WSJ Contest — Friday, March 1, 2024

Grid: untimed; Meta: 10 minute s 


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

This week we’re looking for a timely adverb. There were seven daily themed entries, each containing an abbreviated day of the week:

WSJ Contest – 03.03.24

WSJ Contest – 03.03.24

  • [A](SUN)DER: [Into pieces]
  • VA[L](MON)T:  Colin Firth film based on “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” ]
  • VI[R](TUE)S: [Admirable qualities ]
  • ST[E](WED): [ Stayed angry ]
  • WH[A](THU)H: [“Wait, no, say that again”]
  • E[D](FRI)ES: [ Microsoft exec who led the first Xbox team ]
  • PLA[Y](SAT): [Dabbles in]

The entries “ahead” of the of the days of the week spell our contest solution ALREADY. Solvers:please share your thoughts.


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17 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, March 1, 2024

  1. jefe says:

    omigosh *facepalm*
    too well concealed for me!

  2. Seth Cohen says:

    This was one of those “guessed the mechanism as soon as I saw the title” puzzles. Always feels good to do that!

  3. Mac Lane says:

    This was a fun one! Love how precise Mike is.

  4. Jack Azout says:

    I believe there’s an error in the solution presented: 23D should be TALE / 34A should be SALE. Also, the date should be 3/1 (not 3/3).

  5. Abide says:

    Grid also has “PREDATE” as the central entry. 😉

    • Garrett says:

      Yes. I thought that was a better nudge than the title, and it’s what got me looking for the right thing.

  6. JD Hultgren says:

    Errors in explanation above:
    VA[L](MO)NT: Colin Firth film based on “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” ]. The parentheses should be around (MON).
    E[D](FRI)ES: [ Microsoft exec who led the first Xbox team ]. The “blue” highlighting should only be for (FRI).

  7. Simon says:

    My first guess was to look for Roman numerals in a sundial or clock. XI and V etc. didnt add up. Then after a break the WED in Stewed jumped out at me and I got it. Great fun.

  8. Neal says:

    WHATHUH struck me as a unique answer.
    I used PREDATE as hint to get me looking for letters before the days of the week abbreviations and let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with a straight forward meta when the construction is so darn elegant. 5 stars!

  9. Eric H says:

    Too clever for me.

    VALMOND, WHAT HUH, and especially ED FRIES struck me as oddball answers, but I didn’t notice the abbreviated days of the week. (The title had me looking for units of time.)

    I’ve noticed that Mike Shenk’s WSJ meta puzzles often don’t have obvious theme answers (those that are longer than the other answers in the puzzles). That makes it harder to get started on the meta.

    I know that if I don’t try to solve these metas, I’ll never get any better at them. But it’s discouraging to go for weeks without solving one. (At least I managed to solve the easy one in Sunday’s WaPo.)

    • David Roll says:

      I agree with your oddball answers comment. I doubt it would be possible to have more obscure ones.

      • Eric H says:

        I forgot to say that the oddballs like ED FRIES were likely part of the meta. I just missed seeing the weekday abbreviations, especially the ones hidden in “normal “ words like STEWED.

  10. Mikie says:

    Slick puzzle to say the least. PREDATE got me on the right track rather than the title.

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