"AP English" January 8, 2021

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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ReB
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Re: "AP English" January 8, 2021

#441

Post by ReB » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:34 pm

Mister Squawk wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:44 am
mitchel674 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:19 am
I'm still stuck. I dislike the puzzles with the asterisks. I feel even worse when I cannot solve the meta and the important clues have been listed for me!
Actually, the presence of asterisked clues is in itself an important clue -- it indicates that the connection between the answers in the grid that are used to form the meta cannot be adduced from the answers themselves. So rather than trying to figure out which clues have "something in common" you can go directly to other avenues (adjacencies, spatial gimmicks, etc.).

But yeah, when I see this asterisks, my first thought is "what, does Mike think I'm too dumb to figure this out myself?"
I think the paragraph above that I've bolded and italicized should be added to the "Hints for Solving Meta Contests" Topic page. It spells out what for me and probably others has been a somewhat vague awareness.

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Bird Lives
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#442

Post by Bird Lives » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:40 pm

Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:14 pm
Yeah, that would be me. I found this odd collection in my bathrobe pocket the other day:
[/quote]

This reminds of some children's book we used to have. It had phographs, and I think you had to find different objects, though IIRC, shell casings were not among them.

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John77
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#443

Post by John77 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:02 pm

Meg wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:08 pm
Wendy Walker wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:14 pm
EVJ wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am
Favorite GL:

Group of men and one woman on horseback getting ready to hang a criminal.
Sheriff: “Who brought the rope?”
Blank stares all around.
Woman, digging through her purse: “Just a minute!
I know I’ve got one in here somewhere.”
Yeah, that would be me. I found this odd collection in my bathrobe pocket the other day:
An Allen wrench in your bathrobe pocket? That is absolutely marvelous!
Thanks! Next time I can"t find my Allen wrenches I'm looking in my wife's bathrobes.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. —H. L. Mencken

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Al Sisti
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#444

Post by Al Sisti » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:47 pm

John77 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:02 pm

Thanks! Next time I can"t find my Allen wrenches I'm looking in my wife's bathrobes.
My wife came home early once and found a wench in her bathrobe... which explains the casing too.

Andrew Bradburn
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#445

Post by Andrew Bradburn » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:56 pm

DBMiller wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:29 am
My only hiccup (That caused a minor delay), was that APexes could be TOPS and APproves could be STETS.

Took a moment to realize that the clues for both didn't match, and therefore MAXES and YESES should be used.
This was the inelegance I was referring to in my earlier post. To have such other synonyms in a puzzle where you are looking to find similar words to the set of eight AP words is misleading during the solve. I imagine the constructors would not have left TOPS in if they could have easily changed it, but too many of its letters were needed for the mechanism and final solve. Cluing it as 'pajama parts' I'm sure was to steer people away from seeing it as a synonym of APEXES, though in its other meaning it is a far closer direct synonym to APEXES than MAXES is, I think. I am so used to doing Matt's and Mike's puzzles where 'look at the other entries' comes to mind before 'look at other clues'.

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#446

Post by RichA2 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:04 pm

Andrew Bradburn wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:56 pm
DBMiller wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:29 am
My only hiccup (That caused a minor delay), was that APexes could be TOPS and APproves could be STETS.

Took a moment to realize that the clues for both didn't match, and therefore MAXES and YESES should be used.
This was the inelegance I was referring to in my earlier post. To have such other synonyms in a puzzle where you are looking to find similar words to the set of eight AP words is misleading during the solve. I imagine the constructors would not have left TOPS in if they could have easily changed it, but too many of its letters were needed for the mechanism and final solve. Cluing it as 'pajama parts' I'm sure was to steer people away from seeing it as a synonym of APEXES, though in its other meaning it is a far closer direct synonym to APEXES than MAXES is, I think. I am so used to doing Matt's and Mike's puzzles where 'look at the other entries' comes to mind before 'look at other clues'.
Despite the meta solution, not all the paired words are synonyms in a strict sense. An APRON is a garment different from a SMOCK. My understanding is that the APACHE tribes, while related to the NAVAJO, are distinct from them. APPALL has a meaning distinct from NAUSEATE. What links the words in each pair is not that they are synonyms but that they both fit squarely within the clue for the non-AP word grid entry. (Both APACHE and NAVAJO are Athabaskan languages). Realizing this is what made me recognize that it was right to use MAXES and not TOPS.

