"Less and Less" - August 21, 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.
Rate the difficulty of the meta
Locked
mitchel674
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 11:05 am
Location: Clearwater, Florida

Re: "Less and Less" - August 21, 2020

#261

Post by mitchel674 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:42 am

Frustrated by how bad I am at these Meta puzzles!

I can fill in the grid in just a few minutes but then spend the rest of my weekend staring. Sure I looked at the six long clues, but I simply could not make the next leap. If I get 10% of these, I'm lucky.

Wallowing!

Schmeel
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:38 pm

#262

Post by Schmeel » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:46 am

After the seeing her siblings' success at helping out with solving the metas over the past couple of weeks, my 12-year-old decided it was her turn. When she saw I was staring at the grid for a while and wasn't coming up with the solution, she took the filled-in grid and began looking for the theme entries. "What does innocous (sic) mean?" I told her to look it up.

With a bit of difficulty she took the new revised edition of Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language off the shelf, opened it up on her lap (cracked the spine – but hey, at least she opened the dictionary!), looked up the theme words one by one and haltingly read them out to me. I'll be the first to admit that her stumbling recitation of the definitions was far from clear. But I'll also say that my ear did catch the repeating "less" in most of those definitions. When she gave up looking for the answer twenty minutes later and gave the grid back to me, it didn't take me long to see it.

So no, she didn't quite get it this time, but she was instrumental in the solution. And she may have learned the meaning of a few (difficult) words too. Well done!

User avatar
Wendy Walker
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:44 pm
Location: Unionville, PA

#263

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:51 am

Schmeel wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:46 am
I told her to look it up.

Oh my gosh, this brings back memories. That's exactly what my parents used to say to me! Well done, Schmeel!
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

higgysue
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 7:43 pm
Location: Duluth, MN

#264

Post by higgysue » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:04 am

elan wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:07 pm
I'm ashore and wanted to note that the crossword has TWO shout-outs to the Upper Peninsula (9A & 58D).

I'm torn between local pride and wanting to say "hush." We prefer to remain unvisited.
I also liked the shout-out to 9A. Although it belongs to another state, it’s closer to Minn. I agree with elan about keeping the beauty of the Lake Superior region a secret. Shhhhhh. 🤫

I did not get the meta this week. I just couldn’t put it together. Too busy looking at that beautiful lake.

User avatar
ReB
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:34 pm
Location: East Tennessee

#265

Post by ReB » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:11 am

Another well-constructed puzzle.

So close and yet so far. I did try out various synonyms (and antonyms), but for some reason none of them contained a "LESS" - but now it's obvious. SAFE for INNOCUOUS, RISKY for FOOLHARDY, etc. Might have recognized the neighborhood had I spotted even one or two of the correct synonyms. Too many travel-related distractions this past weekend, perhaps.

Well, there'll soon be next week's... Zoom is doubtful this week due to travel.

User avatar
hunkra
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:35 pm
Location: Hudson Valley, NY

#266

Post by hunkra » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:11 am

mitchel674 wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:42 am
Frustrated by how bad I am at these Meta puzzles!

I can fill in the grid in just a few minutes but then spend the rest of my weekend staring. Sure I looked at the six long clues, but I simply could not make the next leap. If I get 10% of these, I'm lucky.

Wallowing!
I feel your pain. If I get how the title is connected to the mechanism, I almost always figure it out. But if that initial inspiration doesn't come, I never ultimately solve them. However, I am holding out hope that the longer I try, the more exposure I will get to the different meta mechanisms. I hadn't seen a synonym meta yet, so... now I know!

SusieG
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:20 pm
Location: Arkansas

#267

Post by SusieG » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:15 am

Even with multiple nudges I wasn’t able to solve this. I will chalk it up to lack of sleep. I expected a path to solution like this one, but just couldn’t see it. Puzzle was clever, as are those of you who solved it!

User avatar
sphorning
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:24 pm

#268

Post by sphorning » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:17 am

Even if the title had been "Add less" I would never have thought to find a synonym for the theme answers. Okay, maybe the title needed to be "Find similar and add less" something really in my face! LOL!

EVJ
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 6:40 pm
Location: Idaho

#269

Post by EVJ » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:18 am

I won the mug!

User avatar
TPS
Posts: 495
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:19 pm
Location: Florida

#270

Post by TPS » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:19 am

mitchel674 wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:42 am
Frustrated by how bad I am at these Meta puzzles!

I can fill in the grid in just a few minutes but then spend the rest of my weekend staring. Sure I looked at the six long clues, but I simply could not make the next leap. If I get 10% of these, I'm lucky.

Wallowing!
I was at exactly this spot a for about a year - then about 3 months ago - with a lot of help from people here - things started to click and I get about 1/2 of them now (but not w/o some long droughts). The one downside is I think I got worse at solving the Grid. I think it’s because now I rush to get to the meta so I am more inclined to google a clue than spend 15-20 minutes trying to puzzle it out.

User avatar
TPS
Posts: 495
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:19 pm
Location: Florida

#271

Post by TPS » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:20 am

EVJ wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:18 am
I won the mug!
Wow! Congratulations!!!

