"You're Surrounded" - September 25, 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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MajordomoTom
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Re: "You're Surrounded" - September 25, 2020

#421

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:08 am

after trying 2 letter state abbreviations for his "We're Surrounded" (and failing, as that wasn't the method), I say "You're Surrounded" and states and it jumped out at me.

So having these two puzzles essentially back to back (though one was his subscription, then this the WSJ) helped me quite a lot.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.

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Gman
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#422

Post by Gman » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:45 am

There were a whole set of bunny trails that could be followed by looking at state initials next to the letters IT and TI, which given the inclusion of "IT'D" in the clue for 36A, sent me down a long fruitless path. It was especially tempting because in the SW corner of the grid TI was just above AC (or IT is above CA, the most southwestern state on the continent). Sometimes you need to just pull up from a KLUDGY solution. Eventually I was dragged to shore by a fellow muggle.

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pddigi
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#423

Post by pddigi » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:47 am

I think that it would be REALLY COOL if the mug went to someone from Tennessee. Not that I’m biased or anything. 😏

PS: Enjoy this photo of a sunrise in Brentwood, Tennessee
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ArnoldMBrockman
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#424

Post by ArnoldMBrockman » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:12 am

Hi-

The Answer Is posted As TENNESSEE- Surrounded By Eight States -It Has 9 Letters. However MISSOURI Is Also Surrounded By Eight States And Has Eight Letters. I Believe MISSOURI Is Also A Correct Answer !

Arnold M. Brockman

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pddigi
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#425

Post by pddigi » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:18 am

ArnoldMBrockman wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:12 am
Hi-

The Answer Is posted As TENNESSEE- Surrounded By Eight States -It Has 9 Letters. However MISSOURI Is Also Surrounded By Eight States And Has Eight Letters. I Believe MISSOURI Is Also A Correct Answer !

Arnold M. Brockman
The specific 8 states make Tennessee the indisputably correct answer. Although Matt might have a Missouri meta down the line someday!

otlaolap
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#426

Post by otlaolap » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:34 am

C=64 wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:08 am
There are, I believe, 28 state abbreviations in consecutive letters going across the grid and 33 going down. That was a lot of static until I took another look at KludgY.
JoeS wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:40 am
After coloring in all the two letter state abbreviations in neon yellow [. . .] we were simply left with a hot mess of yellow, and nothing decodable [...].
Spent a lot of time doing this too. Looking for anything in the resulting pattern suggesting "surrounded". Then, when I began to think I'd better highlight all the backward postcodes, and diagonal postcodes, and more, it finally occurred to me that "this is a chore" -- "this is dogwork" -- "there is nothing elegant about this", and, ultimately, that the answers to these puzzles have always been elegant. So I junked this multicolored neon sheet.

I'd done the grid in ink on paper, and put down "kludge" as the first answer, unhappily, as "kludge" is a noun but the answer wanted an adjective. Later I was forced to overstrike the "E" with "Y", writing "Y" several times to make it clear. And I'd come back to the first answer several times on the basis of "kludge"-sounds-like-"clue". There was a recent puzzle with a similar hint embedded in a first answer (down, I think). And I'd noticed because of the stressed "Y" that KY was a postcode. But my mind rejected that as too remote.

So, after two or three hours total of nada, I went to bed. And in the middle of the night woke and asked myself "what if the other border answers started and ended with a postcode?". First thing in the morning, even before coffee, check: what a wonderful feeling, what a wonderful day, I got a wonderful feeling, and email is soon on its way.

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#427

Post by SusieG » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:44 am

Tennessee was my guess, but I didn’t solve it.I also thought about the USS TATE, only because I had fat fingered the crossing word and initially had USS TAPE in 36A. I was initially sure that it must be New Mexico, because the grid resembled their flag. So my mind was stuck on that, even though I found nothing to support that hypothesis. Then I just found too many state codes, and wasn’t able to see the corner initials as the only answers. I saw them all, but I saw others too, and my mind wouldn’t let go of AZreal (vs AL). Stubbornness hurt me this week.

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#428

Post by Svend » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:54 am

Not sure if anyone else said this, but I solved this differently than the posted method. I used the answers surrounding the center "USSTATE". These were "OPENTOES, INASEC, AMOEBA, and ALIGNING". Using these letters, you can spell the states: ALABAMA, TENNESSEE, MAINE, MINNESOTA, MISSISSIPPI, and MONTANA. The only one surrounded by other states is TENNESSEE.

