"Head Count" - June 12, 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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geeteebee
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Re: "Head Count" - June 12, 2020

#301

Post by geeteebee » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:00 pm

COUNT me as part of the FORTY crowd.

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C=64
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#302

Post by C=64 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:12 pm

Translation without looking anything up:
"All ... and water(adj.) boats strongly(?) banned in the land of Skálabrekkur. All ... will be reported to the police."

EDIT: Pasting the photo for reference, because I didn't quote the original post and nobody knows what I'm talking about.
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Robert Stevens Littleton MA2012_06_22EOS 50D5529.JPG
Last edited by C=64 on Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bob cruise director
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#303

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:19 pm

Nlbil wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:34 am
Wondering how you determine which are the theme answers when 2 are clearly right due to being very long but several in the middle are the same length?? I have been confused about this in several puzzles.
Typically the theme answers are in the long across answers or have asterisks but not always. Sometimes there are hints in the clues like this week. But the only rule in crosswords is that there is no rules so the creators are very clever. And it keeps up guessing which is part of the fun.
Bob Stevens
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norrin2
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#304

Post by norrin2 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:24 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:42 am
Nlbil wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:34 am
Wondering how you determine which are the theme answers when 2 are clearly right due to being very long but several in the middle are the same length?? I have been confused about this in several puzzles.
If you read the article Matt Gaffney wrote about how to spot a plagiarized Crossword puzzle - he actually goes into how theme answers are constructed and where they are typically placed. Also, if they are not in the conventional spot (Like last week’s ZT puzzle) usually the constructor finds a way to clue you (Like MG did last week w/ the clue/answer about two words - which essentially meant the two word answers were the theme clues in that puzzle instead of the normal ones). Another good example was MS’s RICHARD III puzzle where there weren’t traditional theme answers but he clued what to use instead with a clue/answer combo in the grid.
Do you happen to have a link to that article?

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yourpalsal
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#305

Post by yourpalsal » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:26 pm

PHOFER wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:59 am
yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:12 am
I have been on the ship on Sunday nights, groaning when the answer comes in, so frustrated that a solution which came so easily to so many utterly eluded me. Tonight I’m on the other side. (Oh, did I fist-pump when I got it! :-) Happened about 30 minutes after finishing a grid that took about 30 minutes longer than usual.) I’m checking in because it’s fun being part of this community. I like you folks. In fact, you’ve inspired a grand opening! Let’s raise a glass and share some of our puzzling tales...

YourPalSal’s Beach & Ship Zoom Cafe
Jun 15, 2020 05:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86538717219

Beach bums and shipmates! Who’s in?
Great idea, but if you publish a Zoom invitation like this, you will get Zoom-bombed, which can be quite unpleasant. I suggest you find a way to vet who is admitted with a password after you confirm Muggle-identity. (P.S.: I did a bit of fist-pumping myself.)
I’m not too worried about zoombombers as I doubt they’d be lurking in our forum, and I can evict them if they show up. I do hope we get a little gathering going. I’m in a couple of facebook groups dedicated to other fields that have started hosting zoom gatherings, and it’s great to share ideas and experiences. I get the sense this is a really interesting group of people here!

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TPS
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#306

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:36 pm

norrin2 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:24 pm
Do you happen to have a link to that article?
https://slate.com/human-interest/2016/ ... sword.html

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Cindy N
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#307

Post by Cindy N » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:57 pm

I generally do my solving "online" - with a combination of the online version of the puzzle, copying the grid into Paint to highlight what I've found and then into a Word doc to list everything out. I can color code, highlight, add things in and take them out without having to have my messy scrawl all over the page.

I had the Word doc up on the left side of my screen, with the five entries listed, and was going back and forth between that and the tab with the completed puzzle open. Click, click, click, click...and then I saw it. The puzzle was covering all but the first few letters of the entries. DOS GO SEX ELF SEIZ. That did it for me. Seeing just DOS changed the pronunciation of the word and that was what I finally needed. I knew three for sure and started looking up the others. I did have a "how the heck am I supposed to figure out the language moment, then recalled the clue that told me what to use. I think had I only known DOS I might have gotten it, since I've seen it used before.

