Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Name-Dropping” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re looking for a five-letter adjective. There were five theme entries:
- [The greatest slugger in the Negro leagues, according to his Hall of Fame plaque]: JOSHGIBSON
- [Emmy winner for “Maude” and “The Golden Girls”]: BEAARTHUR
- [Loser in the 1936 presidential election]: ALFLANDON
- [Creator of Albert Alligator and Howland Owl]: WALTKELLY
- [Golf great nicknamed “The Shark”]: GREGNORMAN
I spotted the mechanism fairly quickly: each first name was short for the person’s longer name, for example: BEA(TRICE). I spotted THRICE in the grid and had the rabbit. The additional letters from each longer name mapped to a grid entry with one letter added:
- JOSH(UA) -> U(S)A
- BEA(TRICE) -> T(H)RICE
- ALF(RED)-> RED(O)
- WALT(ER) -> ER(R)
- GREG(ORY) -> (T)ORY
The additional letters spell SHORT, our contest solution. A solving pal mentioned that Bea Arthur was born Bernice Frankel but went by Bea and later added the “trice:”
Familiarly known as Bea, Ms. Arthur was billed in the theater and on television as Beatrice, but the name was one she made up. She was born Bernice Frankel in New York City on May 13, 1922, according to Mr. Watt. But she preferred to be called B — “I changed the Bernice almost as soon as I heard it,”’ she said — and later expanded it to Beatrice because, she said, she imagined it would look lovely on a theater marquee. The name Arthur is a modified version of the name of her first husband, the screenwriter and producer Robert Alan Aurthur.
No impact on the meta, just thought I’d share that fun fact. Solvers, please share your thoughts.