"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.
Rate the difficulty of the meta
Locked
User avatar
Wendy Walker
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:44 pm
Location: Unionville, PA

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

#441

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:08 pm

whimsy wrote:
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!
It was HILARIOUS and Cabana Boy would have been right at home. We were rooting for the guy with the sassy hat and curly-tipped boots, but they picked a guy with a waist-long beard carrying an, um, oversized kielbasa.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

User avatar
CPJohnson
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:38 pm
Location: Kingsport, TN

#442

Post by CPJohnson » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:35 pm

BethA wrote:
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!!!
The only one I can think of is 12-13-19, Out of Bounds. We had to make other words outside the grid; answer was Phil Simms (eleven from the New York Giants).

User avatar
Wendy Walker
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:44 pm
Location: Unionville, PA

#443

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:38 pm

Thank you, Brian Mac, for shrinking me so I could share! Note the authentic footwear.
Attachments
shrunkenref2 (2).png
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

User avatar
DBMiller
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:59 pm
Location: New Hampshire

#444

Post by DBMiller » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:59 pm

I was busy this weekend, and while I did look at the puzzle, I didn't really have enough time to declare myself onshore or not. I did see KY and VA in the first row, but I looked at 11a and got ME, versus 11d to get MO. Was also confused by the clue for 36A, and wondered if each state was surrounded in the grid. That led to gRIt, eGAd, pINe, and aMOr - and the only place that got me was that oHIo fit that theme, but neither Ohio nor Hawaii seemed right. I also noticed PAleMO, INertIA, LAtriNE, and ALitalIA. There was just too much to digest with so little time to work on it.

I had no time to get back to it after that. I do not know whether or not I would have noticed the down answers on either side of the puzzle if I did have more time - I just decided to find out the answer rather than spending more time on it after the deadline. So it might have been a KAS-3 or KAS-4 for me. We'll never know.

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

#445

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:26 pm

Instead of stewing this weekend over not solving the meta on my own - I created my own puzzle - first real attempt.

Its rough - very rough. Creating it using Word and Excel probably didn't help.

If anyone would like to try to solve and/or edit or comment on it - PM me and I'll shoot it to you. Easy meta - grid is maybe a 2 1/2 / 5 but that is largely a function of some inelegances in my first attempt.

User avatar
Bob cruise director
Cruise Director
Posts: 1837
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:38 pm
Location: any golf course that will take my money

#446

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:26 pm

When I finished the grid and the meta, I wondered how well our nonnative English speaking muggles fared with Kludgy (which I has seen spelled Cludgy) and Kerplop, especially since they were critical to solving the meta. These are not words that you either see in an English language course or in normal conversation.
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

MikeMillerwsj
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:46 pm

#447

Post by MikeMillerwsj » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:03 pm

We thought this was an unusually hard contest! (Translation: We were stumped.) But we heard from 1,706 of you and 63% were correct (a lower percentage than usual, to be sure, but we're still impressed with the cleverness of our solvers).

The wrong answers were literally all over the map. We didn't do a careful count but it seemed that most of the states were represented, especially INDIANA (60, why?) and MISSOURI (34) plus VERMONT (12), MISSISSIPPI (10) and many others.

Congrats to this week's winner: Skip Perry of San Francisco!

User avatar
lbray53
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 8:34 am

#448

Post by lbray53 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:12 pm

I like the idea of the clue for 36A being something like “If I were here I’d be surrounded. Following Wendy’s comment that the “would” in the contraction is pretty long signals that there could be many letters between the beginning and end. ID is a state abbreviation giving another clue. This wording also follows the personification used in the title.

User avatar
DBMiller
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:59 pm
Location: New Hampshire

#449

Post by DBMiller » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:22 pm

MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:03 pm
We thought this was an unusually hard contest! (Translation: We were stumped.) But we heard from 1,706 of you and 63% were correct (a lower percentage than usual, to be sure, but we're still impressed with the cleverness of our solvers).

The wrong answers were literally all over the map. We didn't do a careful count but it seemed that most of the states were represented, especially INDIANA (60, why?) and MISSOURI (34) plus VERMONT (12), MISSISSIPPI (10) and many others.

Congrats to this week's winner: Skip Perry of San Francisco!
Probable reasons for many of the submissions:
  • IN - Preponderance of IN's in the grid
  • MO - The aMOr/MOr/palerMO/MacprO connections
  • VT - Comes from VeT in the grid
  • MS - One of the I's in miSSiSSippi is surrounded by SS (As in uSState)

User avatar
Gman
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:47 pm
Location: Encinitas, CA

#450

Post by Gman » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:35 pm

I looked this up in wikipedia to find the odds for a poisson distribution, and if I keep batting ~80% for metas, and they average ~1075 winners per week (like this week), I have a ~50/50 chance to win one or more mugs if I compete each week for the next 20 years. Those aren't great odds.

I think I may need to order a custom mug. Anyone have any good ideas for where to order such a coveted heirloom?

