"Fresh Start" - November 6, 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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Re: "Fresh Start" November 6, 2020


Post by Jackie88 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:53 am

Would not have figured this one out in a million years. Great puzzle

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Post by zacmoretz » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:56 am

Once again I feel dumb. @escapeartist hahahaha! *also shakes fist at Gaffney*

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Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:59 am

I thought this was a really fun puzzle, but y'know what's weird? I first saw Farrow and thought, hey, you can change that to Yarrow, which is another perennial, like Yucca. And I morphed Ronan into Conan, who also (apparently) had an SNL connection with Adam Sandler (like many other Muggles, my knowledge of SNL ends with the John Belushi/Chevy Chase era).
So I zoomed in on two of the important words early on, but by the wrong route. My first "correct" F-word find was the Phew/Finally connection.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

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Post by RichA2 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:59 am

Congrats (and admiration) to those who cracked this one. But I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time trying. No amount of effort would have gotten me to shore. For me, this puzzle was so complex that even the considerable enjoyment that often comes from an unsuccessful solve attempt was missing.

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Post by Joe Ross » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:01 am

Dplass wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:57 am
Phlox? Really?
"He's having a go at the flowers now!"

"Oh, give the flowers a chance."

Life of Brian, Python (Monty)

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Post by BethA » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:07 am

PHOFER wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:59 am
Initially I connected FILLA —> PHILA —> Atlantic City, familiarly —> RIO. (Yes, I know Philadelphia is not literally on the Atlantic. And I know no one refers to Philly as Phila. Work with me here.) The parenthetical numbers told me that RIO wasn’t right, so I thought “Could it be ‘PHIL’,” and eventually connected Hartman/ADAM. Aha!
PHoFer, I’m kind of wondering if you might not have had an advantage on this one?! 😀

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Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:07 am

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:49 am
steveb wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:09 am
Very clever puzzle, but Kas 5 for me. I was too busy this weekend to spend much time on it, and that's probably a good thing since I don't think I would have ever gotten it.
Just so!
When I saw the clue for 50D, all I could think of was your avatar and you playing it on Tuesday Zoom calls
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Post by mbryant » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:24 am

So I made it to shore but only by doing the backstroke and hitting my head on the wall like a tot at a swim meet. I found the mechanism early because of alfa/alpha, saw Pharrow/Pharoah and Ramses and saw Phlox and Yucca. But then I was confused with the numbers and went with PHewton (7 letters) to get Futon for the "F". I also knew that since the answer was six letters and there were only 5 numbered clues that there would be an F to PH conversion somewhere. In the shower, PHRASE came to me because the R was in the right place and my "F" for futon. But I could never get the "E" for faze/phase and could only see stage. I also thought there might be different mechanisms for each so went with "auto" for fill/Phil. I did see the Adam/Phil connection but didn't buy it. I did not think of frays which is much more clever than "frase" that I was trying to work to. First time I have submitted confident I was right but not sure how to get there!

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Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:31 am

MaineMarge wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:53 am
Dplass wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:57 am
Phlox? Really?
Yes, really. 19C2E197-0AB2-4257-AAAE-0FB474378C10.jpeg
I love the homophone metas!
Moor of ewe guise should get into gardening...
Phlox started me down the correct path as soon as I said the F words allowed. ( see Tips for Solving Metas in Come Aboard).
This was a reel grate meta, for shore!!
Ooooo, love me some word puns!! Hmmm, is garden a dirt-y word?

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Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:34 am

Dplass wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:57 am
Phlox? Really?
Don't you swear at us please! :D

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Post by JennyByrd » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:36 am

I was chasing rabbits down the cookie aisle - FEWTON becomes fig NEWTON and FILLA becomes NILLA... but after that the rabbit escaped behind the shelving....

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Post by Carla » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:42 am

When I have to read the solution multiple times to understand it...😂

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Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:43 am

This was one of those puzzles that seemed so hard and then something clicks (for me it was Farrow) and you say "huh, I wonder" then I did Faze and got Phase and saw that the answer STAGE was in a "Matt Spot" which added credence to my method (but not clearwater :D).Then when I counted the letters in RAMSES and STAGE and saw they matched the dreaded parentheses numbers I knew that had to be the way home. Adam was the toughest and the easiest. I knew I needed a vowel to somehow tie F R Y S together and it had to be 4 letters. That left FREYS, FROYS, FRIES or FRAYS and given the mechanism and the fact that I needed a 6 letter word it had to be A. Only two possibilities there and ALFA was more a clue than an answer. Being a SNL devotee it didn't take long to realize that Chris, David and Rob were cast member with Phil Hartman and of course so was Adam Sandler.

