WSJ Contest — Friday, May 31, 2024

Grid: untimed; Meta 30 minutes 


Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Ate Your Name!” — Conrad’s writeup.

This week we’re looking for the six-letter grid entry that would have made a good sixth theme answer. There were five starred theme entries:

  • 16A [*Words from the victim of a noogie]: OWTHATHURTS
  • 23A [*Harold Ramis’s role in “Ghostbusters”]: EGONSPENGLER
  • 36A [*It became a U.S. state in 1861]: KANSASTERRITORY
  • 49A [*She became a princess on July 29, 1981]: DIANASPENCER
  • 58A [*Need for foreign-based remote employees, in some countries]: EWORKPERMIT
WSJ Contest Solution – 06.02.24

WSJ Contest Solution – 06.02.24

EWORKPERMIT stood out to me as odd fill. I saw *part* of NEW YORK there, and figured “Ate your name” was hinting at “State your name.” In other words: “state” was missing two letters. I saw EGON and realized it would be OREGON with two letters prepended. The middle three themers fell quickly, but it took me a while to lock in the first and last. They were also missing two letters, but not the initial two:


Note that the missing letters are the official USPS state abbreviations. I searched the grid for six-letter words, and found our contest solution AHISEE, which forms (UT)AH ISEE with UT prepended. Fun meta, and I like how the title really pulled it together. Solvers: please share your thoughts.

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9 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, May 31, 2024

  1. EP says:

    Two big deductive leaps required to just get started on this one: ‘ate’ your name meaning ‘state’ your name; then finding the state name fragments in the theme clues. I got neither of them.

  2. David Benbow says:

    My process was simple. I stared at the title until small drops of blood formed on my forehead. Once I realized what the title meant, I was off to the races. I ended up with (ME)OW instead of (I)OW(A).

  3. Eric H says:

    I came up with an incorrect answer by a different method. I noticed the odd entry EWORK PERMIT has “eaten” the name KERMIT, EGON SPENGLER had a GENE, DIANA SPENCER an ANNE, and OW THAT HURTS a ?

    So I submitted MILANO (IAN), fairly certain I was wrong.

    Two-word theme entries tend to make me focus on the letters that end the first word and those that begin the second. All of this meta plays off the first word in the theme answers.

    And I haven’t thought that much about DIANA SPENCER since Season 4 of “The Crown.”

    It’s a perfectly fine meta mechanism. As is too often the case, I could have used some more obvious hints. (The asterisks seem unnecessary.) Like EP, I never got “state” from “ate,” though in retrospect, I wonder why I didn’t see that.

  4. Tom Deneau says:

    I see that the entire first word of the phrase has to be the remnant of the state name. So those might be the only 6 state names that would have worked except possibly some Scottish phrase starting with AIN?

    • Matt Gaffney says:


      • jbeck says:

        “HI, HOW ARE YOU” no?

        And since EWORKPERMIT takes out letters in the middle, couldn’t we have
        (depending on letter count)

        I guess they all took the first letter, plus one other so maybe this doesn’t work.

  5. Thomas says:

    Wouldn’t ACHING work for MIchigan?
    Though it’s not a phrase.

    • Eric H says:

      No, to use Michigan, you’d have to find a phrase that has “chigan” in it, not an anagram. Matt Gaffney’s theme answers have the leftover letters from each state in order.

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