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#429

Post by hcbirker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:02 pm

My brain kept bouncing around all those infernal postal codes and then I saw the letters around 36 across spelled HAWAII, but no way to accomplish that elegantly. Then there were all those IN's, so I thought it must be Indiana, but again, not an elegant solution. Finally went to the border entries and FINALLY got the correct answer. The clue at 36 across really held me up for awhile.
Heidi

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#430

Post by spotter » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:20 pm

For the record, I never left the ship this weekend :(

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#431

Post by lacangah » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:27 pm

Another 'Down East' response:

The M in Palermo is surrounded by Rs and Os.
The A in Left Arm is surrounded by Ts.
The I in Tie is surrounded by Ts.
[Many Ns were next to two Is.]
The E in Opentoes is surrounded by Ss.

I thought that I had made a mistake in the grid, which would explain the N. What sealed it for me is that there is a Palermo, ME and a Verona, ME.

While the state is not 'surrounded' in an elegant sense, my submission was surrounded with desperation ;-).

Have a great week - see you in a few days - cheers,

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Wendy Walker
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#432

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:41 pm

I don't often quibble, but the wording of 36A was an almost insurmountable problem for me. "If one were here" -- "one" meaning what: a person? a number? What did "it" refer to? Surrounded by what? And why the contraction "it'd" when there was plenty of space for "it would"? Just thinking that the clue "If one of these were here, it would be surrounded" would have been clearer.
BTW, the Renaissance Faire was in Manheim, PA (I didn't want to mention a 36A before the deadline!), and it was a complete blast despite the rain: jousting, falconry, a glass-blowing demo, musicians, a "Men in Lederhosen" pageant, a juggler (of battle-axes; yes, in the rain), a magician, and amazing people-watching!
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

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#433

Post by JAQT » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:01 pm

It seemed pretty clear to me that the methodology would involve 2-letter post office codes for states, especially given the abbreviation of U.S. in USSTATE.

Unfortunately, I never found the right letters. Like others, I followed the rabbit hole of finding all 2-letter combos, thinking the answer might be an omitted one, but (again) like others, that left me with far too many Indiana's and no clear direction. Plus I realized that that could not possibly be the correct approach given the half-hour solve time of some of the first posters.

I also was puzzled by the clueing in 36A (Hi Wendy!) How in the world does "If one were here, it'd be surrounded" inevitably lead to the answer of USSTATE, which I was able to suss out only by the crosses plus the hint ("one of these"). Then, plugging USSTATE into the clue we get "If a USSTATE were here, the USSTATE would be surrounded". But "here" refers to the clues, not the grid. No joy.

The puzzle beat me fair and square. See you all again in a few days.

JAQT
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#434

Post by MikeM000 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:03 pm

hcbirker wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:02 pm
Then there were all those IN's, so I thought it must be Indiana, but again, not an elegant solution.
Yes on the INs...another rabbit hole was making 3x4 blocks in the grid where the 2 "inside" squares made a postal abbreviation. I think there was either 1 or 2 IN, an MO and an NE that qualified....

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#435

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:29 pm

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:41 pm
I don't often quibble, but the wording of 36A was an almost insurmountable problem for me. "If one were here" -- "one" meaning what: a person? a number? What did "it" refer to? Surrounded by what? And why the contraction "it'd" when there was plenty of space for "it would"? Just thinking that the clue "If one of these were here, it would be surrounded" would have been clearer.
BTW, the Renaissance Faire was in Manheim, PA (I didn't want to mention a 36A before the deadline!), and it was a complete blast despite the rain: jousting, falconry, a glass-blowing demo, musicians, a "Men in Lederhosen" pageant, a juggler (of battle-axes; yes, in the rain), a magician, and amazing people-watching!
Was there an ample supply of grog?
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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#436

Post by FrancesY » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:31 pm

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:41 pm
I don't often quibble, but the wording of 36A was an almost insurmountable problem for me. "If one were here" -- "one" meaning what: a person? a number? What did "it" refer to? Surrounded by what? And why the contraction "it'd" when there was plenty of space for "it would"? Just thinking that the clue "If one of these were here, it would be surrounded" would have been clearer.
BTW, the Renaissance Faire was in Manheim, PA (I didn't want to mention a 36A before the deadline!), and it was a complete blast despite the rain: jousting, falconry, a glass-blowing demo, musicians, a "Men in Lederhosen" pageant, a juggler (of battle-axes; yes, in the rain), a magician, and amazing people-watching!
I saw your earlier post where you didn’t want to mention the state. So I googled where Renaissance Faires were happening over the weekend (there were 4) and thought the answer had to be one of them! It wasn’t...slight detour.

