"Two's Company" June 19, 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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HeadinHome
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Re: "Two's Company" June 19, 2020

#321

Post by HeadinHome » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:28 am

Found this one very frustrating because of what seemed a fairly straightforward trail plus the fact that SO many muggles were reporting that this was an easy meta. My trail was that seven of the clues offer TWO people/items (using “and” or “or”), so that felt like an easy start to an “easy” meta. I then was looking for a way to use those clues’ or answers’ initials. Spent way too much time trying to get something from DASIACO (Detective, Alien, Solid, Iveys, Alis, Citta, Oona). At sea all weekend, feeling like a complete dolt missing a good party. : (

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MarkL
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#322

Post by MarkL » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:33 am

femullen wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:57 am
I almost sent in "MT," because that's what I was coming up.

Got step 1 then stepped on a landmine. But I was dancing all around the right approach and thinking things I should have been thinking, like "three's a crowd" and following that hint. These near misses at least give me hope that some day I'll no longer be a noob and these puzzles will begin to dawn on me.

Since joining this scurvy crew at the end of February, I'm 3 for 16, which probably makes me the anchor man or pretty close. Don't know why I subject myself to this agony every week, but there's something pleasant in it, like the supposed endorphins released when eating jalapenos. Of course, on the rare occasions I get one of these things, there's that satisfying Aha! Finally, I also enjoy visiting with you, my more talented meta-pals. Talk to you all Thursday night.
Hang in there! Many have struggled before learning the meta 'tells.' After a while. you will see your win rate climb.
Cheers!
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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Colin
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#323

Post by Colin » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:35 am

My answer was IA and I think it is more legit than GI. Why? Well, I also followed the meta and got SOLDIER, which as everyone knows is a town in Iowa... IA... which is also two outside letters of 41D... which is my favorite type of beer! Gotta be right, right?
Also, why GI and not LT, MG or TC? They are all soldiers too.
Go Iowa!
One world. One planet. One future.

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C=64
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#324

Post by C=64 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:59 am

ReB wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:14 am
I liked that the title "Two's Company" implied "Three's a Crowd" which [...] pointed me to the three letter words and suggested the mechanism for generating the answer clue (that it would involve an extra letter that created the "crowd" which would have to be disinvited.
Agreed.

howardl
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#325

Post by howardl » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:10 am

I didn't post here, but I made it to shore fairly easily on Friday, and then forgot about it until Monday morning, when my submitted answer was confirmed. This was a welcome rebound from my failure last week. I actually had the right approach (looking for words of numbers) but I completely missed the hint (something like Jap., Swed., Fren.... for the answer Langs) and I would have needed to google counting in mostof these languages. So I found an answer with "ONE" and saw the "SEX", and perhaps a few more. And I got as far as looking at the letters in those numbered blocks (but of course they were some of the wrong numbers, so I got a unsolvable anagram). I had nothing to submit so I didn't submit. But back up on the horse this week. Happy belated fathers day to all.

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Bob cruise director
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#326

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:25 am

HeadinHome wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:28 am
Found this one very frustrating because of what seemed a fairly straightforward trail plus the fact that SO many muggles were reporting that this was an easy meta. My trail was that seven of the clues offer TWO people/items (using “and” or “or”), so that felt like an easy start to an “easy” meta. I then was looking for a way to use those clues’ or answers’ initials. Spent way too much time trying to get something from DASIACO (Detective, Alien, Solid, Iveys, Alis, Citta, Oona). At sea all weekend, feeling like a complete dolt missing a good party. : (
When I started filling in the grid, the obvious answer for 31A was Post Script but it did not fit. Since that was right after 20A where the DC jumped out, I had the rabbit hole so the others except for Alien became obvious. Then 66A told me to look for another and that led to Alien.

Now what to do with the sets of two letters. Obviously they did not spell anything but having done the grid, the three letters with one left over jumped out as Matt has used techniques like that before. And when I got soldier the jump to GI was easy. It was only on Friday that I started to question MP but it was too late.

This is one where experience was definitely a huge asset. If you are new and it came hard or not at all, this is one of those teaching moments that you will remember.
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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MajordomoTom
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#327

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:47 am

feet in the buckets, will definitely remember that "if it's too easy, you're missing something".
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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LittleGood
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#328

Post by LittleGood » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:54 am

I was preoccupied until Friday afternoon with 5 answers that each appeared phonetically identical to a 2-word initialism (IVEYS = I.V., ACEY = A.C., EMMY = M.E., OPIE = O.P., IDI = E.D.). I was trying coax 2 more answers to fit this pattern and lead me to an answer.

