WSJ Contest — Friday, April 30, 2021

Grid: 10 minutes; meta: 10 minutes  


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Backcourt Fundamentals” — Conrad’s review

This week we’re told, The answer to this week’s contest crossword is a five-letter adjective. There are five starred themers:

  • [16a: *It has factors other than itself and 1]: COMPOSITENUMBER
  • [26a: *”The Departed” Oscar nominee]: MARKWAHLBERG
  • [37a: *Thrashes]: LARRUPS
  • [45a: *Money raised by issuing stock]: SHARECAPITAL
  • [60a: *Liquor, e.g.]: SOCIALLUBRICANT

Mike’s puzzles often feature a bonus themer as the last horizontal clue, and this week was no exception:

  • [68a: Org. that deals with backcourt fundamentals]: NBA

I initially spotted MEAT (26d) and META (6d), and began chasing phantom anagrams TAME, TEAM, and MATE (the latter forming “TEAMMATE,” neatly tying into my imaginary MEAT META theme). Thankfully I quickly spotted LARRUPS: it was starred, the central entry, and a pretty odd word. I noticed RUPS (SPUR “back”-wards), pointing to the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. The remaining teams fell into place quickly:

  • COMPOSITENUMBER: Brooklyn Nets
  • MARKWAHLBERG: Atlanta Hawks
  • LARRUPS: San Antonio Spurs
  • SHARECAPITAL: Indiana Pacers
  • SOCIALLUBRICANT: Chicago Bulls

The first letter of each city reveals BASIC, this week’s meta solution. Here’s a song from The Smiths’ classic 1985 album Meta Meat is Murder

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7 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, April 30, 2021

  1. Seth Cohen says:

    I wonder why Mike decided to put SPUR inside a single-word entry, instead of across two words like the others. Maybe there’s just no good two-word entry that works. MAJOR UPSET, FAR UPSTAGE, but 10 letters isn’t great.

  2. Joella D Hultgren says:

    I was unhappy that the team names didn’t include an ending “s”. And, Basic didn’t include an ending “s”, which would have been a match for “fundamentals” (that has an “s”).

  3. Billy Boy says:

    I despise basketball and I used to love playing the game., The Smiths and Morrissey? Well … Let’s say polar.

    How Soon is Now …?
    Was released as a B- side single in 1984, it has quite a story, it was not a part of the British original album MisM. It was added to the US version of the album.

    Notoriously difficulty to perform live because of how it was created in the studio. The Smiths rarely did. I saw Morrissey perform it live in Philadelphia on one of his tours, ironically computer aided concerts thirty years later made doing it so much easier.

    The Smiths literally hated that video.

    • Joella D Hultgren says:

      I can see and hear why the Smiths hated that video. What were they thinking?

  4. Amanda says:

    Taking me back to seventh grade with BASIC!

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