"Closing Credits" - November 13, 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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DBMiller
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Re: "Closing Credits" November 13, 2020

#321

Post by DBMiller » Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:27 pm

I just felt like I was being hit over the head with the the hints to this one. Saw the six names in symmetrical locations. Saw the movie-related clue for "title" and noticed it's symmetrical answer of "clues". And with the middle row of "Hollywood endings", it was a easy solve for me - Less than half an hour from starting the grid to finishing the meta. Knowing we were looking for a three word phrase, I didn't even hit the FEOBAK rabbit hole - I took every letter I could get and got FADE right off the bat - Leaving the rest of the movie titles for confirmation of what I knew the meta was going to be.

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Abide
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#322

Post by Abide » Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:33 pm

yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:32 am
It’s true I have too little time for puzzles these days, but I should’ve got this one.
See you at the muggle meetup!
Tuesday at 4:30 Pacific
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89184367093?p ... s4YUQvdz09
You need to solve the MMM before Tuesday night, as there is a clue dedicated to you!

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Joepickett
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#323

Post by Joepickett » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:34 pm

My biggest hangup was getting my mind stuck on the "obvious" theme answers based on length and placement. After spending about 30 minutes playing with NANNYGOAT, BEANBAGS, etc and getting nothing, I took a fresh look at the puzzle and all of the actor names seemed to jump out at me. And I saw CLUES/TITLE matching symmetrically so then I knew to look at the end of the words in the titles in the clues.
I'm usually hopelessly stuck on the ship so I was glad to have a real AHA moment. It had been awhile.

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Bird Lives
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#324

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:38 pm

Barbara K (#268) says, “since Geena and Davis are both five letters and since the grid placement doesn't matter for the solution, there's no reason she couldn't have been treated like the rest.” TPS (#304) speculates that Mike might have had an unconscious bias. damefox (#308) also mentions bias on the part of constructor and audience.

Here’s a guess, one that does not attribute to the constructor any bias or motive that he didn’t realize he suffered from: Mike used GEENA because DAVIS is just too damned hard to find crossing words to fit with. I just tried it over at Crosshare, and autofill created a grid full of garbage. (I also tried it with SUSAN, and the fill was much better.)

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damefox
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#325

Post by damefox » Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:55 pm

Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:38 pm
Mike used GEENA because DAVIS is just too damned hard to find crossing words to fit with. I just tried it over at Crosshare, and autofill created a grid full of garbage. (I also tried it with SUSAN, and the fill was much better.)
Perhaps, but this does not explain why the other 5 "theme entries" are all old white men. ("Theme entries" in quotes because the whole puzzle was contained in the clues and the entries were superfluous.)

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TPS
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#326

Post by TPS » Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:04 pm

Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:38 pm
Here’s a guess, one that does not attribute to the constructor any bias or motive that he didn’t realize he suffered from: Mike used GEENA because DAVIS is just too damned hard to find crossing words to fit with.
Not to get into a pissing match but I think this shows a naivete about how puzzles are constructed in general or at least an ignorance about how Mike constructs puzzles as he himself explained during the WSJ events. The first step in his grid fill is to enter the theme answers. These were not some random clue/answers that were part of the fill. So motive or bias aside - these were clearly deliberate actors & films and if he had desired to change them it would have happened at the beginning of the process not at the middle or end.

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#327

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:12 pm

damefox wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:55 pm
Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:38 pm
Mike used GEENA because DAVIS is just too damned hard to find crossing words to fit with. I just tried it over at Crosshare, and autofill created a grid full of garbage. (I also tried it with SUSAN, and the fill was much better.)
Perhaps, but this does not explain why the other 5 "theme entries" are all old white men. ("Theme entries" in quotes because the whole puzzle was contained in the clues and the entries were superfluous.)
I don't know. Imagine that you want to come up with six movies that spell out FADE TO BLACK with the last letters of the words in their titles. Also, those movies have to have actors with 5-letter names (5-letter words are easier to fit into a grid than are longer ones) and that at least two of them have to be women. What can you come up with? (Try adding the condition that you were born in 1960 and that like most of us, you are much better at remembering the films of your youth.)

