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

#341

Post by cherikee » Mon Nov 09, 2020 3:38 pm

I've learned that I have an easier time with puzzles that have clear theme answers, no matter how difficult the rest of it is. Something about being able to focus all my energy on a handful of clues instead of scanning the whole puzzle helps me a lot.

I saw the FARROW -> RAMSES connection pretty early on and went looking for others. I thought FLOCKS was a deal-breaker, until I googled homophones. Then I had to google what Phlox was, and THEN I had to google what a perennial is. I never made the Phil -> Adam connection but, like others, didn't need it. Ended up with a Thursday solve, broke a losing streak, and learned a little something along the way.

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DrTom
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#342

Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:03 pm

LadyBird wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:45 pm
BethA wrote:
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.”
Your lost mind is reading my lost mind! I had a streak of 8 solves--which has now been followed by 3 misses (either clueless or needing a nudge). I thought crosswords were supposed to ward off Alzheimers, but now I'm worried that it is nipping at my heels.

I noticed the F words in each long answer right away. I even noticed the FARROW/PHARAOH/RAMSES connection but didn't take it any further. Because I was too busy chasing that darn rabbit (or is it that F rabbit?) in and out of the wrong holes! I went through some of the same ones mentioned already. And I learned that 76455 is the zip code for Gustine, TX. So there's that.

And how can there not be significance to ALFA and then also the last two letters WYE/ZEE?
Well, it is definitely the F rabbit and I KNOW I have called it that, if not this week then certainly before.

I thought that ALFA WAS significant (haven't read the fiend yet so don't know if it was mentioned) but it is in a MATT SPOT (4 corners or middle) and the common way it is spelled as a Greek letter ALPHA and the way it is here ALFA really is the mechanism of the whole puzzle?

Yes WZ was a red herring, unless of course we were supposed to be WZ enough to disregard it or PHY and PHZ are interchangeable notations for Physics, or - stop me before I free associate to death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

flyingMoose
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#343

Post by flyingMoose » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:07 pm

LadyBird wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 2:45 pm
And I learned that 76455 is the zip code for Gustine, TX. So there's that.
Which is where my sister-in-law grew up! Definitely a wide spot in the road, not even a traffic light.
Last edited by flyingMoose on Wed Nov 11, 2020 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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ReB
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#344

Post by ReB » Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:39 pm

This week I found rather quickly the mechanism of a meta puzzle where lots of other people were tearing their hair out. Usually I'm on the other side of that divide.

But, I almost committed the worst (meta) blunder since Bill Buckner's in the 1986 World Series.

That is, I noticed very quickly that each of the theme answers had a word starting with an "F" (along with the puzzle title) - and decided that was unusual enough to look closer. This led me to think that these words would point to other puzzle answers. I started sounding out the words and then noticed that if I replaced the F in FARROW with a PH that I generated a homonym PHARAOH which I remembered was the title of RAMSES.

Since I thought this was probably not a coincidence, I looked at the other answer., FLOCKS went to PHLOX which I knew was a plant name which then took me to YUCCA. FEW to PHEW took a bit longer to find FINALLY, and FILL to PHIL sent me looking for another first name, and I found ADAM and googled to confirm that PHIL was the first name of another SNL castmate.

So I had four of five theme answer words.

Unfortunately, I then hit a sandbar with a pair of errors. First, for FAZE to PHASE, I overlooked STAGE and instead settled on AGE, although I couldn't see how that would work with the numbers, which were still a mystery to me despite various interspersed dead end efforts to generate something.

Second, since we had five theme words and a six-letter answer, I thought that the title might generate the sixth letter, I looks at FRESH, and ignoring that it didn't have a PH homonym, I saw (Smart) ALECKS and though that was the sixth theme answer (generating an S or an A). So then AFRAYA and SFRAYA didn't work, but when I tried possible anagrams and googled for them, I found that there was a word AFFRAYS, and thought I had found the answer word - overlooking the double-F and thinking it was a single F.

So I announced that I was on shore and was getting ready to submit AFRAYS when I looked again and saw my spelling mistake, and thus fielded the ground ball coming between my legs just in time (generating a retraction comment).

Then after recovering from my close call, as I looked again, inspiration struck and I saw that the theme answer numbers corresponded to the number of letters in the grid answer words, which told me that I was looking for a five-letter word for PHASE. With the limited number of such words in the grid, I found STAGE, which was a much better analog than AGE anyway, and now had FRAYS, which was a real word.

