This is the fastest I’ve ever gotten the meta puzzle answer. Also likely the fastest I’ve ever gotten the Friday crossword completed. That is to say that I sent in the answer at 3:02pm on Thursday, and I didn’t even print out the puzzle as soon as it was released.
I’ve said this before, but there’s something that’s just fun about doing the crossword with pen and paper that isn’t there on the screen. I don’t know if it’s the risk of crossouts or the illegibility or sometimes misread of which clue goes with which box, but I’m going to keep on doing this for the WSJ crossword contest.
The title of this puzzle is IN CHARACTER.
The answer to this week’s contest crossword is a famous novel.
For my analysis, I still have to put it into a different format, so there’s no real time saving to do it all onscreen.
I’ve learned from the past that the starred clues are important for the meta puzzle answer.
17A *Lightly fruity wine: BEAUJOLAIS. 25A *Faultfinding situation: BLAMEGAME. 50A *Meditation-while-asleep practice: DREAMYOGA. 58A *1970 chart-topping hit for the Jackson 5: ILLBETHERE.
Then there was the hint clue:
36A George Eliot novel that’s not the contest answer, but provides a hint to it: MIDDLEMARCH.
BTW, What’s that comma doing in the clue?
Whatever this thing is must be in the middle of these long answers!
As to what links JO, MEG, AMY, and BETH, Calah immediately blurted, “Little Women!” And there you have it.
It’s Thursday and the first full day of the Biden presidency. A reminder that I’m writing this on Sunday, January 17. It’s the end of my first week of doing last week’s puzzles on Sunday and timing them to post throughout the week.
I pulled out 57A Is for two: ARE because I got a chuckle out of it. Is is for one. Are is for two. What a world!
The title of this puzzle is Victory Parade. Biden won, the inauguration was yesterday, and even Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal has long turned to dunking on Trump.
17A Like an active surfer?: INMANYWAVES. 24A Message left for each of Henry VIII’s spouses?: AWORDTOTHEWIVES. 36A Suffers from a fear of icicles? FEELSILLATEAVES. 49A Motivations for midnight snacking?: THELATESTCRAVES. 58A Cat’s nine-pat allotment?: PACKOFLIVES.
It was all gratuitous these:
17A INMANYWAVES – V = IN MANY WAYS. 24A AWORDTOTHEWIVES – V = A WORD TO THE WISE. 36A FEELSTILLATEAVES – V = FEEL STILL AT EASE. 49A THELATESTCRAVES – V = THE LATEST CRAZE. 58A PACKOFLIVES – V = PACK OF LIES.
This is the ides of January puzzle. Too many people don’t know that the ides of a month is more infrequently than not on the 15th. It’s on the 13th day of every month that isn’t one of March, May, July, and October. Also I’m writing this on Sunday, January 17, and the deeper into the week I get, the more I don’t know what has happened. If the tone of this blog post is incongruous with how the world looks, my bad. But hi from the past!
I pulled out 23A Plymouth Reliant, e.g.: KCAR because I had only heard of the K-Car in the Barenaked Ladies song If I Had $1,000,000:
If I had $1,000,000 I would buy you a K-Car (a nice reliant automobile).
It makes more sense now that I know that a Reliant is a K-Car, so it’s a good play on words as both a reliant automobile and a Reliant automobile. Nice job, BNL. Also in the news is that Chrysler has merged with PSA, the company that made Peugeot and Citröen. The joint company is called Stellantis. Is it a dumb name? Yes. But is it a good name? No.
The title of this puzzle is You’re All Wet.
17A Unofficial means of communication: BACKCHANNEL. We no longer have to worry about the current president advising that a foreign government “talk to Rudy.” Hooray! 25A Floor routine component: HANDSPRING. This is an interesting clue to me because 10D Bestselling PDAs: PALMPILOTS while Handspring did not and does not get that title.
36A Penny Lane Locale: LIVERPOOL. Also in my ears and in my eyes. 50A Seneca, e.g.: FINGERLAKE. I hadn’t heard of the Finger Lakes until recently when one of the late-night hosts mentioned them, I think. I don’t remember which one it was, and it’s all a blur.
