"Look Inside" - April, 3, 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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bhamren
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Re: "Look Inside" - April, 3, 2020

#281

Post by bhamren » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:42 am

For me it was “typical Marie” (Mike Shenk used to post his under the byname Marie Kelly which was an anagram of Really Mike). It seems to me that Mike uses the clues in his metas more than anyone. When I see he wrote it, I always expect to find the answers in the clues. So when it said look inside I naturally looked inside the clues.
I also think it is always an advantage to work from a printed copy and not in an app to see the big picture. I missed a few in the past because of it. I might start in the app if I don’t have access to a printer, but if I don’t find the meta I always copy answers to print.

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MarkL
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#282

Post by MarkL » Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:56 am

So many red herrings, but ONO/NONOS and COO/...COOK were whale-sized, IMHO. Also, peeked at the pronouns (Q: no way they would repeat a mechanism, right? A: all is fair in love, war and metas), and the INs and the body parts. Pre-solve guess was "contemplate" or "reflections" then saw all the symmetrical letter groups. Then saw "deflections" hidden in 'selfcontained.' After too long in the grid, went back to earlier sense that trigger was in the clues. 34D clue tripped the alarm, then went back to 1A for the hunt. Best construction in a while!
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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#283

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:13 am

I started looking at words inside words and there were too many of them so I tried first only the across and then the down but that went no where. I then highlighted all the funky words in the clues (scalawag, pseudopod, addlepated, peripatetic, thantophobe) and the odd wording in some of them like 23A. There were too many of them to ignore.
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#284

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:14 am

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:09 am
Bob cruise director wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:49 am
yourpalsal wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:44 am


That’s exactly how I feel and I have been staring at this thing all weekend. Starting to doubt that I know anything at all. So frustrated.

Isaac, take the night off. “Lloyd, you keep setting ‘em up and I’ll keep knockin em down!”
What is that thing in your avatar?
A shofar, used in Jewish practice to herald the new year and other matters.
Is that you playing the shofar?
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#285

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:18 am

Meg wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:30 am
Finding the meta in the clues is standard Gaffney, but I don’t know if Mike has ever used it before. What a challenge! Being a fan of cryptic crosswords really helped on this one. At least the technique was familiar. One thing about metas.....you gotta look at everything.
The first time that I ran into getting the meta from the clues, my immediate reaction was "that is not fair" but then someone noted, that the only rule was that there are no rules.
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Colin
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#286

Post by Colin » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:37 am

Thinking
Mugs need lateral
Me, overly literal
Meta... magical
One world. One planet. One future.

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Joe Ross
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#287

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:58 am

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:29 am
...And letters in cups made of 3x letter corners. Letter in 2x letter-ends. So many tunnels of poo like the ones Andy Dufresne crawled 500 yds through, only to find iron bars at the end.
3-lettered cups I saw & had me excited for a minute:
20200403 Look Inside 3-letter cups.gif
Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:13 am
I started looking at words inside words and there were too many of them so I tried first only the across and then the down but that went no where...
Words within words, which may have led others to Klingon:
20200403 Look Inside Words Within.gif

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Bird Lives
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#288

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:13 am

Me too. SELF CONTAINED led me to my first strategy -- words within words, e.g., vOILa, aTONEd, etc. But there were only nine, not 11, and besides, their first letters spelled out gibberish.

Then I thought that the inside letters of some clues would spell out something. I got stuck on SOFTHEAD because of the OF THE. The way you construct most puzzles is to put in the long answers first, especially those that are part of the meta. The two 8-letter words, SOFTHEAD and ALISTERS are so forced (are they even really words?) that they had to be there for that reason and for some combination of their letters rather than their meanings.

I thought it would be CENTER OF THE ... I could justify CENTER (from the first three letters of the central down column and the interior letters of STERN, but could get no further.

Hats off to those who got it.

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TMart
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#289

Post by TMart » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:21 am

“Ire” and “fire” was what tipped it off for me and I immediately saw “ump” right after that. But hats off to Mike for embedding “softhead” in a clue - I came up one S short after several passes because I repeatedly ignored that one as being too long to embed. That was a nice, and somewhat amusing, secondary “aha”! moment.

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FrankieHeck
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#290

Post by FrankieHeck » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:26 am

The thing I loved about this puzzle (aside from the impressive job of hiding all those answers in the clues!) is how perfect the title/theme entry/answer worked together. The title and theme answer themselves would probably not lead anyone to immediately guess RUSSIAN DOLL. But once you hit on the right path, and start writing out the letters, you are 100% sure you ended up in the right place. Lovely.