I don’t share Andrew’s view that this is an inelegance. Rather, I thought TOPS was a deliberate red herring that added complexity to the puzzle. For me, it was fun solving a multi-step puzzle with a few twists, whose solution was nonetheless accessible.

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DrTom
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#447

Post by DrTom » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:20 am

ReB wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:34 pm
Mister Squawk wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:44 am
mitchel674 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:19 am
I'm still stuck. I dislike the puzzles with the asterisks. I feel even worse when I cannot solve the meta and the important clues have been listed for me!
Actually, the presence of asterisked clues is in itself an important clue -- it indicates that the connection between the answers in the grid that are used to form the meta cannot be adduced from the answers themselves. So rather than trying to figure out which clues have "something in common" you can go directly to other avenues (adjacencies, spatial gimmicks, etc.).

But yeah, when I see this asterisks, my first thought is "what, does Mike think I'm too dumb to figure this out myself?"
I think the paragraph above that I've bolded and italicized should be added to the "Hints for Solving Meta Contests" Topic page. It spells out what for me and probably others has been a somewhat vague awareness.
Hmmm - maybe I am saying the same thing, but asterisks indicate to me that these clues/answers have something to do with the META so I should not look for other mechanisms in the clues/answers or if I do it has to be something that relates to the asterisks. So many METAs lately have been "grid based" as opposed to "long answers" (which to me was always a sort of asterisk) that I was delighted to have my frantic search somewhat focused. Granted the grid answers were not the solution but as soon as you saw it formed another word and particularly since they were such notable words (APACHE and NAVAJO in the same puzzle you have to think is a link). Anyway I LIKED it, but that is probably because I got it.

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DrTom
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#448

Post by DrTom » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:26 am

Al Sisti wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:47 pm
John77 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:02 pm

Thanks! Next time I can"t find my Allen wrenches I'm looking in my wife's bathrobes.
My wife came home early once and found a wench in her bathrobe... which explains the casing too.
But that would be an Ellen wench no? Obviously one way to get a grip on vice! I have a wordplay on screwdriver I'd like to use bit won't, afraid I'd get hammered for using such an old saw. People would be waiting to socket to me.

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Tom Shea
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#449

Post by Tom Shea » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:18 am

Al Sisti wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:47 pm
John77 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:02 pm

Thanks! Next time I can"t find my Allen wrenches I'm looking in my wife's bathrobes.
My wife came home early once and found a wench in her bathrobe... which explains the casing too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfN_gcjGoJo
Rufus T. Firefly

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HunterX
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#450

Post by HunterX » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:36 am

DrTom wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:26 am
Al Sisti wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:47 pm
John77 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:02 pm

Thanks! Next time I can"t find my Allen wrenches I'm looking in my wife's bathrobes.
My wife came home early once and found a wench in her bathrobe... which explains the casing too.
But that would be an Ellen wench no? Obviously one way to get a grip on vice! I have a wordplay on screwdriver I'd like to use bit won't, afraid I'd get hammered for using such an old saw. People would be waiting to socket to me.
Way to drill down into that subject! I'm picturing you with a chiseled jaw, nailing those puns left and right. By any measuring, tape that picture to your tool box!

(Imagining the response: "Awl, shucks!")

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JAQT
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#451

Post by JAQT » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:45 pm

Plymouthrock wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:38 pm
Glad to see others not buying into hurt feelings over the word “starve” - imagine what would happen to the Quality of puzzles if constructors had to worry about everyone’s peculiar emotions that belong in the therapist’s office and not on this forum.
Who was upset by "starve"? I looked around here, and at Crossword Fiend and the WSJ puzzle page, and couldn't find any complaints.

Just curious, as I agree with Plymouthrock's post.
JustAQuickThought

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#452

Post by Bob cruise director » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:23 pm

JAQT wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:45 pm
Plymouthrock wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:38 pm
Glad to see others not buying into hurt feelings over the word “starve” - imagine what would happen to the Quality of puzzles if constructors had to worry about everyone’s peculiar emotions that belong in the therapist’s office and not on this forum.
Who was upset by "starve"? I looked around here, and at Crossword Fiend and the WSJ puzzle page, and couldn't find any complaints.

