"Group Outings" September 18, 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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JAQT
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Re: "Group Outings" September 18, 2020

#321

Post by JAQT » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:08 pm

The ship is quiet tonight, gently rocking at anchor, lulling me to restful slumber --- unsolved.
Last edited by JAQT on Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JeanneC
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#322

Post by JeanneC » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:30 pm

Finished grid on Thursday evening but was so distracted by other “stuff” going on (including attending an actual in person wedding!) that I only posted my meta answer a few minutes ago. Hope it’s right. I’ve been on a dry spell lately.
Good luck to all who submit. 👍

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Kris Zacharias
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#323

Post by Kris Zacharias » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:33 pm

On shore with 28 minutes to spare. I finally learned to think in the terms required for this meta. Hats off to those who got the answer quickly.

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Jeremy Smith
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#324

Post by Jeremy Smith » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:33 pm

Onshore! These last minute solves are really getting old! This is a 100%-er.

matthewmoravec
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#325

Post by matthewmoravec » Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:54 pm

Just did make it ashore!

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Joe Ross
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#326

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:00 am

20200918 WSJCC Group Outings.gif
Last edited by Joe Ross on Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TPS
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#327

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:04 am

So, I said after last week’s puzzle “Where’s the Rest”/DOZE – I said I would definitely not use it to teach someone how to solve a meta puzzle. To be fair, I thought the puzzles Mike and Matt chose to go over in last week’s video weren’t great “teaching” puzzles either – elegant and amazingly creative – absolutely – but good for instruction – not so much.

I bring this up because I think this puzzle would be a good second step puzzle.

I would probably use “One False Note”/KT OLSIN as the first step in theme answer focused puzzles. (I’d use “Line of Work” /APP DEVELOPER, “Between Meals”/GRILLED HAM AND CHEESE, and/or “City Blocks”/MIAMI to teach gird hidden metas.)

After KT OLSIN – I think this puzzle or “At Odds”/BICKER is a good next step. Both of those puzzles involve 2-3 steps. First, you have to identify the theme clues. Then you have to use the title as a direction to do something – in this case it was to recognize that the title “Group Outings” translated to exclude a triplet of letters (3’s a crowd, right?) from the theme answers - while in BICKER it was recognizing that the title “At Odds” translated to excluding all the odd letters in the theme answers. Lastly, the final step in both cases involved recognizing what was left of the theme answers after excluding the letters were also Clues in the puzzle.

I think those are three very reasonable and somewhat simple steps. And like Matt mentioned in last week’s video each step validated itself so you knew you were going in the right direction. And there were no misdirects in this puzzle.

Personally, I consider these two types of puzzles: obvious theme answer driven puzzles and the meta hidden in the grid puzzles the easiest types of metas. I figure if you can successfully solve these two types you can solve 40-50% of puzzles. Hopefully, getting 50% of the puzzle correct keeps someone invested on continuing to do the puzzles as you continue to do them you will see new puzzle types and methods that hopefully allows them to develop additional tools that help them with the really killer puzzles.

JRS51
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#328

Post by JRS51 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:10 am

I was very puzzled by the comments about an easy way to solve the meta and a hard way.
This seems very straightforward with 3 steps to the solution and no room for alternate methods.

Jace54
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#329

Post by Jace54 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:12 am

Initially I did not understand what some posters were referring to as the short and long way to get the answer, but then I realized that “trips” were what was removed from the theme answers. Very clever way to tie it all together! Have to first remove the trips to get back to the “trips” answer!

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TPS
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#330

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:13 am

JRS51 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:10 am
I was very puzzled by the comments about an easy way to solve the meta and a hard way.
This seems very straightforward with 3 steps to the solution and no room for alternate methods.
I know at least a few people stopped mid-solve because they got DARES - which while not the right answer was certainly a Hail Mary worthy answer and my guess is that because we do far far less of Patrick's puzzles people might have thought he had just constructed an easy but somewhat inelegant puzzle.

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Joe Ross
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#331

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am

I was very much into watching the US Open Championship (golf), this weekend, so was using my phone to solve the grid, then to analyze & highlight for the meta. Due to being distracted (& whatever other excuse you'll accept, except my utter stupidity), I knew the Theme Entries & that the triple-letters played, but the meta wasn't revealing itself to me.

Instead of HIGHLIGHTING the triple-letters in each Theme Entry, at one point on Saturday, I selected the incorrect drawing tool on the editing function on my phone (it was probably the screen capture software, but I also discovered that editing PDFs with Adobe Acrobat on phones is very easy to do, especially with a stylus). I selected the MARKER function, instead, and blotted out the three letters (black blobs in the screen capture, below, but originally a darker hue of each Theme Entries' highlights). As soon as I did this to the first Theme Entry (TOePIeCeS -> TOPICS), the scales fell from my eyes. An accidental but very fun A-HA! moment.

