WSJ Contest — Friday, January 22, 2021

Grid: 10; Meta: 5, sorta  


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

This week, Mike wants us to find a six-letter word related to music.

WSJ Contest - 1.22.21 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 1.22.21 – Solution

There are some themers that don’t appear thematically related, and one key entry.

  • [17a: Oregon national park]: CRATER LAKE
  • [19a: “The Evil Dead” director]: SAM RAIMI
  • [33a: Subjugates]: BRINGS TO HEEL
  • [41a: Done deal]: FAIT ACCOMPLI
  • [56a: Water off of Australia]: CORAL SEA
  • [59a: Steinway product]: GRAND PIANO

And also:

  • [68a: A helpful one while solving this puzzle is C]: KEY

First observation, to which I was led by the title: Six of the clues, including the aforementioned, end in “notes’:

  • [13a: Where you’d race a super-G]: HILL
  • [67a: Code with a dot for E ]: MORSE
  • [68a: A helpful one while solving this puzzle is C]: KEY
  • [51d: 2018 superhero film shown in IMAX 3-D]: VENOM
  • [60d: Color of Hester’s A]: RED
  • [61d: 2018 song by rapper Cardi B]: I DO

Second observation: if you anagram the last letters of those entries (i.e. their “endnotes”), you get MELODY, which is a six-letter word related to music, and our answer.

WAIT, do not post a comment telling me, whom you have decided is clearly the world’s worst metapuzzle blogger, that I missed a step. I know! It is totally not Shenk-y to leave solvers to anagram in order to get the meta. There needs to be another chunk of information to extract about how to reorder those “endnotes.”

Solving pal Gideon hadn’t quite gotten the meta, and was sharing notes with me. “I have the scale from the themers, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to apply that to.” Me: You have the what from the whatwhats? Ohhhhh. Turns out, if you take the last letters of the themers (their “endnotes” as it were), you get: RE MI SOL TI LA DO. Then, remembering that the KEY of C is apparently helpful, let’s look at that key:

C     D    E   F     G     A   B

The step I missed was to rearrange the entries from the “endnotes” clues according to the order of the themers:

TI — B — I DO
LA — A — RED
DO — C — KEY

And there you have the last letters — the “endnotes” yeah — in order spelling MELODY. Whew! That was complicated! Time to relax and thrill to the pomposity of a 1950s movie announcer as he expounds on the glories of [38d: “How the West Was Won” was shown in it]: CINERAMA.


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9 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, January 22, 2021

  1. jefe says:

    Oh. I did the same thing you did – notice the clue notes and that the last letters anagram to MELODY, but miss the ordering mechanism. Everything always makes sense in retrospect!

  2. Jon Forsythe says:

    I don’t follow this: “The step I missed was to rearrange the entries from the “endnotes” clues according to the order of the themers:

    RE — D — VENOM
    MI — E — MORSE
    SOL — G — HILL
    TI — H — I DO
    LA — A — RED
    DO — C — KEY”

    When 1) H isn’t a note & 2) the TI and LA are out of order. If 1) is a typo where H was supposed to be B, that still makes the above spell out MELDOY instead of Melody.

    • Ryan says:

      1. I think “H” is a typo and should be “B.”

      2. The order of the notes is from the order of the across entries. The fourth is FAI_T_ ACCOMPL_I_ (ends in TI) and the fifth is CORA_L_ SE_A_ (ends in LA)

  3. Dozen says:

    You actually need to look at the last letters of each word in the themer answers to spell the name of a note and get the ordering:

    CRATER LAKE -> R,E -> D -> VENOM -> M
    SAM RAIMI -> M,I -> E -> MORSE -> E
    BRINGS TO HEEL -> S,O,L -> G -> HILL -> L
    FAIT ACCOMPLI -> T,I -> TI -> B -> IDO -> O
    CORAL SEA -> L,A -> LA -> A -> RED -> D
    GRAND PIANO -> D,O -> DO -> C -> KEY -> Y

  4. Ryan says:

    I noticed the notes at the end and transcribed them using the key of C, but initially couldn’t figure out what to do next. It was only after a day of not thinking about the puzzle that I remembered that several clues also *ended* in a *note* (endnotes!)

  5. David Roll says:

    Good Grief

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  7. Crotchety Doug says:

    I started with the fact that the key of C has the members C, D, E, f, G, A. B. I couldn’t figure out where the “F” was, and gave up. Is there no F in this scale?

    Total frustration, and I had to read Laura’s explanation four times to get it. Maybe I’m just tired?

  8. Hugh D. Maxwell III says:

    I got the endnotes and saw that we had all the notes of the scale except FA. Where was FA (besides Fait Accompli)?

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