"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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LaceyK
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:10 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: "Group Outings" September 18, 2020

#341

Post by LaceyK » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:14 am

My first pursuit after seeing POSSE was groups of animals, but that didn't pan out. Nor other groups of related words. Lots of golf terms.
I saw the 3 letters per theme, but READS, DARES, and an anagram...not meta friendly.
I was stuck on double + single letter. ERROR fit the pattern along with the 3 middle themes.
Lots of double letters throughout the grid--and only 5 letters represented--SPRED.
I woke up in the middle of the night thinking JAMBALAYA is 4 As. TIPPI is 2 Is. Maybe this puzzle is like the MMMM this year with repeated single vowels. Nope.

Finally I re-entered the grid. Seeing POSSE again, I considered dropping the SS, and it would be POE. Didn't think we had a clue about Edgar Allan.
Looked at CHESS, thought CHE might be connected to the Castro clue. As soon as I subtracted from the theme answers--I immediately recognized the clues. I love how SCREWY is SCAREAWAY - 3As.
And trips meaning triples is the cherry on top (that I never knew!)

Martin
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:20 pm

#342

Post by Martin » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:38 am

My rabbit hole was noticing JAMBOREE in a U-shaped path starting with the first 4 letters of JAMBALAYA. That's a group outing for Boy Scouts. I spent a few minutes looking for POWWOW or POTLATCH or anything. Then I crawled back out and solved it.

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tigerfly222
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:00 am
Location: Barcelona

#343

Post by tigerfly222 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:11 am

Hidden in 3D wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:26 pm
tigerfly222 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:19 am
Checking in for the first time in many weeks! Still sunny and warm here in Barcelona.
Successfully solved this week's meta. That makes 2 in a row, a streak I am sure will be speedily broken.
I noticed you hadn't posted in a while (something about not seeing the flag of Spain must have entered my subconscious), and I was thinking about sending your mom a PM to be sure you were OK. Welcome back!
Appreciate the thoughtful concern! Definitely alive and well, and (so far) COVID-free. :)

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tigerfly222
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:00 am
Location: Barcelona

#344

Post by tigerfly222 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:19 am

CPJohnson wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:12 pm
MajordomoTom wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:05 pm
cherikee wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:20 pm
Count me on the ship. I’m guessing this will be easy once I see the first step, but right now that’s eluding me.
wasn't for me, I had the first step and went down many empty rabbit trails until I found a good way to the beach.
Wasn't easy for me, either, but I'm on shore now. Needed small nudge from puzzle-working daughter.
Reflecting on the fact that I took a long (unintentional) hiatus from the metas and have now solved 2 in a row, I'm wondering whether success is due to coming back to it with a fresh mind. That, or I just got lucky, and/or the last 2 weeks weren't super difficult. Whatever the reason, happy to nudge anytime.

Signed,
Puzzle-Working Daughter

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Mister Squawk
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:15 am

#345

Post by Mister Squawk » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:34 am

Arrrggghhhh.

I got stuck in numerous different rabbit holes:

- There were five words plausibly synonyms for group: POSSE, CLASS, CAST, US, THEM. Numerous combinations, adjacent letters, or things taken OUT.
- There were five answers with doubled letters: POSSE, CLASSISM, RIDDLED, STIRRERS, AGREE. Ditto.
- The central answer RIDDLED as in RIDDLE suggesting that the pattern of "O"s in the puzzle might be important.
- The oddity of clue 57A: "Bob Hope's tour group: Abbr." USO is not an abbreviation but an initialism, and it is directly on point for the puzzle title, so various answers that might have had "ORG" the abbreviation for United Service ORGanization.

Just argh.

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tigerfly222
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:00 am
Location: Barcelona

#346

Post by tigerfly222 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:49 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:58 pm
tigerfly222 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:19 am
Checking in for the first time in many weeks! Still sunny and warm here in Barcelona.
Successfully solved this week's meta. That makes 2 in a row, a streak I am sure will be speedily broken.
Welcome back and Stay safe. I have been tracking the virus (nerdy plus we were supposed to go to Italy and France in April) and see that there is a significant jump in Covid cases this month and last month in Spain. The good news is that the death rate remains very low.