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FrankieHeck
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#291

Post by FrankieHeck » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:29 am

TMart wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:21 am
“Ire” and “fire” was what tipped it off for me and I immediately saw “ump” right after that. But hats off to Mike for embedding “softhead” in a clue - I came up one S short after several passes because I repeatedly ignored that one as being too long to embed. That was a nice, and somewhat amusing, secondary “aha”! moment.
I did that, too! I knew I needed another S and just completely wrote that one off as impossible, even when I saw that it had to be that S. I actually ended up using the theme entry instead. I was impressed all over again when I read the debrief and saw "softhead" in that clue. I shouldn't have doubted Mike.

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Commodore
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#292

Post by Commodore » Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:29 am

No 5th week in a row.
Tide came in. Washed away my spit of sand. Davy Jones locker for me.
Fantastic construction this puzzle.

michaelm
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#293

Post by michaelm » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:06 am

Did any folks notice?
If you take the letters to the left and right sides of the four vertical "IN"s:
DECO (INDEED) ANO (STRAINED) LIST (DINERO) and take "NONE" (EMINENCE) as a literal direction to ignore, you can anagram the results into 11 letter CONSOLIDATE.
Another way to "LOOK INSIDE" and SELFCONTAIN?
That was my first rabbit hole but didn't feel 100% like some of the early commenters felt so definitely started looking for the telltale clues.
Good luck winning the mug!

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#294

Post by SewYoung » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:19 am

I saw Conrad, and Dinero and tried to do something with "Robert" to no avail. And then there was Oliver and almost Al Pacino so I thought maybe "Movie Star" or "Leading Man" but not enough letters...…….. Don't know why I always forget to look in the clues.

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KayW
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#295

Post by KayW » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:28 am

michaelm wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:06 am
Did any folks notice?
If you take the letters to the left and right sides of the four vertical "IN"s:
DECO (INDEED) ANO (STRAINED) LIST (DINERO) and take "NONE" (EMINENCE) as a literal direction to ignore, you can anagram the results into 11 letter CONSOLIDATE.
Another way to "LOOK INSIDE" and SELFCONTAIN?
That was my first rabbit hole but didn't feel 100% like some of the early commenters felt so definitely started looking for the telltale clues.
Good luck winning the mug!
That was one of my many many rabbit holes. Along with the self-contained organs oLIVER and hEARSt, and trying to find 11-letter combinations of letters between personal pronouns within words like eMinEnce.

As a long-time lover of cryptics which often use the same mechanism, I think I coulda shoulda seen the grid entries within clues a bit sooner than I did. And to top it off, when I first noticed that pattern - starting with IRE and DEATH- I copied a few of them out of order so I was still getting gibberish. But sorted things out by the time I found clue 9 or 10.

I too am amazed at how Mike managed to construct this puzzle. Great fun for an enforced staycation.

bradisbrad
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#296

Post by bradisbrad » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:32 am

I started off looking at the words that started and ended with A (ALISTERS really threw me in the wrong direction) and pulling out the letters within, which of course ended up to be 11. Couldn't get anything to work there, so I looked at the spots where IN intersected with itself and used those as brackets to the edges of the grid horizontally. That didn't add up to 11, but using the one instance of NIN intersecting with a vertical IN gave me 11. Still nothing. Looked for letters breaking up the word ME, answers that contained the letters to SELF, etc., but nada. Eventually started looking for the words ME, EYE, and LOOK in the clues. When that didn't do anything I went back to my ALISTERS strategy, looking for letters between As, but in the clues. That's when I saw RASCAL in the clue, and it broke it open.

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#297

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:35 am

I would like to pour a few drinks into Mike and Matt and have true confessions about whether they intentionally put in all these red herrings and rabbit holes or do they just make the puzzle and let our paranoia and other issues run rampant.
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Meg
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#298

Post by Meg » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:40 am

In Matt's really early days of meta construction, an oddly worded clue was a tip off. Then he started doing it just to drive us crazy (imho). Now I don’t blink an eye when I see something like "addlepated". I should have blinked. It would have been a faster solve.

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#299

Post by TPS » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:45 am

I was really stuck on the words that began and ended with "A" for a good while. I also fell into the "In" trap - perhaps because of last week. I was scouring the clues/answers and "Fire/Ire" did jump out to me as did the use of untypically verbose clues using unusually obscure language - but I just couldn't put it together. Someone gave me a nudge that the first clue to use was 4 - "Rascal/Scalawag" and after that I had it solved in under 5 minutes. As soon as I had "RUS" I had a pretty good idea where is was going.

It was frustrating and then fun. I wish I could have totally solved it on my own but I did get the PGWCC on my own so that sorta made up for it.

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Wendy Walker
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#300

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:23 am

After reading about everyone's clever rabbit holes, all I can say is this: WOW, was I ever lucky to see FIRE/IRE immediately!
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

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