Mat Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Water You Looking For?” — Conrad’s writeup.
Happy Juneteenth, everyone. This week we’re told, The answer to this week’s contest crossword is the two grid entries, totaling 10 letters, that would make a good fifth theme answer. There were four long horizontal themers:
- [Improve one’s yardwork skills?]: RAKEBETTER
- [Arrow holder for a very tall woman of myth?]: GIANTESSQUIVER
- [Shopping binge by Marx and Lenin?]: COMMUNISTSPREE
- [Donkey’s lunch that didn’t dry enough?]: VERDANTHAY
I spotted part of the theme quickly: VERDANT/green and COMMUNIST/red. The other two entries didn’t seem to match or imply colors, though. I poked around the edges of this puzzle for a bit and realized that Amazon is good description of a GIANTESS and QUIVER rhymes with River. I had the rabbit hole: each theme entry was comprised of a synonym and a rhyme, forming a well-known body of water:
- RAKE BETTER -> Lake Superior
- GIANTESS QUIVER -> Amazon River
- COMMUNIST SPREE -> Red Sea
- VERDANT HAY -> Green Bay
Next step: find a synonym and a rhyme in the grid, totaling 10 letters together. 1a and 43d form our contest solution COLD MOTION, matching the Arctic Ocean, a good fifth theme answer. We’ll end with CHVRCHES‘ wonderful cover of the Arctic Monkeys‘ Do I Wanna Know?