I trust Spain is as beautiful as it was when we were there 10 years ago. Unfortunately we missed Barcelona but that is a good reason to go back. For anyone who has not been to Spain put it on your bucket list - people are friendly, food is great, tons to see no matter where you go. And driving around is a piece of cake. We went from Madrid to Toledo to Cordoba to Granada to Seville over the course of two weeks. All self guided with zero problems.
Yes, the numbers in Spain have been elevated for some time, however I believe deaths and ICU patients are drastically lower as a percentage of total cases this time around. For the last several months, each autonomous region has been responsible for making its own rules. Madrid is the hot spot right now; a few neighborhoods there are just entering a semi-locked-down phase wherein the movements of residents are restricted, but I do not believe that businesses are being forced to close.

Since we entered the "new normal" back in late June, I've been maximizing my time outdoors and venturing out around Catalunya a bit. (Probably why I've been spending less time working metas.) If we are to have a new round of lockdown restrictions at some point (who can say?), I don't want to be sitting at home thinking, "Gee, I wish I'd gone for that hike/visited that scenic village/taken that sailing trip/... when I had the chance." For this reason, I can now confidently say that Catalunya leaves almost nothing to be desired in terms of natural beauty. When you are able to travel here again, in addition to visiting Barcelona itself, I strongly recommend that you also go up the Costa Brava northeast of the city, and explore some of the towns there. Best done by car, but it sounds like you're already comfortable with that :)

Cheers!

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Patty
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 12:33 pm
Location: Basel

#347

Post by Patty » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:51 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:58 pm
tigerfly222 wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:19 am
Checking in for the first time in many weeks! Still sunny and warm here in Barcelona.
Successfully solved this week's meta. That makes 2 in a row, a streak I am sure will be speedily broken.
Welcome back and Stay safe. I have been tracking the virus (nerdy plus we were supposed to go to Italy and France in April) and see that there is a significant jump in Covid cases this month and last month in Spain. The good news is that the death rate remains very low.

I trust Spain is as beautiful as it was when we were there 10 years ago. Unfortunately we missed Barcelona but that is a good reason to go back. For anyone who has not been to Spain put it on your bucket list - people are friendly, food is great, tons to see no matter where you go. And driving around is a piece of cake. We went from Madrid to Toledo to Cordoba to Granada to Seville over the course of two weeks. All self guided with zero problems.
I second Bob’s recommendation on Spain. We’ve visited many times and everything he says is spot on. Plus, the art museums are truly exceptional! I can also recommend a side trip to Mallorca if you are looking for an island getaway. 😎

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Tom Shea
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:37 am
Location: Freedonia, NH/VT/HI/Sydney/Earth

#348

Post by Tom Shea » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:39 am

I never noticed the anagram, just the first letters.
Last edited by Tom Shea on Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Rufus T. Firefly

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MarkL
Posts: 384
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:44 am
Location: Tampa Bay, FL

#349

Post by MarkL » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:54 am

Joe Ross wrote:
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.
I like it! Looks like one of my abstracts!
Cheers,
MAL
'tis... A lovely day for a Guinness!

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Bob cruise director
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Location: any golf course that will take my money

#350

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:00 am

One of the problems I had typing the reports was that every time there was a double letter in a name, it seemed to come out as three letters and I was afraid of it being a spoiler.
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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eagle1279
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:00 pm
Location: Indianapolis

#351

Post by eagle1279 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:02 am

At one point I guessed that group outings might be field trips — so close and yet so far...

Fell asleep last night pondering that the letters down the left side of the grid spelled MATCHES and trying to link that with “sticks.” This did not lead to sweet dreams.

MikeM000
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:31 am
Location: Metro Detroit

#352

Post by MikeM000 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:26 am

Mister Squawk wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:34 am

- There were five answers with doubled letters: POSSE, CLASSISM, RIDDLED, STIRRERS, AGREE. Ditto.
The thing that got me stuck was that a down answer in the grid was CHESS, which was right by CASTRO, and when you remove the doubled letter....

