Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Deal Breaker” — Conrad’s review.
This week we’re looking an anagram of a grid answer. I spotted four theme entries:
- [16a: Long loaf with a crispy crust]: CUBANBREAD
- [28a: Top 40 deejay’s collection]: POPRECORDS
- [46a: Withdrew]: PULLEDAWAY
- [63a: Millennium Falcon feature]: HYPERDRIVE
I initially marked the center horizontal entry SKIPTWO (clued as ‘One of the new additions in UNO’s “All Wild!” deck’) as a themer in my notes (it was a long-ish two-word horizontal entry), which delayed my solve a bit. I worked the two-word angle for a while, noting the initials CB, PR, PA, and HD. That felt like a signal… but it wasn’t. I realized SKIPTWO wasn’t a theme entry, but a meta hint: skip two letters in each themer:
- (C)UB(A)NB(R)EA(D) – CARD
- (P)OP(R)EC(O)RD(S) – PROS
- (P)OP(R)EC(O)RD(S) – PLAY
- (H)YP(E)RD(R)IV(E) – HERE
Next step: find an anagram in the grid of a place where card pros play. I tried CASINO, TOURNAMENT, TABLE, CAESAR’S, etc., before finding the (obvious in hindsight) grid entry SALVAGES, an anagram of LAS VEGAS, our contest solution.