Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “In Character” — Laura’s review
This week, we’re looking for a famous novel.
We have four starred theme entries:
- [17a: Light fruity wine]: BEAUJOLAIS
- [25a: Faultfinding situation]: BLAME GAME
- [50a: Meditation-while-asleep practice]: DREAM YOGA
- [58a: 1970 chart-topping hit for the Jackson 5]: I’LL BE THERE
And one central entry of hintage:
- [36a: George Eliot novel that’s not the contest answer, but provides a hint to it]: MIDDLEMARCH
The hint suggests that we’re looking for something in the middle of the themers, and it turns out that each of those middles (exact middles!) is a March — the four March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s famous 1868 novel, LITTLE WOMEN (which is our answer):
I’LL BE THERE
Okay, so they’re not in order by age (that would be MEG, JO, BETH, AMY) but the mechanism is so simple and elegant, whomst shall quibble? I shan’t.
If you haven’t seen the 2019 film adaptation directed by Greta Gerwig (about which my teenage son said, “wow, I liked that way better than I expected to!”), here is Chloe Fineman giving you the gist (“Florence Puuuuuuugh!?!”):