Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Pop Duos” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re looking for an eight-letter noun. This meta is classic Mike Shenk, but I struggled with it. Mike gave us an overt hint for SEVENUP, clued as Pop brand (and a hint to the duos you need to find). I spun my wheels and didn’t spot the mechanism Thursday night. I woke up the next morning to a work scheduling emergency and suddenly had to fly to Amsterdam Friday. I found myself in Europe Saturday night and went to bed after being awake for 32 hours (I can’t sleep on planes). I slept the sleep of the dead and tried to walk off my jet lag today by wandering the city. I randomly stumbled into a wonderful Banksy exhibition at MOCO, so enjoy this photo I took today of Girl With Balloon.
Sunday afternoon rolled around (“afternoon” is a strange concept to me at the moment) and I realized I hadn’t solved the WSJ yet. I spotted a doomed UP rabbit hole (CUED, PASS, TORE, PAIR and SCOOP UP) which lead nowhere. I checked again a bit later and still hadn’t spotted the rabbit. I asked my friend Gideon to send me some rot-13ed nudges. I was hoping to harness the “ask for a hint and then spot the meta” energy. Surprisingly, despite my jet-lagged state: it worked!
There are four seven-letter down entries that contain two words that match the first word of other clues:
- 4D SKIN -> Skin soother: BALM
- 4D DUN -> Dun relative: ECRU
- 10D PETS -> Pets are her patients: VET
- 10D BUD -> Bud setting: EAR
- 42D RATS -> Rats, e.g.: RODENTS
- 42D LET -> Let happen: ALLOW
- 44D PUN -> Pun product, perhaps: GROAN
- 44D EVES > Eve’s original home: EDEN
The first letter of the mapped entries (in grid order when when read UP) spell our contest solution BEVERAGE. Solvers, please share your thoughts. How long did it take you to spot the rabbit?