As for finding the letters in the grid versus adding them up? I don't recall adding numbers up before, but I knew I had seen the find the number, take the word/letter and use it mechanism in the past.

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Bird Lives
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#308

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:15 pm

Nlbil wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:34 am
Wondering how you determine which are the theme answers when 2 are clearly right due to being very long but several in the middle are the same length?? I have been confused about this in several puzzles.
Usually, they are symmetrically placed, so a word in the middle, even if it's short, will often be in the theme.
Last edited by Bird Lives on Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nlbil
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#309

Post by Nlbil » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:18 pm

Thanks to all for the helpful tips. The article mentioned by TPS was really interesting!!

LesY
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#310

Post by LesY » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:23 pm

On the TALLY/FORTY debate -- I submitted TALLY, figuring since it's the first 5-letter word I came to that it was a fairly clear answer. cf. the LIMA/BAMAKO controversy from a while back. Mike doesn't usually derive answers from outside the grid, so in circling those 5 letters I felt pretty safe. And it is "the answer."

But...and I don't think I've seen someone make this argument yet...if I had taken TALLY as an instruction, then only after that added up the five numbers and gotten FORTY, well....I don't know which one I would have submitted. Would still have leaned TALLY for the reasons above, but what a tough coincidence.

My own path was I didn't clue in on 61D until I had attempted to figure out the languages without it. I got as far as 2 (Spanish), ?, 6 (Latin), 11 (Dutch), and 6 (Italian). Then after leveraging 61D I spent about 5 minutes on TALLL b/c I, well, I don't know.

And here's where I thank pgw -- in part due to his penchant for using French words, I've been spending time with French on Babbel, and the last thing I worked on were numbers. SEIZE finally popped into my head, and I was home.

"UNO, DOS, TRES, CATORCE!" (or, quatorze?)
Last edited by LesY on Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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HeadinHome
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#311

Post by HeadinHome » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:37 pm

I noticed the FIVEness of the 61D clue early on (why so many languages listed before “say”? .. usually they just list two or three in such clues). But I had some of the same red herrings as others:
HEAD meaning BATHROOM. - I see LOO and WC... any others?
Nope
HEAD in all those languages: Kopf, tete, cabeza, atama , huvud. Tete is there in the beta/etas cluster... where are ...? Or maybe the first letter of all those... is THACK a word? KATCH?
Nope
All those Greek letters and references to keyboards. Surely it’s to do with letters or typesetting?
Nope.
Acronyms! LBJ (a HEAD of state), SOS (is that the monogram of anyone?
Gave up.

Never noticed DOS, ELF, or SEIZE as number words (though I know them). So of course GO and SEX weren’t helpful.

Feelin obtuse. 😒

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TPS
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#312

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:51 pm

Nlbil wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:18 pm
Thanks to all for the helpful tips. The article mentioned by TPS was really interesting!!
That whole saga was really interesting especially how he was caught which wouldn’t have happened without advanced computing power.

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Bob cruise director
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#313

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:59 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:36 pm
norrin2 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:24 pm
Do you happen to have a link to that article?
https://slate.com/human-interest/2016/ ... sword.html
Great article. I wonder who caught it? The publisher, other constructors or who. It seems that someone must have a database of all puzzle themes to be able to catch something like this 10 years apart in different publications.
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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LadyBird
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#314

Post by LadyBird » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:40 pm

Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:15 pm
Nlbil wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:34 am
Wondering how you determine which are the theme answers when 2 are clearly right due to being very long but several in the middle are the same length?? I have been confused about this in several puzzles.
Usually, they are symmetrically placed, so a word in the middle, even if it's short, will often be in the theme.
What gave me great difficulty was that there were two very long and symmetrical down answers: 11D and 29D. They were much longer than three of the across theme answers. So, how do you know when you should pay attention to long down answers--or are they not usually the answers in play? :?:

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mheberlingx100
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#315

Post by mheberlingx100 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:47 pm

I’m with the Tally crowd. I saw dos, elf, and seize right away, and dug a bit on the other two to put it all together. Glad to see I’m retaining something from high school (German) and post-retirement Duolingo (French) studies.

