Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Ball Control” — Conrad’s review.
This week we’re looking for a seven-letter noun. There are seven down entries that are NFL team names:
- [3d: Jaegers and skuas]: SEAHAWKS
- [15d: Mail carriers on “Game of Thrones”]: RAVENS
- [22d: Old ten-dollar coins]: EAGLES
- [25d: Takeover specialists]: RAIDERS
- [33d: Selfless sorts]: SAINTS
- [39d: Country fans]: PATRIOTS
- [42d: Lady Bird Johnson and Laura Bush, for two]: TEXANS
And there are two football-themed long across entries:
- [16a: One who’s good at working toward a common goal]: TEAMPLAYER
- [62a: Punt situation]: FOURTHDOWN
62a locks in the solution: all of the team names are in the DOWN entries, and the FOURTH letter of each (when read left to right) form our contest solution HANDLER:
Great puzzle by Mike: he really packed the grid with meta-relative content. This one played easier for me than recent WSJ metas. I’ve been reading the comments over the past few weeks, and am surprised by the volume of negativity. My $.02: I’ve missed a bunch of recent WSJ metas, but that’s fine with me. It is entirely appropriate for Mike and Matt to throw more difficult metas into the mix, and Matt has been quite transparent when he occasionally misjudges the difficulty of a meta. Making metas too easy overall would risk killing many future “aha” moments, plus stifle innovation of new mechanisms, IMO. Solvers: please let me know what you think in the comments. And speaking of “aha” moments: check out this week’s MGWCC if you haven’t already. It’s a delight. We’ll end with this cover of Radiohead‘s Let Down by the Easy Star All-Stars.