WSJ Contest — Friday, September 23, 2022

Grid: 20 minutes; meta: two days 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Find Us Online!” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for something you can find online. There were five theme entries:

  • 1a: [U.S. armed forces branch (Find them online!)]: NAVY
  • 5a: [Group that protects nonhumans (Find them online!)]: PETA
  • 57a: [U.S. body with 100 members (Find them online!): SENATE
  • 62a: [Social media giant (Find them online!): PINTEREST
  • 68a: [Ivy League university (Find them online!): BROWN

Each site ended with a different top-level domain (TLD), leading to NAVY.MIL. PETA.ORG, etc. It took me two days to find the next step, although it was a fairly straightforward meta. Here are various rabbit holes I chased:

  • PARGET/PAT was really odd fill (TARGET/TAT would have been cleaner), and I thought it had to be thematic
  • I tried working a (T)ARGET.COM angle, swapping letters in other entries to form web sites
  • I found the websites online and compared home pages, looking for any similarities
  • I wondered if CODE (clued as “secret language”) was thematic
  • I looked for other sites in the grid: TSA.GOV, ROKU.COM, CATO.ORG, UTAH.GOV (but also UTAH.EDU). I didn’t want to abandon this idea, but the sites started becoming obscure (and I couldn’t find anything dot MIL), so I finally did
WSJ Contest – 09.23.22 - solution

WSJ Contest – 09.23.22 – solution

I periodically re-scanned the grid and clues and kept eyeing PARGET. I finally saw it: PARGET contained all of the letters in PETA.ORG, except for “O.” I had the rabbit: each site name mapped to another anagrammed grid entry with one letter left over:


The leftover letters spell MOVIE, our contest solution. Interesting meta that played tough for me. Solvers: please let me know how you made out, and describe the rabbits you chased (and how long you chased them).

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10 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, September 23, 2022

  1. Bonnie Adamick says:

    I immediately saw RUBDOWN as a potential anagram of BROWN.EDU and I took it from there. I was lucky to have a quick solve. I think because the letters OWN were in order and it led me to the solution.

    The one thing that threw me was that in PINTEREST.COM the extra letter was in the name while all the others were in the extension/suffix.

    Again, it was fast for me but there are plenty of times it has not come so easily!

  2. Tom says:

    Spent some time trying to extract words from the combined answers: “owned” from
    Also pintereST.COm with ChromecaST COmpetitor.

    Contretemps and Pinterest were the eventual giveaways for me

  3. Seth says:

    Saw the five different TLDs immediately but could not figure out the next step. I even tried basically the correct thing, but only looked for other entries similar to the TLDs, not to the entire website name. Should have gotten this one!

  4. Simon says:

    Very clever. Well done! I didn’t see the connection to the other words in the grid, altho I did note their being highly unusual fill. I went with an anagram of the first letters of the site suffixes. Mil, Edu, Com, Gov, Org: and got GE.Com which is “online” in both senses of the word. Oh well. Didn’t Edison invent the MOVIE?Haha.

  5. Neal says:

    Was thrown for a bit that Google brought up first before deciding that surely we want five different TLDs. Rode the struggle-bus for more than a day and dozed on the couch with the puzzle. When I awoke I instantly saw OWNED in the upper right and thought it must be connected to brOWN.EDu. It was not. But while nothing else panned out there it did lead me to finding the correct meta with VAINLY and NAVY.MIL.
    (And may I just say the near anagram of CONTRETEMPS and PINTEREST.COM is a freaking thing of beauty. Genius!)
    I had also noticed more than a few unusual words (at least for me) like PARGET, RADO, ALAINA, HBP, and PAWLS and figured Matt was definitely working with other answers in the grid to make the meta work.
    A toughie for sure, but since I solved it, I found it an incredibly rewarding experience.

    • Jeff Nixon says:

      I also found and never recovered. But in the end, it didn’t matter whether there were five distinct domains or duplicates. It was a gigantic red herring.

  6. Garrett says:

    Sounds just like my experience except I never did make any other leaps. I wish I had thought about PARGET a little bit more, because that really bothered me when I was filling the grid

  7. Jes says:

    We thought the missing TLD was .net and then the answer was ‘obviously ‘!

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