"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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Bob cruise director
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Re: "Group Outings" September 18, 2020

#381

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:08 pm

KscX wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:32 pm
Well- I made the mistake of looking up “Three Coins in the Fountain”, thinking the composer was a little obscure. DID YOU KNOW that the name of the place they stayed in the movie was Villa Eden? And that one of the main characters in the movie was ANITA? Throw that in with EVE and SNAKE and I refused to leave the rabbit hole, until I was drug out of it. At some point I hope these first steps come easier as I can see the last steps right away, usually. :roll:
And the protocol for throwing the coins is to throw them with your right hand over your left shoulder.
The first coin is that you will return to Rome
The second coin is that you will fall in love with an attractive Italian
and the third coin is that you will marry the person that you met.

That is unless you are left handed and married to me.
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Wendy Walker
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#382

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:15 pm

Yes, the two "Genesis" clues stuck in my head too -- I briefly tried locating other Sunday School figures ("outing" from the Garden of Eden?) and then turned to the more wordly Genesis of "Trick of the Tail" fame. RIDDLED was awfully close to my all-time favorite Genesis song, "Ripples"! I was also hung up for a bit on the triple-A in JAMBALAYA.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

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#383

Post by Hector » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:18 pm

CUSPS, STRANGE, CASTRO, TEMPE, and SPAREPARTS all start with anagrams of names of baseball teams (groups) with one letter swapped "out:" CUBS, RANGERS, ASTROS, METS, PADRES. Plus we have the answer SEAM for "Baseball feature," which is TEAM with a letter similarly swapped. That yields the completely satisfying, can't-be-wrong answer, "CRAMP."

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#384

Post by boharr » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:20 pm

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:15 pm
Yes, the two "Genesis" clues stuck in my head too -- I briefly tried locating other Sunday School figures ("outing" from the Garden of Eden?) and then turned to the more wordly Genesis of "Trick of the Tail" fame. RIDDLED was awfully close to my all-time favorite Genesis song, "Ripples"! I was also hung up for a bit on the triple-A in JAMBALAYA.
JAMBALAYA has four A's. Go figure.

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#385

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:20 pm

Hector wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:18 pm
CUSPS, STRANGE, CASTRO, TEMPE, and SPAREPARTS all start with anagrams of names of baseball teams (groups) with one letter swapped "out:" CUBS, RANGERS, ASTROS, METS, PADRES. Plus we have the answer SEAM for "Baseball feature," which is TEAM with a letter similarly swapped. That yields the completely satisfying, can't-be-wrong answer, "CRAMP."
Hector, I can't even, as the cool kids say (or at least they did in, say, 2010). That is amazing!
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

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#386

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:21 pm

boharr wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:20 pm
Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:15 pm
Yes, the two "Genesis" clues stuck in my head too -- I briefly tried locating other Sunday School figures ("outing" from the Garden of Eden?) and then turned to the more wordly Genesis of "Trick of the Tail" fame. RIDDLED was awfully close to my all-time favorite Genesis song, "Ripples"! I was also hung up for a bit on the triple-A in JAMBALAYA.
JAMBALAYA has four A's. Go figure.
Yeah, that's why I finally realized it was a no-go. In addition to being, you know, vertical.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

Homer Buckle
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#387

Post by Homer Buckle » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:50 pm

I took Mike's and Matt's advice to look at odd-looking words when I filled in "toepieces" at 18A. After a look, I saw the word "topics" in there if I took out the Es. Three clues later, at 28A I saw Topics as the clue, and after that it was very clear what to do. But, I totally missed the Trips - 3 letters connection. Fun puzzle; looking forward to the next one.

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#388

Post by KscX » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:25 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:08 pm
And the protocol for throwing the coins is to throw them with your right hand over your left shoulder.
The first coin is that you will return to Rome
The second coin is that you will fall in love with an attractive Italian
and the third coin is that you will marry the person that you met.

That is unless you are left handed and married to me.
Earworm cemented! I’m sure the song will stick with me all week now.

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#389

Post by JAQT » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:59 pm

I did not solve this puzzle, and I think that part of the reason for me (besides my being a bit dense) was the word "group" in "group outings": the excluded triplets of letters were separated from each other and not arranged in groups.

No sour grapes incidentally -- it was a good puzzle with a title hinting at both the methodology and the answer. That's just the way it goes sometimes (plus my right-brain leanings).

My biggest rabbit holes: First, like other I noticed that some of the answers were groups (like USO where the clue actually used the word "group"). That led nowhere. Neither did the fact that there were five words (like TIPPI and POPOV) where only one letter was not repeated. That led me to TVEVE -- again, nowhere.

Congrats to all who solved!
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#390

Post by Abide » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:14 pm

I was in same boat as JAQT. Over the years I recognize that letter frequency metas are my blind spot. Plus I could never determine what the theme entries were, I kept wanting to pinwheel. So for this to be “introductory” there should have been asterisks on the 5 acrosses.

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#391

Post by ccmac » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:39 pm

I was thrown off by the two long down answers, so I could never decide on the theme answers. My impulse was to think there should be 5 theme answers simply because the answer was a 5-letter word, and they should be the 5 longest across answers, but I fought against it, partly because of something that I heard in the video discussion. I’ve been off of these puzzles for a while, and I’m hoping getting back and practicing more might help. May be too optimistic though!

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#392

Post by DrTom » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:19 pm

MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:23 am
Greetings--this was a special contest for us, marking the 5th anniversary of the WSJ Crossword Contest. We are grateful to all of you for turning the contest into such a success, with an ardent and growing following of brilliant solvers including the denizens of this site. We thought this week's was particuarly ingenious, drawing 1373 entries, about 80% correct. We also tallied votes for STRIP (close, 26), DARES (why? 23), and READS (11), POSSE (5), TEAMS (3) and many many others.

