Grid: 7ish; Meta: a jiffy
Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Connect Four”—Laura’s review
This week, we’re looking for a two-word phrase.
Four sets of clues cross-reference each other:
- [6d: With 9-Down, Home Depot purchase]: STAPLE
- [9d: See 6-Down]: GUN
- [16a: With 29-Across, immediately]: AT A
- [29a: See 16-Across]: GLANCE
- [31a: With 51-Across, place for pillowcases]: LINEN
- [51a: See 31-Across]: CLOSET
- [63d: With 50-Down, piece of Summer Olympics equipment]: AIR
- [50d: See 63-Down]: PISTOL
And then there’s a big hint in the last across entry:
- [71a: Like pairs of crossword answers whose clues cross-reference each other: LINKED
Given that last entry, and that there are four sets of LINKED entries and that the title is “Connect Four” — I figured we were looking for something that linked or connected the two entries in each set. And, there they were:
Those sets of letters, in grid order, are: SIA MES ETW INS, or SIAMESE TWINS, which is a two-word phrase and our answer. I believe they prefer to be called conjoined twins.
Overall, a fairly breezy early-month meta (not that the WSJ contest necessarily gets more difficult as the month proceeds), with a strong mechanism. Pretty sneaky, sis!
Fastest Meta evah
You probably won’t see “handicapped” clued in a puzzle to describe someone who is differently abled, so the use of the term “Siamese twins” as a phrase shouldn’t appear in a meta either. And a big ouch to the link to the Simpson’s cartoon that dismisses the whole idea of using language that is not offensive to others.
No, it didn’t.
You’re overlooking Lisa, playing her usual role.
Nothing in the clues, grid, or meta answer bothered me.
I initially wrote down the letters for one linked entry and the other. For example — at the top, ASIAN rather than SIA. The order I wrote them down was across, across, down, down. So I had:
This did not look like anything, so I went off writing down words in the grid that paired well, like LINEN SLACKS. But then there was nothing that felt like it was THE answer, so I knew I had missed something (I eventually got it).
Considering all the restraints (four long answers, plus four pairs of linked answers that had to intersect the other four), the grid fill was remarkably clean. Another impressive construct from Matt Gaffney!