58A Geographic feature, and a hint to four answers in this puzzle: BODYOFWATER.
CHANNEL, SPRING, POOL, LAKE.
Finished this one in 13:50. Not bad for a Wednesday.
This blog post ended up mostly being about the clue and answer I pulled out, so it may be more entertaining to read than most of the WSJXW blog posts are. I did struggle with this one a little, but I made my way through. This doing-them-all-on-Sunday thing is fine so far. We’ll see how it continues.
I pulled out 8A Ballpark official: SCORER because it reminds me of when I was a baseball broadcaster in college. I read the entire NCAA rulebook for baseball and always brought the book with me to games because I had no one around me to let me know what had just happened when there was a crazy event in the game. There was one game I called with my often-broadcast partner Mitchell Clements where this rulebook came in handy. A guy got to first base, and the next batter was power hitter. I saw that the third baseman was playing almost on the outfield grass, and although this batter had the speed to turn a close triple into a long single, he decided to drop down a bunt down the third baseline. To the casual baseball fan, it seems like a standard sacrifice bunt play: He was thrown out easily, and the runner moved over from first to second. However, it didn’t look to me like that’s what he had wanted to do. I saw that the third baseman was playing deep. I figured he saw the same thing. Rather than give himself up, it sure seemed like he had gone rogue and decided to drop down a bunt into no-man’s land in an attempt to make it to first safely.
Per the rules:
HOWEVER, then there’s this:
I knew it had to be the latter. I knew there was no chance he had been instructed to play smallball in that situation.
Announcement from the official scorer: “Sacrifice.”
After that game, the head coach was unfazed by my question about that play. He shrugged it off and said that sometimes they ask this batter to drop down a bunt to move a guy over and that the plan had worked. I was unconvinced and asked the guy later what had really happened. He seemed kind of excited to tell me that my analysis in real time had been entirely correct.
Since I wasn’t the official scorer, it went down as a sacrifice. But I knew the rule.
Major League Baseball unsurprisingly has a similar rule:
But there’s an interpretation that the NCAA rulebook does not have:
So there you go.
The title of this puzzle is A Few Brief Words.
20A Secret compartments in some desks: HIDDENDRAWERS. Also what is often found under a pair of pants on the bedroom only after the rest of the laundry is done. 33A Some Pixar works: ANIMATEDSHORTS. 40A Long proboscises: ELEPHANTTRUNKS. 57A Golden Gloves competitors: AMATEURBOXERS.
I’m trying something new here, and I’m hoping you’ll bear with me. Since the WSJ crossword takes up time during the week, I figured I’d try to do all of them each Sunday and time their posting to go out each day but a week late. EXCEPT for the Friday puzzle. That one will be posted on time on Sundays.
I pulled out 66A Lease signer: TENANT because I’ve been watching Because This is my First life, and it’s pretty good! It’s the fourth K-Drama I’ve started and the third I think I’ll make it through. Start-Up and Crash Landing on You were easy to watch. Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol wasn’t for me. Because This is My Frist Life has a lot of promise.
The title of this puzzle is Going to Pot.
17A Something with negligible value: HILLOFBEANS. 25A Scouting activity, quaintly: WEENIEROAST. Does KROQ still have the Weenie Roast concert? 39A Is motivated by self-interest: HASANAXETOGRIND. When did ax become axe? I remember ax growing up, but now it’s axe? It’s like how Australia is a continent but now Oceania is a continent? 48A “Double, double toil and trouble” concoction: WITCHESBREW.
61A Unremarkable sort, or what you’re left with after 17-, 25-, 39- and 48-Across: ORDINARYJOE.
Of course a Monday puzzle is the one about coffee. Though I guess that could also be a Friday puzzle. Or a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.
So much confusion today. Trump has been MIA and blocked on Twitter for most of the day and on Facebook, and Instagram for the two weeks. Information is coming out at a trickle, and I’d rather they just get rid of him so we can move on. He released a video on Twitter a little bit ago, and it sounds good if you’re optimistic and like a call to action if you’re not. It’s way too vague to be anything that brings me comfort.