"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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whimsy
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Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:51 am
Location: Hopkinton MA

Re: "Tormented Artists" - July 31, 2020

#421

Post by whimsy » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:34 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:25 pm

For example, in TALLY I figured the number part of the method before I even finished the grid -
TPS, your mention of that puzzle reminded me of how I treated it -- a couple of weeks before I joined the forum.
And perhaps this can serve as an example of how not to do a meta. But it was fun and I have to say that it gave me a great AHA!
The title was HEAD Count and the answer asked for a 5 letter word.
My answer was SEVEN......because, well........
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michaelm
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Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:21 pm

#422

Post by michaelm » Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:21 pm

Change in dinner plans: artichokes and ale now on the menu tonight!

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DrTom
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Location: Jacksonville, FL

#423

Post by DrTom » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:56 am

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.
Hard to say anything my more experienced fiends have not already, and if you read my earlier post you know I floundered for a while. But right away I realized it had to be NAMES because the puzzle told me it did. Matt has a "tell" (of course now he'll stop doing it) in that he often uses the last Across or Down answer as a clue; this time the answer was NAME. We knew they were artists, and the Tormented probably did not mean what we thought it did (though in truth all of them WERE rather tormented). How did we know that, practice! All of the Meta creators like word play (don't we all) so never take something at face value.

After my little hiccup (and in fairness to me I did have the right idea with MAGRITTE early on) I started looking for pieces of artists names, and did a lot of the things the other solvers did, finding names where they were not or parts of names where they were not supposed to be, but after WAR HOL and PIC ASSO I knew that was the way to go and that TORMENTED meant , literally, torn apart.

You will get better, I know I did. Participate in the Muggle Zooms (I say that with great apologies since I missed that last two, but I worked today and besides it was my wedding anniversary and after 36 years I know better than to say, "Honey you don't mind if I hurry through dinner so I can go talk to my crossword friends on Zoom on our anniversary do you?" - I may be crazy but I am not dumb!). Read through the "How to solve a META" messages, especially read Joe Ross's message because I have and he is a GREAT help. However, all in all there is no better teacher than experience and the more you do of these the better you get at seeing the connections.

Finally, don't let it get to you (easier said than done) if you don't get it. Some of us obsess (me especially) and it becomes a chore rather than an entertainment. My newest resolution is that if I do not get it this week, I'll get it the next. This is fun and the people on the Board are truly wonderful, kind, funny and clever as all get out. You'll learn about things you had no idea existed and you will NEVER feel like someone is looking down their nose at you. They may occasionally have a little fun at your expense, but only if they like you - or that is what I assume is happening when I see comments about a DrTom solution which translates to - long, involved, odd and not always correct but usually amusing.

Glad to have you in the Muggledom!

RichA2
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:22 pm

#424

Post by RichA2 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:53 am

DrTom wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:56 am
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.
Hard to say anything my more experienced fiends have not already, and if you read my earlier post you know I floundered for a while. But right away I realized it had to be NAMES because the puzzle told me it did. Matt has a "tell" (of course now he'll stop doing it) in that he often uses the last Across or Down answer as a clue; this time the answer was NAME. We knew they were artists, and the Tormented probably did not mean what we thought it did (though in truth all of them WERE rather tormented). How did we know that, practice! All of the Meta creators like word play (don't we all) so never take something at face value.

After my little hiccup (and in fairness to me I did have the right idea with MAGRITTE early on) I started looking for pieces of artists names, and did a lot of the things the other solvers did, finding names where they were not or parts of names where they were not supposed to be, but after WAR HOL and PIC ASSO I knew that was the way to go and that TORMENTED meant , literally, torn apart.

You will get better, I know I did. Participate in the Muggle Zooms (I say that with great apologies since I missed that last two, but I worked today and besides it was my wedding anniversary and after 36 years I know better than to say, "Honey you don't mind if I hurry through dinner so I can go talk to my crossword friends on Zoom on our anniversary do you?" - I may be crazy but I am not dumb!). Read through the "How to solve a META" messages, especially read Joe Ross's message because I have and he is a GREAT help. However, all in all there is no better teacher than experience and the more you do of these the better you get at seeing the connections.

Finally, don't let it get to you (easier said than done) if you don't get it. Some of us obsess (me especially) and it becomes a chore rather than an entertainment. My newest resolution is that if I do not get it this week, I'll get it the next. This is fun and the people on the Board are truly wonderful, kind, funny and clever as all get out. You'll learn about things you had no idea existed and you will NEVER feel like someone is looking down their nose at you. They may occasionally have a little fun at your expense, but only if they like you - or that is what I assume is happening when I see comments about a DrTom solution which translates to - long, involved, odd and not always correct but usually amusing.

Glad to have you in the Muggledom!
Thanks for the good advice, particularly the last paragraph.

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