"Variety Show" - March 20, 2020

A place to discuss the weekly Wall Street Journal Crossword Puzzle Contest, starting every Thursday around 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please do not post any answers or hints before the contest deadline which is midnight Sunday Eastern time.
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oldjudge
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Re: "Variety Show" - March 20, 2020

#261

Post by oldjudge » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:01 am

The answer to the puzzle is MULTIMEDIA. The last of the five contest phrases is Third Place (the answer to Show). If you take the third letter of each contest phrase word it spells out the answer. Having said this, I wasted way too much time finding a word that fit with each contest phrase word that had one additional letter. I thought those added letters would spell the answer.

Home: (S) Port
Equity: Piece (D)
Holy: One (A)
Water: Witch (Y)
Flight: Ac (R) e
Simulator: Pi (N) t
Cream: IPA (S)
Soda: (H) Ash
Third: (R) Ave
Place: Saver (S)

Needless to say, this is one large red herring
Last edited by oldjudge on Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MajordomoTom
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#262

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:02 am

You (Bob) have more experience with these than I do, I'll remember this "trick"/rule for future puzzles, it was about 6 hours between the grid and the answer in this household.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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MarkL
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#263

Post by MarkL » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:09 am

Someone posted they were having Merlot with Isaac and I almost responded with "try the '61" but that would have been too much a spoiler.

Until next week, be safe and stay healthy!
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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Joe Ross
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#264

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:11 am

20200320 WSJCC Variety Show.gif

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lacangah
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#265

Post by lacangah » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:16 am

I was in a ‘variety of languages’ box canyon for a day or two. ‘Octo-poulet-etats-pho...’ - que?

Good health and good luck (mugwise) to you all,

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TMart
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#266

Post by TMart » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:27 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:01 am
The answer to the contest is MULTIMEDIA.

Mike Shenk’s contests almost always have a clue embedded in the answers which directs you to the meta solution. And they almost never require external knowledge like Matt’s did last week. I say almost because in meta contests there is no such thing as always.

In this case we had a 10 letter word answer and we had 10 words in the five long answers. So the question is which letters to select. What jumped out at me was the fourth long answer THIRD PLACE. So the first thing I looked at was the third letter in each of the 10 words. And lo and behold, they spelled out the contest answer.
10-letter answer in a puzzle with 5 themers made up of compound words - I thought "This will be easy - two letters from each themer, find the "Shenkian hint", solve the meta." But for some reason it wasn't easy, and I went in too many other directions before "Third Place" smacked me in the face. I think Mike fooled me early by hiding his hint as one of the themers, instead of near the end of the puzzle. Great construction and a true Kas-2!

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FrankH
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#267

Post by FrankH » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:29 am

The reason to use 61A as the key to solving the meta is because the clue has the word "Show" which is also one of the two words in the crossword title. I think this is the first time that Mike has one clue serving double duty - the key to solving the meta and a theme entry to provide two of the meta letters; in the past if Mike Shenk put a key clue in there somewhere, it is usually separate from the theme entries.

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DrTom
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#268

Post by DrTom » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:37 am

I figured there was a "clue" in there and someone said that" Mike gives good directions". I had seen the THIRDPLACE and ruminated on it because it seemed odd, and even wondered how I would get the 10 letters KNOWING that one would have to come from each word. That should have been the trigger but it was not. I got hung up on "puzzle on a different level" and killed myself trying to do origami contortions of the puzzle that would make a word pop out (there are enough shreds for a ticker tape parade). I abandoned the third letter thing early on when I got mult because i was also CERTAIN that it would be a 10 letter variety show (ex. EDSULLIVAN or VAUDEVILLE) being far too literal with the title.

I got a nudge when I asked about my "multi level" strategy that essentially said BUNNY HOLE, and reminded me to do the things that we knew (and I had outlined to the nudger) we had to do. So 5 long entries, two words each, one letter from each word...but which letter, oh DUH, Mike did give a good directions after all, told me right where to look.