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#437

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:47 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:29 pm
Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:41 pm
I
BTW, the Renaissance Faire was in Manheim, PA (I didn't want to mention a 36A before the deadline!), and it was a complete blast despite the rain: jousting, falconry, a glass-blowing demo, musicians, a "Men in Lederhosen" pageant, a juggler (of battle-axes; yes, in the rain), a magician, and amazing people-watching!
Was there an ample supply of grog?
It was the Oktoberfest themed weekend, so yes indeedy! During the falconry show the falcon-master called for volunteers to come up and act as trees so that a hawk could fly between them. He picked a pair of guys in their 20s wearing identical lederhosen outfits but first asked if they were sure they could stand upright without swaying. "We've only had a pint each," they protested. The falcon-master pretended to look shocked and tapped his watch (like, "Get with it, guys!) while somebody in the audience cried, "Shame!"
Must give a shout-out to my dearest partner (NOT Mateus Man!). The Royal Aviary had a raven named Edgar who was trained to take $5 bills in his oversized beak and stuff them in the donation box. Mark was going to donate anyway but gave the three kids in front of us $5 bills so they could "feed" Edgar!
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

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#438

Post by BethA » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:47 pm

I’m with those who had a lot of trouble comprehending 36A. When Wendy posted that it seemed like a “koan”, I was in exactly the same spot, repeating it over and over. I had exactly the same feeling about the wording of the hinting clue in Color Code awhile back, which I never did solve! So frustrating to be reading an English sentence and feel like it’s in a different language!

I also colored all the 2-letter postal codes in the grid.

A few other things I spent time on, but don’t think have been mentioned:

- Explored the 6 single black squares In the grid, surrounded only by white squares. The surrounding letters at first looked like something (TRIN/EMMY, LOST/ERMA, LIFT/HAMA), but then (TETI/EDAV) And the inner two weren’t much better. Thought at first they were all character names on the TV show Lost, which I never watched...and maybe the location would turn out to be something surrounded, like an island, and the islands in the grid.

- The grid layout suggests a gun scope, focusing in on the target. There were even 2 STAGs practically centered in it, and a few other clues suggesting military or guns or hunting. This caused me to really focus on the grid area closest to the center (FAR from where I needed to look).

Saturday morning and a long walk brainstorming off and on with my husband, finally brought me around to what I thought I should be looking for - a state, surrounded by exactly the states immediately surrounding it. Even so, I still started right in the center, but gradually spiraled out, until finally, LIGHT DAWNED! I’m not even sure which one I saw first, maybe KY or VA.

Very devious for me! Again, just funny how different people’s brains work differently!

Once I solved it, had the feeling that it was very similar to another meta, where the keys were way out at the edge. But the only thing I came up with on a quick search was an MMMM one, The Wanderer was the answer, and you had to go way out to the edge of the grid and use N, E, S, W compass points to navigate to the answer letters. If anyone knows of another meta that’s closer to this week’s WSJ, I’d love to hear it!

Sorry this got so long! Had to get out my “confession” even though I did send in the right answer. Even that, agonizing over whether TN vs Tennessee....

Ps. Planning to make fondue this week, repot my spider plant, and macrame a new plant hanger for it. Hold the Boone’s Farm, please!!!

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Wendy Walker
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#439

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:48 pm

FrancesY wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:31 pm
Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:41 pm
I don't often quibble, but the wording of 36A was an almost insurmountable problem for me. "If one were here" -- "one" meaning what: a person? a number? What did "it" refer to? Surrounded by what? And why the contraction "it'd" when there was plenty of space for "it would"? Just thinking that the clue "If one of these were here, it would be surrounded" would have been clearer.
BTW, the Renaissance Faire was in Manheim, PA (I didn't want to mention a 36A before the deadline!), and it was a complete blast despite the rain: jousting, falconry, a glass-blowing demo, musicians, a "Men in Lederhosen" pageant, a juggler (of battle-axes; yes, in the rain), a magician, and amazing people-watching!
I saw your earlier post where you didn’t want to mention the state. So I googled where Renaissance Faires were happening over the weekend (there were 4) and thought the answer had to be one of them! It wasn’t...slight detour.
Highly recommended. We had a hoot! I have photos but can't shrink them enough to make them fit here.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

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#440

Post by whimsy » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:56 pm

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:41 pm
I don't often quibble, but the wording of 36A was an almost insurmountable problem for me. "If one were here" -- "one" meaning what: a person? a number? What did "it" refer to? Surrounded by what? And why the contraction "it'd" when there was plenty of space for "it would"? Just thinking that the clue "If one of these were here, it would be surrounded" would have been clearer.
BTW, the Renaissance Faire was in Manheim, PA (I didn't want to mention a 36A before the deadline!), and it was a complete blast despite the rain: jousting, falconry, a glass-blowing demo, musicians, a "Men in Lederhosen" pageant, a juggler (of battle-axes; yes, in the rain), a magician, and amazing people-watching!]
Do NOT let Cabana Boy hear of this -- he might quit and join the ren fair circuit!

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