Grid: quarter-hour; meta 24… hours… later…
Matt Gaffney’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “This Place Has Changed” — Conrad’s writeup.
This week we’re on the lookout for a six-letter geographical place identify. There have been six lengthy theme entries. I noticed LOGOS as quickly as I stuffed in that entry, thought “this is going to easy: change it to LAGOS,” after which…
I labored the “major city” thought for some time, and sadly had AGRA as town for ACURAINTEGRA, which delayed my clear up fairly a bit. I chased different rabbit holes, noticing ERIEPA and EERIE, however discovered no sign. I centered on TUNAS (which appeared odd), lastly noticed TUNIS and determined to camp out within the main metropolis rabbit gap. Things got here collectively rapidly as soon as I noticed ACURA/ACCRA and corrected my AGRA error (it solely used 4 of the seven letters of INTEGRA, making ACCRA a far stronger reply). The theme: substitute one letter in a single phrase of every themer, forming giant African cities:
- PEPSI[LOGOS]: L(A)GOS -> A
- [PEZ]DISPENSER: (F)EZ -> F
- SULTANOF[OMAN]: O(R)AN -> R
- BLUEFIN[TUNAS]: TUN(I)S -> I
- [ACURA]INTEGRA: A(C)CRA -> C
- DICK[DURBIN]: DURB(A)N -> A
The new letters spell AFRICA, our contest answer. I managed to search out LAGOS (Nigeria), FEZ (Morocco), TUNIS (Tunisia) and ACCRA (Ghana) from reminiscence. That gave me AF.IC., so I knew the reply needed to be AFRICA. I backsolved the final two by swapping an R in OMAN and an A in DURBIN. ORAN rang a imprecise crossword bell. I used this checklist to verify ORAN (Algeria, inhabitants: 1,587,550) and discover DURBAN (South Africa, inhabitants: 3,981,205). It’s wonderful how a easy week one and a half-ish meta (on the MGWCC weekly problem scale) performed as onerous because it did for me. I believe DURBAN was new to lots of people (together with me), but it surely’s the Sixteenth-largest metropolis in Africa with a inhabitants of practically 4 million individuals (roughly the identical as Los Angeles), so it’s truthful sport, IMO.
I’ve been taking part in Worldle (be aware the second “l”), which has uncovered my atrocious data of landlocked African international locations. I research Google Maps each time I miss one and my data of African geography has improved from hopeless to merely horrible. Solvers: please let me know the way you cracked the code to find the six cities.