"Executive Search" - June 5, 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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sanmilton
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Re: "Executive Search" - June 5, 2020

#401

Post by sanmilton » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:10 am

PQ63 wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:07 am
And ZT was the 12th President which left me confident I had the correct answer.
See, I thought it would have been even more elegant if ZT had been the 13th president, because we needed his initials as the 13th pair to complete our alphabet.

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BarbaraK
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#402

Post by BarbaraK » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:13 am

So I said this one gave me deja vu. It was because of this MGWCC from two years ago.

https://crosswordfiend.com/2018/05/01/mgwcc-517/

They say great minds think alike. In this case, the other great mind was also Matt's, just two years younger.

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sanmilton
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#403

Post by sanmilton » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:27 am

My "doubtful" solution before retiring on Thursday evening (or Friday morning) was MONROE (and not even JAMES MONROE), simply because one of the two-word entries at 30D, NO MORE, anagrams to the fifth president's surname, and it is crossed by BORON (35A), clued as "Element #5." Coincidence? Red herring? Satan? In any case, it was inelegantly dubious, or perhaps dubiously inelegant. Fortunately, a long, loving, second look on Friday brought the "Aha!" with its attendant elegance. Mr. Gaffney, I would love to hear the back-story of this puzzle and to learn how long it has been in the works. To fit twelve entries of two words with twenty-four different initial letters into a 15x15 grid must have been a challenge even for a rare puzzling intellect like yours. A doff of the hat, to you, sir!

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oldjudge
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#404

Post by oldjudge » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:34 am

steveb wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:08 am
steveb wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:37 pm
tim1217 wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:32 pm
I was just waiting for this reply, totally irrelevant. That clue does not equal that answer...ever, full stop.
"Ever"? I'll give you an example on Monday.
Last year, Nicholas Castellanos led the major leagues with 58 doubles, one for every 2.6 games he played. If he endured an extended period of time, say 10 or 12 games, without hitting a double – a “stretch without doubles” – then he was in a SLUMP.
I agree with the original poster. An extended period without a hit is a slump. An extended period without a double is an extended period without a double. If Castellanos over those ten games had batted .350 with four homers, but no doubles, would you consider him to be in a slump?

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Hector
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#405

Post by Hector » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:36 am

Props to all the solvers, especially those who found this one straightforward and/or easy -- wow!

stmv
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#406

Post by stmv » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:43 am

I came pretty close to thinking that John F Kennedy was the right answer, based on the following reasoning: I've trained myself to look for clues that are worded in strange ways. To me "Thomas Bramwell Welch's product" at 31D = GRAPE JUICE seemed fishy - why did we need the middle name? This fixated my attention on presidents' middle names. After a while I saw that one could make all the presidents' middle names out of the initial letters of the two-word answers, even Quincy! The only one that you can't make out of those 24 initial letters is Fitzgerald, hence JFK!

But when I was checking this I saw a fly in the ointment: George H.W. Bush = George HerberT Walker Bush, which seemed inelegant.

When I subsequently explained my "brilliant" answer to my wife, noting that all letters other than T and Z appeared, she immediately said "Is there a president with the initials T and Z?" and I immediately realized that the (much more elegant) answer was Zachary Taylor. A close escape....

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yourpalsal
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#407

Post by yourpalsal » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:46 am

Matt Gaffney is amazing, a genius, and this is another strong meta. I don’t believe his answer is the sole answer. I went with Ronald Reagan because his was the only 12 letter, two word official Presidential name (no middle initial) whose letters could be distributed one letter per two-word answer. Folks, why is my answer less valid just because it wasn’t the intended answer? I’m not being rhetorical - it’s an honest question.

YOURERIGHT - R
OHHI - O
NOMORE - N
GRAPEJUICE - A
SELLFOR - L
DEJAVU - D
XEROXCOPY - R
KEEPQUIET - E
PAYUP - A
ANGLEE - G
EASEBY - A
IWON - N
Last edited by yourpalsal on Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

Tina
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#408

Post by Tina » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:47 am

I might be wrong about this, but I think Zachary Taylor might also have been chosen for this puzzle because he has no middle name, thus his name fits with the set of two-word phrases. Anyway, that fact provided extra confirmation for me that he was the correct answer. Adds extra elegance, at least.

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DrTom
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#409

Post by DrTom » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:48 am

BarbaraK wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:13 am
So I said this one gave me deja vu. It was because of this MGWCC from two years ago.

https://crosswordfiend.com/2018/05/01/mgwcc-517/

They say great minds think alike. In this case, the other great mind was also Matt's, just two years younger.
Well I'll be a son of a gun! If I had been doing MGWCC longer I would have not had the brain wracking this one took initially. But I did learn a new term, pangram. Up until this point I had never heard what you would call a sentence or verse made up of all the letters of the alphabet. I probably would have assumed it was a message sent to someone written on the back of a pie tin or a message to the never-ending child in us all.

I like new words and I cannot lie....

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TPS
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#410

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:53 am

In hindsight this was a better meta than I originally thought. It wasn’t RUSSIAN DOLL or ADOBE good in my view (I didn’t solve either of those on my own either) but my biggest gripe about this one turned out to be unfounded and I once again proved I am a moron.

I do think this would have been a better puzzle if it was prompted similar to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE - that would have eliminated MONROE as a possible solution and RICHARD NIXON (which I was able to make having searched the 12 clues but was only able to do that because moronically when making my list of theme answers I wrote down COHAB instead of EASEBY. So for me this was probably a KAS 4 and on a relative elegance basis I’d say it’s a 6.5.