Unfortunately there was no RAVEN or ALDA to similarly match with POSSE and STIRRERS.

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KayW
Posts: 445
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:10 am
Location: Chicago

#353

Post by KayW » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:47 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!
Wow! Now I am even more impressed with the elegance of this puzzle. I solved pretty quickly (never bothered to anagam ESRAD), but the “TRIPle play” on words never occurred to me. Bravo, Patrick Berry!

p. s. I never bothered anagramming because I solved using JOe Ross’s excel template (thanks once again, Joe!) and highlighted the trips. Which had the advantage of also making the non-trip letter patterns stand out so I saw those words almost immediately.

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DaveKennison
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:28 pm

#354

Post by DaveKennison » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:27 am

Partly due to personal events, I failed to spend much time on this one. I did notice the repeated letters in some of the Across entries, but didn't figure out what to do with them. As the deadline approached, I submitted the following:

I’m pretty sure that my answer is wrong, but ... for what it's worth: There are exactly five near-occurrences of the word SET (a synonym of GROUP) in the completed grid: SES in EASES; SED in OPPOSED; SEL in EDSEL; SEA in SEAM; and SEE in, well, SEE. The letters that are “wrong” are S, D, L, A, and E, they can be used to spell the word LEADS, and wherever you find a “GROUP OUTING”, it is likely that you will find someone who “LEADS” it.

RichA2
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:22 pm

#355

Post by RichA2 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:33 am

I stared for a long time at the theme entries but never saw the tripled letters and so never made it to shore.

After wrongly giving up on the theme entries, I sought the solution elsewhere in the grid. I looked for door references (BOLT, MAT, JAMB), but couldn’t find five or make them into a meta solution.

Finally, I had fun looking for grid entries in lists of those strange collective nouns used for groups of birds and animals. Has anyone ever heard of a KIT of pigeons? a POSSE of turkeys? A CAST of hawks? I hadn’t, but now I’ll know what to call those groups, or a LEAP of leopards the next time one comes charging at me. I found more than five such nouns, but none whose first letters solved the meta.

This breaks a streak of four weeks solving the weekly puzzle for me, but reminds me that an attempt that ends with a forehead slap on Monday can be almost as enjoyable as one that yields an aha! moment on Friday.

Congrats and good luck to the many Muggles who completed your TRIPS to dry land.

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JPMalone
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:38 am
Location: New Jersey

#356

Post by JPMalone » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:45 am

My meta solving buddy IRL, Seth, won this week! Very proud of him :)

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Dplass
Posts: 352
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:09 am
Location: Long Island, New York

#357

Post by Dplass » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:48 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.
In my opinion, "straightforward" != "with 3 steps to the solution". Once you see the steps, it's straightforward. I actually needed a tiny nudge to see the 1st step, then the rest fell into place _because I've done a few metas before_. Had I not it wouldn't have been that straightforward.

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Bob cruise director
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Location: any golf course that will take my money

#358

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:52 am

Dplass wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:48 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.
In my opinion, "straightforward" != "with 3 steps to the solution". Once you see the steps, it's straightforward. I actually needed a tiny nudge to see the 1st step, then the rest fell into place _because I've done a few metas before_. Had I not it wouldn't have been that straightforward.
I found that it was like dominos. Once you see the first step, then the rest fell pretty quickly
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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Prozach
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:19 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

#359

Post by Prozach » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:06 am

JPMalone wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:45 am
My meta solving buddy IRL, Seth, won this week! Very proud of him :)
where do they announce the winner?

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TPS
Posts: 570
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:19 pm
Location: Florida

#360

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:14 am

Prozach wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:06 am


where do they announce the winner?
They will post it on here at some point after they have notified the winner and the winner has responded. I assume JPMalone knows who the winner is because they e-mailed Seth and Seth told JPMalone otherwise we wouldn't usually know by now.

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