Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Chit Chat” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re looking a five-letter word. There were five starred theme entries:
- 17A [*Fit to be tied]: APOPLECTIC
- 22A [*Hardly solemn]: FLIPPANT
- 35A [*Likely to be damaging]: HARMFUL
- 51A [*Crafty]: SCHEMING
- 55A [*Counterfeit]: FRAUDULENT
I had the right idea pretty quickly: vague clues often lead to synonyms or alternate answers. I spotted IOUS (connecting to “Chit”), and I figured we had a check or IOU-themed meta. I spent a *lot* of time Googling synonyms for each themer. Then… I got stuck. Juggling three metas didn’t help (that’s on me), but I have to say: this was an impressive meta by Mike. My friend Gideon bailed me out and nudged me in the right direction, and I finally saw that grid entries plus IOUS formed the synonyms that had eluded me:
- Fit to be tied: FUR(IOUS)
- Hardly solemn: UNSER(IOUS)
- Likely to be damaging: NOX(IOUS)
- Crafty: DEV(IOUS)
- Counterfeit: SPUR(IOUS)
The mapped -IOUS entries spell FUNDS, our contest solution. In hindsight: NOX was my obvious entry into the rabbit hole (it’s odd fill that I don’t remember seeing before). If you didn’t solve it (like me): let please let me know how close you got. Solvers: let me know how you found your entry into the rabbit hole. I got nudged and didn’t submit for the mug, so everyone’s chances of winning are roughly 0.1% higher. Good luck!