20200917 Group Outings JPR.gif
The edits, above, are rudimentary. Using a stylus & with practice, I've become much better at marking-up grids. I'll reveal more with this week's MGWCC.

JRS51
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#332

Post by JRS51 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am

Jace54 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:12 am
Initially I did not understand what some posters were referring to as the short and long way to get the answer, but then I realized that “trips” were what was removed from the theme answers. Very clever way to tie it all together! Have to first remove the trips to get back to the “trips” answer!
Sorry but I don't see the connection. The letters in TRIPS aren’t the “groups” that were removed.

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FrankH
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#333

Post by FrankH » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:20 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:13 am

I know at least a few people stopped mid-solve because they got DARES - which while not the right answer was certainly a Hail Mary worthy answer and my guess is that because we do far far less of Patrick's puzzles people might have thought he had just constructed an easy but somewhat inelegant puzzle.
You have to anagram to get DARES (and anagram is extremely rare for the last step), but if you do that, there are other words you can anagram to, so that pretty much says DARES is not the right answer, not even for Hail Mary.
Last edited by FrankH on Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dow Jones
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#334

Post by Dow Jones » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:21 am

hcbirker wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:01 pm
oldjudge wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:57 pm
To paraphrase Tina Turner in Proud Mary, you can do things easy or do them hard. I found both an easy and a hard way to get to shore.
So did I.
What were the Easy and Hard way to solve ?

JRS51
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#335

Post by JRS51 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:23 am

Dow Jones wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:21 am
hcbirker wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:01 pm
oldjudge wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:57 pm
To paraphrase Tina Turner in Proud Mary, you can do things easy or do them hard. I found both an easy and a hard way to get to shore.
So did I.
What were the Easy and Hard way to solve ?
Exactly

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TPS
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#336

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:23 am

JRS51 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am
Jace54 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:12 am
Initially I did not understand what some posters were referring to as the short and long way to get the answer, but then I realized that “trips” were what was removed from the theme answers. Very clever way to tie it all together! Have to first remove the trips to get back to the “trips” answer!
Sorry but I don't see the connection. The letters in TRIPS aren’t the “groups” that were removed.
TRIPS is also short for Triples. In poker you frequently call 3 of a kind - TRIPS. So you removed the Triple letters or you removed the TRIPS.

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TPS
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#337

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:25 am

FrankH wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:20 am


You have to anagram to get DARES (and anagram is extremely rare for the last step), but if you do that, there are other words you can anagram to, so that pretty much says DARES is not the right answer, not even for Hail Mary.
I didn't use DARES and told the people who did it was incorrect but if you don't think it was a reasonable Hail Mary - I'm not sure you fully understand what a Hail Mary is.
Last edited by TPS on Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

Jace54
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#338

Post by Jace54 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:26 am

JRS51 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am
Jace54 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:12 am
Initially I did not understand what some posters were referring to as the short and long way to get the answer, but then I realized that “trips” were what was removed from the theme answers. Very clever way to tie it all together! Have to first remove the trips to get back to the “trips” answer!
Sorry but I don't see the connection. The letters in TRIPS aren’t the “groups” that were removed.
“Trips” is shorthand for “triples”, which is three of a kind in poker. Each theme answer had three of the same letter, or trips, removed.

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FrankH
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#339

Post by FrankH » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:30 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:25 am
FrankH wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:20 am


You have to anagram to get DARES (and anagram is extremely rare for the last step), but if you do that, there are other words you can anagram to, so that pretty much says DARES is not the right answer, not even for Hail Mary.
I didn't use DARES and told the people who did it was incorrect but if you don't think it wasn't a reasonable Hail Mary - I'm not sure you fully understand what a Hail Mary is.
I have done Hail Mary, sometimes even with a lot less to go on. It's just that for this case you may want to pick some other 5-letter word out of thin air.

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sanmilton
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#340

Post by sanmilton » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:45 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:23 am
JRS51 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:19 am
Jace54 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:12 am
Initially I did not understand what some posters were referring to as the short and long way to get the answer, but then I realized that “trips” were what was removed from the theme answers. Very clever way to tie it all together! Have to first remove the trips to get back to the “trips” answer!
Sorry but I don't see the connection. The letters in TRIPS aren’t the “groups” that were removed.
TRIPS is also short for Triples. In poker you frequently call 3 of a kind - TRIPS. So you removed the Triple letters or you removed the TRIPS.
This is an example of how I can find the correct solution and then still be amazed by some additional cleverness on the part of the constructor. Another was with the WSJ+ special meta puzzle, "Variations on a Theme," last week. Until I watched Part II of "Across & Down," I didn't realize that the letters above the anagrammed METAs unscrambled in the same order! I just blithely unscrambled them as I went along to come up with the solution without regard to that further connection. Here, I didn't even think of the pun on TRIPS that Patrick had obviously thought of when he had us removing three letters of a kind in each theme entry, until I read your post, TPS. These guys truly are geniuses! Hats off, kudos, and huzzah!
Last edited by sanmilton on Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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