"You Need Glasses" - August 14, 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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BarbaraK
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Re: "You Need Glasses" - August 14, 2020

#281

Post by BarbaraK » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:25 am

femullen wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:02 am
It's a remarkable coincidence, and I've noticed it only gradually after doing these metas for the past few months: I only solve the easy ones. Like last week's Monopoly meta. And the "Stress Test" meta back in July. Easy, and I solved them in minutes. Theoretically it should follow that, if the meta is hard, I don't solve it. And time and again I find that's true! I wish Gaffney & Gang would tell me up front which are hard and which are easy, kind of like the daily Sudoku ratings. It would save me a lot of time.

En route to and from the Grandkiddies this weekend, I stole occasional glances at the Friday crossword. From the puzzle title, I knew I was looking for some type of drinking vessel. I mean, how easy can you get?

Turns out, though, the puzzle was hard.

8^(
Based on the number of correct solvers the past six weeks, Monopoly and "Stress Test" were right in the middle difficulty-wise - 667 & 891 correct solves respectively. "Rename That Tune" and "Color Code" were harder; they had 382 and 380 correct solvers. But "Missing Links" and "Tormented Artists" were actually easier for the solving community in general, with 1031 and 1218 correct submissions.

So apparently you're good at solving the medium difficulty puzzles :)

Some of the other meta puzzles do provide difficulty ratings, and it does help to have an idea what to expect. But sometimes the puzzles turn out to be much harder or easier than the constructor expected, which shows how differently different people see these.

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MajordomoTom
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#282

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:33 am

got this one, was convinced for a while that the "glasses" meant both meanings, and was obsessed with "eye" and "seeing" things in the grid - a very low number of instances of the letter C and a few strange placements of I's.

but sitting at 1 am staring at the TUMs and (yes, there's an extra one, not clean) and it hit me.

Really liked this one and am sending the puzzle to a friend to try to entice him to starting on these.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

boharr
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#283

Post by boharr » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:48 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:32 am

2. No one drinks liqueurs out of a tumbler - they are typically served in cordial glasses.
I have to agree. Back in the day when I was behind the stick if a Muggle walked into the bar and ordered an Anisette, I would look askance but never serve it in a tumbler for goodness sake.

On the other hand, I think it would have been difficult for Matt to draw a cordial glass into the grid four times.

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MajordomoTom
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#284

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:00 am

T R
U E
MBL

:)
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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Eric Porter
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#285

Post by Eric Porter » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:01 am

This one kind of reminded me of "Missing Links". On that one, I'd noticed that many words were similar but needed a nudge.

This time, I first noticed that TUM was in there 5 times. Then I noticed that MBLE was in there 3 times, then I saw REL was there several times. At that point I put it all together.

I was looking for different types of glasses in the grid and diagonally. I also looked for different types of drinks, but only found RUM.

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MajordomoTom
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#286

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:03 am

... there's "half" of PERNOD in there also.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

Big Mac
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#287

Post by Big Mac » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:33 am

It took me forever to connect the repeated letters (TUM MBL REL) together - just didn't see it. Having MBL that many times in a puzzle is particularly odd so that was a good initial starting point.

One note on Gaffney puzzles: Directions for solving are often in the form of direct commands to the solver. Seeing "You need" in the puzzle title told me it would be relevant. He does this in the clues as well - more than other constructors in my opinion. He's also noted before that when when the theme answers look unrelated, the title often plays a larger role in his puzzles. Those principles were very helpful in staying on track in this puzzle.

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KayW
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#288

Post by KayW » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:35 am

I also offer apologies for any pre-deadline 36D spoilers. I am still searching my neighborhood stores for a local source; I may resort to Bezos just to have a chance to try it. It sounds fairly healthy, so if I don't like the taste on its own I will try adding a spoonful to smoothies.

I've never tried ANISETTE, but I do like anise/licorice/fennel in general and ouzo (on the rocks) in particular. So I may add that to my shopping list as well.

Like others, I TUMBLEd onto the answer first via STUMBLE(r)S. After I couldn't find any other glass types (SHOT, FLUTE, etc) in the grid, I eventually noticed the 4 symmetric TUMBLERS. Nice puzzle and meta!
Last edited by KayW on Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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whimsy
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#289

Post by whimsy » Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:52 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:32 am

1. I've never heard of ANISETTE
I guess you'll have to get out (of your escape room? :) ) more, TPS. Or do more baking.
I mainly know of it because it's in the Italian Christmas cookies I make each year.

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Joe Ross
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#290

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:52 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 11:33 am
He's also noted before that when when the theme answers look unrelated, the title often plays a larger role in his puzzles. Those principles were very helpful in staying on track in this puzzle.
Yes. Unrelated or lack of theme answers point to other options and patterns within the grid are a next check, for me. Fun puzzle!

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Gman
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#291

Post by Gman » Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:40 pm

Totally missed this one, which I should have seen, and congrats to the solvers. I got hung up on bunny holes related to the instructions for making a mixed drink (STIR, (S)TUMBLE), which might lead to VERMOUTH (from a Martini), and the one reference to RUM, which might lead to KAHLUA. I ended up taking a wild guess based on IRELAND and P(SHAW) and thinking this had something to do with Irish Whiskey, so BAILEYS was my Sunday guess. Given that such logical leaps have never led to the correct answer, I knew it would be wrong, but it's better to guess wrong than to not participate.

Andrew Bradburn
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#292

Post by Andrew Bradburn » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:14 pm

I got this one because of one I missed some time ago. In that awards-related puzzle, the word "envelope" was wrapped around one letter. There may have been up to six instances in the puzzle, I forget. But now, when I see the same letter patterns in several areas of a grid, I am more likely to look up, around and backwards, not just left to right.

