Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Accentuate the Negative” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re looking for something that a celebrity or a crossword writer might want. There were six long horizontal theme entries, each starting with UN… I quickly realized that each “UN” word is normally followed by another: UNLEAVENED BREAD, UNFORCED ERROR, etc. I searched for those words in the grid and they weren’t there. I checked the clues, and there they were. There were six clues that began with matching words:
- UNLEAVENED -> [Bread unit]: LOAF
- UNFORCED -> [Error made by a Flyer or Islander]: ICING
- UNABRIDGED -> [Dictionary phrase “___ also”]: SEE
- UNFINISHED -> [Business sector for Meta]: TECH
- UNLEADED -> [Gas station in Canada]: ESSO
- UNREQUITED -> [Love may be found on it] DATE
The first letter of the grid entries of the matching clues spelled LISTED. I added UN to that, making it UNLISTED, which would normally be followed by NUMBER. Once again: it was the first word of a clue for the final horizontal entry ZERO, which Matt helpfully clued as “Number of incorrect entries I hope we’ll receive for this crossword contest (this clue should help with that).” That makes UNLISTED NUMBER our contest solution. Fun meta! Multiple steps, but they flowed logically. The only real leap required was adding UN to LISTED, but that occurred to me right away. Solvers: please share your thoughts.