WSJ Contest — Friday, January 8, 2021

Grid: 7; Meta: 10  


Pete Muller & Michael Milam’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “AP English” — Laura’s review

This week’s puzzle is by Pete Muller, he of the Muller Monthly Music Meta (give it a listen!) and Michael Milam, whose name isn’t in our tag library, so congrats if this is a debut! They challenge us to find a word you might use in English class.

WSJ Contest - 1.8.21 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 1.8.21 – Solution

Eight clues are asterisked:

  • [36a: Small-sized]: PETITE
  • [56a: Rear]: PARENT
  • [58a: Works at a museum]: ART
  • [4d: Biden chief of staff Klain]: RON
  • [8d: Establishes beyond a reasonable doubt]: PROVES
  • [13d: Former flames]: EXES
  • [55d: Overexercise result]: ACHE
  • [56d: Shroud]: PALL

First observation: The puzzle is entitled “AP English,” and if you add the letters AP to the starred entries, you get new words:


Second observation: Those new words could also answer the clues of other entries in the grid:

  • [25d: Hunger]: YEN (APPETITE)
  • [7d: Plain to see]: OVERT (APPARENT)
  • [12d: Split up]: SEPARATED (APART)
  • [1d: Protective covering]: SMOCK (APRON)
  • [68a: Sanctions]: YESES (APPROVES)
  • [52d: High points]: MAXES (APEXES)
  • [29d: Athabaskan language]: NAVAJO (APACHE)
  • [39d: Disgust]: NAUSEATE (APPALL)

Third observation: If you look at the first letters of the second set of entries from left to right across the grid, they spell SYNONYMS, which is APpropriate, and also a word you might use in English class, and our answer. Nice work! Fun but not too tough.

I’ll leave you with [5a: “Lift ___ Voice and Sing” (old hymn)]: EVRY.


This entry was posted in Contests and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, January 8, 2021

  1. e.a. says:

    congrats to Michael on the excellent debut!

    i’d been under the impression there was no way a non-rotation constructor (and therefore any person of color, woman, etc) could run on a friday, so it’s good to see that a channel does exist

  2. Garrett says:

    Well, see, I got the AP part, but I did not use the clue as an intermediary to the next step — I just used the new word as the clue. Now this seemed to work well for everything except APPETITE and APPROVES. After all, no big leap to go from APRON to SMOCK, so why does APPETITE :: YENS feel like such a stretch?

    APPROVES is even worse! The only remote possibilities in the grid are OKSO — inelegant, and YESES. I’ll buy APPROVals -> YESES, but not APPROVES. For that you need Okays or SaysYes.

    Now, what about APEXES? Very unfortunate that we have both TOPS and MAXES on the grid, making the choice ambiguous.

    Then there is APACHE — the worst, because NAVAJO was apparently intended, but a Navajo is not an Apache, so this is bogus, unless we are to use the clue to develop commonality. Then, everything works, but I feel like that’s a crutch.

    Because of my military background, the first thing I thought of was the Apache helicopter. Besides the main and tail rotors found on most conventional helicopters, the Apache is a TWINJET aircraft, with one turbojet on each side of the fuselage.

    So, my letters did not anagram into anything useful. Perhaps had the ordering mechanism was obvious I’d of seen the pattern.

    • Frank says:

      I found TOPS before I found MAXES. But APEXES is an alternate answer for the clue of MAXES, but APEXES is not an alternate answer for the clue of TOPS.

  3. cyco says:

    Excellent theme and execution! Just difficult enough to require some lateral thinking, but it all falls into place quite nicely.

Comments are closed.