WSJ Contest — Friday, November 27, 2020

Grid: 6ish; Meta: momentarily  


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Two by Two”—Laura’s review

Superquick post for a superquick solve.

This week’s answer is an animal.

WSJ Contest - 11.27.20 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 11.27.20 – Solution

No long theme entries, but there are five instances of entries with a doubled letter I:

  • [22a: Pie chart dividers]: RADII
  • [26a: Latin list shortener]: ET ALII
  • [37a: “Really, it’s my treat!”]: I INSIST
  • [45a: Its seal includes banana and taro leaves]: HAWAII
  • [64a: Ayatollah Khamenei, e.g.]: SHIITE

Let’s see … the title is “Two by Two” and we have two I’s — can we make anything of the sets of twos by those twos? Spoiler alert: Yes, we can. The letters next to each pair of I’s are:


or, SALAMANDER, which is an animal, and our answer.

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12 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, November 27, 2020

  1. Amanda says:

    Oops, I submitted aye-aye. Thought it was a no-brainer, haha!

  2. Martin says:

    The hardest part of the solve, for me, was avoiding all the rabbit holes that Mike dug. Lots of animals in the grid, the the parallel SHAD and TOAD. And the clues were full of them, even the paired Swans and Elephants. But the II elements were just too obvious and when I used the Force to ignore all those creatures, the little amphibian scurried out.

  3. jefe says:

    Totally whiffed on this one – I should get my I’s checked.

  4. Silverskiesdean says:

    Great puzzle Mr Shenk.
    Nothing lEFTto say and nothing NEWTo report.
    Sal A. Mander

  5. Ellen Nichols says:

    Dang, I was sure it was Aye-Aye, kind of a gift for the holiday weekend.

  6. Joella D Hultgren says:

    In the published answer, it says the “II’s” in the words RADII, ET ALII, I INSIST, HAWAII, and SHIITE are Roman Numerals. Although they may look like Roman Numerals, they are NOT Roman Numerals, they are double letter I’s. Also, the letters SA, LA, MA, ND, and ER are above or below the double letter I’s, not just “by” each “II”. The explanation in Monday’s puzzle is misleading.

  7. PuzzleCraig says:

    With all the holiday stuff and yardwork this weekend, I completely forgot about this puzzle until after I went to bed at a quarter past eleven last night.

    Fortunately about 15 minutes later, I had completed the puzzle and was able to submit my response. I’m glad this was an easy one.

  8. Art Shapiro says:

    Silly question, please. This is one of the few I actually got (and very quickly) but I have no idea how one submits an answer. Can anyone laughingly elucidate?


  9. Sam B says:

    This was my first of these and I found it much easier than I’d feared (having tilted at some of Matt Gaffney’s brain-crackers back in the day). I like how varied are the sources of that unusual double-i. One Arabic, one Polynesian, one English (split across words), and two Latin plurals. If only one of those Latin ones could have been something else, to really keep it mixed up. Must have been impossible in the grid. Anyway this made me excited for next Friday. Skiing anyone?

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