WSJ Contest — Friday, January 20, 2023

Grid: 10 minutes; meta: right away 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Signs of the times” — Conrad’s writeup.

Hey everyone, this will be an abbreviated writeup because I just landed in California, got to my hotel in Berkeley, and realize I am 3 hours behind the east coast. The center entry (CHINA, clued as “Nation with a 12-animal zodiac”) was the key: there were twelve Chinese zodiac animal-themed clues:

WSJ Contest – 01.20.22 - solution

WSJ Contest – 01.20.22 – solution

  • LATE – Like Carroll’s White Rabbit
  • UNAGIDragon roll ingredient
  • NEWT – Relative of a congo snake
  • APPLALOOSA – Popular saddle horse
  • RILE – Get one’s goat
  • NOEVIL – Something for a monkey to see, hear or speak
  • EYEPATCHRooster Cogburn wore one
  • YORKSHIREPig breed also called Large White
  • EMILE Rat in “Ratatouille”
  • ASAN – Strong ___ ox
  • RAGS Tiger in 1950s TV cartoons

The animal-themed entries spell LUNAR NEW YEAR, our contest solution. I was impressed that Mike put the zodiac animals in order. And happy lunar new year!

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6 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, January 20, 2023

  1. alan+askins says:

    You hit the nail on the head Conrad. This was an ingenious puzzle from Mike!

    My initial hunch was to submit Chinese New Year, but once I moved the grid to Excel I saw that the first letters to the theme answers were spelling the correct solution. Patience and sticking to routine paid off.

    • carolynchey says:

      We had the same initial thought, but realized it wouldn’t be “Chinese” New Year since China was central in the grid.

    • Garrett says:

      Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and South Korea celebrate the lunar new year in addition to the solar new year, so it’s not just the Chinese new year.

      I submitted like this:

      Tet (Lunar New Year)

      I was thinking he was looking for a name. No idea what the Chinese call it, but the Vietnamese call it Tết Nguyên Đán, or Tết, for short. My thought was that I showed I got the answer, in case he wasn’t looking for Tet.

      I agree — it was an excellent crossword and meta, with the animals in order and the answer in grid order. Well done.

  2. Simon says:

    What an impressive Animal House. Great fun!

  3. Neal says:

    A beautiful puzzle to start the new year. Very impressive construction. Nice video pic too!

  4. Bob Moniot says:

    Nice coincidence that LUNAR NEW YEAR has 12 letters, the same as the number of animals in the Chinese zodiac.

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