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

#451

Post by TPS » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:53 pm

Gman wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:35 pm

I think I may need to order a custom mug. Anyone have any good ideas for where to order such a coveted heirloom?
I had this idea as well! :lol: :lol: I really think the WSJ should award Mugs based on the number of puzzles solved correctly - and they could even charge me for it. But like 25th correct answer gets you a starter mug, 100th gets you different mug, and 250 gets you a super special mug. The whole thing could be largely automated.

boharr
Posts: 605
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:57 am

#452

Post by boharr » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:57 pm

TPS wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:53 pm
Gman wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:35 pm

I think I may need to order a custom mug. Anyone have any good ideas for where to order such a coveted heirloom?
I had this idea as well! :lol: :lol: I really think the WSJ should award Mugs based on the number of puzzles solved correctly - and they could even charge me for it. But like 25th correct answer gets you a starter mug, 100th gets you different mug, and 250 gets you a super special mug. The whole thing could be largely automated.
And, ya know from reading this thread, coffee mugs aren't the only kind of handy mugs. :lol:

jskalitz
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 8:42 pm

#453

Post by jskalitz » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:59 pm

This marks the second time I've been 100% sure of my answer only to be wrong (the first being PAGEANT as one might expect). Here's my logic for VERMONT:

The 8 entries on the edges of the grid are "surrounded" in that they're bookended by a state's postal abbreviation. I interpreted 36A to mean we're looking for the name of a state that, if it were entered as the answer for 36A, would fit the pattern as well. That means we're looking for a 7 letter state whose first and last letter spells its postal code -- only Vermont and Georgia fit. Since GA was already used in the grid, it had to be Vermont!

I'd been hoping to make it a full 52 weeks without an incorrect answer. Maybe 2021 will be my year!

User avatar
hcbirker
Posts: 600
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:24 pm
Location: Studio City, CA

#454

Post by hcbirker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:18 pm

Gman wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:35 pm
I looked this up in wikipedia to find the odds for a poisson distribution, and if I keep batting ~80% for metas, and they average ~1075 winners per week (like this week), I have a ~50/50 chance to win one or more mugs if I compete each week for the next 20 years. Those aren't great odds.

I think I may need to order a custom mug. Anyone have any good ideas for where to order such a coveted heirloom?
My husband had one made for me for my birthday a few years ago. Try Cafe Press.
Heidi

User avatar
Wendy Walker
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:44 pm
Location: Unionville, PA

#455

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:46 pm

lbray53 wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:12 pm
I like the idea of the clue for 36A being something like “If I were here I’d be surrounded. Following Wendy’s comment that the “would” in the contraction is pretty long signals that there could be many letters between the beginning and end. ID is a state abbreviation giving another clue. This wording also follows the personification used in the title.
Yes, your suggestion for the 36A clue would have avoided forcing solvers to risk their remaining brain cells trying to figure out if "one" and "it" were supposed to be the same thing. And it would have avoided the "kludgy" contraction "it'd."
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

User avatar
BarbaraK
Posts: 907
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:37 pm
Location: Virginia

#456

Post by BarbaraK » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:53 pm

BethA wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:47 pm
nce 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!
How about this one:

https://crosswordfiend.com/2019/10/15/mgwcc-593/

Schmeel
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:38 pm

#457

Post by Schmeel » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:02 pm

I figured out what would probably be required to solve the puzzle pretty quickly. Implementing it wasn't easy.
I'm not too familiar with US geography or with the two-letter postal codes. I printed a list of the codes, pulled out a map of the US and then stared at the grid. Ultimately (and after a small nudge in the right direction) I saw the answer. It didn't help that the list of postal codes I had printed included AS for American Samoa, GU for Guam, VI for Virgin Islands and others. I kept on having to make sure that the two letters I was trying to fit into the answer were indeed two-letter codes and not gibberish!
Some of the codes are just not intuitive, at least to me. Or rather if I see the code, I can probably figure out the relevant state - but if I know the state, I can't be certain what the code will be and will need to check to make sure. This contest provided much practice for that.

User avatar
Commodore
Posts: 162
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:12 pm

#458

Post by Commodore » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:18 pm

I'm a member of the Indiana club.
Probably too many bad old beer memories triggered R. Dean Taylor:
https://www.facebook.com/70saroundsound ... 312040723/

Grover
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:35 pm

#459

Post by Grover » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:30 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:02 am
20200925 MGWCC 642 Youre Surrounded solution.gif

[EDIT: I left WI out as a "surrounded" U.S. state in my notes, when solving.]
Pretty good except you have Michigan as one of the states surrounding Iowa.

LesY
Posts: 442
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:21 pm

#460

Post by LesY » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:17 pm

jskalitz wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:59 pm
This marks the second time I've been 100% sure of my answer only to be wrong (the first being PAGEANT as one might expect). Here's my logic for VERMONT:

The 8 entries on the edges of the grid are "surrounded" in that they're bookended by a state's postal abbreviation. I interpreted 36A to mean we're looking for the name of a state that, if it were entered as the answer for 36A, would fit the pattern as well. That means we're looking for a 7 letter state whose first and last letter spells its postal code -- only Vermont and Georgia fit. Since GA was already used in the grid, it had to be Vermont!

I'd been hoping to make it a full 52 weeks without an incorrect answer. Maybe 2021 will be my year!
I considered this, too. Maybe it’ll be the mechanism another time!

Locked