WSJ Contest — Friday, October 30, 2020

Grid: 7ish; Meta: same  


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “I See Right Through You”—Laura’s review

The answer this week is something you might hear on Halloween. This year, that might be: “please ye gods and goddesses give me the strength to make it thorough the next 72 hours.”

WSJ Contest - 10.30.20 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 10.30.20 – Solution

A couple of long entries were suggestive:

  • [17a: Like a 28-Down]: IMMATERIAL
  • [57a: Like a 28-Down]: DIAPHANOUS

And there’s a spectre haunting the grid:

  • [28d: You can see right through this]: GHOST

I could, indeed, see that if you take out the letters of GHOST, you can still make valid words with the crossing entries:


What do we do next? Those words on their own don’t spell anything out, but there’s a common move that both Shenk and Gaffney often make with a meta: look for other entries in the grid that correspond with an extracted set. Thus:


The first letters of those entries spell out HOWLS, which is something you heard in my house on Halloween when our neighbor, dressed as “Queerthulhu” in a black robe and a face full of bright fuchsia tentacles, peered out of the darkness into our first-floor window and sent everyone howling down the hallway.

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6 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, October 30, 2020

  1. jefe says:

    Last-minute get for me; I thought it was very clever! Wonder how much effort it took to get the middle to work out.

    On another note, it’s been two weeks since I was able to get the WSJ puzzle to load in-browser in Chrome on my laptop. Anyone know if there’s a setting I need to change or cookies I need to enable to get it to work?

  2. Bob W says:

    I enjoyed this little morsel of a meta. I sometimes try to explain them to friends who know I like crosswords and this will make a perfect example. It’s straightforward, easy to grasp the mechanism, clever and timely. And I think we might be hearing howls all this week. Thank you, Mike.

  3. Garrett says:

    Hah — I got glisten, listen, hear and bridget, bridge, span, but I was then looking for words were I could remove the first or last letter and find a synonym. I did not understand that I needed to imagine GHOST not being there, though I should have! I ran out of time on this one.

    • Joella D Hultgren says:

      Same beginning process here, until I finally did “eliminate” GHOST and saw the other words. Just looked for words after the first or last letter was removed. Took 2 days.

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