WSJ Contest — Friday, January 6, 2023

Grid: 20 minutes; meta: 20 more 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Epiphany” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for a three-word phrase you might say when having an epiphany. I spotted most of the theme pretty quickly: the long across entries contained “AHA.” I initially missed the fact that the first and last horizontal entries also contained AHAs, which delayed my solve a bit. Here are the six theme entries:

  • 1a: [Gag reflexes?]: H(AHA)S
  • 17a: [Warren Buffett nickname]: SAGEOFOM(AHA)
  • 30a: [Famed marble mausoleum]: THETAJM(AHA)L
  • 47a: [1951 Peter Ustinov/Yvonne De Carlo comedy]: HOTELS(AHA)RA
  • 64a: [Nancy Reagan presented him with the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in 2000]: BILLYGR(AHA)M
  • 72a: [Rodeo champion Larry]: M(AHA)N

WSJ Contest – 01.06.22 - solution

Step two: focus on each AHA-containing word and then remove the AHA. Then map back to the grid. For example: HAHAS minus AHA becomes HS, which maps to 63a (HIS):

  • H[AHA]S-> 63a H(I)S
  • OM[AHA] -> 19a OM(S)
  • M[AHA]L -. 51a M(E)L
  • S[AHA]RA -> 39a S(E)RA
  • GR[AHA]M -> 44a GR(I)M
  • M[AHA]N -> 70a M(T)N

The spare  letters in the mapped entries spell I SEE IT, our contest solution. After solving I discussed this meta with a friend who mentioned 28d (ENERO, clued as “When Epifanía is celebrated”). Epifanía is the Spanish word for Epiphany, which certainly seems thematic. I (thankfully) missed this when I solved the grid and found the theme, but I could see a lot of solvers delving deeply in that rabbit hole. It seems like a red herring to me, but I certainly could be missing something. Readers: let me know what you think, and please share your solving epiphanies.

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

4 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, January 6, 2023

  1. MichelleQ+(onaquest) says:

    Love that video. Thank u

  2. Simon says:

    I did not SEE IT! Congrats for solving it. And thanks for explaining it. To my credit, I did see the panoply of AHA moments. I even wrote out the letters: HS OM ML SRA GRM and MN, but I went for an anagram that did not lead to an epiphany.

  3. Iggystan says:

    I’ve struggled with some “easy” ones, but this one fell into place very quickly for me. That probably won’t last. 😀

  4. Neal says:

    It’ amuses me how my brain can pick up on potential clues (Hm, MAHAN is an answer I’ve never seen in a puzzle before) but need a whole day to stitch thing together. Did not see AHA throughout the puzzle for way too long. Wanted desperately to use TESLA hidden in hoTELSAhara. Why? Just cuz.
    Finally put it together when the OM in OMAHA and OMS revealed things to me.

    PS: This video slaps. Gracias!

Comments are closed.