WSJ Contest — Friday, April 19, 2024

Grid: untimed; Meta: 20 minutes 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “A Tale of Twelve Cities” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for an obscure small town in Oklahoma. There were six long numbered theme entries beginning with a famous world city, here they are in numbered order:

  • (LIMA)OHIO: [City where “Glee” is set (1)]
  • (MOSCOW)IDAHO: [City that shares an airport with Pullman, Washington (2)]
  • (VIENNA)VIRGINIA: [With 60-Across, town with a stop on the D.C. Metro (3)]
  • (ATHENS)GEORGIA: [City where the band R.E.M. began (4)]
  • (ODESSA)TEXAS: [“Friday Night Lights” setting (5)]
  • (CAIRO)ILLINOIS: [Midwestern city surrounded by levees (6)]
WSJ Contest – 04.21.24

WSJ Contest – 04.21.24

The six famous world cities are located in the following countries:

  • PERU -> LIMA

The first letters of the countries spell our contest answer PRAGUE (Oklahoma). Solvers: please share your thoughts.


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9 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, April 19, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    I found the meta easy (10 minutes tops). The grid was a little more challenging than the Friday WSJ puzzles often are. But ATHENS GEORGIA was a gimme, as was the TEXAS part of ODESSA TEXAS.

    I enjoyed the meta, possibly more so because I have a short streak of successful WSJ metas going now.

  2. Simon says:

    I finished in my fastest time ever, I think. Was expecting PARIS TEXAS to show up, thinking we were talking about world capitals. But realized it wasn’t that specific. My first guess was PERUGIA, lol, but then I saw PRAGUE. Great fun learning about some of these places. I had never heard of Vienna, Virginia. Upstate NY has a lot of international city names. AMSTERDAM, COPENHAGEN, CAIRO (pronounced like the syrup KARO) and ATHENS (some pronounce it A-THENS) and of course SYRACUSE.

    • Eric H says:

      I hadn’t heard of CAIRO, New York. It’s interesting that like the one in Illinois, it’s pronounced with a long A.

  3. Mister G says:

    Huh, I didn’t look at the initial letters, just googled for “US cities with names of European capitals” or something similar. Searching online is sometimes the only way of solving these, so I guess I’ll take the W on this one. I suppose you’d likely need to search online to confirm anyway.

    • Eric H says:

      I did look up PRAGUE, Oklahoma, before I submitted my answer, but that was mostly to see where it is. (NW of Oklahoma City, I think — not a part of the state I’ve really been through.)

  4. Paul S says:

    I thought going from the cities in the grid to the corresponding country would for sure be step one of a two step meta. I saw Prague and sure enough it was an Oklahoma city, simple as that! Also, not sure that the NCSTATE clue needed the disclaimer, but I’m not mad about extra info.

    Was very happy to solve on Friday and have the whole weekend to not think about it! Has not been the case these past couple months. Fun meta!

    • Simon says:

      I think the NCSTATE disclaimer was to point people to look for the original country rather than a State for help in solving the meta. For instance, my first inclination was to look for PERU, INDIANA to match LIMA, OHIO etc. Agreed, it wasn’t necessary.

  5. Seattle DB says:

    I gave this puzzle a “4” because I was able to solve the meta, lol!

  6. Kyle says:

    My main issue with the grid is that no one has ever called Berkeley “UCB” – it’s called Cal, which really threw me off… oh well, at least I still got the meta.

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