"Tormented Artists" - July 31, 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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DaveWa
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Re: "Tormented Artists" - July 31, 2020

#381

Post by DaveWa » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:30 pm

Richard wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:02 pm
Since there were six two word entries in the grid I don't quite understand the PEAR PEARS people.
I was stuck on pears for way too long since it took "pairs" of theme answers to get the artists. I could "torment" pairs into pears but that didn't really click. The anomaly that kept me looking was that Magritte could be formed in three ways: The "M" from Llama plus "agritte" from Yoda Gritted; or "Ma" from Llama and "gritte"; or "Mag" from Llama Gaslighter" and "ritte". That just didn't seem Gaffneyesque. Once I had six artists, pairing up parts of the six clues, I thought pears might just be another pageant solution--one step short of the intended answer. All of this could have been avoided by specifying that the answer was a six-letter food often painted by artists. But that would have worsened the odds of the "grapes" finders!

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MarkL
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#382

Post by MarkL » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:37 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?

2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer? I get that the description sometimes specifies a number of letters and that each theme answer then supplies a letter in some way, but for puzzles with no length specified can the answer be a phrase or even a sentence? In this case, I tried to fashion a solution using the theme answer letters that were not used in the artists’ names. I got to some interesting formulations several words long, but nowhere close to GRAPES. Was I wasting my time even contemplating a longer solution?

Thanks for any insight you might have. Congratulations to the many who got to shore. Hope to join you one of these weeks.
Good questions!
1) the last names yielded nothing, so first names are the next choice. This mechanism has been used before.
2) in general, the length, or at least type (noun, name, fruit, ...) is hinted at, if not provided. I believe phrases are called out.

It takes a while to learn the nuances of the title, hidden hints and pointers (here: "tormented" = torn," "split," "name") in the grid (or clues).
Keep at it!
MAL
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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Hector
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#383

Post by Hector » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:37 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?
Hi Rich,

When you get a list of artists' surnames, a natural question is, how am I supposed to get a single word or expression for a commonly-painted food from that? Let's try the first letters of those surnames . . . nope, no go. Last letters? No. First names is the "obvious" next place to look. That worked. If it didn't, then we'd be facing a much more difficult meta: could it be the artistic "movement" they're part of? Expressionism, cubism, etc.? That might take some googling. Failing that, their native countries? Favorite type of fish? (Kidding.) And so on.
2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer? I get that the description sometimes specifies a number of letters and that each theme answer then supplies a letter in some way, but for puzzles with no length specified can the answer be a phrase or even a sentence? In this case, I tried to fashion a solution using the theme answer letters that were not used in the artists’ names. I got to some interesting formulations several words long, but nowhere close to GRAPES. Was I wasting my time even contemplating a longer solution?
It's commonly a word or a personal name or a title of something, or a phrase. Never very long: the answer and explanation after all have to fit into a small space in the Monday paper. Also, the answer is usually a specific bit of language: in this case, it's GRAPES and only GRAPES -- FRUIT, for instance, wouldn't be accepted, even though grapes are fruit and artists paint lots of fruit.
Thanks for any insight you might have. Congratulations to the many who got to shore. Hope to join you one of these weeks.
And you will!


tl;dr: What ^^^ Mark said.

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Abide
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#384

Post by Abide » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:43 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?

I saw the breakdown of six artist name combos within the first few minutes of finishing the grid. But it took me 30-45 minutes of trial and error moving the bits and pieces of the names around before I wrote the full names out.

2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer?

I can't recall any answer being more than three words, and very rarely more than ten letters. Some of the spreadsheet people can give exact stats.

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whimsy
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#385

Post by whimsy » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:44 pm

Something else that directed me to where I wanted to go.
In my research I found a group named Dali's Llama that put out this album --
Capturealbum.JPG
Made me want to check whether there's a dish (food!) called Picasso's Buco!
Capturepig.JPG
Ya, I know, it's veal not pork.
But if anyone thinks the artists weren't tormented enough........Just sayin' ;)

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Janet
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#386

Post by Janet » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:56 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?

2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer? I get that the description sometimes specifies a number of letters and that each theme answer then supplies a letter in some way, but for puzzles with no length specified can the answer be a phrase or even a sentence? In this case, I tried to fashion a solution using the theme answer letters that were not used in the artists’ names. I got to some interesting formulations several words long, but nowhere close to GRAPES. Was I wasting my time even contemplating a longer solution?

Thanks for any insight you might have. Congratulations to the many who got to shore. Hope to join you one of these weeks.

