"Connect Four" - December 4, 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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UTHfan
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Re: "Connect Four" December 4, 2020

#321

Post by UTHfan » Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:41 pm

holy cow, made it on shore at last moment.

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FrankH
Posts: 219
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#322

Post by FrankH » Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:52 pm

CPJohnson wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:17 am
Ashore! Realized the solution after Barcelona daughter shoved me into the correct tunnel. (On Monday, would some of you who saw the solution immediately PLEASE tell me what caused you to see it so quickly? I want to be in the solved-early-and-the-weekend-is-mine group!)
I think solving it quickly depends on whether you are on the same frequency as the constructor; if you happen to be in-sync, then the first rabbit hole you try is the correct one. A lot depends on whether you interpret the title the way the constructor intended, and whether you notice anything peculiar or out of the ordinary in the grid. For example, last week the consecutive "I I" just jumped out at me and so it took very little time to find the answer.

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Jeremy Smith
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Location: Tampa Bay area

#323

Post by Jeremy Smith » Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:56 pm

Finally onshore after some forceful pushes. I’d be embarrassed to submit on this one!

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Joe Ross
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#324

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:00 am

20201204 WSJCC Connect Four.gif

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FrankH
Posts: 219
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#325

Post by FrankH » Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:18 am

CPJohnson wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 8:17 am
Ashore! Realized the solution after Barcelona daughter shoved me into the correct tunnel. (On Monday, would some of you who saw the solution immediately PLEASE tell me what caused you to see it so quickly? I want to be in the solved-early-and-the-weekend-is-mine group!)
So for this week, I noticed that the last clue 71A is a hint to solving the meta since it is referencing other clues in the grid when Matt could have easily used something else as the clue. Then the title tells me to look for something that connects between the two halves of the pair and I found there is only one possible case for each pair. Quite often I found that I would not know how to interpret the title, or that there could be multiple ways of doing that, even if others breezed right through to the answer.

flyingMoose
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#326

Post by flyingMoose » Mon Dec 07, 2020 12:32 am

Reasonably quickly, at least for me, I saw the four three-letter strings. For some unknown reason, I tried to use them in linked-clues order (16A-29A, 31A-51A, etc). That was never going anywhere! Later that evening, I realized I should be using them in grid-order, a standard approach.

Siamese are (were?) in 17A? More southeast, I would have thought. The Minnesota Twins won their World Series in 1987 and 1991 in 11D. When the franchise was in Washington as the Senators, they also won a seven-game World series in 1924. Interesting sidenotes.

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Eric Porter
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#327

Post by Eric Porter » Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:20 am

Matt Gaffney saw my comment saying that I was disappointed with the originality. He asked
Uh-oh -- did Mike or I do this idea already?
I replied
I didn't know you read through these. I am a fan of your puzzles.

It's not exactly the same as one I've seen before, but I thought it was too similar to your last puzzle, From Top to Bottom. You are "linking" two different parts of the puzzle and use the word "linked" in 71A.

There's also Mike's Missing Links puzzle from July 10, where you get the answer by linking together 2 words in the grid.

The only difference is that in this puzzle it takes 3 letters to make the "link".

I know this is supposed to be an easy one. I would have liked these to be spaced out a little more.
I'm posting it here in case anyone was wondering. I'm not trying to be negative, but to provide feedback to improve these puzzles. Kudos to Matt for asking me to explain.

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MikeM000
Posts: 111
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#328

Post by MikeM000 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:24 am

Did anyone else notice this and get sent down a transdeletenagram rabbit hole?
painstaking.JPG

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CPJohnson
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#329

Post by CPJohnson » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:51 am

Eric Porter wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:20 am
Matt Gaffney saw my comment saying that I was disappointed with the originality. He asked
Uh-oh -- did Mike or I do this idea already?
I replied
I didn't know you read through these. I am a fan of your puzzles.

It's not exactly the same as one I've seen before, but I thought it was too similar to your last puzzle, From Top to Bottom. You are "linking" two different parts of the puzzle and use the word "linked" in 71A.

There's also Mike's Missing Links puzzle from July 10, where you get the answer by linking together 2 words in the grid.

The only difference is that in this puzzle it takes 3 letters to make the "link".

