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

#421

Post by DaveKennison » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:41 pm

Concerning the issue of possible spoilers in the comments: With only one or two exceptions that I can remember, I have never read any of the comments about a particular metapuzzle until I have either worked out the answer or completely given up on it, so as to avoid any possibility of coming across a helpful hint and inadvertently “cheating”. That said, it’s difficult for me to see how a comment about the elegance or ease of the construction would affect my approach very much.

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DrTom
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#422

Post by DrTom » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:47 pm

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:43 pm
pookie wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:53 pm
bhamren wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:06 am
After seeing the answer I regret putting any effort into it.
Ditto. Looked at it Friday for 20 minutes and put it away. Sunday my friend who also solves asked if I got anything. Nope.
These last puzzles remind me of watching a movie you really get into and follow the plot very closely and then the ending leaves you wondering why you wasted all that time invested in it.
WHAT? THAT'S IT?
Now we're supposed to be proficient in Morse Code.
Wake me up when we are required to transpose concert pitch for Alto sax, trumpet, tenor sax, French horn and know all of the substitute dominant 7ths.
Pookie, I recall a similar comment years ago from another frustrated Muggle who said it was singularly unfair to expect solvers to recognize common phrases in a bunch of different languages. But it's not like you have to KNOW the foreign phrases (or Morse Code -- which I don't). You just have to be aware of their existence and know how you can obtain the required information. As my seventh-grade history teacher used to say: "Work from the known to the unknown."
Absolutely! I don't know Morse Code, heck I don't even know every possible drug interaction or adverse effect, but I know they both exist. Better yet,I know the collective (Google/Web/Bing/etcetera) knows and that I can find the answer there. I have often thought that the magic to the METAs was in finding what it was you were supposed ot see. More often than not it is part of my database, but on those occasions it is not I have Google for determining what the black key numbers are, how the music for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star goes . and what the dots and dashes of Morse Code mean. If I had to remember and know everything (my dear wife's observation of my demeanor) I would soon be frustrated since there is so much new and even so much old but reinterpreted.

I am always glad to get a toehold, something I can use to climb higher. I am just as appreciative if that toehold comes from a muggle savior once I have declared myself caught in the META eddy. One can hardly fault Matt or Mike for not knowing WHAT we know. Some people have a derth of knowledge on music, sports, science, medicine, and so on. Mike or Matt may well have ALL that knowledge or they may just trust that we are bright enough to look up what we do not know. Lord knows I've proved them wrong on that once or twice, but I'm getting better! (said the man to the pusher of the plague cart).

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Hector
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#423

Post by Hector » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:32 pm

It's often really important to keep in mind that you're not supposed to have special knowledge. Even this time: you have to know that Morse Code consists of dots and dashes. Or dits and dahs. That's it. It is VERY possible that that fact has faded into irrelevance, but anyone who grew up in the olden days could not have escaped it.

michaelm
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Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:21 pm

#424

Post by michaelm » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:33 pm

DaveKennison wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:41 pm
Concerning the issue of possible spoilers in the comments: With only one or two exceptions that I can remember, I have never read any of the comments about a particular metapuzzle until I have either worked out the answer or completely given up on it, so as to avoid any possibility of coming across a helpful hint and inadvertently “cheating”. That said, it’s difficult for me to see how a comment about the elegance or ease of the construction would affect my approach very much.
I tend to agree. Having joined the forum at the beginning of 2020, I cannot remember coming across an intentional spoiler of any value above generic complementary level. If “nicely constructed” is code language for a particular solving technique, i haven’t taken it that way any more than “lotsa rabbit holes out there” has ever stopped me from solving at first glance on those weeks when the title, grid, knowledge, methodology and luck clicked - unlike Morse Code...

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yourpalsal
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#425

Post by yourpalsal » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:42 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!
That was a tough and beautiful meta! Wish I'd gotten it. Lots to talk about in the Tuesday zoom!

YourPalSal's Muggle Meetup
Tues. 4:30pmPT/7:30pmET
Join Zoom Meeting:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89184367093

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Jeremy Smith
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#426

Post by Jeremy Smith » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:15 pm

MajordomoTom wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:52 pm
Jeremy Smith wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:29 pm
MajordomoTom wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:36 am
I'm a non-Eagle scout and also the current holder of a Novice-class Ham Radio license (they don't even grant those anymore, mine's grandfathered, I keep it renewed) and I had no idea how to find this.

Morse code or not.
That’s okay—I’m an Amateur Extra, and I never thought of Morse code being the key to the solution.
I think my novice license was issued circa 1985.

:)
I got my novice in 1976. I was advanced for about 34 years, and sat for the extra 4 years ago.

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MajordomoTom
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#427

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:16 pm

Input: I'll try to be there. MajordomoTom

Output:
.. .----. .-.. .-.. / - .-. -.-- / - --- / -... . / - .... . .-. . .-.-.- / -- .- .--- --- .-. -.. --- -- --- - --- --
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

burak
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#428

Post by burak » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:31 am

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'd say yes and no (but mostly no). It's as much a spoiler as the difficulty rating is, maybe a tad more. For an experienced solver, it definitely helps to read compliments about the construction, but it can still mean so many different things. It can be a multiple-layered puzzle, it can be a trick with certain letters in the grid, it may or may not involve the clues...

Like, if I'm sitting down to watch an action movie and someone tells me "oh someone dies in the second half", is that a spoiler? Yeah, kinda. They're probably talking about an important character, but at the same time people always die in action movies so they might as well be stating something very obvious.