1. When I figured out the first step, with the artist's last names, I couldn't make any kind of fruit from them. But I could from their first names. I had to look them up anyway to see if there was a kind of fruit they all painted. For Warhol my search turned up the campbell's soup, no fruit.
2. I wouldn't rule out more than one word, but can't remember if that has happened before.


I keep a text file open to list all my guesses, etc. Sometimes it is quite busy. I also paste the puzzle into powerpoint and start marking it up.

BeTheLight
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#387

Post by BeTheLight » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:59 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?

2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer? I get that the description sometimes specifies a number of letters and that each theme answer then supplies a letter in some way, but for puzzles with no length specified can the answer be a phrase or even a sentence? In this case, I tried to fashion a solution using the theme answer letters that were not used in the artists’ names. I got to some interesting formulations several words long, but nowhere close to GRAPES. Was I wasting my time even contemplating a longer solution?

Thanks for any insight you might have. Congratulations to the many who got to shore. Hope to join you one of these weeks.
Not experienced but after I explored a few dead ends, I started thinking about why these artists and how the puzzle creator would have constructed it. The food had to be either somewhere else in the grid (dead end), or there must be something these six artists have in common or a reason why they were chosen. As I started jotting down things about each artist (like country or style or things they were know for) the first name was one of those things.

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whimsy
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#388

Post by whimsy » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:12 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:29 pm
whimsy wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:17 pm
Another epic fail with some comic relief.
I found the 6 artists and became part of the Apple "core."
Also, more simply, the presence of EVE in the center of the grid, with a clue not based on the Garden of Eden, suggested there might be an apple in there somewhere.
Wow! I never even saw that! Pile it on! :)
In response to your questions, I'm pretty new at these and rarely get the right answer so I'm not sure of the value of my advice, but I'd say from your observation above that you've got what it takes. I just try to have fun doing them and your question about "wasting time" going off in wrong directions doesn't really resonate with me because half the fun for me seems to come from going off on wacky tangents and learning new things.
That said, as far as length goes, I will mention that there was a puzzle last summer (I've only been doing these since late spring, but I've gone to the back logs to practice) where the answer was Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover. I only got it because I've been a S&G fan for more than 50 years!

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Wendy Walker
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#389

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:27 pm

whimsy wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:12 pm
I will mention that there was a puzzle last summer (I've only been doing these since late spring, but I've gone to the back logs to practice) where the answer was Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover. I only got it because I've been a S&G fan for more than 50 years!
Whimsy, I loved that puzzle! It is amazing to me the information that I've accumulated over the years that turns out to be useful for meta solving -- from learning Latin to playing Fantasy Football to having a Dad who knew Morse Code. I think it helps that I've had a WIDE variety of friends over the years -- seriously, I knew an electronic musician who was an Yma Sumac fan.
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

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Jacksull
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#390

Post by Jacksull » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:28 pm

There should be a place on the KAS scale for this one. “I didn’t get it because I quit solving too soon”. Grilled ham and cheese. Grapes.

I was in the pear(s) group. Doh!
Jack Sullivan

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Wendy Walker
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#391

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:36 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Hope to join you one of these weeks.
Rich, you will! You've got the right attitude. Just keep coming back and doing the puzzle every week. My best advice is to create sort of a ritual -- I use a special pen and clipboard! -- and approach the solving process mindfully. Realizing something as odd as "Gosh, I sure am writing a lot of Z's in the grid this week" can be the key to success. You never know what the creators will come up with!
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

pddigi
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#392

Post by pddigi » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:58 pm

First thing I saw was yodAGRITTEd, and long before I figured out the mechanism, I had this song stuck in my head (it’s a good one to have stuck): https://youtu.be/nQ7sL9rdl58

steveb
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#393

Post by steveb » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:32 pm

Janet wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:56 pm
RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?

2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer? I get that the description sometimes specifies a number of letters and that each theme answer then supplies a letter in some way, but for puzzles with no length specified can the answer be a phrase or even a sentence? In this case, I tried to fashion a solution using the theme answer letters that were not used in the artists’ names. I got to some interesting formulations several words long, but nowhere close to GRAPES. Was I wasting my time even contemplating a longer solution?

Thanks for any insight you might have. Congratulations to the many who got to shore. Hope to join you one of these weeks.

1. When I figured out the first step, with the artist's last names, I couldn't make any kind of fruit from them. But I could from their first names. I had to look them up anyway to see if there was a kind of fruit they all painted. For Warhol my search turned up the campbell's soup, no fruit.
2. I wouldn't rule out more than one word, but can't remember if that has happened before.