User avatar
Bird Lives
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:43 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

#272

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:23 am

The nudge I gave to the few people who requested was "Both Sides Now" (or more indirectly "Joni Mitchell / Judy Collins"), suggesting the necessity of looking at both sides of the grid where the long entries were. It was not a very helpful nudge.
Last edited by Bird Lives on Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

EmilyW
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:03 pm

#273

Post by EmilyW » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:24 am

Not even close. My favorite thing I noticed in the grid was ORE IDA in 18 and 21 across. Is it something about tater tots? Who would want less tater tots? Congrats to the solvers!

User avatar
Joe Ross
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 am
Location: Cincinnati

#274

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:34 am

mitchel674 wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:42 am
Frustrated by how bad I am at these Meta puzzles!

I can fill in the grid in just a few minutes but then spend the rest of my weekend staring. Sure I looked at the six long clues, but I simply could not make the next leap. If I get 10% of these, I'm lucky.

Wallowing!
Keep at it! Experience is necessary.

Review several excellent solving techniques offered: Hints for Solving Meta Contests

Review past puzzles & solutions.

Understand that these WSJ Contest Crosswords are in their last month of their 5th year. Recent puzzles & their mechanisms are much more difficult than the first couple of years', including recent "easy" puzzles.

Share your progress & request verification & nudges from generous veterans. Pay attention to their techniques rather than each puzzle's final answer. Soon, you won't need verifications & nudges.

Further improve your skill by offering help to others. You'll be amazed at how this will improve your ability by having to explain the process - without giving away outright spoilers. This will force you to review logical steps to take in approaching all meta puzzles.

[EDIT1 following]

Dplass's Post #114 was an excellent gentle nudge, IMH&HO:

"...this mechanism [...] was used a LOT in 2019"


My nudge to the very few muggles who requested it of me via PM & to one who had immediately previously posted their need of one:

"review theme clues for awkwardness versus what is within grid"

SusieG
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:20 pm
Location: Arkansas

#275

Post by SusieG » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:59 am

Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:23 am
The nudge I gave to the few people who requested was "Both Sides Now" (or more indirectly "Joni Mitchell / Judy Collins")to loo, suggesting the necessity of looking at both sides of the grid where the long entries were. It was not a very helpful nudge.
It makes perfect sense now! All was not lost. It gave me the opportunity to listen to both versions with my daughter and spurred an interesting discussion.

User avatar
Joe Ross
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 am
Location: Cincinnati

#276

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:59 am

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:51 am
Schmeel wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:46 am
I told her to look it up.

Oh my gosh, this brings back memories. That's exactly what my parents used to say to me! Well done, Schmeel!
Best $5 ever spent (& at a yard sale, no less):

Webster's 3rd International Dictionary Unabridged.gif

"Dad, how do you speel ____ ?" "Look it up in the big blue book!"

"Dad, what does ____ mean?" "Look it up in the big blue book!"
Last edited by Joe Ross on Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TPS
Posts: 495
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:19 pm
Location: Florida

#277

Post by TPS » Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:00 am

The nudge I gave was just the word “synonyms” - I didn’t know if that was too much or not - I think everyone I gave it to eventually solved it.

Carla
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:37 am
Location: WA State

#278

Post by Carla » Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:06 am

Joe Ross wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:34 am
mitchel674 wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:42 am
Frustrated by how bad I am at these Meta puzzles!

I can fill in the grid in just a few minutes but then spend the rest of my weekend staring. Sure I looked at the six long clues, but I simply could not make the next leap. If I get 10% of these, I'm lucky.

Wallowing!
Keep at it! Experience is necessary.

Review several excellent solving techniques offered: Hints for Solving Meta Contests

Review past puzzles & solutions.

Understand that these WSJ Contest Crosswords are in their last month of their 5th year. Recent puzzles & their mechanisms are much more difficult than the first couple of years', including recent "easy" puzzles.

Share your progress & request verification & nudges from generous veterans. Pay attention to their techniques rather than each puzzle's final answer. Soon, you won't need verifications & nudges.

Further improve your skill by offering help to others. You'll be amazed at how this will improve your ability by having to explain the process - without giving away outright spoilers. This will force you to review logical steps to take in approaching all meta puzzles.

[EDIT1 following]

Dplass's Post #114 was an excellent gentle nudge, IMH&HO:

"...this mechanism [...] was used a LOT in 2019"




My nudge to the very few muggles who requested it of me via PM & to one who had immediately previously posted their need of one:

"review theme clues for awkwardness versus what is within grid"
Thanks for the great advice, Joe! I am with mitchel674. I just don’t see this solutions. But I did figure out Wonder Twins a few months back. I really think it has to do with how our brains work. Sometimes our brains need to be taught new pathways. :)

User avatar
Wendy Walker
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:44 pm
Location: Unionville, PA

#279

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:09 am

I forgot to mention that I had a meta pre-dream on Wednesday night. In the dream I foolishly announced that I'd solved the meta -- then realized there was a part 2 to the puzzle, all in Spanish. One part even involved filling in letters on stepping stones across a creek.
Good luck, fellow Muggles!

boharr
Posts: 529
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:57 am

#280

Post by boharr » Mon Aug 24, 2020 10:59 am

Jeff S wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:40 am
VanVeen wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am

As with most of these, if you happen to "see" the mechanism (the tree in the forest), the puzzle is easy, and if you don't, it's terribly frustrating. It's often the "seeing" rather than the inherent difficulty of the puzzle that determines whether you solve it, and how long it takes you to do so.
Amen

Locked