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

#461

Post by PJM » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:26 pm

DaveKennison wrote:
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!
Yes, RON[ald] REAGAN deserves a second mug!
crossword.jpg

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Bob cruise director
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#462

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:31 pm

Laura M wrote:
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!
Does Zachery Taylor join the list of Uma Sumac, Marie Kondo and others?
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MarkL
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#463

Post by MarkL » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:39 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:31 pm
Laura M wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:20 pm
Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:00 pm


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!
Does Zachery Taylor join the list of Uma Sumac, Marie Kondo and others?
Sue Grafton, maybe. That meta had alphabet gymnastics involved. (BTW, is Uma Yma's sister?)
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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#464

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:44 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:31 pm

Does Zachery Taylor join the list of Uma Sumac, Marie Kondo and others?
I certainly don't think it rises to that level - others may disagree. In my view if the prompt had just said something about completing the them this would have been fine and even without it I certainly don't think its unfair (especially if you count Ronald Reagan as a 2nd answer which I personally think is only fair).

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TPS
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#465

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:53 pm

Laura M wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:20 pm


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.
Yeah, for me its not a stretch and I think there could have been something about completion. And why I say that isn't because I didn't solve this - there was no way I was solving this puzzle no matter how it was prompted - but I did sorta try to go a version of the Ronald Reagan route and with the Title and Prompt the way they are that seems like a perfectly valid answer.

I can't imagine how incredibly hard is to create one of these puzzles let alone do them day in and day out - so the puzzle is totally fine as is but could have been made a little better.

On that note - (just replace TV with Crossword in this clip). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBP61oXYGgY

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#466

Post by Gman » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:55 pm

The preponderance of P's made me think that James K. Polk might be the answer. There were 11 P's, and he was the 11th President, so that was my Hail Mary Sunday entry. Kicking myself for seeing the absence of Z, but I did not associate the presence of T's in the grid to be exclusive of the 12 two word answers. Ack!

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#467

Post by DrTom » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:22 pm

Joepickett wrote:
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.
Yes, I thought that had it said "Sort of an Executive Search" I might have tumble to the mechanism sooner, but then that title is not as clear because people would "well it can't be a president because they are certainly not sort of an executive..."

It has to be tough to come up with the perfect title/mechanism/Meta.

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SusieG
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#468

Post by SusieG » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:08 pm

I failed this puzzle. I noticed the absence of a Z, but forgot that could be a positive clue. I normally don’t submit Hail Marys, but like the sound of “Millard Fillmore” so that was my answer. I knew it was wrong, but it sounded so fun to say out loud. Also, I like the Oxford comma.

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#469

Post by mheberlingx100 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:22 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:44 pm
Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:31 pm

Does Zachery Taylor join the list of Uma Sumac, Marie Kondo and others?
I certainly don't think it rises to that level - others may disagree. In my view if the prompt had just said something about completing the them this would have been fine and even without it I certainly don't think its unfair (especially if you count Ronald Reagan as a 2nd answer which I personally think is only fair).
While Old Rough and Ready isn’t the most popular of Presidents, he should be familiar to most American muggles. And some may be familiar with the conspiracy theory that was once in vogue — did he really die from cholera after eating large amounts of raw fruit on the Fourth of July, or was he poisoned?

Spoiler alert - he wasn’t poisoned.

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#470

Post by Tony S » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:25 pm

"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."

After missing two metas in a row (King Me and Build Your Brand) I'm back on track. I found this one to be a KAS 1. The giveaway clue, "two word" answers, prompted me to write all of them down on paper --- I immediately noticed an unusual array of letters. I then wrote out the alphabet and systematically checked off the ones that were used, leaving only Z and T. I'm not sure I would have seen this without the pencil-and-paper exercise --- my hat's off to those who see these things on their phones! And, of course, hat's off to Matt Gafney for an incredible construction.

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#471

Post by boharr » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:30 pm

Tony S wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:25 pm
"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."

After missing two metas in a row (King Me and Build Your Brand) I'm back on track. I found this one to be a KAS 1. The giveaway clue, "two word" answers, prompted me to write all of them down on paper --- I immediately noticed an unusual array of letters. I then wrote out the alphabet and systematically checked off the ones that were used, leaving only Z and T. I'm not sure I would have seen this without the pencil-and-paper exercise --- my hat's off to those who see these things on their phones! And, of course, hat's off to Matt Gafney for an incredible construction.
Pencil and paper seem required for this one.

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#472

Post by BrianMac » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:31 pm

SusieG wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:08 pm
I failed this puzzle.
I prefer "the constructor did not appear to be on my wavelength."

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MarkL
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#473

Post by MarkL » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:40 pm

SusieG wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:08 pm
I failed this puzzle. I noticed the absence of a Z, but forgot that could be a positive clue. I normally don’t submit Hail Marys, but like the sound of “Millard Fillmore” so that was my answer. I knew it was wrong, but it sounded so fun to say out loud. Also, I like the Oxford comma.
I was rooting for ol' Millard, but no such luck!
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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DrTom
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#474

Post by DrTom » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:45 pm

PJM wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:26 pm
DaveKennison wrote:
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!
Yes, RON[ald] REAGAN deserves a second mug!

crossword.jpg
I'm going to have to dissent because that answer does not really follow the mechanism nor does it follow usual META rules. We have never had to infer the last part of the name. Even if the grid had something like this:
Reagan.jpg
It would be hard to ignore, but had nothing to do with the mechanism that was clearly pointed to. Plus if you allow that then US GRANT would also be allowable because it WAS in the grid and the puzzle told us to look for a U.S. President:
Grant.jpg
Then while were were granting (pun not intended but gladly acknowledged) those as answers we would need to accept JAMES POLK because that was a possible name from within the 24 letters that were part of the mechanism and Abraham Lincoln because those were a set of initials that were within the pairs of the two word answers. About 3 months back I got ADMONISHED for ADMONITION because the supposed right answer was MONOTONOUS. My answer fit everything (title, mechanism, word length) but I had not followed the intended mechanism so it was wrong. Similarly here, there are couple of other answers that would seem feasible: RONALD REAGAN (though not from the grid squares but from the letters derived from the two word answers), JAMES POLK, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, maybe US GRANT, but you would have to disregard the mechanism (and apparently the SAME mechanism used in an earlier META about Vice Presidents) and that is not something we usually are comfortable with,

So, as much as it stings when you were so sure of the answer you laboriously came up, the answer is what the creator intended to arrive at following the mechanism - ZT or ZACHARY TAYLOR and I admonish you to accept it.