I did however have a Hail Mary that was such a stretch it was impossible, but when you have nothing even something seems better. I took the first letters from each word in the first two theme entries (yes, yes, I know it would NEVER be that simple) and got HE HW and then a bunch of other letters I felt I could justify as skit names or character names in the HEE HAW SHOW (10 letters) a well known VARIETY SHOW. Thank heavens the nudge kept me from making a fool of myself, or at least kept me from recording it for all to see.

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DrTom
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#269

Post by DrTom » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:41 am

lacangah wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:16 am
I was in a ‘variety of languages’ box canyon for a day or two. ‘Octo-poulet-etats-pho...’ - que?

Good health and good luck (mugwise) to you all,
Oh, I was in a "variety" of languages before I finally got the solution, and I may even have uttered your last two words more than once....thankfully salvation arrived.

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oldjudge
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#270

Post by oldjudge » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:48 am

Now that is funny

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Jeremy Smith
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#271

Post by Jeremy Smith » Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:03 am

I was getting nowhere trying to tie the five themers together and realized I might have to go into the clues for direction, which is a Gaffneyesque technique, not a Shenkish technique, so the previous Marie/Mike metas did not help me. I saw the clue SHOW, and thought it was an inelegance because that word was in the title. Instead I focused on the clue “Pilot ‘PROGRAM’, of a sort” = FLIGHT SIMULATOR. Of course, I got nowhere with that approach. Hopefully I can figure out the MGWCC and not go 0 for 2 this weekend.

LaceyK
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#272

Post by LaceyK » Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:45 am

Oh the many directions this puzzle took me. VVVVV--The clues Vampire repellent and Vanilla chaff just seemed strange. Especially with Offed next to Willa. Plus there were a couple more V clues, and I even went so far as to circle all clues with any v's in them, more than 10. I did really want Vaudeville to be the answer, and was trying to work backwards. Plus TROVE and HOVEL jumped out.

SHOW--I felt this was the direction. I tried counting 3 letters, early on, but missed doing it correctly. It's amazing how many types (varieties) of SHOWs were hidden in the theme answers. SHOW TIME. SHOW HOW or WHOLE SHOW or LATE SHOW. LIGHT SHOW, SHOW GIRL, FILM SHOW. ROAD SHOW, SHOW CASE. CAR SHOW, TAP SHOW. Then outside the theme answers you had SHOW PIECE, SIDE SHOW, SHOW OFF, SHOW TUNE.

At some point there I saw, WHOLE, SUM and PARTS, and thought about prisms and a variety of light, quilts with a variety of pieces.

Current news made me fill in and see: STAY AT HOME, SHELTER IN PLACE.

All my letter switching resulted in these fun phrases:
QUITE HOMEY
WHOLE TRAY
SLIGHT TRAIL OF UM
READ COMAS
DIRT CHAPEL

LizandBritta
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#273

Post by LizandBritta » Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:48 am

LaceyK wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:45 am
Oh the many directions this puzzle took me. VVVVV--The clues Vampire repellent and Vanilla chaff just seemed strange. Especially with Offed next to Willa. Plus there were a couple more V clues, and I even went so far as to circle all clues with any v's in them, more than 10. I did really want Vaudeville to be the answer, and was trying to work backwards. Plus TROVE and HOVEL jumped out.

SHOW--I felt this was the direction. I tried counting 3 letters, early on, but missed doing it correctly. It's amazing how many types (varieties) of SHOWs were hidden in the theme answers. SHOW TIME. SHOW HOW or WHOLE SHOW or LATE SHOW. LIGHT SHOW, SHOW GIRL, FILM SHOW. ROAD SHOW, SHOW CASE. CAR SHOW, TAP SHOW. Then outside the theme answers you had SHOW PIECE, SIDE SHOW, SHOW OFF, SHOW TUNE.

At some point there I saw, WHOLE, SUM and PARTS, and thought about prisms and a variety of light, quilts with a variety of pieces.

Current news made me fill in and see: STAY AT HOME, SHELTER IN PLACE.

