"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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Scott Medvetz
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Re: "Closing Credits" November 13, 2020

#281

Post by Scott Medvetz » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:29 am

CPJohnson wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:22 am
BarbaraK wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:14 am
I have one nit with this puzzle - the inconsistency in the presentation of the names. Five of the six actors have their last name in the grid, only one has her first name there. And 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.
I took this anomaly to suggest that the actors' names weren't the correct rabbit hole.
I spent quite a bit of time with the names of the characters played by the actors. So I assumed that it was pointing us to "Thelma" as opposed to, for example, Firth pointing us to "LeDuc." That obviously got me nowhere.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

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Wendy Walker
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#282

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:31 am

I was briefly distracted by the "wooden" in 36A and really thought I was onto something with the FIR in FIRTH. Also looked up the characters that the actors played and wondered whether SANTA CLAUS (Ed Asner's role in "Elf") could be morphed to SANTA MARIA, which would fit the clue for 3D. Fortunately I then started looking at the movie titles. Tried the first letters, which yielded ETALAZCHRJP (a Lovecraft character?). Then I tried the final letters, duh. Below that on my worksheet I have FADE . . . and "that was all she wrote."
Great puzzle!
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Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

Tom Wilson
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#283

Post by Tom Wilson » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:42 am

I solved it at the literal 11th hour at the intersection of Divine Intervention and Paradoxically Fresh and Fatigued Eyes. But I, too, went down the "Spielberg" rabbit hole for quite a while ... even wondering if the "Berg" would lead to "Bergman" for a daisy chain of directors whose names were in play. Then I saw "Lean," both in full (7D) and in search of an ending (35A), and I was off and running in the opposite direction of success.

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whimsy
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#284

Post by whimsy » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:51 am

Early in the game, in my usual skimming the visual surface way, I tried to get Emma Thompson and Audrey Hepburn in on the fun with NANNY McPhee and HOLLY Golightly. Also liked the inclusion of The Holly and the Ivy. (hey, "Elf" was mentioned! :) )
And this song ran thru my head all weekend - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3oSyr8mHY4

More trickiness -- Ed Asner was Lou Grant and Sam Neill was Alan Grant.
Last edited by whimsy on Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Susan Goldberg
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#285

Post by Susan Goldberg » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:55 am

Susan Goldberg wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:33 pm
This is so frustrating. I know this will be a head slapper when I see the answer. And I’ve spent so much time staring because I know it’s right there somewhere!
More than a head slapper! Head bang against the wall! I thought I did everything possible with the movie titles except, of course, the obvious.

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DrTom
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#286

Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:57 am

It is quite amazing to me that we are all so darn similar. I tried every one of the dead ends featured here, to no avail. I was smart enough to recognize that the CLUES were the "answer" and that Titles had more than a little to do with it. In hindsight that should have led me to abandon all else and look there. Instead I did First names, last names, character first and last names, mix of real and character first and last names, common movies (Firth was in Bridget Jones and there was an answer JONES), the famed director of Sam Neill's movie (and I raided a lost arc there). But only Lovecraft or anime characters, or Welsh cities, emerged.

It was not until someone almost literally slapped me into looking at the hollywoodENDINGS that I got anywhere and then I too had to amend Thelma & Louise.

I also echo the disdain of those who don't like something that can be solved without needing the GRID or certainly not needing it much. Still it IS a mechanism and just because you don't like slider or curve balls it doesn't mean you won't be thrown one.

So congrats to all who solo solved, congrats to Mr. Gaffney who fooled us (or perhaps I should say fooled us again) and on to the next summit!

[EDIT] - see I was so confused by this puzzle that I attributed it to the wrong prestidigitator! Sorry Mike, it was you who fooled us (again).
Thanks to the person who, kindly, corrected me via PM.
Last edited by DrTom on Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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SusieG
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#287

Post by SusieG » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:00 am

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 went through this with them as well. They told me to delete the WSJ app and reinstall. I wasn’t using the app, but tried it anyway. Still didn’t work. I just use the fleeting image website now and solve with Across Lite. I like it better anyway.

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Dplass
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#288

Post by Dplass » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:02 am

BarbaraK wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:14 am
I have one nit with this puzzle - the inconsistency in the presentation of the names. Five of the six actors have their last name in the grid, only one has her first name there. And 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.
I have one nit with this puzzle (pun intended): a MITE is much more commonly known as a bug, not a "small amount". Though it is the 3rd definition... maybe Mike meant MOTE?

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SusieG
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#289

Post by SusieG » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:09 am

This is perhaps the easiest meta that I have missed.

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damefox
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#290

Post by damefox » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:19 am

SusieG wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:09 am
This is perhaps the easiest meta that I have missed.
Don't feel bad. This isn't really a meta. This is a non-meta crossword puzzle with a semi-related word puzzle next to it. As others have pointed out, the grid was basically optional. If you noticed the six similar clues, you could get the answer just from that, which when I realized that made me really annoyed that I had bothered with the grid at all.

I also agree with BarbaraK's nit about the inconsistencies in the actors' names. It's not like DAVIS was the wrong length - why put Geena in there at all? And as BrianMac pointed out to me earlier this week, why are the only actors we could come up with five old white men and one old white woman?