At around the same time, having solved the numbers riddle, I decided to abandon the title as a letter generator and thereupon noticing that that FRAYS was another "F" word, I substituted a PH, and it sounded out to PHRASE, which was a six-letter noun (which also fit the title). Now I knew that everything had fallen into place.

In any case, I stepped on first plate just in time for the final out, clinching a World Series win. Didn't get a WSJ mug for my efforts, though...

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Mister Squawk
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#345

Post by Mister Squawk » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:19 pm

MattGaffney wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:37 pm
Mister Squawk wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 5:43 am

First, the FILL -> PHIL -> ADAM connection was bogus, as Phil Hartman and Adam Sandler did not overlap as SNL cast members.
They did, from 1990-1994.
I stand corrected! I used Wikipedia for my reference, but I misread Samberg for Sandler and got the dates wrong. No fair using that one for a future meta.

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Mister Squawk
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#346

Post by Mister Squawk » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:21 pm

Oh, and did you know that "Fil Adam" is Turkish for "Elephant Man"? (Fil being an only slightly dubious English homophone for Fill.)

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DrTom
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#347

Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:28 pm

ReB wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:39 pm
This week I found rather quickly the mechanism of a meta puzzle where lots of other people were tearing their hair out. Usually I'm on the other side of that divide.

But, I almost committed the worst (meta) blunder since Bill Buckner's in the 1986 World Series.

That is, I noticed very quickly that each of the theme answers had a word starting with an "F" (along with the puzzle title) - and decided that was unusual enough to look closer. This led me to think that these words would point to other puzzle answers. I started sounding out the words and then noticed that if I replaced the F in FARROW with a PH that I generated a homonym PHARAOH which I remembered was the title of RAMSES.

Since I thought this was probably not a coincidence, I looked at the other answer., FLOCKS went to PHLOX which I knew was a plant name which then took me to YUCCA. FEW to PHEW took a bit longer to find FINALLY, and FILL to PHIL sent me looking for another first name, and I found ADAM and googled to confirm that PHIL was the first name of another SNL castmate.

So I had four of five theme answer words.

Unfortunately, I then hit a sandbar with a pair of errors. First, for FAZE to PHASE, I overlooked STAGE and instead settled on AGE, although I couldn't see how that would work with the numbers, which were still a mystery to me despite various interspersed dead end efforts to generate something.

Second, since we had five theme words and a six-letter answer, I thought that the title might generate the sixth letter, I looks at FRESH, and ignoring that it didn't have a PH homonym, I saw (Smart) ALECKS and though that was the sixth theme answer (generating an S or an A). So then AFRAYA and SFRAYA didn't work, but when I tried possible anagrams and googled for them, I found that there was a word AFFRAYS, and thought I had found the answer word - overlooking the double-F and thinking it was a single F.

So I announced that I was on shore and was getting ready to submit AFRAYS when I looked again and saw my spelling mistake, and thus fielded the ground ball coming between my legs just in time (generating a retraction comment).

Then after recovering from my close call, as I looked again, inspiration struck and I saw that the theme answer numbers corresponded to the number of letters in the grid answer words, which told me that I was looking for a five-letter word for PHASE. With the limited number of such words in the grid, I found STAGE, which was a much better analog than AGE anyway, and now had FRAYS, which was a real word.

At around the same time, having solved the numbers riddle, I decided to abandon the title as a letter generator and thereupon noticing that that FRAYS was another "F" word, I substituted a PH, and it sounded out to PHRASE, which was a six-letter noun (which also fit the title). Now I knew that everything had fallen into place.

In any case, I stepped on first plate just in time for the final out, clinching a World Series win. Didn't get a WSJ mug for my efforts, though...
That is a long way round the bases to home.....
Last edited by DrTom on Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mpmanning
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#348

Post by mpmanning » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:49 pm

ky-mike wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:09 am
I've been mugged!

With 1 of only about 520 or so correct entries this week, I won the mug lottery!

I guess the time is coming for a new avatar. Maybe the mug with Rabbit Hole bourbon in it ;)
Congrats on winning the mug lottery - a doubly challenging achievement!