I don't agree with those that found the numbers useless, the SNL connection tenuous or the homophones annoying. IMHO (and that is not a homophone), this was tied together as tight as can be and everything fits with everything else. A clue in one "Matt Spot" (10A), an answer in another (74A), "F" bombs in all of the theme answers, title play on sound FRESH/PHRESH and the META answers matching the parenthetical facts.

All in all a very satisfying trip to the answer and for me, who often struggles with these, quite fulfilling. The only bad thing this week was losing Alex Trebek (oh, and the fact that because I did not pay attention to my grill last night I managed to reduce $40 worth of ribs to charcoal while entertaining friends - thank God for late open supermarkets!)

So now just three more days until I can beat myself up again - I think I may need METANON!

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Post by michaelm » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:51 am

I used the parentheses to choose the corresponding letter in the synonyms:
Adam (4) = M
Yucca ((5) = A
Stage (5) = E
Finally (7) = Y
Ramses (6) = S
Then added second synonym for Faze = Orbit (5) = T

Anagram to: MATEYS!
Synonyms = Mateys? No?
Still, feel this was my best wrong solve ever!

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Post by Dplass » Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:58 am

DrTom wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:34 am
Dplass wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:57 am
Phlox? Really?
Don't you swear at us please! :D
What? I meant Dr. Phlox from Star Trek Enterprise! :-P

LOL, what's funny is that I *was* going to mention another word starting with that sound but decided not to.

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Post by BethA » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:05 am

I might have gotten it if the title were PHRESH START.

“My mind is going. I can feel it.”

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Post by Bird Lives » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:08 am

Joe Ross wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:10 am
Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:38 am
The inspiration was a baby-name book Beyond Jennifer and Jason
Jennifer & Jason were the names preferred by couples of my age, way back when birthing children. A very good friend was a kindergarten teacher/assistant principal at an immense pre-K through 8 school and that book, she said, was her life. There were so many of each that the school started using middle names, since a standard practice of using first name, last initial yielded too few possibilities in a lot of cases. Her party stories were fantastic fun, with lots of groans & eye-rolling, lampooning of the typical parents of the day, and perfect comedic timing.

That is, until it came time to name her 2nd & 3rd children: Jennifer & Jason.

Mom, Dad, and children (plus fresh batches beautiful, intelligent grandchildren) are of the finest kind, but it shows to go how social influences will hold their sway.
Ah, the 70s. Jennifer was the #1 girl's name from 1972 to 1984. Jason never quite made it to the top but was scond for a few years and in the top ten from 1971 to 1984, so his run and Jennifer's were in stride together.

The funny thing about social influence is that people don't realize that they're being influenced. They think that their ideas of what's a cool nam are purely a product of their own reflection.

Where have all the Barbaras gone, long time passing.
Last edited by Bird Lives on Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Cap'n Rick » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:09 am

I too reverse-engineered the 'A'. Briefly considered 'AUTO', as in 'AUTOFILL' , but discounted it since it didn't follow the mechanism.

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Post by mpmanning » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:14 am

First things first, Happy Marine Corps Birthday to all the Leathernecks aboard!

But, now, Arrgh! Where did I get this headache? Where did that solution come from? That was not the beach I saw as I said I believed I was ashore! Where is the medical dispensary?

I'll be back after I relieve myself at the rail.

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Post by BarbaraK » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:18 am

The fourth row of the grid is RIO AIR TAC. Starting letters RAT which is the entry at 24D
10th row RAMSES IPOS ORR -> RIO which is 20A
Last row MEDS RTES STAGE -> MRS which is 48D - the symmetrical entry to 24D RAT!

Famous last words, "This can't possibly be a coincidence."

I looked at some other puzzles I had lying around to see if this sort of thing does happen all the time and I just don't notice, and none of them had even one example let alone three.

But no apparent connection to the theme answers kept it on the back burner, and apparently it was just a big red herring.

Also looked at JennyByrd's cookie connection among many other things before finding the PH's.