Home Puzzles WSJ Contest — Friday, November 25, 2022 |

### WSJ Contest — Friday, November 25, 2022 |

Grid: 20 minutes; meta: 15 extra

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

This writeup goes to eleven

This week we’re in search of a film time period. I favored Eric H’s remark final week: …the Fiend reviewer’s clarification of how they solved the meta all the time is sensible, however I typically don’t how they made some essential dedication of what to take a look at to unravel the meta.

I try to jot down concisely and clearly once I describe a meta, however understand that I could also be too concise at occasions. So I believed I’d stretch out a bit this week and describe my thought course of as I solved this one. This meta adopted a basic sample typically utilized by Mike. Step one: discover the theme entries. Mike made it straightforward this week: the 5 lengthy throughout entries had been all motion pictures:

• [1988 horror film with a homicidal doll]: CHILDSPLAY
• [1981 comedy film directed by John Waters]: POLYESTER
• [1984 mockumentary film about a heavy metal band]: THISISSPINALTAP
• [1983 erotic horror film about vampire lovers]: THEHUNGER
• [1961 drama film in which Fast Eddie Felson beats Minnesota Fats]: THEHUSTLER

Step two: discover one thing to attach the themers. I didn’t see something within the entries themselves. I regarded for substrings (like YES in POLYESTER and PIN in THISISSPINALTAP), and that went nowhere.

Step three: when the entries yield no sign: examine the clues. This is the place I felt I had discovered the path: each clue began with a 12 months. You might clue these 5 motion pictures plenty of methods, however beginning every clue with a 12 months was most likely not a coincidence.

Step 4: apply the years. Yuri Gagarin (talked about within the clue for CCCP) was the primary particular person to journey to outer area in 1961 (identical 12 months as THEHUSTLER), however that rabbit gap died rapidly. Then I noticed 13d (YEAR, clued as “Four-digit number, usually”). Mike typically hides a further trace within the remaining horizontal entry; he used 13d this time however made it clear that it was thematic. There are plenty of methods to explain a 12 months and mentioning “digits” stood out. This was Mike’s manner of claiming that YEAR was the correct rabbit gap and in addition: deal with the years as 4 digits. For instance: THISISSPINALTAP was 1,9,8,4.

Step 5: apply 1,9,8,4 to THISISSPINALTAP. The 1st letter was “T”, the ninth was “I”, the eighth was “P”, and the 4th was “S”, spelling TIPS. The clue for 71a (ONES) was “Tips in a tip jar, often”.

WSJ Contest – 11.25.22 – resolution

The remainder of the theme entries adopted the identical sample:

• CHILDSPLAY (1,9,8,8): CALL ->  Call for support: SOS
• POLYESTER (1,9,8,1): PREP -> Prep prepare dinner’s boss: CHEF
• THISISSPINALTAP (1,9,8,4): TIPS -> Tips in a tip jar, typically: ONES
• THEHUNGER (1,9,8,3): TREE -> Tree anchor: ROOT
• THEHUSTLER (1,9,6,1): TEST -> Test by a neurologist, for brief: EEG

The mapped clues spell SCORE, our contest resolution. Readers: let me understand how you made out, and please let me know if this fashion of writeup was useful for a few of you. I’m completely satisfied to dive deeper from time to time (time keen).