Kas-2 for me; I just overlooked the obvious because ALIEN didn't look like a theme answer until I got the mechanism from the other six. DOH!

I'm also relieved to see the solution is "G.I." (with periods) rather than "GI".

ReB
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#329

Post by ReB » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:58 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:25 am
HeadinHome wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:28 am
Found this one very frustrating because of what seemed a fairly straightforward trail plus the fact that SO many muggles were reporting that this was an easy meta. My trail was that seven of the clues offer TWO people/items (using “and” or “or”), so that felt like an easy start to an “easy” meta. I then was looking for a way to use those clues’ or answers’ initials. Spent way too much time trying to get something from DASIACO (Detective, Alien, Solid, Iveys, Alis, Citta, Oona). At sea all weekend, feeling like a complete dolt missing a good party. : (
When I started filling in the grid, the obvious answer for 31A was Post Script but it did not fit. Since that was right after 20A where the DC jumped out, I had the rabbit hole so the others except for Alien became obvious. Then 66A told me to look for another and that led to Alien.

Now what to do with the sets of two letters. Obviously they did not spell anything but having done the grid, the three letters with one left over jumped out as Matt has used techniques like that before. And when I got soldier the jump to GI was easy. It was only on Friday that I started to question MP but it was too late.

This is one where experience was definitely a huge asset. If you are new and it came hard or not at all, this is one of those teaching moments that you will remember.
From the comments, I think almost everybody got the first step mechanism rather quickly, newbies and veterans alike. It's the second step where experience made a big difference in the speed of solution (or non-solution). But, I do feel a particular satisfaction in figuring out the mechanism de novo from the title ("Two's a Crowd") and other bread crumbs rather than from just drawing down on my memory banks.

But that's the nature of the growth process, learning curve and drawing on experience each have their charms.

JRS51
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#330

Post by JRS51 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:04 am

LittleGood wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:54 am
I was preoccupied until Friday afternoon with 5 answers that each appeared phonetically identical to a 2-word initialism (IVEYS = I.V., ACEY = A.C., EMMY = M.E., OPIE = O.P., IDI = E.D.). I was trying coax 2 more answers to fit this pattern and lead me to an answer.

Kas-2 for me; I just overlooked the obvious because ALIEN didn't look like a theme answer until I got the mechanism from the other six. DOH!

I'm also relieved to see the solution is "G.I." (with periods) rather than "GI".
I was doing the same thing on Friday. Fortunately the correct mechanism occurred to me Saturday night and i found the answer.
However, i did submit as “GI” not “G.I.” Hope that doesn’t keep me from a chance at the mug!

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ky-mike
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#331

Post by ky-mike » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:08 am

JRS51 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:04 am
LittleGood wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:54 am
I was preoccupied until Friday afternoon with 5 answers that each appeared phonetically identical to a 2-word initialism (IVEYS = I.V., ACEY = A.C., EMMY = M.E., OPIE = O.P., IDI = E.D.). I was trying coax 2 more answers to fit this pattern and lead me to an answer.

Kas-2 for me; I just overlooked the obvious because ALIEN didn't look like a theme answer until I got the mechanism from the other six. DOH!

I'm also relieved to see the solution is "G.I." (with periods) rather than "GI".
I was doing the same thing on Friday. Fortunately the correct mechanism occurred to me Saturday night and i found the answer.
However, i did submit as “GI” not “G.I.” Hope that doesn’t keep me from a chance at the mug!
I don't recall punctuation ever being a determining factor between right and wrong. I also submitted GI.

Geezer Weezer
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#332

Post by Geezer Weezer » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:31 am

Where I come from, a mobile home is not an RV. It is a manufactured home. The term for the "abode on the road" is a motor home. Just saying.

Frenchy
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#333

Post by Frenchy » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:58 am

LittleGood wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:54 am
I was preoccupied until Friday afternoon with 5 answers that each appeared phonetically identical to a 2-word initialism (IVEYS = I.V., ACEY = A.C., EMMY = M.E., OPIE = O.P., IDI = E.D.). I was trying coax 2 more answers to fit this pattern and lead me to an answer.