Barney
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#328

Post by Barney » Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:15 pm

I guess “old white men” is the last safe bastion of bigotry.

I thought this blog site was supposed to be safe from .... all of it.

Long time reader, first time poster,

Dow Jones
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#329

Post by Dow Jones » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:36 pm

I probably would have found the correct answer sooner if I hadn't stumbled on the fact that Colin Firth was in the Bridget JONES (46A) franchise, NANNY (18A) McPhee and A Summer In GENOA (63A). After too many hours of IMDB research (which resulted in nothing), I realized that Mike Shenk generally provides a method and path to the correct answer (without having to google or do word gymnastics). I do crosswords for the fun and challenge. The metas are an added bonus.

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#330

Post by CopperRiver » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:45 pm

pddigi wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:41 am
Three clues used the word listing (23A, 49A, 46D - with the answers title, clues, and job); two of them make sense as pointers to the answer (title and clues). It just seems sloppy to have “Indeed listing” in with the other two when it bears no relation to the meta solution. I was thinking it might be one of those movie set jobs that sound funny and are only seen in the closing credits (key grip, best boy, gaffer - although I couldn’t think of a 3-word phrase that might fit).

I am not a fan of grid-optional mechanisms in general, so add in the above and I am not overjoyed.

PS: The WSJ support team didn’t address the non-appearing and disappearing grid issues yet, instead asking me to supply info about my subscription. I joined on the teaser rate over the summer and decided to stick with it, but I’m not sure what my log-in credentials are (stored in the phone but curiously not accessible in the password list). I’ll try to respond with the correct info today.
I focused on these exact clues as well. Got a wrong answer.

MikeMillerwsj
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#331

Post by MikeMillerwsj » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:47 pm

This was certainly a sneaky puzzle, hiding the answer entirely in the clues (although several grid answers pointed the way). Unusual, but not the first time we've seen this, and a reminder that the contest constructors like to use every possible hiding place they can think of. Still an extraordinary feat of construction, coming up with six movies that do the trick, and yield six symmetrically deployed 5-letter answers!

We had 796 entries, and about 73% correct (right in line with our typical figure which hovers around 75%). A big turnout for THAT'S ALL FOLKS (58), plus HAPPILY EVER AFTER (27), THAT'S A WRAP (15), LIKE I SAID (12) and several others. (All just guesses? Or are we missing something in the puzzle?)

Congrats to this week's winner: Patty Meskill Marston of West Roxbury, MA!

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LadyBird
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#332

Post by LadyBird » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:51 pm

Dow Jones wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:36 pm
I probably would have found the correct answer sooner if I hadn't stumbled on the fact that Colin Firth was in the Bridget JONES (46A) franchise, NANNY (18A) McPhee and A Summer In GENOA (63A). After too many hours of IMDB research (which resulted in nothing), I realized that Mike Shenk generally provides a method and path to the correct answer (without having to google or do word gymnastics). I do crosswords for the fun and challenge. The metas are an added bonus.
That is where my ignorance of actors and movies saved me from that rabbit hole. Not that I haven't thoroughly explored many other types of rabbit holes in my limited time of doing metas! But it is always fun to see what you discover in those excavations. And you never know--it might come in handy for a future puzzle.

I, too, like crosswords (and now metas) for the fun and the challenge and the attempt to keep my brain agile.
ky-mike wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:51 am
(Solving hint - Always be aware of how clues are written, especially when similar clue formats are used to clue multiple grid entries.) The meta connection could have been the role each played in the movie (I went down that rabbit hole, but it wasn't too deep) or something else relating the movies and/or the specific actors to each other.

I, like others, am not a big fan of metas which can be solved without even solving the grid or a portion of it, but I do understand that is a mechanism which is used (not often) that keeps us on our toes. And in this case, I am not certain that one could have definitely solved the meta without completing the grid and looking down a few rabbit holes before circling back and looking harder at the clues. At least that was my experience.
And now I have two more tools in my meta-solving hint sheet: keep an eye on the similar wordings of clues--and the answer might be in the clues and not the grid.