Schmeel
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Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:38 pm

#429

Post by Schmeel » Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:01 am

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 don't know if I'd call it a spoiler. I think it's more of an indication of what the puzzle is like, of what I'm up against. There's a lot of information that can be gleaned from this list (after you become somewhat familiar with it) - the time of the first "ashore", how long it takes how many pages to fill up, who posted first, how many stars the puzzle was rated - and all of that without reading any of the posts!

I'll admit that sometimes there are posts that (probably) unknowingly give away a bit more away than they intended. And if I'm frustrated with the puzzle I feel better about using that "hint" rather than asking for a nudge (which I stopped doing pretty quickly after I joined). But if I'm in the mood to solve the meta without any help, I just don't look at the list until I'm done. Why look if there might be spoilers? I just join the banter after I completed the puzzle.

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TPS
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#430

Post by TPS » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:14 am

I feel like we are pushing limits on what a spoiler is - if an offhand comment about elegance is considered a spoiler then shouldn’t difficultly be as well - so we’d need to get rid of the rating system. And since you can extrapolate difficulty by the number of people announcing they are onshore by time frame - then basically we have to close the board from Thursday at 4PM until 12AM Monday morning.

But if we want to reach that high level of PC-ness (Puzzle Correctness) then maybe we should just have two forums - One where people can announce themselves as Onshore or LAS and where only completely unrelated talk happens and a second where the puzzle can be discussed more generally - with anything other than the answer to the meta discussed.

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Cindy
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#431

Post by Cindy » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:23 am

Methinks this is starting to resemble a rabbit hole..........

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Joe Ross
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#432

Post by Joe Ross » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:47 am

How can it be that Morse Code has completely faded into irrelevance or from memory?

Morse Code hasn't been widely used for almost a century, but history - modern history - should demand that every adult should have been exposed to Morse Code, just as we all should have been exposed to the printing press, movable type, umlauts, Roman numerals, Asian, Greek, Cyrillic, & middle Eastern characters, cuneiforms, and hieroglyphics.

How many crossword entries rely on translations of words in languages that also use the alphabet or the Roman numerals for dates & numbers? The following are from this puzzle, alone:

— 10D 1003, in old Rome

— 44D Middle East bigwigs

— 47D “___ wahr?” (“Not true?”)

Should we know every character, numeral, and word of all languages & codes without looking them up? No, but it should be within every adult's ability to spot Morse Code. Sure, some have the advantage over others & their ages may skew elder, but advantages based on age, sex, race, nationality, interests, and personal tastes exist for every meta answer, if not for every crossword clue & answer ever written.

[EDIT 1: With apologies to Cindy and all muggles. I was mid-screed when Cindy posted her apt thought.]

Hidden in 3D
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#433

Post by Hidden in 3D » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:47 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:49 pm
Wendy Walker wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:34 pm
Hidden in 3D wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:48 am
Can't spend any more time on this one. I'll be in the ship's library proofreading a 35-page document for a fellow board member. I had to put it down yesterday after completing only 3 pages in 2.5.hours. How do I turn a folksy, friendly, rambling, repetitive and grammatically incorrect document into something that, at the very least, represents our group as a professional organization? All that, plus the fact that the author is a dear friend whose feelings I would never, ever hurt intentionally. Yikes! Isaac, put on a fresh pot of coffee, please. I'm gonna' need it!
Welcome to my world. In real life I'm a freelance copy editor and proofreader for college-level books. Fortunately I edit a wide variety of books, and you never know when the info will be useful in solving a puzzle!
You each get only one war story Tuesday night.
I had hoped to join tonight, but when I checked my calendar I realized I have a teleconference scheduled at the same time. :( Maybe next week!
Sara

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Cindy N
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#434

Post by Cindy N » Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:21 am

I, too, stumbled on the CODE portion of solving, but once I had that and followed the tinting instructions (which is what I do weekly to highlight what I think might apply), I knew it was Morse code. I am a more recent convert to solving metas but previously did a lot of online puzzles including Nordinho, Bizfantast, Clever Waste of Time and online "treasure hunt" contests. Morse code definitely comes up in all of those for puzzle solving.

Although I don't do that type of puzzling any longer, I still have links to sites for Morse and many other codes. I've struggle mightily with some metas and marvel at people who have the knowledge to look at things and say "Oh, that's such and such, so I need to do this" I guess in this case, I became one of "those people." (Punctuation within quotes, too.) :D

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yourpalsal
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#435

Post by yourpalsal » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:18 pm

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:42 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!
That was a tough and beautiful meta! Wish I'd gotten it. Lots to talk about in the Tuesday zoom!

YourPalSal's Muggle Meetup
Tues. 4:30pmPT/7:30pmET
Join Zoom Meeting:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89184367093
FINAL REMINDER

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Abide
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#436

Post by Abide » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:58 pm


Streroto
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#437

Post by Streroto » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:18 pm

@zoomuggles great chatting with you all!!

Stay well

Streroto
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Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:24 pm

#438

Post by Streroto » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:20 pm

Abide wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:58 pm
Another Morse Code puzzle
https://crosswordfiend.com/2011/11/29/mgwcc-182/
All I can say is wow

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Abide
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#439

Post by Abide » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:57 pm

Streroto wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:20 pm
Abide wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:58 pm
Another Morse Code puzzle
https://crosswordfiend.com/2011/11/29/mgwcc-182/
All I can say is wow
Ha! I just read the comments from this 8.5 year old thread. Meg missed this? And I uploaded a pic of my grid which looks like a DrTom masterpiece.

EVJ
Posts: 19
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#440

Post by EVJ » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:00 pm

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.
[/quote]
Last edited by EVJ on Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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