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mpmanning
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#349

Post by mpmanning » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:57 pm

DrTom wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:42 pm
mpmanning wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:39 am
DrTom wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:32 am


So, what ship is that sitting in the harbor? Looks vaguely familiar?
That is my former cruise ship - a Navy guided missile light cruiser, the USS Little Rock (CLG4) moored on a buoy in her homeport of Gaeta Italy. The photo is a navy file photo. She is currently decommissioned and serving an emeritus role as a museum ship on Lake Erie in the Buffalo NY Naval and Military Heritage Park. Her namesake, the current USS Little Rock (LCS9), is a lighter, faster, more stealthy, more high tech deadly cruise ship homeported in Mayport, not far from you.
Well I said vaguely familiar because I recognized the Talos battery aft. I was on the Columbus (CG-12 - converted Baltimore class) but know of the Little Rock because it replaced the Springfield which replaced the Des Moines (my Dad's ship when we were stationed in Villefranche-Sur-Mer) as flagship.

USS Columbus CG-12 (which we all said meant constantly gone 12 months of the year)


220px-USS_Columbus_(CG-12)_underway_c1963.jpg
If you can spot a Talos missile battery from that grainy avatar, the NSA needs you now!

SewYoung
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#350

Post by SewYoung » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:02 pm

John77 wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:36 am
Dplass wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:57 am
Phlox? Really?
It certainly isn't popular with me. Whenever I've planted it, it never survived longer than about three weeks.
I know "Phlox" and I know "Yucca" but never would have associated one with the other. Also did not connect "Ramses" with "Farrow" as I would pronounce one "FAYRO" and the other "F" "ARROW".
I did not solve this meta.

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DrTom
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#351

Post by DrTom » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:12 am

mpmanning wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:57 pm
DrTom wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:42 pm
mpmanning wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:39 am


That is my former cruise ship - a Navy guided missile light cruiser, the USS Little Rock (CLG4) moored on a buoy in her homeport of Gaeta Italy. The photo is a navy file photo. She is currently decommissioned and serving an emeritus role as a museum ship on Lake Erie in the Buffalo NY Naval and Military Heritage Park. Her namesake, the current USS Little Rock (LCS9), is a lighter, faster, more stealthy, more high tech deadly cruise ship homeported in Mayport, not far from you.
Well I said vaguely familiar because I recognized the Talos battery aft. I was on the Columbus (CG-12 - converted Baltimore class) but know of the Little Rock because it replaced the Springfield which replaced the Des Moines (my Dad's ship when we were stationed in Villefranche-Sur-Mer) as flagship.

USS Columbus CG-12 (which we all said meant constantly gone 12 months of the year)


220px-USS_Columbus_(CG-12)_underway_c1963.jpg
If you can spot a Talos missile battery from that grainy avatar, the NSA needs you now!
Well I did have an advantage. At first I thought it was "The Tall Lady" and in trying to confirm I knew where to look. That launcher is pretty distinctive. As a hull tech and lead fire crew I had the dubious distinction of standing by with a crew when a bird failed to fly one day during practice in the Med. Staring, rather fixedly, at a launcher makes an indelible impression.

Oddly enough the one on the bow is less distinctive?

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HeadinHome
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#352

Post by HeadinHome » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:01 am

Like many I got as far as the list of F words and making them the correct PH words.. though I was doubtful about PHEW.. thinking that isn’t how that’s spelled if it is even a real word. I think if I had gone through all the words again I would have noticed the Pharoah/Ramses pair, but my post-(literal)beach-trip coma was just too much to overcome. The rest of the pairs — especially Phil/Adam — would likely not have waved at me, not being familiar with the 90s SNL cast as a set.
Congrats to you clever solvers running on all cylinders, and to this week’s mugged muggle. MAY be able to jump on the meeting tonight so maybe will see some of you there.

Nlobb
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#353

Post by Nlobb » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:18 pm

I had no problem with Phil - Adam since they are both men's names. I never remember actors names very well anyway so the SNL reference didn't confuse me.

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CPJohnson
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#354

Post by CPJohnson » Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:09 pm

BethA wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:36 am
Kas 5. Did not even submit a guess!

Sunday after lunch I finally thought I was into something. Had sort of put the theme answers temporarily aside, except took “FILL A VOID” as a directive. Meaning to put a letter in a black square to form a new word from surrounding letters, and having the length of the parenthetical numbers. Right at the top AL (from ORAL) + F + ALFA = ALFALFA, which ties into the title FRESH start, and also the 1A clue Stalks in a field. Went on to find coRn, onIon, and appLe, all FRESH produce. Could never find a 6-letter fruit or veg, which I thought might use 2 black squares in order to get to a 6-letter answer.

