WSJ Contest — Friday, October 27, 2023

Grid: Untimed; Meta: three minutes 


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Deathtrap” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for a five-letter word. Mike gave us an extra hint in the final horizontal entry (71a): SPIDER, clued as “Creature whose creation can mean death for those trapped in it.” Spiders spin WEBs, of course. There were five theme entries, each containing a WEB that trapped one character:

WSJ Contest – 10.29.23 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 10.29.23 – Solution

  • [Party pooper]: (WE[T]B)LANKET
  • [Miserable in appearance]: (W[O]EB)EGONE
  • [London suburb with a famous stadium]: (WE[M]B)LEY
  • [In sorry shape]: ATALO(WE[B]B)
  • [Seneca Crane’s portrayer in “The Hunger Games”]: (WE[S]B)ENTLEY

The trapped letters spell TOMBS, our contest solution. Mike gave us a spooky, but relatively easy meta this Halloween. Solvers: please share your thoughts.


This entry was posted in Contests and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, October 27, 2023

  1. Martin says:

    Typo in the review. WO[E]B should be W[O]EB.

    This was the easiest meta in ages.

  2. Baroness Thatcher says:

    Trick or treat?
    Treat, undoubtedly.
    Thanks Mike. You are apparently in the Halloween spirit!
    I thoroughly enjoyed your Halloween themed grid, and glad you didn’t drop a rock into my trick or treat bag. Happy to not say, “Good grief”, like Chuck often did.

    Enjoyed it, and initially missed Wembley as a theme answer. After getting TOBS, I had to take a 2nd look to get the M in Wembley.

  3. Eric H says:

    On the one hand, this was the first WSJ meta I have solved in about a month.

    On the other hand, it’s the easiest WSJ meta I’ve seen all year. It probably took me about a minute to get it.

    I kinda surprised myself by getting WES BENTLEY without too much trouble. I remember him from “American Beauty,” but haven’t seen any of “The Hunger Games.” And I can’t see WOEBEGONE without thinking of “A Prairie Home Companion,” which we listened to a lot in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those two entries made the WE_B pattern instantly apparent, especially given the SPIDER hint.

    A classic spider song:

  4. Neal says:

    Yes, an easier than usual puzzle for everyone, but also one crammed with spookily themed clues and answers throughout as well. What a lovely treat!

  5. Simon says:

    Got it almost as fast. Never heard of Wes Bentley. Was hoping for Marcus Welby to be a themer. More my time period. :)

    Was curious why Tomb was plural. But maybe he was alluding to the notorious prison in NYC.

  6. Tom says:

    Love the letters “trapped” in the “web.” A fun and entertaining meta.

  7. David says:

    Very crunchy grid, I couldn’t even finish it. Happily the meta was MUCH easier.

  8. J. R. Skelton says:

    The first meta I have solved in at least a year. Pleasekeep them easy.

  9. Ellen+Nichols says:

    I solved this one! But too late to try for the mug. Got caught up in other puzzles. It is nice to have an easy one, even though it is spooky. Title pointed directly to 70A clue, and I was off to the races.

Comments are closed.