All my letter switching resulted in these fun phrases:
QUITE HOMEY
WHOLE TRAY
SLIGHT TRAIL OF UM
READ COMAS
DIRT CHAPEL
This is almost exactly what my daughter and I did! We had a whole bunch of "v" funkiness going on and also tried to get vaudeville to fit :lol: Definitely didn't go as far into the phrases thing, though. I'm jealous! "Slight trail of um" better be the answer on one of the next ones or I riot.

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yourpalsal
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#274

Post by yourpalsal » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:40 am

I got it but wasted so much time first. Did anyone follow the four “prism” clues in the 3rd column? Fiance had an abutting n (that could be considered a triangle) to become finance, stat had an abutting r to become start, acton had an i to become action and chia had an n to become china. That’s four pretty unlikely coincidences for the third column of a puzzle based on third place. Do you think the constructor did it on purpose as a distraction?

I also didn’t see the number of letters on the online version, and only learned after spending ages in that rabbit hole that i needed a 10-letter word, and thus most likely needed to focus on the five two-word answers running crosswise.

BrianDavidson
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#275

Post by BrianDavidson » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:11 am

I was very distracted by the intersection of SAVERS and AVERSE as well as TORSO and TOR (from SIMULATOR) and INFEST and TEST. Then I was frustrated by ELL and trying to find words in an L shape in the grid. But eventually I decided to reread the clues and Show popped out and led me to THIRD PLACE and the answer.

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CPJohnson
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#276

Post by CPJohnson » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:18 am

Some of Mike's old puzzles that used a similar technique are 3-22-19 (post-it), 12-17-18 (no-el), and 12-1-17 (grid and fourbyfour).

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Wendy Walker
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#277

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:09 am

I spotted EQUITY and SAG in the grid -- the two major actors' unions -- and spent hours looking for TV show and movie names. Also went the aforementioned "VA" and "HO" and home show/light show/show place/show piece routes.
Friday-night text exchange with my nephew:

WLW: Just solved the puzzle. See if you can get it!
Cole: Is the answer something I'd be able to understand?
WLW: Definitely. WAY easier than we thought. There's a big fat clue.
Cole: I don't see this big fat clue. Wait. Does it have something to do with third place? I saw clue 61 is show.
WLW: Exactly! You got it!
Cole: Wait, is that it? If so they really had a stinker this week.
WLW: No. Use it in the theme answers.
[Six-minute pause]
WLW [gives numbers of appropriate answers]
Cole: Multimedia. Let the record show I had it before you sent the numbers!

I told him if he wins he will be insufferable!
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

MaineMarge
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#278

Post by MaineMarge » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:54 am

I was with the origami gang with the clue for META suggesting to me to go above (extra level) the themer letters. That went on waaay too long. Then the anagrams, near anagrams, partial words, crossing words- none of which yielded close to a 10 letter sensible answer. And I couldn’t relate any of that to the themers.
Not til I went back to study Mike/Marie’s old metas here did I tune in only to manipulating only the themers more creatively. Then finally Third Place/show fit in.
Great meta. And thanks Mike, really, for showing us the way.

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TPS
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#279

Post by TPS » Mon Mar 23, 2020 8:59 am

MajordomoTom wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:42 pm

the entire answer is in the grid and there is a very strong clue to help you figure out how to pull it from the grid, so ... wait for the official answer tomorrow night.

The title is actually perfect for this puzzle. That shouldn't be a spoiler - most of the titles actually help you.
Yeah - terrible directions - I thought about the Third Place thing but it really wasn't only the third place it was the third letter and and then like the 7th letter but then like the 9th letter. Also, the clues elsewhere in the puzzle were intentionally misleading with the use of words like Pilot and Show - which would fit with "Television".

howardl
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#280

Post by howardl » Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:16 am

For me the turning point was the realization that "10 letter word" had a useful hint. I had five long across answers, each of which had two words HOME and EQUITY, for example. so I realized 5x2 = 10 so one letter from each of the 10 words; the "show = third place" was all I needed from there. One false trail I followed was 5 long across and 4 long down, but the fact that this is 9 should have been (ultimately was) the tip off that this was a false trail.

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