WSJ Contest — Friday, April 26, 2024

Grid: untimed; Meta: 20 minutes 


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

This week we’re asked for what the rise to stardom might be. There were five movie-themed horizontal entries:

  • [17a: Ill-tempered codger in 2013’s “Nebraska”]: WOODYGRANT
  • [26a: Rainbow Bridge sentry in 2011’s “Thor”]: HEIMDALL
  • [41a: Native companion in 2013’s “The Lone Ranger”]: TONTO
  • [50a: Criminal psychopath in 2016’s “Suicide Squad”]: THEJOKER
  • [61: Country singer in 1985’s “Sweet Dreams”]: PATSYCLINE
WSJ Contest Solution – 04.28.24

WSJ Contest Solution – 04.28.24

“Rising” was the big clue here: look for vertical entries and read them backwards. There they were, mapping to the famous actors who played each role, with one extra letter:

  • (R)EGNAL: Jessica Lange -> PATSYCLINE
  • (O)NRED: Bruce Dern -> WOODYGRANT
  • (U)PPED: Johnny Depp -> TONTO
  • (G)ABLE: Idris Elba -> HEIMDALL
  • (H)OTEL: Jared Leto -> THEJOKER

The extra letters, in grid order, spell our contest solution ROUGH. Another fun meta by Mike. Solvers: please share your thoughts.

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8 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, April 26, 2024

  1. Eric H says:

    The only star I saw was DERN. I think I conflated “Nebraska” and “About Schmidt,” because I was picturing Jack Nicholson as WOODY GRANT. If I had made the Bruce Dern connection, that might have helped me see LANGE and LETO.

    The dates in the film clues were a bit distracting. Maybe they were there because there’s a 1956 film version of “The Lone Ranger”? (And maybe more than one “Thor”?) But because I couldn’t see a reason for the dates as far as the crossword went, I thought maybe they were part of the meta.

  2. Simon says:

    I got all the names (some of which I only know from doing crosswords) and sent in ROUGH but I had no idea they were in those particular movies. Clever puzzle with a fun twist.

  3. David says:

    Ugh, needed Google for every single one. Meh

  4. Paul S says:

    I dug this meta! I like when there are clear theme answers as it gives something to hone in on. I had to google each actor that portrayed the characters, but I actually like having to google. It expands my knowledge base! I’d never heard the word regnal before, tried making some old fashioned or alternate form of “regal” work there, but the fill eventually spelled it out and I looked in the dictionary to confirm.

  5. cyco says:

    PATSY CLINE threw me off at first since she is a real person! Glad I decided to google each film credit just to be sure I had the right actor.

  6. Garrett says:

    My in was noticing GABLE. ABLE was I, ere I saw ELBA.

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