I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but Tally was one of the clue answers for the WSJ supplemental Saturday puzzle.
Last edited by mheberlingx100 on Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EmilyW
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#316

Post by EmilyW » Mon Jun 15, 2020 3:47 pm

I spent way too much time staring at the puzzle this weekend and didn't even come close to finding the path to the meta. BUT, I submitted TALLY late last night as my hail mary guess just because it was the first five-letter word I thought of that could mean head count. Not sure if this counts as on the shore, but I'm celebrating with an IPA from one of my local breweries. Cheers!

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TPS
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#317

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:10 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:59 pm
Great article. I wonder who caught it? The publisher, other constructors or who. It seems that someone must have a database of all puzzle themes to be able to catch something like this 10 years apart in different publications.
This is an article about the whole scandal - not written by MG - in it they explain how they caught it. It was the website it was another constructor who then worked with 538 that does statistical analysis (primarily related to sports and politics). One of their tools was used to aid in the analysis. Most likely he never would have been caught if not for those combination of things.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a ... ord-world/

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Bob cruise director
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#318

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:36 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:10 pm
Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:59 pm
Great article. I wonder who caught it? The publisher, other constructors or who. It seems that someone must have a database of all puzzle themes to be able to catch something like this 10 years apart in different publications.
This is an article about the whole scandal - not written by MG - in it they explain how they caught it. It was the website it was another constructor who then worked with 538 that does statistical analysis (primarily related to sports and politics). One of their tools was used to aid in the analysis. Most likely he never would have been caught if not for those combination of things.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a ... ord-world/
TPS
Thanks. Who knew that we were delving into such a sordid field
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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BethA
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#319

Post by BethA » Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:47 pm

It turns out I was on Beach Forty on Thursday. While going through the mechanics, I wrote the translated numbers both as numerals and spelled out as words. When TFSES didn’t spell anything, the next thing I thought of was adding the numbers up to get Forty. I did check out grid square 40, to see if there was anything interesting there, just an S. Thought FORTY must be the answer, but did not get that resoundingly strong CLICK. Why 40? Other than it’s a number.

So Friday morning, I decided I’d better check out the letters in the individual numbers, too. And found TALLY, which all added up! Fortunately I almost always let my initial answer percolate for awhile, not in a rush to send it in. So I did make it to Tally Beach in time.

On a different topic, someone earlier in the thread wondered about solve success rates across different constructors. I don’t have that, but am interested, too! Just in reviewing my own WSJ history, Gaffney has stumped me almost twice as many times as Shenk. And for 2020, the only ones I’ve missed have all been by Gaffney. Wrong wavelength trouble at times!

michaelm
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#320

Post by michaelm » Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:01 pm

BethA wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:47 pm
It turns out I was on Beach Forty on Thursday. While going through the mechanics, I wrote the translated numbers both as numerals and spelled out as words. When TFSES didn’t spell anything, the next thing I thought of was adding the numbers up to get Forty. I did check out grid square 40, to see if there was anything interesting there, just an S. Thought FORTY must be the answer, but did not get that resoundingly strong CLICK. Why 40? Other than it’s a number.

So Friday morning, I decided I’d better check out the letters in the individual numbers, too. And found TALLY, which all added up! Fortunately I almost always let my initial answer percolate for awhile, not in a rush to send it in. So I did make it to Tally Beach in time.

On a different topic, someone earlier in the thread wondered about solve success rates across different constructors. I don’t have that, but am interested, too! Just in reviewing my own WSJ history, Gaffney has stumped me almost twice as many times as Shenk. And for 2020, the only ones I’ve missed have all been by Gaffney. Wrong wavelength trouble at times!
That was me wondering about the solve rates.
Gaffney seems harder for me to decipher than Shenk as well, although they are both geniuses who provide many hours of mind-bending fun!

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