WSJ Contest — Friday, June 21, 2024

Grid: untimed; Meta two hours  


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

This week we’re looking for a five-letter word. There were five long theme entries. I got to this one a bit late and didn’t see the meta right away. I explored various doomed rabbit holes and went to bed. Five minutes later it hit me: NEVER became NEER with the V taken out. Big “aha/duh” moment for me. I got out of bed, grabbed my laptop, and verifed I was correct:

WSJ Contest Solution – 06.23.24

WSJ Contest Solution – 06.23.24

  • 20a: YOU (A)RE WELCOME: [Traditional alternative to “No problem”]
  • 24a: NE(V)ER DO WELL: [Worthless sort]
  • 37a: THAT DOG DO N(O)T HUNT: [Rustic reply to an implausible explanation]
  • 48a: WHO (I)S ASKING: [Motives-questioning reply]
  • 56a: THANK YOU MA(D)AM: [Bump or hollow across a road]

The “takeout” letters spell AVOID, our contest solution. I initially tried to use “does not” instead of “do not” for 37a, but quickly saw that it would add three letters instead of one. I also didn’t see a strong connection to the title word “order,” but I certainly could be missing something. Solvers: please share your thoughts.


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

19 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, June 21, 2024

  1. Barry Miller says:

    I am commanding you to take something out of our proposal. Thus, a take out order.

  2. Bob H says:

    Enjoyed the puzzle and got the meta.

    Would someone explain how the clue “Bump or hollow across a road” turned into the answer of “Thank you ma’am?”

  3. Martin says:

    You’re showing the wrong letter elided in THAT DOG DON(O)T HUNT.

  4. bergie says:

    Hüsker Dün’t

  5. Baroness Thatcher says:

    Extra credit to Mike for “Thank you maam.”

    As a boomer I’m familiar with the phrase only as a line from David Bowie “Suffragette City”, so the clue lost me, though Merriam-Webster confirms it.

    Otherwise, I was a late solver as I was searching for a more complex mechanism. When I couldn’t find any other avenues I went with the obvious, cheesy path.

    Fun puzzle, Mike. Thanks for helping me find the shore after a few weeks asea.

    • Mikie says:

      Also thought immediately of “Suffragette City,” and here in the south the phrase is heard often just as a common courtesy, but had to look up the definition as clued.

  6. Simon says:

    Got it quickly but assumed there had to be another step. Held off sending it in. Nice to solve one for a change!

  7. Eric H. says:

    I could have used a stronger hint in the title. Maybe a reference to the apostrophe that replaces the missing? Or something about contractions? I knew which answers to look at, but I didn’t figure out what to look for.

    The only thing in the five long answers that struck me as odd was the clue for THANK YOU MA’AM, which was new to me. I got briefly distracted by the letters O, U and T appearing in THAT DOG DON’T HUNT, but the other four don’t have those letters.

  8. John Lampkin says:

    The dog and the bump caused me to bump up the rating a point. What tremendous fun!

  9. Margaruf says:

    I was fixed on trying to find dog training commands (starting wtih “COME”)! Couldn’t get past it. The “order” might just mean that that the “taken out” letters stay in order from top to bottom grid answers. I liked the puzzle; thank you, man!

  10. Jeff says:

    FWIW, my late uncle had a bus and would complain about the ride being effected by the thank you ma’ams. I didn’t like him but at least he made my puzzle solving easier this week.

  11. Frogger says:

    The other way to look at the answer is “a void,” as in each themer is missing a letter.

    Thankfully, I had this one figured out before finishing the grid. Not always that lucky; I’m not always on the same wavelength as Mike and Matt.

Comments are closed.