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

#441

Post by boharr » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:28 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:05 am
Holy moly I guessed and submitted at the last second based on no Zs in the 12 two-words and was correct. A meta hail mary for the ages for me.
Not a Z anywhere actually. That's what I did before going back to sort out the path. That and the fact that Zachary Taylor was the 12th preisdent.

Hidden in 3D
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#442

Post by Hidden in 3D » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:28 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:35 am

GGGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
GGGGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH: My sentiments exactly, along with several head slaps. I often type up a list of my solving strategies because my margin scribbles or notes on the back of printed puzzles get too messy to decipher. The very first thing on the page is a column of all the two-word answers. Beside those is a column of the first letters of the two words, with an unfortunate error - I noted DEJAVU as DJ. Unbelievable! I am quite sure my poor pea-sized brain decided that there were two Js, so the strategy of first letters was not the correct solving mechanism. I typed "No Z" below the two columns. I would really like to think that had I started this puzzle earlier in the weekend, rather than last night, I would not have made this mistake. I also would like to think that I would have noticed that there was no T in the second column instead of fixating on the fact that there were plenty of Ts in the grid. :oops:
Sara

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Tom Shea
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#443

Post by Tom Shea » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:34 am

MaineMarge wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:14 am
My apologies in advance for any upcoming punctuation errors. 🤣
I scored totally zero on my own. No, that’s not really really easy on the KAS scale.
That’s zilch on the chance to get the mug scale.
A kind nudge got me as far as a nearby coral reef late last night—(space?) the beach was under curfew by then.
Welch’s and Starbucks led me to search for CEO type executives whose letters could morph into the answer. No Z for Zuckerman or Bezos 😏
All those double letters (19A) went nowhere.
Then surely all the synonymous grid words
were the key:
Clone/Xerox copy
Calyx/pod
Unite/couple
Alee/Ang Lee
I won/strut
Ante/pay up
I played with the 12 two word toys every way except the right way.

Mega meta kudos to Matt and all you smart solving Muggles.
Zoom Time now 🙋‍♀️
I also went down the synonym trail. And actually wrote down the first letters to find a pattern, but missed it. I blame a printed page hideously disfigured with gobbledygook in ink. The nuns are once again disappointed in me.
Rufus T. Firefly

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spotter
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#444

Post by spotter » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:39 am

For the record, I was unable to make it to shore this week. I thought the two word clue had to have something to do with the answer, but couldn't quite get there.

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OGuyDave
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#445

Post by OGuyDave » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:42 am

ReB wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:02 am
...
It is interesting that the hardest metas seem to be a piece of cake for others, and others struggle over what pops out at me quickly. I guess the sea looks very different to some versus others.
Could not agree more. I don't consider myself a strong solver -- usually struggle with the majority of metas, but I had this one with no rabbit holes. I looked at the list of double-words and must have subconsciously seen that the leading letters were all different. Wrote down the letters of the alphabet right under that list, started crossing them off, and the smile widened and widened as I realized there were no dups. TZ? Oh, ZT!

Nice to get two this weekend after an O'fer last weekend.

Stay safe.

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Richard
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#446

Post by Richard » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:55 am

camandsampowercouple wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:16 am
Dang I was nowhere near this answer. A whole bunch of the two word answers had clues that also worked for them:

Make a twin of - XEROX COPY
Get out of the house, say - SELL FOR
Prior to, poetically - NO MORE
Starbucks feature - GRAPE JUICE
"Let me think" - KEEP QUIET

I was having trouble finding a clue for every single one, but I was unable to look at this puzzle in any other way to get an answer.
Well I found one word answers that worked for some of the two word answers.
Xerox Copy - clone
Ang Lee - alee
Sell for - run
Pay up - Anted

could not get past that

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#447

Post by Carla » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:06 am

Well, I did have all the two-word answers highlighted...then followed lots of rabbit holes after that! I learn something new every week!

boharr
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#448

Post by boharr » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:11 am

ReB wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:02 am
It is interesting that the hardest metas seem to be a piece of cake for others, and others struggle over what pops out at me quickly. I guess the sea looks very different to some versus others.
The Mystery of Muggledom

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DaveKennison
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#449

Post by DaveKennison » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:34 am

I didn’t get a lot of time to spend on this one and, like someone else, I finally submitted MONROE, which occurred as an anagram in the puzzle, knowing that it was probably wrong (because it was too simple). I like the answer RONALD REAGAN that someone else came up with and think it deserves a second mug!