Tom Wilson
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#293

Post by Tom Wilson » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:17 pm

I partly noticed the key, then slogged right on by, intent on following that aforementioned "seeing double" tack. So I compiled a list of all those letters - the o's in "noon," the e's in "squeeze," the t's in "lint trap,"etc. - and got a concoction blended entirely of prunes and wishful thinking. Oh, well. May the winner be a muggle ... and may this Thursday bring a better day. Cheers.

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LadyBird
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#294

Post by LadyBird » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:22 pm

I noticed a lot of "U"s in the puzzle--8 to be exact. I thought they might be little shot glasses so I looked to see what letter was right on top of them.

Then I noticed two clues mentioning drinks. I didn't think I could do anything with NEHI, but POSTUM intrigued me. I thought maybe I should look behind all the UMs to get my answer, so I highlighted all the UM. There are actually 6--the 4 verticals and also 2 horizontals. Nope. But then I noticed that 5 of the 6 UM had a T in front, and one of the horizontal ones had a R in front. RUM! But technically that is a liquor not a liqueur. And it just didn't seem elegant. That observation makes me laugh. 5 months ago, I didn't even know what a meta was and now I'm opining on whether it is elegant or not!

I kept looking at those highlighted UMs. Then I noticed that if you did a right angle turn, there were several TUMBLE. Too bad that isn't a TUMBLER, I thought. And then I saw it.

I think that the fact that my phone has been a little wonky helped me solve this puzzle. Normally, to find this forum, I just type xword muggle into my search bar and this forum is one of the first things to pop up. But that isn't happening anymore--all I get is Harry Potter stuff and the forum is nowhere to be found. But I did find a link to an article about the muggles. It was by Matt Gaffney and he talked about 3 different metas. One of those was the "SEALED ENVELOPE" = ARGO puzzle. So that technique might have been in the back of my mind while I was looking at the grid.

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C=64
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#295

Post by C=64 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:41 pm

LadyBird wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:22 pm
I noticed a lot of "U"s in the puzzle--8 to be exact. I thought they might be little shot glasses so I looked to see what letter was right on top of them.
I like it!

boharr
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#296

Post by boharr » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:04 pm

LadyBird wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:22 pm

I think that the fact that my phone has been a little wonky helped me solve this puzzle. Normally, to find this forum, I just type xword muggle into my search bar and this forum is one of the first things to pop up. But that isn't happening anymore--all I get is Harry Potter stuff and the forum is nowhere to be found.
I've had this happen as well.

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Joe Ross
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#297

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:54 pm

boharr wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:04 pm
LadyBird wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:22 pm

I think that the fact that my phone has been a little wonky helped me solve this puzzle. Normally, to find this forum, I just type xword muggle into my search bar and this forum is one of the first things to pop up. But that isn't happening anymore--all I get is Harry Potter stuff and the forum is nowhere to be found.
I've had this happen as well.
While you're here, slide in a bookmark! :D

boharr
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Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:57 am

#298

Post by boharr » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:56 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:54 pm
boharr wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:04 pm
LadyBird wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:22 pm

I think that the fact that my phone has been a little wonky helped me solve this puzzle. Normally, to find this forum, I just type xword muggle into my search bar and this forum is one of the first things to pop up. But that isn't happening anymore--all I get is Harry Potter stuff and the forum is nowhere to be found.
I've had this happen as well.
While you're here, slide in a bookmark! :D
I had to resort to that! Typing in the search bar no longer finds this place.

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DrTom
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#299

Post by DrTom » Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:04 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:32 am
Congratulations to everyone who solved this one - I felt it was tougher than most of the WSJ metas this year. I did feel like it was a very MG puzzle so I am disappointed I didn't solve it.

I have three nits with this one.

1. I've never heard of ANISETTE - and when I pulled up a list of the top 25 liqueurs it was not on that list. I am almost never going to solve a meta that has such an obscure reference. There were complaints about Monopoly or morse code being obscure but both of those things could easily be found on the first page of a good google search and are things in the typical American lexicon.

But I bet you know its cousins; Sambuco, Uzo, pastis (Pernod, Ricard), Galliano, etc.

2. No one drinks liqueurs out of a tumbler - they are typically served in cordial glasses.

Obviously you've never drunk pastis! Quite usual to pour your pastis in tumbler of sorts and then add water (and ice for the non-purists). I prefer mine straight, but that also has never stopped the tumbler route!

3. I don't think it was good construction to have an extra "TUM" in the puzzle w/ STUMBLES

Admittedly the extra TUM was a distraction, but it was not part of the previous 3 mechanisms and the TUM literally hooked to it was. Still you are correct, without it it would have been cleaner.

I HIGHLY doubt I would have solved this one either way but I think those were things imperfections w/ this puzzle.

Oh and I submitted SNAKE JUICE - High End VIP Lifestyle. https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/d982cf5c-7 ... 0e9732a563
Never fear, there is always next week! I just dropped a very easy MGWCC that I should have gotten because I was not paying attention. Anyway, they are not taking away my birthday and the muggles and "pennelles" (on Gaffney you win a pen) still love me.

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MarkL
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#300

Post by MarkL » Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:31 pm

Not many Italians/Sicilians in the cohort? Anisette was fairly popular on the holidays as an after dinner drink - if memory serves.

Also, my Boston up-bringing got the better of me for a short while because TUMBLA didn't seem to fit.

Have a great, safe and healthy week!!
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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