WSJ Contest — Friday, July 1, 2022

Grid: 15 minutes; meta: 1 more 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Cover Band” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking a well-known singer. There were lots of paired Z’s in the grid. I spotted the ZZ Top theme before filling the final horizontal grid entry (ZZTOP, clued as “Rock band from Houston, or where to look for the contest answer”).

WSJ Contest – 07.01.22 – Solution

WSJ Contest – 07.01.22 – Solution

The rest of the meta fell quickly: there were six “ZZ” theme entries and the letters on TOP formed a well-known singer:

  • AE[RO]: FU[ZZ]
  • A[NN]E: B[ZZ]T
  • F[EV]ER: I[ZZ]Y
  • EM[IL]: RA[ZZ]
  • [LE]ASE: [ZZ]TOP

The letters on top of ZZ spell AARON NEVILLE, our contest solution. I thought it was neat that ZZTOP served as both a clue and a themer. Solvers: let me know what you think. We’ll end with The Neville Brothers.

This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, July 1, 2022

  1. carolynchey says:

    Probably the easiest meta we’ve ever done (kind of nice for a change!) I think I t was unnecessary to point out where to look for the answer – since Matt Gaffney often leaves a clue, most solvers would have spotted ZZTOP and made the connection without the overt direction. But I’m not complaining – it’s a clever construct and a fun puzzle!

  2. Scott says:

    Well-known? I never hear of him.

    • stmv says:

      From the Wikipedia page on Aaron Neville “He has had four platinum albums and four Top 10 hits in the United States, including three that reached number one on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.”

      Too often, commenters on crosswords conflate “I haven’t heard of this person” with “this person is not famous enough to be in a puzzle”. It turns out that different people have different knowledge bases, and one nice thing about these puzzles is that they give you a chance to expand yours.

      • Tony says:

        I only know him from his duet with Linda Ronstadt back in 1990 with “Don’t Know Much.” My mother loved that song.

        Still a nice construction and gettable meta.

    • Neal says:

      There’s perhaps irony that his first Grammy was for a song called Don’t Know Much
      [laugh/cry emoji goes here]

    • JohnH says:

      I hadn’t known of him either, although Neville Brothers rings a bell. Now, I’m among the many troubled when a crossword becomes an extended trivia night, with crossings that require knowledge of such things. But all that matters with a proper name is whether the puzzle leads you to it fair and square, and that definitely passes muster here. One can then take their word for it that he’s well-known. Hey, lots of pop culture is well known that I don’t know.

  3. Fred says:

    So easy I didn’t even submit my answer

  4. Mary Flaminio says:

    Follow the instructions, then look up name. Bingo.

  5. DAVID HANSON says:

    In my head, I originally parsed the answer as A.A. Ronneville. Not sure why, maybe because Ronneville looks like Bonneville, and that seemed reasonable as a last name. I put that into Google to see who that was, and I got as results a lot of pictures from the Harry Potter movies. That surprised me for a bit until i realized that i was getting pictures of Ron and Neville. That was enough for my brain to reparse the answer into Neville and, oh yes, Aaron. Of course, Aaron Neville. Yes, I’ve heard of him.

Comments are closed.