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TPS
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#291

Post by TPS » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:28 am

damefox wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:19 am
why are the only actors we could come up with five old white men and one old white woman?
Probably a function of the constructor being an old white man - which is why I try to get younger (and more diverse) people into crosswords (not just meta). For example, some of the clueing with Will’s Pandora’s Box puzzles are way more interesting and clever than what is in the WSJCC.

Jace54
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#292

Post by Jace54 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:32 am

I was fortunate to solve just based on 36A, and then later noticed the additional hints “title” and “clues” in the grid that fit in with the symmetry of the six theme answers.

I also then noticed 29D “blond” in the exact center of the grid intersecting with “Hollywood ending”. I wonder if that is an intentional connection to “fade to black”?

Nlobb
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#293

Post by Nlobb » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:39 am

For some reason, solving this was a personal best for me. I saw "clues" and "Hollywood ending" and right away started looking at the clues. There were 6 movies listed. So I looked at the end of each word and there it was: fade to black. This took about 3 minutes... I am used to the puzzle taking all weekend to do so I kept thinking I should work some more on the puzzle, but it was done!! This may never happen again I am sure...

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bhamren
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#294

Post by bhamren » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:40 am

DrTom wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:57 am
So congrats to all who solo solved, congrats to Mr. Gaffney who fooled us (or perhaps I should say fooled us again) and on to the next summit!
Actually this was not a Gaffney puzzle, but a Mike Shenk puzzle (or Marie Kelly in the past)

For my additions to the rabbit holes, how about the last clue being "Formerly named" along with the Clay / Ali answers. I looked up each of their "Born as" names and it is not too much different. So I looked up their Ex-spouses (and they all have one or more). This was fruitless also and I figured it couldn't have really been that since people wouldn't have said it was easy. I had looked at the last letters of the titles also, but in my notes I had written down "Thelma & Louise" instead of "And" so it didn't look like a word when it started out as faeto... so I stopped. Not until late Sunday did I see it after changing & to And.

PJM
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#295

Post by PJM » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:46 am

woozy wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:38 am
I'll just say.... I'm not all that surprised or upset I didn't get it...
Neither am I. If I'm surprised or upset at all, it's about the time I wasted on this non-meta meta.
Last edited by PJM on Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DrTom
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#296

Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:46 am

Dplass wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:02 am
BarbaraK wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:14 am
I have one nit with this puzzle - the inconsistency in the presentation of the names. Five of the six actors have their last name in the grid, only one has her first name there. And 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.
I have one nit with this puzzle (pun intended): a MITE is much more commonly known as a bug, not a "small amount". Though it is the 3rd definition... maybe Mike meant MOTE?
Probably more Biblical, as in the parable of the Widow's Mite?

Actually when you look up mote, mite is one of the listed synonyms. Mike was probably just trying not to confuse us with more homonyms (TITLE/TIDAL, MOTE/MOAT) cause I was already in a very deep wet ditch!

Schmeel
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#297

Post by Schmeel » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:53 am

I saw a possible answer that fit the title if I rearranged the names and looked at the last 2 letters of each name (closing credits?):
GEENA
NEILL
FIRTH
ASNER
JONES
NOLTE
I got N ALL THE REST E. 'All the rest' could be a three-word phrase that fits the puzzle name, 'Closing Credits' - it's the list of everyone after the stars of the film that too few view.
Looking as hard as I did, I couldn't see a reason to use that order: It's not alphabetical, chronological, or any other order I tried to find. And there are a superfluous N and E at the beginning and end. I couldn't reason that away either. But that explained why it was Geena and not Davis in the grid!
In any case, I ultimately saw (with help) the correct answer. Not my favorite, but it's not only me that needs to be pleased!

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DrTom
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#298

Post by DrTom » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:54 am

TPS wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:28 am
damefox wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:19 am
why are the only actors we could come up with five old white men and one old white woman?
Probably a function of the constructor being an old white man - which is why I try to get younger (and more diverse) people into crosswords (not just meta). For example, some of the clueing with Will’s Pandora’s Box puzzles are way more interesting and clever than what is in the WSJCC.
I believe the answer to TPS is "one man's ceiling is another man's floor" (one of my favorite answers by the way). I often struggle with some of Will's cluing because of lack of reference points, but that doesn't keep me from enjoying them. Oh, and why pick what he picked, gosh all of you who make META's know that answer inherently, because it fit the puzzle. I doubt there was an OWG agenda, but if there was, and as an OWG that never really feels that the world revolves around him (quite the opposite, wait until you start to 'disappear'), thanks for the shout out!

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Commodore
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#299

Post by Commodore » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:56 am

Colin wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:27 pm
Bob cruise director wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:06 pm
And Tiger made us all feel good by putting up a 10 on the par 3 12th hole.
Yes - I was sweating there for a minute. He was getting close to my record for a par 3.
No backside Mulligans? No pick it up and card a snowman? No "Breakfast Burrito Ball"?
And I thought Tiger Woods knew all the golf rules.

JeanneC
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#300

Post by JeanneC » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:01 am

joequavis wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:04 am
Hmm...I guess ERNA THE STELL was wrong then.
😂 You just made my day! Priceless!
“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions”. Lillian Hellman

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