I keep a text file open to list all my guesses, etc. Sometimes it is quite busy. I also paste the puzzle into powerpoint and start marking it up.
Answers can and will sometimes be more than one word. No guideline is ever 100%. The answer to one memorable puzzle was SUE GRAFTON, plus the two clues that she "stole." Elsewhere on this site, you'll find links to the complete collection of WSJ contest puzzles since they started in 2015. You can see or download the puzzles with or without solutions, depending on whether you want to try solving them yourself first.

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TPS
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#394

Post by TPS » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:01 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution?
The last across answer was NAME frequently the last across or down answer is a direction or clue for solving. So I tried the first letter of the last names and then the firsts names and once I had G, R, & P - I pretty much Knew the rest so then it was looking for the rest and sorta back solving.

michaelm
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#395

Post by michaelm » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:07 pm

RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
Questions for those who got this one, particularly the experienced solvers:

1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution? Is this a standard puzzle construction technique or just an inspiration based on having done so many of these and knowing how to think creatively?

2. Is the answer to the meta puzzle always a single short word, or are the answers sometimes longer? I get that the description sometimes specifies a number of letters and that each theme answer then supplies a letter in some way, but for puzzles with no length specified can the answer be a phrase or even a sentence? In this case, I tried to fashion a solution using the theme answer letters that were not used in the artists’ names. I got to some interesting formulations several words long, but nowhere close to GRAPES. Was I wasting my time even contemplating a longer solution?

Thanks for any insight you might have. Congratulations to the many who got to shore. Hope to join you one of these weeks.
Reviewing, or even better, trying to solve, the prior meta collection, gives invaluable feel for these puzzles. Although each is distinct, you will develop a sense that only experience can provide.

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Bob cruise director
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#396

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:10 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:01 pm
RichA2 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:20 pm
1. What led you to look at the artists’ first names for the meta solution?
The last across answer was NAME frequently the last across or down answer is a direction or clue for solving. So I tried the first letter of the last names and then the firsts names and once I had G, R, & P - I pretty much Knew the rest so then it was looking for the rest and sorta back solving.
TPS - you are becoming a pro

Also, often in Mike's grids, there is a hint in the center.

But as you pointed out "frequently" or "often" does not mean always.
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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yourpalsal
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#397

Post by yourpalsal » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:15 pm

Sounds like lots to discuss in this week's zoom!

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

RichA2
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#398

Post by RichA2 » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:19 pm

Thanks to the many who responded to my questions, and so advanced my still-limited knowledge of the ways of WSJ meta puzzles. This is really a remarkable community.

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ReB
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#399

Post by ReB » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:20 pm

Curiously, I guessed the likely answer in about a minute. The clue immediately suggested still-life paintings, and the food they most commonly seem to feature are fruit (at least the ones I've seen). And so I went, APPLE - no, 5 letters; PEAR - no, 4 letters; GRAPES - 6 letters - and so I made a mental note that felt like it could be the answer.

I then had to figure out the mechanism. The title "tortured artists" suggested first an anagram of artist names, but when I couldn't torture some sequence of letters from the theme answers into names, I soon decided that "tortured" might suggest a break in the names of artists. I puzzled over the weird theme answers and finally decided that the break was between the two parts of the theme answers.

I briefly tried on the same line, but the big break was that I saw HOL as the start of HOLIDAY in the first theme and looked to see if I could find WAR to create WAR+HOL (since that was an famous name that likely could be one of the six), which I located at the end of PREWAR. When I then could find PIC+ASSO I decided that wasn't coincidence. Next came O'KE+EFFE (which I found from Google).

I then paused and wondered how to generate 6 letters, one from each of the artists' whose last names were featured, and the first thing that flashed into my mind was the first letter of their first names - probably because I had seen some similar example with a past puzzle. So that generated A, P, and G - and putting them in the order of the names were three letters in the correct location for GRAPES (G_ A P _ _).

With that encouragement, then it was just a matter to finding the other three artists and hoping that their first names would prove the answer - which they did.

As always seems to be the case, intuitive flashes play a key role - and the weeks I don't get them, I end up stuck on the ship.
Last edited by ReB on Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SewYoung
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#400

Post by SewYoung » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:22 pm

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:15 pm
Sounds like lots to discuss in this week's zoom!

YourPalSal's Muggle Meetup
Tues. 4:30pmPT/7:30pmET
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89184367093
Are you going to be able to join us after all (I hope so), or have you figured out a way for us to do it without you?

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