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#475

Post by UTHfan » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:47 pm

I whiffed here. I should've thought that 12 two word combos lead to 24 words, 2 short of the alphabet. But alas, good one. I'll chalk it up to another learning experience for future metas.

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#476

Post by DrTom » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:35 pm

BrianMac wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:31 pm
SusieG wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:08 pm
I failed this puzzle.
I prefer "the constructor did not appear to be on my wavelength."
I once tried to use that reasoning in a Statistics course (substituting instructor for constructor) - the instructor told me that although that line of thought was statistically possible, the probability of a Type 1 error was about 0.0005. I translated that into 'fat chance'.

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#477

Post by Guy » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:16 pm

I didn't get as close as hearing hoof beats, but I certainly looked for zebras (er, rabbits). I found connected squares (well, a bit serpentine) of anagrams of the complete last names of two presidents, then similarly ten more with a letter or two missing (some to the right), the magic twelve. Nothing of course came of it except a lot of letters, and I thought what an alphabet soup....I should have brained on that last thought a bit more.

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#478

Post by SusieG » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:27 pm

DrTom wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:45 pm
PJM wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:26 pm
DaveKennison wrote:
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!
Yes, RON[ald] REAGAN deserves a second mug!

crossword.jpg
I'm going to have to dissent because that answer does not really follow the mechanism nor does it follow usual META rules. We have never had to infer the last part of the name. Even if the grid had something like this:
Reagan.jpg

It would be hard to ignore, but had nothing to do with the mechanism that was clearly pointed to. Plus if you allow that then US GRANT would also be allowable because it WAS in the grid and the puzzle told us to look for a U.S. President:
Grant.jpg

Then while were were granting (pun not intended but gladly acknowledged) those as answers we would need to accept JAMES POLK because that was a possible name from within the 24 letters that were part of the mechanism and Abraham Lincoln because those were a set of initials that were within the pairs of the two word answers. About 3 months back I got ADMONISHED for ADMONITION because the supposed right answer was MONOTONOUS. My answer fit everything (title, mechanism, word length) but I had not followed the intended mechanism so it was wrong. Similarly here, there are couple of other answers that would seem feasible: RONALD REAGAN (though not from the grid squares but from the letters derived from the two word answers), JAMES POLK, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, maybe US GRANT, but you would have to disregard the mechanism (and apparently the SAME mechanism used in an earlier META about Vice Presidents) and that is not something we usually are comfortable with,

So, as much as it stings when you were so sure of the answer you laboriously came up, the answer is what the creator intended to arrive at following the mechanism - ZT or ZACHARY TAYLOR and I admonish you to accept it.
In addition to the Monroe and Reagan red herrings, I also found TRUMAN (in STRUT and IMAN). It didn’t fit any mechanism that Matt Gaffney would create, so I ruled it out.

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#479

Post by DrTom » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:00 pm

SusieG wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:27 pm
DrTom wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:45 pm
PJM wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:26 pm


Yes, RON[ald] REAGAN deserves a second mug!

crossword.jpg
I'm going to have to dissent because that answer does not really follow the mechanism nor does it follow usual META rules. We have never had to infer the last part of the name. Even if the grid had something like this:
Reagan.jpg

It would be hard to ignore, but had nothing to do with the mechanism that was clearly pointed to. Plus if you allow that then US GRANT would also be allowable because it WAS in the grid and the puzzle told us to look for a U.S. President:
Grant.jpg

Then while were were granting (pun not intended but gladly acknowledged) those as answers we would need to accept JAMES POLK because that was a possible name from within the 24 letters that were part of the mechanism and Abraham Lincoln because those were a set of initials that were within the pairs of the two word answers. About 3 months back I got ADMONISHED for ADMONITION because the supposed right answer was MONOTONOUS. My answer fit everything (title, mechanism, word length) but I had not followed the intended mechanism so it was wrong. Similarly here, there are couple of other answers that would seem feasible: RONALD REAGAN (though not from the grid squares but from the letters derived from the two word answers), JAMES POLK, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, maybe US GRANT, but you would have to disregard the mechanism (and apparently the SAME mechanism used in an earlier META about Vice Presidents) and that is not something we usually are comfortable with,

So, as much as it stings when you were so sure of the answer you laboriously came up, the answer is what the creator intended to arrive at following the mechanism - ZT or ZACHARY TAYLOR and I admonish you to accept it.
In addition to the Monroe and Reagan red herrings, I also found TRUMAN (in STRUT and IMAN). It didn’t fit any mechanism that Matt Gaffney would create, so I ruled it out.
Wow, lucky I did not see it in my manic phase because some thing that was an anagram of ITS TRUMAN I would have certainly thought was the signpost up ahead!!

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#480

Post by Hector » Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:10 pm

Wow, lucky I did not see it in my manic phase because some thing that was an anagram of ITS TRUMAN I would have certainly thought was the signpost up ahead!!{/quote]

Now do STRUT & SLUMP. ;)

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