WSJ Contest — Friday, May 13th, 2022

Grid: 20 minutes; meta 5 more 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Buzz Cut” — Conrad’s writeup.

We’re looking for a four letter word this week.  There were five long across entries:

  • [17a: William Etty painting that was among the first British nudes]: THEBATHER
  • [27a: Masters of their professions]: DABSTERS
  • [38a: Job for a bee in a flower]: POLLINATION
  • [50a: Bookplate words]: EXLIBRIS
  • [61a: Songbirds with big bills]: GROSBEAKS
WSJ Contest – 05.13.22 – Solution

WSJ Contest – 05.13.22 – Solution

DABSTERS struck me as odd fill that had to be meta related. I spotted heather in THEBATHER and I had the rabbit: four of the themers contained a flower once the “B” was cut (the center entry POLLINATION served as an additional clue):

  • T(HE[B]ATHER): Heather
  • D(A[B]STER)S: Aster
  • EXL(I[B]RIS): Iris
  • G(ROS[B]E)AKS: Rose

The flowers spell HAIR, our contest solution. We’ll end with The Bird and the Bee covering Hall and Oates’ I Can’t Go For That.


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5 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, May 13th, 2022

  1. Barry says:

    And here I was thinking that eBay is Pig Latin for BEE. Maybe so, but this puzzle was quite clever, and eBay may not even qualify as a word. At least I got the wrong answer before the weekend.

  2. Mister G. says:

    I initially went down the “doubled letter” rabbit hole before getting on track. The puzzle has a large number of words with doubled letters (e.g. POLLINATION, NAAN, ROXANNE, and several others), and I tried to somehow correlate that with the double Z’s in the title. But after putting it down for a day, I took note of all the B’s in the upper right (which I assume are a hint), and also the oddness of DABSTERS, as mentioned in the write-up.

  3. Seth says:

    There are also exactly four BEEs word-search-style in the grid. I spent some time there before deciding it was wrong.

  4. Garrett says:

    The first thing I noticed was BAT at 1A is in THEBATHER, and then that ABA at 4D was in ABATTOIR. Of course, this went nowhere.

    After a while, I started realizing there were more B letters in the grid than seemed usual, but I initially dismissed it since POLLINATION had no B, and I figured it must be a themer.

    Eventually I returned to them and thought about the title. Maybe I remove the B? Nothing clicked (initially) on THEBATHER, but then I saw ASTER immediately after, then IRIS, then ROSE, and finally HEATHER.

    I’m somewhat amazed at how long it took me to arrive there. My guess is that the other B letters in the grid sort-of camouflaged the important ones, making them less singular.

  5. Silverskiesdean says:

    I got the Bs out of my bonnet before I was “on it”

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