So, with the letters I had found, F_ _ R I L, I got nothing, but most of the letters of FAIL!

Glad to move on, and enjoy a few more days of great weather...
I did the same thing, assuming a letter needed to be inserted in a black square to make a word of the proper length. I got 6 letters by inserting 2 letters between RAT and R (left side). I also found fRagile, appLe, nEon, and sPare. R,L,E,P plus the HE in ratHEr, gives HELPER. Anagramming needed, though. Oh, well. Maybe I'll get the next "sounds like" meta!
Cynthia

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CPJohnson
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#355

Post by CPJohnson » Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:18 pm

hcbirker wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:34 am
Well I ended up on the wrong shore. Won't say how I got there because it's too stupid. Let's just say that "fill a void" had me looking at filling in black squares and I came up with an answer I liked.
I'll bet yours wasn't as stupid as mine! See post 354.
Cynthia

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CPJohnson
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#356

Post by CPJohnson » Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:22 pm

Joepickett wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:24 am
hcbirker wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:34 am
Well I ended up on the wrong shore. Won't say how I got there because it's too stupid. Let's just say that "fill a void" had me looking at filling in black squares and I came up with an answer I liked.
Yes I was trying the same thing for awhile!
Gaffney did that or someone did with BROKEN BOTTLES many puzzles back.
I remembered that one....also Continuing Education (Mellon). Both were Mike Schenk.
Cynthia

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Streroto
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#357

Post by Streroto » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:14 pm

Colin wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:54 pm
Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:59 am
My first "correct" F-word find was the Phew/Finally connection.
Mine was when I read the ‘how to defuse (dephuse?) an atomic bomb’ instructions to the solution this morning!
My first and many subsequent F word about this puzzle was not in the grid...

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Hector
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#358

Post by Hector » Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:45 pm

I don't always, often DNFing, etc., but I had a banner week, and I'll celebrate that while awaiting the inevitable comeuppance.

ricky
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#359

Post by ricky » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:29 am

CPJohnson wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 6:09 pm
BethA wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:36 am
Kas 5. Did not even submit a guess!

Sunday after lunch I finally thought I was into something. Had sort of put the theme answers temporarily aside, except took “FILL A VOID” as a directive. Meaning to put a letter in a black square to form a new word from surrounding letters, and having the length of the parenthetical numbers. Right at the top AL (from ORAL) + F + ALFA = ALFALFA, which ties into the title FRESH start, and also the 1A clue Stalks in a field. Went on to find coRn, onIon, and appLe, all FRESH produce. Could never find a 6-letter fruit or veg, which I thought might use 2 black squares in order to get to a 6-letter answer.

So, with the letters I had found, F_ _ R I L, I got nothing, but most of the letters of FAIL!

Glad to move on, and enjoy a few more days of great weather...
I did the same thing, assuming a letter needed to be inserted in a black square to make a word of the proper length. I got 6 letters by inserting 2 letters between RAT and R (left side). I also found fRagile, appLe, nEon, and sPare. R,L,E,P plus the HE in ratHEr, gives HELPER. Anagramming needed, though. Oh, well. Maybe I'll get the next "sounds like" meta!
That's what I did. I thought WYE / ZEE was a clue given that there was also OWE, ARE, alECKS and TEEm. Spent a bunch of time trying to put those letters into black blocks leading (down from? across? near?) the theme entries. Also found FrAGILE, NoON, and a few others but it didn't add up to anything despite looking very much like it was a solution in the making.

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DrTom
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#360

Post by DrTom » Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:25 am

Fun Muggle Zoom this evening and quite informative. We learned that we have at least two National TV stars who have appeared on Game Shows. One, "Bird Lives" was a Jeopardy contestant but so far back that a big day's win was $500 (which was probably only slightly more than needed to pay the stagecoach that dropped him off) and another, "Abide", was a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant along with his daughter(if you are curious it was the Thanksgiving show from 2000) and they got to play because they knew their Alien TV shows! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKPXxqN ... I&index=61

Don't miss these folks they are a lot of fun and who knows what kind of TV talent you'll see!

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