Congrats to this week's winner, Seth Zubatkin of Brooklyn, NY!
Well I almost submitted DARES, which you get if you take the "outed" letters. My rationale, before I went "Naw too easy" was that the letters COULD spell that. the last clue was "Didn't I tell you" (and answer SEE!) which sounds like what you would say when Dared. Finally I got to the right letters but it says a lot about my "group" that I immediately went to STRIP! Initially I did not see how the letters lined up because I tired GRID order of the SECOND step. But when I went back and tied them to the thing they were "clued" from in the GRID it spelled TRIPS, which was the elegant answer of course. Wish I was doing as well with Monsieur Gaffney's own puzzle (MGWCC) where I am struggling mightily.

TB

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#393

Post by whimsy » Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:46 pm

KscX wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:25 pm
Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:08 pm
And the protocol for throwing the coins is to throw them with your right hand over your left shoulder.
The first coin is that you will return to Rome
The second coin is that you will fall in love with an attractive Italian
and the third coin is that you will marry the person that you met.

That is unless you are left handed and married to me.
Earworm cemented! I’m sure the song will stick with me all week now.
Ah. Too bad the earworm wasn't cemented before Mike pulled the name out of the hat for the mug.... you could have been crooning:
Make it mine, Make it mine, Make it mine...... :)

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Bob cruise director
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#394

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:59 pm

DrTom wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:19 pm
MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:23 am
Greetings--this was a special contest for us, marking the 5th anniversary of the WSJ Crossword Contest. We are grateful to all of you for turning the contest into such a success, with an ardent and growing following of brilliant solvers including the denizens of this site. We thought this week's was particuarly ingenious, drawing 1373 entries, about 80% correct. We also tallied votes for STRIP (close, 26), DARES (why? 23), and READS (11), POSSE (5), TEAMS (3) and many many others.

Congrats to this week's winner, Seth Zubatkin of Brooklyn, NY!
Well I almost submitted DARES, which you get if you take the "outed" letters. My rationale, before I went "Naw too easy" was that the letters COULD spell that. the last clue was "Didn't I tell you" (and answer SEE!) which sounds like what you would say when Dared. Finally I got to the right letters but it says a lot about my "group" that I immediately went to STRIP! Initially I did not see how the letters lined up because I tired GRID order of the SECOND step. But when I went back and tied them to the thing they were "clued" from in the GRID it spelled TRIPS, which was the elegant answer of course. Wish I was doing as well with Monsieur Gaffney's own puzzle (MGWCC) where I am struggling mightily.

TB
After the first step of finding the triple letters, in addition to DARES, I had READS and DEARS also so I quickly abandoned that rabbit hole and realized that the remaining letters spelled words (an amazing feat in itself) and remembered that sties and screwy were clues. I write all this stuff on the back of the paper that has the grid so my list had three columns 1) the answers, 2) the remainder words and 3) the answers to the clues from step 2.
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#395

Post by Inca » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:15 pm

JPMalone wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:45 am
My meta solving buddy IRL, Seth, won this week! Very proud of him :)
I always feel better when I "know" the winner. Congrats to your buddy.

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#396

Post by DrTom » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:01 am

Abide wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:14 pm
I was in same boat as JAQT. Over the years I recognize that letter frequency metas are my blind spot. Plus I could never determine what the theme entries were, I kept wanting to pinwheel. So for this to be “introductory” there should have been asterisks on the 5 acrosses.
Well I kind of backed into this one based on the wrong approach. When I noticed that all 5 long answers across (which to me are the Theme Entries until proven differently) had triple letters I figured "Picked that Berry!" and went on to find DARES (see my other discussion, also that of our esteemed Cruise Director and 23 others). But that just had no click and I had to justify my answer. Whenever I have to do that I'm wrong.

It was only by a "try everything" approach and ruminating on the outings part that I decided Id take the letters out and whadda ya know! So, wrong road, still arrived home..

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#397

Post by jenirvin » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:14 am

I was in the boat with Abide and JAQT. I had a hunch TRIPS was the answer and the one-word clues always stick out to me... but I just never got it all together.
~ Jennifer/jenirvin

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#398

Post by LadyBird » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:21 am

TRIPS was going to be my Hail Mary guess since it is 5 letters and a type of outing. I could have saved myself hours of staring at my paper by just going with my guess. But then I wouldn't have had the AHA moment, along with its endorphin rush.

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#399

Post by otlaolap » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:21 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:26 am
Submissions of 1370 is about average these days
So, updating my earlier estimate, and still probably wrong, if 1000 correct entries are submitted every week and I submit the correct answer 50% of the time, then it will take 12 years until there is a 25% probability that I will have been picked for a mug. But the challenge is really great fun. And I am enjoying the WSJ immensely.

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#400

Post by Kris Zacharias » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:21 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:45 am
Richard B. wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:37 am
I see that STRIP was a notable “wrong” answer. I can see it. To STRIP “out” a “group” of letters from the themes seems to be in keeping with the title, Group Outings. TRIPS obviously works, but doesn’t STRIP also (same 5 letters, just different order)? Not sure the grid clearly lays out the precise ordering of the 5.

Interested in thoughts from the group.

Richard
A typical axiom of meta solving that I learned from people on this board is - that you put the letters you find in the order they are found in the grid. If you do that you get TRIPS - so no need to anagram. Occasionally, you need to anagram to get an answer but those typically aren't ones you are getting the letters you are using directly from answers you pull from the grid.
The title “Group Outings” suggested to me that the answer had to be plural.

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