Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Food Group” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re looking for something you might say after you’ve gotten the contest answer. There were six long horizontal entries and the last one provided a hint for the solution: FRUITLESSLY, clued as “How I hope you don’t try to solve most contest crosswords…except this puzzle.”
The remaining long entries provided the rest of the theme entries. Each contained a FRUIT and formed a FRUITLESS word once it was removed:
- [Group that includes the Cascade, Olympic and San Gabriel Mountains]: COASTRANGES -> ORANGE/CASTS
- [Texas and Tennessee, for two]: REDSTATES -> DATE/RESTS
- [7 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., often]: MEALTIMES -> LIME/MEATS
- [Diane Chambers’s boss]: SAMMALONE -> SLOE/AMMAN
[Appear intermittently]: COMEANDGO -> MANGO/COED
The first word of five matching clues matched our fruitless word:
- Casts put them on -> SHOWS
- Rests are needed for those who are this -> WEARY
- Meats are often paired with them at breakfast -> EGGS
- Amman holiday -> EID
- Coed sport, when playing mixed doubles -> TENNIS
The first letters of the mapped entries spell SWEET, our contest solution. I enjoyed this meta and thought Matt’s construction was elegant. I initially wrote “LEMON/MELON?” in my notes for SAMMALONE and wondered how I was supposed to know which one to use. The answer was neither: the letters of both the fruit and fruitless word were in order, removing all ambiguity. I spotted SLOE last, but the fruits became easier to spot once I noticed that elegance. Solvers, please share your thoughts. Which fruit did you spot first?