Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Trending Ending” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re told, The answer to this week’s contest crossword is how contest crosswords are created. There were five symmetric* theme entries that ended with two repeated letters:
- [Major fuss]: BROUHAHA
- [Sun-worshiping queen]: NEFERTITI
- [Lake on which Tenochtitlan was built]: TEXCOCO
- [“Distracted boyfriend,” e.g.]: SUPERMEME
- [Birth city of Barack Obama]: HONOLULU
*There was also a non-symmetric grid entry that ended with two repeated letters: REESES. I initially thought it was thematic, especially because it followed HONOLULU, forming the tantalizing potential partial contest answer …LUES. I searched for a repeated .C.C pattern before HONOLULU and found nothing.
I solved the meta quickly once I abandoned that rabbit hole. Two of the symmetric repeated letters matched another 3-letter grid entry:
- BROU(HAHA): HA[S]
- NEFER(TITI): TI[L]
- TEX(COCO): CO[Y]
- SUPER(MEME): ME[L]
- HONO(LULU): LU[Y]
The final letter of each mapped grid entry spells SLYLY, our contest answer. Solvers: let me know how you made out. Did you spend any time in the …LUES rabbit hole?