"Color Code" - July 24, 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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steveb
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Re: "Color Code" - July 24, 2020

#381

Post by steveb » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:41 pm

Colin wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:15 pm
Larrry wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:37 pm
MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:43 pm
Greetings contest fans--and if this one stumped you, you are not alone. This was one of our toughest contests ever! We had 703 entries, only about 54% correct.
Thanks Mike!

I dont know about everyone else, but each week I wait for Mike's post and say to myself, "If I can get them all correct, at this rate I will win a mug in 703 x 54% / 52 weeks = 7.3 years"
Wow! If the odds are that good, I’ll spend even more time on trying to solve! (if that’s possible!)
The odds would be slightly worse than that. Since Dec. 25 falls on a Friday this year, there will be no WSJ that day, and thus only 51 crossword contests in 2020. In fact, since Jan. 1, 2021 is also on a Friday, be prepared for a 3-week gap between metas. That happened at the end of 2015, too.

boharr
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#382

Post by boharr » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:45 pm

steveb wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:41 pm
Colin wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:15 pm
Larrry wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:37 pm


Thanks Mike!

I dont know about everyone else, but each week I wait for Mike's post and say to myself, "If I can get them all correct, at this rate I will win a mug in 703 x 54% / 52 weeks = 7.3 years"
Wow! If the odds are that good, I’ll spend even more time on trying to solve! (if that’s possible!)
The odds would be slightly worse than that. Since Dec. 25 falls on a Friday this year, there will be no WSJ that day, and thus only 51 crossword contests in 2020. In fact, since Jan. 1, 2021 is also on a Friday, be prepared for a 3-week gap between metas. That happened at the end of 2015, too.
They won't move the contest to Thursday, the day before? They'll just skip that weeK?

steveb
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#383

Post by steveb » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm

boharr wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:45 pm
steveb wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:41 pm
Colin wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:15 pm

Wow! If the odds are that good, I’ll spend even more time on trying to solve! (if that’s possible!)
The odds would be slightly worse than that. Since Dec. 25 falls on a Friday this year, there will be no WSJ that day, and thus only 51 crossword contests in 2020. In fact, since Jan. 1, 2021 is also on a Friday, be prepared for a 3-week gap between metas. That happened at the end of 2015, too.
They won't move the contest to Thursday, the day before? They'll just skip that weeK?
That's what they did in 2015. I don't have any inside information suggesting this year would be different.

Andrew Bradburn
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#384

Post by Andrew Bradburn » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm

I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?

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Bob cruise director
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#385

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:01 pm

Colin wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:48 am
TMart wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:01 am
Nice to know I’m putting that electrical engineering degree to good use. :roll:
I’m also an electrical engineer and spent a while trying to eke out five of the resistor or capacitor color codes. BLACK and BROWN were self-evident (0 and 1) and red (2) possibly from the color of slave ants. But then I ran out of ideas. In case electronic codes are used in future - which I doubt coz that would be even more obscure - here they are for non-EEs: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_color_code
Nice meta though... Inspector Morse rides again!
That was one rabbit holes that I went down extensively.
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Bob cruise director
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#386

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:05 pm

MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:43 pm
Greetings contest fans--and if this one stumped you, you are not alone. This was one of our toughest contests ever! We had 703 entries, only about 54% correct. Your faithful correspondent had to beg Mike Shenk for hints.

67 of you guessed PAINT (whose letters showed up enticingly in 19A SAWPRINT and 51A SAINTPAT. Lots of 5-letter colors in the guessing pile: GREEN (24), BLACK (20), SEPIA (7), and several others. Plus SHADE (24), PRISM (22), and heartbreakingly close, WINES (12).

Congrats on this week's winner: Emily Koczela of Peterborough, NH!
I hope you sent an EMT over to Mike Shenk because he probably passed out laughing at all the rabbit holes and other screw ups in the Morse Code.
Bob Stevens
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boharr
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#387

Post by boharr » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:06 pm

Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?
I'm not sure what the answer is and if there will be a consensus, but I think you make some good points.

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Bob cruise director
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#388

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:08 pm

Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?
Possibly but for most of us, there is no information that we did not already know. The constructions are all very clever. And you have to remember that the WSJ has to describe the solution in a very few lines on the Monday puzzle.
Bob Stevens
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Janet
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#389

Post by Janet » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:31 pm

I didn't get past the first step. Morse code did not occur to me!