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DrTom
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#411

Post by DrTom » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:54 am

Tina wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:47 am
I might be wrong about this, but I think Zachary Taylor might also have been chosen for this puzzle because he has no middle name, thus his name fits with the set of two-word phrases. Anyway, that fact provided extra confirmation for me that he was the correct answer. Adds extra elegance, at least.
Well yes, but lots of other president's (25) do not have middle names listed including my almost faux pas, Abraham Lincoln. It at least eliminated all those with a middle name. I still like the 12 pairs 12th President line of thinking.

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oldjudge
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#412

Post by oldjudge » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:55 am

BarbaraK wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:13 am
So I said this one gave me deja vu. It was because of this MGWCC from two years ago.

https://crosswordfiend.com/2018/05/01/mgwcc-517/

They say great minds think alike. In this case, the other great mind was also Matt's, just two years younger.
Great job Barbara!

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TPS
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#413

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:55 am

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:46 am
Call me difficult, but I don’t find the answer so satisfying. I went with Ronald Reagan because his was the only 12 letter, two word official Presidential name (no middle initial) whose letters could be distributed one letter per two-word answer. Folks, why is my answer less valid just because it wasn’t the intended answer? I’m not being rhetorical - it’s an honest question.
PAYUP - A
YOURERIGHT - R
OHHI - O
KEEPQUIET - E
ANGLEE - G
NOMORE - N
GRAPEJUICE - A
SELLFOR - L
EASEBY - A
DEJAVU - D
XEROXCOPY - R
IWON - N
If it had been prompted similar to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE it would have invalidated your answer - but since it wasn’t I think your answer is fine. And that’s why I’ve said this meta could have been a little bit better.

Homer Buckle
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#414

Post by Homer Buckle » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:57 am

I was at first thinking Monroe with an anagram of No More, but then thought about it more and got it correct. Great puzzle.

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Jeremy Smith
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#415

Post by Jeremy Smith » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:32 am

My Hail Mary answer was CALVIN COOLIDGE. He was known as “Silent Cal” —a man of few words. Reportedly, at a dinner party, a woman said to him “I have a bet that I can get more than [67A] TWO WORDs out of you.” Although he subsequently denied it, he was reported to say “you lose.”

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yourpalsal
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#416

Post by yourpalsal » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:20 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:55 am
yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:46 am
Call me difficult, but I don’t find the answer so satisfying. I went with Ronald Reagan because his was the only 12 letter, two word official Presidential name (no middle initial) whose letters could be distributed one letter per two-word answer. Folks, why is my answer less valid just because it wasn’t the intended answer? I’m not being rhetorical - it’s an honest question.
PAYUP - A
YOURERIGHT - R
OHHI - O
KEEPQUIET - E
ANGLEE - G
NOMORE - N
GRAPEJUICE - A
SELLFOR - L
EASEBY - A
DEJAVU - D
XEROXCOPY - R
IWON - N
If it had been prompted similar to JEFFERSON AIRPLANE it would have invalidated your answer - but since it wasn’t I think your answer is fine. And that’s why I’ve said this meta could have been a little bit better.
Thank you, TPS. I rewrote my post to pay respect to Matt Gaffney, and for ease of use:

Matt Gaffney is amazing, a genius, and this is another strong meta. I don’t believe his answer is the sole answer. I went with Ronald Reagan because his was the only 12 letter, two word official Presidential name (no middle initial) whose letters could be distributed one letter per two-word answer. Folks, why is my answer less valid just because it wasn’t the intended answer? I’m not being rhetorical - it’s an honest question.

YOURERIGHT - R
OHHI - O
NOMORE - N
GRAPEJUICE - A
SELLFOR - L
DEJAVU - D
XEROXCOPY - R
KEEPQUIET - E
PAYUP - A
ANGLEE - G
EASEBY - A
IWON - N

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tigerfly222
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#417

Post by tigerfly222 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:47 am

I got it in my head that the gimmick would somehow involve state names or abbreviations (there were many ways to slice and dice that amongst the grid words and clues) and I couldn't let go of it. Never submitted anything.

Included in my deep, winding rabbit hole were such promising clues as:

36A Amorphous mass(achusetts)
38A Somali model(aware)
66A Stack in a till(inois)

Having read the solution, I have to admit that I don't feel bad for not getting this one. It would be frustrating if I had come perilously close and still missed it, but I wasn't even swimming toward the right island. Win some, lose some. Congrats to those who got it!

Joepickett
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#418

Post by Joepickett » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:22 am

How was the title a hint for this puzzle? We already knew that we were looking for a U.S. president.

howardl
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#419

Post by howardl » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:39 am

I got to Zachary Taylor by following a rabbit hole, if that makes any sense. After getting nowhere, I thought I might be able to back into the right reasoning by examining Presidents with 12 letter names, and seeing which I could spell with the initial letters of the 24 words in the two word answers. This was problematic because it's common to say "Harry S Truman" or "George HW Bush" but no one says "Barack H Obama" so what really is the list of 12 letter presidents? Anyway, to organize my checking, I wrote out the 24 initial letters and put them in alphabetical order so I could check more easily, and that's when I saw: no repetition of letters! Only T and Z missing! So, in a way I feel like I just stumbled into the right answer by following a completely wrong approach. So I'll count this a victory, but it's not one of my prouder moments.

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Commodore
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#420

Post by Commodore » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:00 am

Heading down to the PANTRY to have the cook whack me upside the head with a PAN to TRY fixing my brain.
Terrific puzzle.
Perch/Plotless ticket in 2020!
"Matt Gaffney Must Die" for Oscar.

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