Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Body Language” — Conrad’s review.
This week we’re looking a part of the body. There were five theme entries and I spotted DENTAL hiding in HIDDENTALENTS right away, unlocking step one of the meta:
- [20a: Skills that surprise people]: HID(DENTAL)ENTS
- [25a: In an unserious way]: J(OCULAR)LY
- [38a: Chilean president overthrown in a 1973 coup]: SALVAD(ORAL)LENDE
- [47a: Leader of a pride of lions, perhaps]: OL(DERMAL)E
- [53a: Kept a good pace, as a horse might]: GALLO(PEDAL)ONG
PEDAL was the last one to drop: I think of it as a pedal on a bike, as opposed to FOOT-related (which is another definition). Spotting step two took me a while. I ran down some blind alleys including ORAL/LORAL and OCULAR/CIRCULAR, but those rabbit holes fizzled out. I set the puzzle down for a bit and step two emerged: each related body part mapped to a grid entry with one letter swapped:
- DENTAL: TOOTH -> T(R)OTH
- OCULAR: EYE -> E(E)E
- ORAL: MOUTH -> MO(N)TH
- DERMAL: SKIN -> (A)KIN
- PEDAL: FOOT -> FOO(L)
The swapped letters spell RENAL, relating to the KIDNEYS, our contest solution. I was tempted to end with Keller William‘s Kidney in a Cooler, a song I often included in the music mixes I created for the the long ride to Moosehead Lake for summer vacation with my family (much to the dismay of my children). So we’ll end with this fun cover of REO Speedwagon’s Roll With the Changes with Carlie Green on lead vocals.