I know this is supposed to be an easy one. I would have liked these to be spaced out a little more.
I'm posting it here in case anyone was wondering. I'm not trying to be negative, but to provide feedback to improve these puzzles. Kudos to Matt for asking me to explain.
Eric, There are some of us who are grateful to see a meta using a tactic we've seen before! :roll: Please don't encourage Matt and Mike to make them any more devious. :lol:
Cynthia

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CPJohnson
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#330

Post by CPJohnson » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:53 am

MikeM000 wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:24 am
Did anyone else notice this and get sent down a transdeletenagram rabbit hole?

painstaking.JPG
You'll have to define transdeletenagram before I can answer.
Cynthia

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Wendy Walker
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Location: Unionville, PA

#331

Post by Wendy Walker » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:31 am

This one was a quick solve for me just because of the title, reinforced by the clue to 71A. The "linking letters" strategy was the first one I tried and bingo, there it was!
Might I remind Muggles that it is JUST NOT CRICKET to offer detailed critiques of the meta answer before the deadline, no matter how neatly argued and well observed? There were some real spoilers this week.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday.

MaineMarge
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:57 pm

#332

Post by MaineMarge » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:45 am

MikeM000 wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:24 am
Did anyone else notice this and get sent down a transdeletenagram rabbit hole?

painstaking.JPG
Me! When I saw Pakistanis +1 in painstaking, I started digging down a rabbit hole that almost got me to China- especially since there were so many Oriental references in the puzzle.
Eventually I did link up the pairs of grid words with the long answers, but was using only the intersecting letters and not seeing the next step for a very long time.
Kudos to you all who saw it right away.
Good job, Matt.
And great new word, MikeM000.

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Prozach
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Location: Columbus, OH

#333

Post by Prozach » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:50 am

MikeM000 wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:24 am
Did anyone else notice this and get sent down a transdeletenagram rabbit hole?

painstaking.JPG
yes, I did for just a little bit. But I refused to let go of the 71A Linking because it was so strong. I did take a while with this one. I had a different rabbit hole to go through, which would be an awesome mechanic, actually, for the future :-)

minimuggle
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2020 7:33 am

#334

Post by minimuggle » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:56 am

OK, I am new to this so I am still amazed at how quickly you all get to shore. I went down an "inout" rabbit hole and a "shut eye" (shut i) rabbit hole which I won't even describe and finally thought I had it when I focused on "connect four". I looked at the words in the puzzle connected to "four" (or "fore) and got foreclose and four iron. And since fore and four are homonyms I went with "clothes iron". But I was not confident about that especially when I saw all of your confidence at having your feet on shore. Kudos to all of you. Guess I'll have to wait another week to put my feet in the sand.

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LadyBird
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#335

Post by LadyBird » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:57 am

MikeM000 wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:24 am
Did anyone else notice this and get sent down a transdeletenagram rabbit hole?

painstaking.JPG
What in the world is the definition? I can find it nowhere (admittedly, in my 30 second search.

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Bird Lives
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Contact:

#336

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:59 am

Color is very useful. I screenshot the grid, pasted it into Paint, and drew boxes of different colors around the two parts of each theme entry. Once I had done that, the links between them became obvious. Even better for this is the shading you can do in the Excel version that Joe Ross paints. Anyway, as somebody said, everything works worse in black and white, or something like that.
.
Solution.jpg

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KscX
Posts: 66
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Location: Charlotte, NC

#337

Post by KscX » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:06 am

The last three weeks have been very grid-oriented. I’d expect we return to theme answers soon...although, because the connectors all came from the long answers, would you consider this a themer?

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Gman
Posts: 63
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Location: Encinitas, CA

#338

Post by Gman » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:09 am

Eric, There are some of us who are grateful to see a meta using a tactic we've seen before! :roll: Please don't encourage Matt and Mike to make them any more devious. :lol:
[/quote]

Any time I recognize a technique, I am very grateful to have my weekend back! :D

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MikeM000
Posts: 111
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Location: Metro Detroit

#339

Post by MikeM000 » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:15 am

CPJohnson wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:53 am
MikeM000 wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:24 am
Did anyone else notice this and get sent down a transdeletenagram rabbit hole?

painstaking.JPG
You'll have to define transdeletenagram before I can answer.
A made up word based off "transdeletion" and "addagram" -- something that looks like it should be an anagram and you spend 5 minutes looking at it sideways to double and triple check but, nope, it actually isn't.

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TMart
Posts: 495
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#340

Post by TMart » Mon Dec 07, 2020 9:21 am

Bird Lives wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:59 am
Color is very useful. I screenshot the grid, pasted it into Paint, and drew boxes of different colors around the two parts of each theme entry. Once I had done that, the links between them became obvious. Even better for this is the shading you can do in the Excel version that Joe Ross paints. Anyway, as somebody said, everything works worse in black and white, or something like that.
.

Solution.jpg
I do the same, but not as high tech - I print from AcrossLite and use crayons. Because at my age, any day you get to use crayons is a good day.

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