Grid: 20 minutes; meta: 10 minutes
Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Two for the Show” — Conrad’s review
This week we’re told, The answer to this week’s contest crossword is a famous painter. There is one obvious themer:
- [36a: Oil containers?]: PICTUREFRAMES
I noted some movie references while solving the grid (tying to PICTURE), leading to these five additional themers:
- [18a: “Argo” star/director Affleck]: BEN
- [25d: Nona of “Ali”]: GAYE
- [29d: Hacking program played by Jeff Bridges in “Tron”]: CLU
- [45a: “Woo” star Pinkett Smith]: JADA
- [53a: “Ran” director]: KUROSAWA
Each movie appears in the grid as a substring in the following entries:
- 7a: DEARGOD
- 14a: REGALIA
- 19a: SHERWOOD
- 63a: DERANGE
- 64a: PATRONS
The left and right letters FRAME each movie, spelling EDGAR DEGAS, our meta answer.
I thought it was a nice breezy meta to kick off April. We’ll end with Pretty Ballerina by The Left Banke; the music is wonderfully synced to The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Сто́йкий оловя́нный солда́тик), a 1976 Soviet animated film based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
ah, that’s clever. stumped me.
I printed this out Friday morning along with the NYT. My normal habit is to do the NYT first. The NYT had a painter clue wherein the answer was DEGAS. Then I moved onto the WSJ. I said to my husband, “Wouldn’t it be funny if DEGAS was also the answer to the WSJ meta?”
I finished the WSJ grid, forgot to work on meta until now when I see it was written up. But it tickles me to see it was Degas.
What does a movie theme have to do with painters? Apparently nothing. I got hung up trying to somehow relate the title “Two for the Show” to the subject of the answer, which is a painter. Isn’t the title supposed to somehow relate to or suggest the answer? The whole concept here seems a little too loosely stitched together. I’m sure others will disagree.
“Show” can mean movie, as in “The Last Picture Show.”
Show as in picture show, picture frames as in moving pictures, or say in the Oscars, Best Picture.
I additionally read show as a sort of confirmation of the method: “the show” as in “the reveal”. Take two of those framers to get the answer. But yeah, it’s probably just “picture show”. ?
First time, that I guessed the right answer without figuring out the theme.
This was a fun one. I spent way too long trying to make sense of *all* the letters on each side of the movies, instead of just the letters immediately to the left and right. Somehow EDGAR DEGAS jumped out of that smorgasbord of letters anyway, and then I was able to figure out the right mechanism to get there.
TWO letters FRAMING the picture SHOWs. Nice.
I saw TRON there but thought movie titles might form boxes around meta letters. No could find em so I should have reverted to connecting the more OBVIOUS titles to PAINT the bigger picture. Oh well, off to BALLET CLASS.