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Abide
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#333

Post by Abide » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:58 pm

Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:12 pm
damefox wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:55 pm
Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:38 pm

I don't know. Imagine that you want to come up with six movies that spell out FADE TO BLACK with the last letters of the words in their titles. Also, those movies have to have actors with 5-letter names (5-letter words are easier to fit into a grid than are longer ones) and that at least two of them have to be women. What can you come up with? (Try adding the condition that you were born in 1960 and that like most of us, you are much better at remembering the films of your youth.)

Pretty tough constraint. After an hour best I could find was "Angelina of Beowulf". That's a good trade-off for Lou Grant.

I couldn't find any other movies ending in B, and very few well-known young actors with five letters other than Saoirse Ronan.

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#334

Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:53 pm

MikeMillerwsj wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:47 pm
This was certainly a sneaky puzzle, hiding the answer entirely in the clues (although several grid answers pointed the way). Unusual, but not the first time we've seen this, and a reminder that the contest constructors like to use every possible hiding place they can think of. Still an extraordinary feat of construction, coming up with six movies that do the trick, and yield six symmetrically deployed 5-letter answers!

We had 796 entries, and about 73% correct (right in line with our typical figure which hovers around 75%). A big turnout for THAT'S ALL FOLKS (58), plus HAPPILY EVER AFTER (27), THAT'S A WRAP (15), LIKE I SAID (12) and several others. (All just guesses? Or are we missing something in the puzzle?)

Congrats to this week's winner: Patty Meskill Marston of West Roxbury, MA!
Great

Now we just have to move west out Route 2 about 20 miles


Congratulations to Patty
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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Joepickett
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#335

Post by Joepickett » Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:01 pm

How about using the 2019 Indian film "Photograph"? It has a few actors with either a five letter first or last name and the extra bonus of tying in the "ph" to "f" theme from last week. Good right? Ok maybe not.

MaineMarge
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#336

Post by MaineMarge » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:15 pm

That’s All Folks was going to be my Hail Mary too
until I saw the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I did get that the 6 clued actors/movies were key, but still I followed rabbits down all the common long winding trails that have been mentioned.
I also spent a long time with the idea of animated films as brought to mind by 18A Nanny Goat ( Goat Story) 43A Rare Bird (Rio) and especially
56A Like I Said,which led me to discover that all of the actors had voice over credits in many films. And finding Geena Davis as the voice of Fiona 27D in Shreck confirmed I had to be on the right path!
Not!! Mike outdid himself with red herrings in the grid to further muddy the waters for us.
Having Geena in the grid led to many almost anagrams +/- gen, genes, Genoa, Agnes.
Great meta method for the newbies to see and to keep the rest of us on our toes.

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ReB
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#337

Post by ReB » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:50 pm

Finally got to look at the answer with justified dread. Last week I barely avoid letting a ground ball go through my legs - but this week I dropped an easy pop fly.

I got everything right, except that I looked just at the last six letters of the six film titles, which made no sense, and for some inexplicable reason didn't look at the last letters of EACH WORD in these titles. ARGH!

As they say, better luck next week...

SewYoung
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#338

Post by SewYoung » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:07 pm

Sorry to say that I just did not see this one. Should have, but didn't. I will miss the Zoom gathering tonight due to a Symphony Board meeting to plan for the December Peppermint Pops concert. Lots of logistics to work out, including moving from our usual venue for this concert which is an annual sell-out. We are restricted to 50% capacity so we are moving this concert to a local Mega-church facility. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

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#339

Post by Bob cruise director » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:35 pm

I have to go out in a few minutes and may not be back by the time the contest comes out. Could someone open the new topic for me

Thanks
Bob Stevens
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yourpalsal
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#340

Post by yourpalsal » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:09 am

Abide wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 1:33 pm
yourpalsal wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:32 am
It’s true I have too little time for puzzles these days, but I should’ve got this one.
See you at the muggle meetup!
Tuesday at 4:30 Pacific
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89184367093?p ... s4YUQvdz09
You need to solve the MMM before Tuesday night, as there is a clue dedicated to you!
Thank you for the headsup! It took me a few days, but I got off the couch!

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