” and also a five-letter word, and our answer.