WSJ Contest — Friday, June 30, 2023

Grid: untimed; Meta: 5 minutes 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “The Global Marketplace” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for a well-known retail chain. I noticed a lot of X’s while completing the grid, and Matt gave us a big hint in the final horizontal entry: CHINA, clued as “Country whose current leader’s surname is also a Roman numeral.” China’s president is Xi Jinping. I finished the grid and counted seven entries that contained XI (the roman numeral for eleven):

WSJ Contest – 06.30.23 – Solution

WSJ Contest – 06.30.23 – Solution

  • [1840s conflict]: ME(XI)CANWAR
  • [Caribbean services]: AIRTA(XI)S
  • [Reason to pass out]: ASPHY(XI)A
  • [Face shots]: BOTO(XI)NJECTIONS
  • [Sneaky way out, maybe]: SIDEE(XI)T
  • [Andromeda and such]: GALA(XI)ES
  • [Rust-producing processes]: O(XI)DATIONS

That adds up to our contest answer 7-Eleven. Matt gave us an easier meta for his pre-Fourth of July puzzle. I spotted a comment last week asking why the horizontal entries were themers (and the downs were not). That’s a common meta crossword mechanism. If you’re newer to solving metas and would like to learn (and improve): check out Hints for Solving Meta Contests. It has some great advice.



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14 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, June 30, 2023

  1. Luther says:

    Hiding in plain sight…XI in 7 across entries.
    Took 2 days to dawn on me.
    One thing I learned…7-Eleven is EVERYWHERE.

  2. Mister G says:

    Despite the “eleven” screaming out at me, I briefly hitched at solving this, as when I think of “retail chains”, the typical retailers such as Target and Walmart come to mind, and not so much a convenience store that primarily sells food and drink. But retail is retail, so that’s on me.

  3. Barry Miller says:

    If Chinese citizens have been prevented from receiving this puzzle, my odds of wining a coffee mug are increased.

  4. Mia James says:

    This is the easiest puzzle in a long time. Nothing but Xs everywhere. I got the puzzle before I completed the grid, right after “China” . After a long string of fails, I was wondering if I would ever solve another puzzle.

  5. Cindy N says:

    Before I saw 71A, my first thought was TJ Maxx.

  6. Eric H says:

    My slump was about a month long, but as it followed a streak of five or six successful metas, I was ready for it to end. This one was so easy that it’s hard to imagine *not*getting it. I noticed the XI’s while solving the grid, and it didn’t take long to realize how many there were.

  7. Bob L says:

    I had a brain fart when I first looked at all those XI entries— and saw them as 9’s. Hmm, was it the Nine West clothing chain? Or possibly Title 9 sports wear. Had to be one or the other but how to decide….

  8. E-Jay says:

    Relatively new to crossword world, and this was my first time solving a Friday Contest. Even if it was a soft-toss, it felt pretty darn good to figure one out!

  9. EP says:

    With the help of that generous nudge at 71A I got the xi’s easily enough (although I did fixate on the Greek letter xi for a bit, I was a Theta Xi in college), and I was pretty sure that the answer was Seven-Eleven. But I kept looking for the 7, ‘VII’, obviously in vain. It never occurred to me to just COUNT the number of xi’s.

  10. Neal says:

    After confusing most of us the previous week with MLB mascots Matt lets the pendulum swing back and gets us all to restart our winning streaks with this elegant but easier meta. Thanks Matt!
    “These go to 11.” -N. Tufnel

    • Eric H says:

      An easy meta was exactly what I needed to remind myself that I do know something about how to solve them.

      “This Is Spın̈al Tap: A Rockumentary by Martin Di Bergi” is one of my favorite movies. So many things in life straddle that fine line between stupid and clever.

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