Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “I Made you a Pair of Shorts” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re looking a noted cartoonist. There were five long theme entries:
- [17a “The Gods Themselves” author]: ISAACASIMOV
- [23a “The Handmaid’s Tale” novelist]: MARGARETATWOOD
- [38a “Black-ish” and “Law & Order” star]: ANTHONYANDERSON
- [49a Self-described “prairie lawyer”]: ABRAHAMLINCOLN
- [61a “The West Wing” Emmy winner]: JOHNSPENCER
I spotted the theme pretty quickly: each first name has a common nickname. ANTHONY -> TONY, ABRAHAM -> ABE, etc. I tried to map those names back to the grid and got nowhere. Then I spotted the clue for CHAIR (“IKEA purchase”), and I had the rabbit hole. Five clues contained the nickname as the first word, plus one additional letter:
- ISAAC -> (IKE)A Purchase: CHAIR
- MARGARET -> (Meg)a– or pinch- finish: HIT
- ANTHONY -> (Tony)a Harding’s milieu: ICE
- ABRAHAM -> (Abe)l Tesfaye genre: POP
- JOHN -> (Jack)s player’s need: SPEED
The first letter of the mapped grid entires spelled CHIPS. Chip is short for Charles, leading to Charles Schulz, our content solution. At least I’m pretty sure: I’m not feeling the “lock” that I normally get with the WSJ. “Pair of shorts” also threw me off a bit: IKE is short for ISAAC, and A is short for ASIMOV (pair of shorts), but JACK isn’t shorter than JOHN. Interesting meta either way. I liked that the first initial of each last name matched the grid entry: ISAAC (IKE) Asimov, MARGARET (MEG) Atwood, etc. Solvers: let me know what you submitted, and if I landed on the right beach.