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KayW
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#450

Post by KayW » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:48 am

Thank you DrTom for explaining the origins of President BEN PLOTLESS! Can anyone explain TOPCOAT PERCH to me?

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Hector
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#451

Post by Hector » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:02 pm

KayW wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:48 am
Thank you DrTom for explaining the origins of President BEN PLOTLESS! Can anyone explain TOPCOAT PERCH to me?
Sure. The two-word entries determine two-digit numbers: PAYUP, for instance, is 32 based on the number of letters in the two words. The letter at 32 in the grid is E. Similarly for the eleven other two-word entries, and you get letters that anagram to TOPCOAT PERCH. Given the brilliance of that mechanism, it seems to me unfairly arbitrary that there hasn't yet been a president by that name.

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KayW
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#452

Post by KayW » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:07 pm

Hector wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:02 pm
KayW wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:48 am
Thank you DrTom for explaining the origins of President BEN PLOTLESS! Can anyone explain TOPCOAT PERCH to me?
Sure. The two-word entries determine two-digit numbers: PAYUP, for instance, is 32 based on the number of letters in the two words. The letter at 32 in the grid is E. Similarly for the eleven other two-word entries, and you get letters that anagram to TOPCOAT PERCH. Given the brilliance of that mechanism, it seems to me unfairly arbitrary that there hasn't yet been a president by that name.
Thanks! And I'm going to stash that in my toolbox as well because I'm sure one of these days a constructor will implement it!

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#453

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:10 pm

OGuyDave wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:42 am
ReB wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:02 am
...
It is interesting that the hardest metas seem to be a piece of cake for others, and others struggle over what pops out at me quickly. I guess the sea looks very different to some versus others.
Could not agree more. I don't consider myself a strong solver -- usually struggle with the majority of metas, but I had this one with no rabbit holes. I looked at the list of double-words and must have subconsciously seen that the leading letters were all different. Wrote down the letters of the alphabet right under that list, started crossing them off, and the smile widened and widened as I realized there were no dups. TZ? Oh, ZT!

Nice to get two this weekend after an O'fer last weekend.

Stay safe.
The crossword gurus take revenge in a harsh way. One week I got the meta looking at it and then for the next two weeks it was zero, zip, nada
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Colin
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#454

Post by Colin » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:15 pm

I must get better.
Matt ‘Missing Letter Getter
And Meta Setter’
One world. One planet. One future.

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damefox
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#455

Post by damefox » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:22 pm

This was a clever mechanism, and I can't even imagine how long it took to come up with 12 two-word phrases where the words started with 24 unique letters of the alphabet, not to mention fit them all into a crossword grid. My one issue with this meta is that the mechanism itself does not lead to a unique answer. The prompt could just as easily have been "The meta answer is a type of policy" and then ZT would have been "zero tolerance." That arguably works better because it completes the set of two-word phrases better than Zachary Taylor does. A name isn't a two-word phrase in the same way that the rest of the theme entries are. Zachary Taylor ends up being a cute answer because by coincidence he was the 12th president. (Maybe that was an intentional nod, but I have a very hard time believing that was anything other than a happy coincidence.) The title also seemed a little arbitrary to me. But I'm being nitpicky now - it's definitely a very impressive construction.