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Cindy
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#390

Post by Cindy » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:34 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:08 pm
Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?
Possibly but for most of us, there is no information that we did not already know. The constructions are all very clever. And you have to remember that the WSJ has to describe the solution in a very few lines on the Monday puzzle.
And occasionally there is a puzzle where it is only the clues and those constructions are extremely clever.

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DrTom
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#391

Post by DrTom » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:34 pm

Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?
I think it is a legitimate comment for some folks, and obviously you. However, we tend to praise almost every puzzle for its clever construction. BUILD YOUR BRAND was a cleverly constructed puzzle (and some people commented as such), as was EXECUTIVE SEARCH and a host of others. You perhaps have an advantage as a puzzle writer yourself and that comment meant that to you. It did not mean that to me because I was off on a rabbit chase of colors hidden in the words, It was only after someone shouted at me (in a PM of course) to READ THE TITLE AND THE HINT that i did what the puzzle told me and saw the hidden "code". What these fellows do, create these diverse puzzles with different mechanisms and limit their choice of words by having to adhere to either a certain placement of letters, actual physical location of a word, sounds of adjacent words, similarity to familiar songs etc, etc is clever by definition.

So, do I think that saying it is cleverly constructed is a spoiler? In a word, no. However, this is one of the few places that still remain where you can voice your opinion, have it honored and acknowledged, and not get a lot of troll behavior. I personally wish I was smart enough to pick up that subtle a hint and run with it for a touchdown. Good for you!

LesY
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#392

Post by LesY » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:34 pm

Hector wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:13 pm
I love the mechanism, fun and clever, and enjoyed the solve. The hint, "Color, like you might want to do with the title's last word," though, was for me more of a hindrance than a help, since it sounds like either you're supposed to color something with a code, or color the *word* "code," or color something somehow using the word "code." There really isn't a reading of that clue that accurately describes what you want to do, unless I'm missing it. Coloring the letters in a word that are scattered in the grid is not a way of coloring the word (the word isn't there to color), let alone coloring *with* the word. It's similarly a stretch to construe the title as "Color C, o, d, e," but that seems more like the kind of parsing sneakiness one expects in these things. I think I would have gotten there quicker without the hint, though who knows.
Hector just explained the "preposition" comment I made over the weekend better than I could have. Maybe "do [to] the title's last word" would have been too strong a nudge, at least for me, but "do with..." seems off for all the reasons Hector mentions.

That said, I did appreciate the cryptic-crossword nature of "Color C, o, d, e."

Great puzzle in any event!

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MarkL
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#393

Post by MarkL » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:41 pm

So, two weeks in a row we have had answers repeated in the grid (SKY, SKY and PUTTNAM, PUTT/NAM).

Are we entering a brave new world of construction? If 'no rules' truly becomes an absence of rules, we could be in for some very long weekends!

Have a great week!
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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damefox
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#394

Post by damefox » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:43 pm

damefox wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:46 pm
[...] obviously if I don't win the mug with odds of 1 in 500 instead of 1 in 1200 then this whole thing is rigged. Rigged, I tell you!
MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:43 pm
We had 703 entries, only about 54% correct.
The odds were 1 in 380 and I STILL didn't win the mug?? Rigged, I tell you!

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Wendy Walker
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#395

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:44 pm

Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?
I've never found it the least bit helpful when I'm in the dark and people praise the puzzle's construction, simply because it's such a nonspecific remark. "How on earth did he manage to use those letters in just the theme answers?!" would be a different matter. But if the majority of Muggles think that it constitutes a spoiler, I will certainly refrain from doing so in the future. Thanks for raising this concern, Andrew! And I love what our dear friend Dr. Tom said: "However, this is one of the few places that still remain where you can voice your opinion, have it honored and acknowledged, and not get a lot of troll behavior."
Last edited by Wendy Walker on Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

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Wendy Walker
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#396

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:45 pm

damefox wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:43 pm
damefox wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:46 pm
[...] obviously if I don't win the mug with odds of 1 in 500 instead of 1 in 1200 then this whole thing is rigged. Rigged, I tell you!
MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:43 pm
We had 703 entries, only about 54% correct.
The odds were 1 in 380 and I STILL didn't win the mug?? Rigged, I tell you!
Like the cool kids said about a decade ago, As If!
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

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LadyBird
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#397

Post by LadyBird » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:45 pm

Being a retired ICU nurse, the first think that popped into my mind was CODE BLUE = get the crash cart STAT (I heard that way too many times)! There was no good blue in the grid (unless you really stretched ARTURO to TUR(quoise). But that didn't stop me from looking for other hospital color codes:

CODE GREEN (SAINTPAT) = all clear after a CODE RED (SLAVEANTS?) = fire

CODE PINK(RINK) = infant abduction

CODE BLACK (BLACKCATS) = tornado sighted. Heard that once--at the start of my evening shift. Called home quick to tell the kids to get into the basement. Then went into my patient's room to figure out how to protect him. Moving him down from the 7th floor--or even into the hall--wasn't realistic due to the ventilator, monitor, IV drips, etc. Fortunately, it didn't come close enough to do any damage.

