Meditating Meta Mechanisms

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HoldThatThought
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:09 am

Meditating Meta Mechanisms

#1

Post by HoldThatThought » Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:34 pm

I hardly comment at all, but I have been a meta solver for the last several years. Take this post with whatever merit you feel it deserves.

I'm dealing with a growing personal concern that the handful of well-established and much beloved meta constructors are engaged in an "arms race" to outdo each other. Every successive new puzzle has to have a meta construct that is five percent more clever than any meta construct that has ever been offered before. No one wants to be the constructor who falls back on a trite and predictable mechanism - they all have to break new ground.

I don't want this to come out wrong. Please understand that I am not calling for 'easy', or "mailed it in" solving gimmicks that every veteran has seen 20 times before. The whole appeal - I suspect - for all of us - is the challenge.

But...I'm starting to anticipate a not-so-future grid where the solution will be something like:

Successful solvers realized that grid entries represented the six categories that appeared in the Single Jeopardy round on the January 7th, 2020 Greatest of All Time Tournament Day One. This was clued by the occurrence of Sudbury, the Ontario city where long-time Jeopardy host Alex Trebek was born, as well as a reference to Tom Brokaw, a TV news anchor once considered one of the "Big Three", along with Peter Jennings, who shares a surname with eventual Greatest of All Time champion Ken Jennings. The numbers in parentheses next to some clues in the grid reflected the alphabetical order of the Single Jeopardy category names, and only 138 entries correctly determined that the meta answer was actually the name of Art Fleming's dog.

At some point, I feel like the race for the most exotic and clever meta becomes a race for the biggest solver headache, and takes the meta universe on a path where most metas can only be solved by the few competitors who have the time and patience to invest considerable effort in solving. I'm going to blame it on the current political events and COVID and finances and all the other stresses of this moment in time, but even as a pretty decent solver, I've been increasingly throwing many of the latest series of puzzles down and telling myself "I'd probably come up with this, if I was willing to invest another 5 hours into staring at this."

I personally believe the goal is to provide challenge and entertainment, not to construct the most clever, never-before-seen, awe-inspiring, I can't believe he was able to pull that together meta anyone has ever seen.

Comments?

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Dplass
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:09 am
Location: Long Island, New York

#2

Post by Dplass » Sat Nov 07, 2020 3:49 pm

Amen. I can't agree more.

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TPS
Posts: 629
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:19 pm
Location: Florida

#3

Post by TPS » Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:33 pm

This is why I stopped doing meta puzzles. I’ll solve the grid and if I see it great but if I don’t have the answer by the time I’ve dropped my last answer in the grid then I done trying.

There are some beautiful and amazing puzzles but you know what I’d rather appreciate them after the fact.

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Abide
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:16 pm
Location: Biloxi

#4

Post by Abide » Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:20 pm

HoldThatThought wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:34 pm


But...I'm starting to anticipate a not-so-future grid where the solution will be something like:

Successful solvers realized that grid entries represented the six categories that appeared in the Single Jeopardy round on the January 7th, 2020 Greatest of All Time Tournament Day One. This was clued by the occurrence of Sudbury, the Ontario city where long-time Jeopardy host Alex Trebek was born, as well as a reference to Tom Brokaw, a TV news anchor once considered one of the "Big Three", along with Peter Jennings, who shares a surname with eventual Greatest of All Time champion Ken Jennings. The numbers in parentheses next to some clues in the grid reflected the alphabetical order of the Single Jeopardy category names, and only 138 entries correctly determined that the meta answer was actually the name of Art Fleming's dog.
Having been on Foggy Brume's Puzzle Boat the last month, I am pretty sure damefox solved this one!

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