Kas-2 for me; I just overlooked the obvious because ALIEN didn't look like a theme answer until I got the mechanism from the other six. DOH!

I'm also relieved to see the solution is "G.I." (with periods) rather than "GI".
SAME! Do they include those on purpose as a red herring?? I got stuck on all of the Russian clues a few weeks ago, too, and those were completely irrelevant.

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TPS
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#334

Post by TPS » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:10 pm

My issue was that I got all the theme clues and initials before I even finished the grid and then saw the imbedded two letters in the top right and immediately presumed I had the methodology correct and that the inferred 3’s a crowd would mean there would be 3 letters and the middle one would be what you used.

I did not get that the answers with hidden letters would be a 3 letter word.

So when I got to ET there were like 3-4 E*T in the grid...The first one I tried led to SOLNIER and I was like WTF is that and then I figured MG would never have 3 different possible answers for the ET - so I quit looking at that method and spent 4-5 hours looking for something else. Finally someone told me that you use the D for - ET and I immediately knew the answer was GI.

But that’s why I think this will be the last of these I do. 3 weeks in a row where I was on to the methodology but not able to make the connection to get the final answer.

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#335

Post by LadyBird » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:28 pm

I got the 2-letter initialisms with the theme answers pretty quickly--in fact, I jotted down ET by 38A as I filled out the grid. I did not catch the 2's Company/3's a Crowd concept. I thought I might be looking for initials of companies as they appear on the ticker for the NYSE. A few minutes with Google got rid of that idea! Started looking at the grid--noticed REV and PSI and then it all fell in to place.

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#336

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:47 pm

TPS - don't give up, I started last November and while I haven't kept a log, I'm probably below 50% on these.

but I got Gaffney's subscription one this week (a week 3!), so I'm feeling happy with that. Plus that puzzle has an "E.T." in one of the clues and I thought "man, that was sloppy, having ET here and it was the answer there". Shame on me.

I turned in ET for this one, not realizing that it was only the first layer of the puzzle and thinking "wow, that was pretty simple". I should have known better by now. Next time, I'll be looking for PAGEANT answers until the cows come home.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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John77
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#337

Post by John77 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:16 pm

I locked on to the word "company" in the puzzle title and said, "AHA! It must be DJ (Dow Jones, of course)."

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femullen
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#338

Post by femullen » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:25 pm

LittleGood wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:54 am
I was preoccupied until Friday afternoon with 5 answers that each appeared phonetically identical to a 2-word initialism (IVEYS = I.V., ACEY = A.C., EMMY = M.E., OPIE = O.P., IDI = E.D.). I was trying coax 2 more answers to fit this pattern and lead me to an answer.

Kas-2 for me; I just overlooked the obvious because ALIEN didn't look like a theme answer until I got the mechanism from the other six. DOH!

I'm also relieved to see the solution is "G.I." (with periods) rather than "GI".
I got sidetracked for a while by those same two-letter initialisms--especially ACEY (AC), which came immediately after WASHINGTON (DC). I looked all over for follow-on two-letters for the other theme answers but finally gave up. Wasn't the only rabbit hole I explored.

EVJ
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#339

Post by EVJ » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:35 pm

Well Sister-In-Law and I landed on shore sometime Saturday but it was a busy weekend with Father’s Day and mom turned 91! So I didn’t get a chance to declare our status but I enjoy reading this forum so much that I caught up today even though it’s possible that no one will read my post. LOL I also wanted to second (or third) the appreciation for Bob’s excellent work as cruise director. And also wanted to say that this wasn’t easy for us. I headed down a rabbit hole but SIL saw the two letter abbreviations. And then it was something I said about TWO’S COMPANY that led SIL to notice P(S)I and R(E)V, and then we were off to the races! It was lots of fun but it took both of us to get it done. Looking forward to this Friday’s puzzle.

Inca
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#340

Post by Inca » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:21 pm

jhaburk wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:55 am
I agree with the comments about getting confirmation of GI in the puzzle. I immediately looked to see if there was a three letter entry in the grid that would confirm. Seeing none, then looked to see if there was maybe something like LT (for lieutenant). Still nothing. The only thing at all was SP, for Specialist, but the Army has dropped this term.
How hard would it have been to work in GAI (cheerful in French) or GUI (in computerese)? <asks someone who can't even create a regular crossword, let alone a themed crossword, let alone a meta> :D

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