"Risky Business" - December 11, 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: "Risky Business" December 11, 2020


Post by Kas » Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:29 am

I’ll be the guy at the end of the ship’s bar.
They say, “every once in a while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut,” and I’m no squirrel expert, but sure—that sounds right.

This week, the “blind squirrel” that is my Meta Brain ventured out onto the freeway looking for said nut, and “found” an oncoming semi. It is what it is.

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Post by JeanneC » Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:43 am

Tony S wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:13 am
Oh, for crying out loud --- I just saw the solution when I looked at the Monday puzzle --- all I can say is that I'm glad I have other amusements in my life.
The loud sound you just heard is that of my palm making contact with my forehead! 🤦‍♀️
“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions”. Lillian Hellman

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Post by escapeartist » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:07 am

KayW wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:43 am
escapeartist wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 1:39 am
I initially had a quick solve to the Meta that was messy and inelegant but is totally related to this lovely year we call 2020, and by the rules this wrong solution is a very precarious thing to do.

Because it was messy, it clearly was not the right path.

Wondering if this answer makes it into the submissions?
I hope you'll elaborate on Monday!
Well first, the show "Tiger King" (still haven't seen it but welp ) is by far the show that marks 2020 as the dumpster fire of a year it has been.

Underneath the grid answer (aka "sub") "SUBPRIMELENDING" one can barely make out the mistaken solution to "a precarious thing to do":



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Post by lacangah » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:15 am

I fixated on the ‘consider the last across answer’ advice that comes up from time to time, and spent a few hours looking at ‘easy,’ interpreting is as ‘E as Y,’ leading to many substitutions across the grid. Somehow I was able to reboot, but I think this would be a fun meta mechanism (if it hasn’t been done already).

Have a great week,
Last edited by lacangah on Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by DrTom » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:22 am

So was 64A just a red herring or did it actually figure into the puzzle somehow? I got hung up there as well but when the real answer came EASY did not seem to have any bearing except that the puzzle was easier than I thought it would be.

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Post by Bill Bovard » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:31 am

I parsed LENDING as L-ENDING and looked for words ending in L, letters after an L, etc., especially under prime numbers. The first word I found was FOOL (11D) which seemed like a good start. (FOOL MOTHER NATURE? FOOL ME TWICE?)

Pretty sure there was a puzzle where you had to take the letters labeled with a power of 2 (2,4,8,16,32,64). Looks like it was A HIGHER POWER by Marie Kelly, 09/08/2017, and if I recall correctly the answer was ALGEBRA.
Last edited by Bill Bovard on Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Dow Jones » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:30 am

Matt Gaffney's MGWCC #469 from May 26, 2017 used the same mechanism for his Meta Contest (even using the grid-spanning "subprime lending"). Al Sisti won the monthly random drawing (for submitting all correct entries for the month). Did it seem like deja vu, Al ?

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Post by ALS » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:00 am

Forgot to post last night that I made it ashore over dinner.

All of a sudden, enlightenment hit, and sure enough, the letters were there.


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Post by debbierudy » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:13 am

One of the reasons I enjoyed this solution is my love of prime numbers. For years I taught my general math students about prime factorization with an analogy: a composite number is like a cake, and the primes that make it are like the list of ingredients. Multiply them together and voila! But it is easier to break down a number into its components than it is to unbake a cake :)

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Post by Ksoav » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:55 am

I looked at the last down clue/answer and thought somehow casinos were involved. I noticed Aria and Rio both in the grid, which are Las Vegas casinos. Seeing nothing else and no other rabbit holes, I stared and stared and stared... and had to throw in the towel!

Also thought easy could be a nod to the Big Easy and was looking for New Orleans casinos.

I think a different title would have had me looking for other paths not necessarily associated with a "business".

Props to everyone who figured it out!

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Post by KscX » Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:41 am

The syllables of RISKY are contained and rearranged in SKYWRITE and that is all I could see until someone finally put that candy bowl out of reach for me.

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Post by Bob cruise director » Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:51 am

I had several rabbit holes for almost two days. Worst one was the seven instances of RI and the fact that combination was in the title made it more convincing. And then we had the embedded words in the long answers like TORE in 56A leaving "au pair"" and then adjacent combinations like Air Mail between 33A and 28 A. And my all time favorite - looking up the areas in the game of Risk to see if they were embedded in there somewhere.

I did hit on the prime numbers early but looked in the boxes containing the primes so I abandoned that path.

It took reprinting the grid and filling it in clean to erase all those rabbit holes.
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Post by Colin » Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:56 am

Neat meta and grid,
Clouds covered the solution,
And hid Geminids! :(
One world. One planet. One future.

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Post by Tom Shea » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:14 am

I suppose I should have got this one (I recall another 'prime' puzzle). Just not to be. I do have a whinge on not including 1 as a prime number -- it is. But I suppose that would have made the answer too easy to find.

Anyway, at least Isaac isn't lonely anymore.
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Post by John77 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:25 am

<Glitch on WSJ's end. The PDF isn't available with Monday's puzzle. I will post an unofficial answer, such as I have it, at midnight, going forward.>

Wow, that almost never happens.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. —H. L. Mencken

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Post by JaneGummy » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:26 am

My rabbit hole, found Rs and Bs (for Risky Business) in the top half of the grid, found corresponding cells in the bottom of the grid (sub prime) and somehow wrestled TATTOO ART as an answer. Thankfully was yanked from that rabbit hole by Boharr 😊

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Post by flyingMoose » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:30 am

Bob cruise director wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:51 am
I did hit on the prime numbers early but looked in the boxes containing the primes ...
In my case, looked in the boxes preceding the primes. But it doesn't say PREPRIME now, does it? Sadly, I never returned to the "primes" notion. *Sigh*

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Post by higgysue » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:34 am

Colin wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:56 am
Neat meta and grid,
Clouds covered the solution,
And hid Geminids! :(
Saw those Geminids this morning. Glorious!

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Post by Commodore » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:38 am

DeMornay After
Isaac, ‘nuther round of Schlitz and Old Milwaukee for this crew. Yeah, in cans. Take those ol’ records off the shelf, and spin a lil’ Bob Seger. I cracked my egg on this one. “Cruise” director, indeed. Hmmph. Risky Business, this partying at home. (hiccup)

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Post by lbray53 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:07 am

Tom Shea wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:14 am
I suppose I should have got this one (I recall another 'prime' puzzle). Just not to be. I do have a whinge on not including 1 as a prime number -- it is. But I suppose that would have made the answer too easy to find.

Anyway, at least Isaac isn't lonely anymore.
The strict definition of a prime number is that it must have exactly two factors, namely 1 and itself. The number 1 has one factor. Kudos to the constructor for getting this right.

BTW, I know this mainly because I learned it the hard way long ago. It cost me a grade getting it wrong.