Patrick Berry’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Take Five” — Conrad’s review.
This week we’re looking for a four-letter word. There were four long theme entries:
- [18a: Speechless with astonishment]: DUMBSTRUCK
- [29a: Penny pincher’s opposite]: SPENDTHRIFT
- [47a: Endured, as a lengthy ordeal]: WENTTHROUGH
- [60a: Too dark to see anything at all]: PITCHBLACK
1d (VOWELS) had this helpful clue: “What’s been taken from this puzzle’s fives.” It took me a minute to see it, and then I saw it: each themer had 5 consecutive consonants. MBSTR jumped out right away, becoming HOOD’s clue (“Mobster”) once I added vowels, and the rest fell quickly:
- MBSTR: Mobster (63a) – HOOD
- NDTHR: In a dither (36d) – AGITATED
- NTTHR: Untether (38a) – LOOSE
- TCHBL: Touchable (12d) – TACTILE
The first letter of each matching grid entry spells HALT, our contest solution. I’ve enjoyed Frank Longo’s Vwllss Crsswrds, which definitely gave me a leg up on this one. We’ll end with Nightswimming by R.E.M.