CODE BROWN (BROWNS)--never heard on the overhead paging system--but mentioned to a co-worker as a way of asking for help with cleaning up a patient--my worst was diarrhea dripping onto the floor.

I never did figure this out--even with a little help. I waited too late to ask for that last nudge. After lunch with my son/wife and dinner with my daughter/husband, I just didn't have the time or the energy. Oh well, my little streak is over. On to a new streak on Thursday, I hope.

And a hearty congrats to all of you (or the few of you) who figured this out!

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DrTom
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#398

Post by DrTom » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:48 pm

Devilbunny wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:00 pm
I will say that the rabbit hole I got stuck in before a nudge was that five answers implicity or explicitly indicated a color:

SAW PRINT ->black
BLACK CATS ->black
DIOCESE ->white (for vestments), possibly purple or red?
SLAVE ANTS ->red or black, could be either
SAINT PAT -> green

Obviously, could make nothing of that.
Oh, I was sniffing the carrots in that warren myself. I had a run of SAWPRINT - Black and White, HABITS - Black and White, MUSLIN - Black and White (popular colors for muslin), ARTUROTOSCANINI - Black and White (I could find no color shots of the Maestro), DIOSCESE - Black and White (standard priest colors). But of course I got nowhere from there and had to REACH so far with some I knew it could not be the mechanism when the puzzle had been described as tight and elegant (hmmm, maybe there is a potential spoiler in talking about the construction as the one gentleman comments on?). So I got off of it and into several more rabbit holes before someone threw some cold water on me and told me to stop complicating things and do what I was being told to do.

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#399

Post by TPS » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:50 pm

damefox wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:43 pm
The odds were 1 in 380 and I STILL didn't win the mug?? Rigged, I tell you!
I feel like they should just let you buy a mug for like $10 if you submit a correct answer. Some other contests do that - I’ve only been doing this for 18 months or so now and only ever submitted maybe 10-12 times so I can’t complain but I feel bad for some of the people on here who have been regular solvers for years and still have nothing to show for it.

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#400

Post by FrankieHeck » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:55 pm

Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:00 pm
I would like to ask the folks on this board how they feel about people praising the construction/grid etc. of a still-live puzzle. Do you think it is a spoiler of any kind? I do. If not a great spoiler, a semi-spoiler. It certainly had that affect on me with this puzzle. I was getting nowhere after quite a while of pondering this, then after seeing someone's comment about how great the construction was, I got it in a few minutes. Why? If the construction is so notable, it tells me that 1) the answer is right there in the grid, no clues involved, and 2) the mechanism to solve the puzzle involves a highly restrictive set of letters. So I changed my focus to what was unusual or restrictive about this puzzle, and almost immediately the dearth of the letters C,O,D and E jumped out at me. Having created a few puzzles myself, I know just how hard it can be to get the right letters/phrases into a grid that is symmetrical.

I know people like talking about the puzzle while it is still live, and try to avoid obvious spoilers, but for me at least, I find this type of comment also spoilerish. Am I alone in this opinion?
I do agree. Maybe not about the particular example, because I recently did a puzzle that I thought had a very impressive grid construction without the meta answer being "right there in the grid." But I do agree with your general point. If someone comments that they picked it up and immediately saw the meta, then I approach it very differently than if someone comments "printing it out might help." One suggests the answer is pretty obvious in the grid, while the other suggests the clues are important. Knowing people had to google adds something, too. That said, this is a chatty bunch, and I don't expect posts to be limited to a series of "On shore"s. My solution is to avoid reading the comments here if I'm trying to keep my solve "pure." I often don't start reading till I've solved the meta (though admittedly, often before I submit, because I tend to superstitiously delay that by a day.) On the other hand, sometimes I come here when I'm struggling, ready to scour and dissect every comment, hoping to be able to pick out some detail I can use to my advantage. For some reason, spoilers are a lot more difficult for me to find on those days! ;)

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