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#456

Post by Laura M » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:28 pm

It might not have helped me, but I think that this puzzle would have been better prompted as "A U.S. president whose name completes the theme." At least I would have gone in with the mindset of figuring out what's missing, and not the mindset of looking for 12-letter names! Anyway, it's a good meta lesson for me that sometimes the missing-piece puzzles aren't clued as such!

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Bob cruise director
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#457

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:58 pm

damefox wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:22 pm
This was a clever mechanism, and I can't even imagine how long it took to come up with 12 two-word phrases where the words started with 24 unique letters of the alphabet, not to mention fit them all into a crossword grid. My one issue with this meta is that the mechanism itself does not lead to a unique answer. The prompt could just as easily have been "The meta answer is a type of policy" and then ZT would have been "zero tolerance." That arguably works better because it completes the set of two-word phrases better than Zachary Taylor does. A name isn't a two-word phrase in the same way that the rest of the theme entries are. Zachary Taylor ends up being a cute answer because by coincidence he was the 12th president. (Maybe that was an intentional nod, but I have a very hard time believing that was anything other than a happy coincidence.) The title also seemed a little arbitrary to me. But I'm being nitpicky now - it's definitely a very impressive construction.
The problem with something like policy is that it is too subjective and not unique. For something like a president, you have a bounded set of options.
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Bob cruise director
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#458

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:00 pm

Laura M wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:28 pm
It might not have helped me, but I think that this puzzle would have been better prompted as "A U.S. president whose name completes the theme." At least I would have gone in with the mindset of figuring out what's missing, and not the mindset of looking for 12-letter names! Anyway, it's a good meta lesson for me that sometimes the missing-piece puzzles aren't clued as such!
When they have had something completing a theme or anything like that, all of the clue answers have something in common which these ones did not except for their unique first letters.

The real tell should have been having 12 two word answers, all of which were unique. That would have led down the path of which letters weren't used and why.
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#459

Post by LadyBird » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:13 pm

One of the first things that I noticed on the puzzle was all of the odd letters like Q - J - X. But my mind leaped to Scrabble for some reason. I was busy scoring the 12 two-letter answers. What mathematical contortion would lead to a number between 1 and 45? None! And the rabbit chase was underway.

Then I thought, "Maybe the 12 answers are clues to the president's identity". I was moving along pretty well on George W. Bush: conservative/11D; teetotaler/31D; two terms/47A; father-son combo/59A. And then there was Truman with his win over Dewey (63A, 28D) and carrying a big stick quote (17A). Plenty of presidents from Ohio--14A with a little help from 15. But I couldn't figure out an angle with ANGLEE. No one president was going to fit all of those hints.

"Ex"-ecutive Search is certainly pointing towards a diagonal word search answer. No it wasn't....

I finally worked my way back to all of the unusual letters, wrote down my ABCs, and started crossing them off. I saw the TZ/ZT and hoped my search was over.

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#460

Post by Laura M » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:20 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:00 pm
Laura M wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:28 pm
It might not have helped me, but I think that this puzzle would have been better prompted as "A U.S. president whose name completes the theme." At least I would have gone in with the mindset of figuring out what's missing, and not the mindset of looking for 12-letter names! Anyway, it's a good meta lesson for me that sometimes the missing-piece puzzles aren't clued as such!
When they have had something completing a theme or anything like that, all of the clue answers have something in common which these ones did not except for their unique first letters.
Isn't that enough? Filling in the last two letters of the 26 seems to me like it would be completing a theme. But maybe it's a stretch.
Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:00 pm
The real tell should have been having 12 two word answers, all of which were unique. That would have led down the path of which letters weren't used and why.
Oh, I completely agree with that, and I'm still kicking myself for not noticing that all of the first letters were different. I certainly looked at them all enough times! But even if I'd been more observant, I'm still not sure that I would have gotten to Zachary Taylor, or felt a very good click if I had; the title and the prompt don't seem to me to confirm it.

I don't mean to nitpick though. I can graciously admit defeat this time :-) This was a very clever (and fair) meta, and I have the greatest respect for the constructor and the solvers!

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