WSJ Contest — Friday, February 24, 2023

Grid: 10 minutes; meta: 3 more 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Protect Ur Brand” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for what marketers don’t want their brands to do. The seven theme entries had clues that began with “Trademarked…” Those entries (when using English) were missing a letter:

WSJ Contest – 02.24.23 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 02.24.23 – Solution

  • Trademarked name on tubs of butter: LANDO(F)LAKES -> F
  • Trademarked name on tiny packets: SWEET(A)N(D)LOW -> AD
  • [Trademarked name on photography webpages]: FLICK(E)R -> E
  • [Trademarked name on concert merchandise]: LE(A)DZEPPELIN -> A
  • [Trademarked name on winter vehicles]: SNO(W)CAT -> W
  • [Trademarked name on pro-pot T-shirts]: NORM(A)L -> A
  • [Trademarked name on bags of fertilizer]: STA(Y)GREEN -> Y

The missing letters spell FADE AWAY, our contest solution. Loved this meta by Matt: well constructed and… easy. I hate to say that, because I’ve often struggled with metas that others thought were easy. I’m sure I’m not alone on that front. Metas come in all shapes and sizes, and I appreciate a beautiful week one meta (on the MGWCC scale). Solvers: please share your thoughts.

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9 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, February 24, 2023

  1. Eric H says:

    Easy? Maybe if you have solved a lot of meta puzzles. I knew I should be looking at the trademarked names, but I never noticed the missing letters. (It didn’t help that I thought STA GREEN, which I had never heard of, was STAg GREEN.)

    Still, the puzzle was fun to solve and I continue to be impressed that constructors can pull these things off.

  2. Simon says:

    I kind of thought maybe I was missing something myself. I got the answer so quickly after finishing. And my batting average is pretty low. I was expecting an added twist, especially in the answer “They’re Here.” That vanished A (although not a trademark) had me wondering. I liked the casual re-appearance of YO (from the missing letters in the title “PROTECT UR BRAND”) in the Ed McMahon entry. “Hi, YO” indeed. Fun puzzle!

  3. EP says:

    This is yet another elegant and creative construction from Matt that I didn’t get. The dead end I got stuck in was focusing on how some brands, like Kleenex and Xerox, become ‘generic trademarks’, and trying to see how the themers could lead to that. The ‘missing letter’ idea never occurred to me.

  4. JC says:

    Better than last week’s stinker…

    • Mme says:

      “What a fool I am,” he said. “Here I am wearing myself out to get a bunch of sour grapes that are not worth gaping for.”

      And off he walked very, very scornfully.

  5. Seth says:

    Loved this one! Really impressed that Matt could spell such an appropriate answer using missing letters from brand names.

  6. billy boy says:

    Figured the meta before completing the puzzle. Probably too simple if *I* (lol) can do that

  7. Shuka says:

    I was thrown off by the “x-markings” in so many spots in the .pdf. No one else?

Comments are closed.