Just curious, as I agree with Plymouthrock's post.
Post #66 and embedded spoiler
Bob Stevens
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JAQT
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#453

Post by JAQT » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:01 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:23 pm
Post #66 and embedded spoiler
Ah! That's why I couldn't find it -- hidden by the spoiler button. I still agree with Plymouthrock.
JustAQuickThought

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#454

Post by escapeartist » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:23 am

I, on the other hand, am offended by everything.

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billkatz
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#455

Post by billkatz » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:29 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:35 am

Huge thanks to DrTom for raising the Gary Larson question & to all who have contributed some of their favorite Far Side panels. It focused my mind and presented the obvious, perfect birthday gift for my twin sons: The Complete Far Side.

Sure, they have it memorized, but they were not allowed to take any of his books with them when they left the nest. When they welcome my grandtwerps to this world, someday, they'll receive the perfect parenting bible: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.
I have both those sets of volumes, and remember when they were both available at Costco. A tough time - Gary Larson, Bill Waterson, and Berke Breathed all hung up their pens at about the same time, leaving a void for their readers.

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#456

Post by hcbirker » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:51 pm

billkatz wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:29 pm
Joe Ross wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:35 am

Huge thanks to DrTom for raising the Gary Larson question & to all who have contributed some of their favorite Far Side panels. It focused my mind and presented the obvious, perfect birthday gift for my twin sons: The Complete Far Side.

Sure, they have it memorized, but they were not allowed to take any of his books with them when they left the nest. When they welcome my grandtwerps to this world, someday, they'll receive the perfect parenting bible: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.
I have both those sets of volumes, and remember when they were both available at Costco. A tough time - Gary Larson, Bill Waterson, and Berke Breathed all hung up their pens at about the same time, leaving a void for their readers.
Breathed can be found on FB and Instagram. He does occasional new strips.
Heidi

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Joe Ross
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#457

Post by Joe Ross » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:53 pm

billkatz wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:29 pm
A tough time - Gary Larson, Bill Waterson, and Berke Breathed all hung up their pens at about the same time, leaving a void for their readers.
Berke Breathed: At a college 'chemistry lab' where 300+ co-eds were testing the efficacy of alcohol, as dispersed by various cheap & virtually unpalatable brews, particularly in a 100 db environment, a diverse group of 5 or 6 very good friends were catching up on the week. Another friend approached with a couple of yet-to-become-friendly women, introducing us in turn. He introduced the last, we'll call him "John Smith," to which I proclaimed, "We call him 'Opus'." Blank looks and complete silence for several seconds until I explained, "Burke Breathed? Bloom County?"

Mr. Smith immediately fell into the nearest chair, his face in his hands, knowing the name would stick (it did - Burke's sketched Opus is a perfect caricature), the rest of the group erupted, and the two women spent the rest of the evening cheering up 'Opus' & plying him with test liquid.
Last edited by Joe Ross on Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#458

Post by KayW » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:56 pm

FrankieHeck wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:50 pm
KayW wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 3:59 pm

And the next challenge? A mystery bag jigsaw puzzle I found in my closet. No box, NO PICTURE WHATSOVER :smiling_imp:
Oooh that would be fun! Maybe we should start a puzzle swap where we just send the pieces, but not the box!
BTW I finished my "mystery" puzzle last night. I was lucky in that I could tell pretty quickly that it was going to be a photo of a Bears game at Soldier Field, and the perspective made it easy to vertically order the "people pieces". Ironically, I was working on it to distract me from Sunday's expectedly disappointing playoff game against the Saints.
Attachments
BearsPuzzle.jpg

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#459

Post by Bob cruise director » Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:28 pm

KayW wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:56 pm
FrankieHeck wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 5:50 pm
KayW wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 3:59 pm

And the next challenge? A mystery bag jigsaw puzzle I found in my closet. No box, NO PICTURE WHATSOVER :smiling_imp:
Oooh that would be fun! Maybe we should start a puzzle swap where we just send the pieces, but not the box!
BTW I finished my "mystery" puzzle last night. I was lucky in that I could tell pretty quickly that it was going to be a photo of a Bears game at Soldier Field, and the perspective made it easy to vertically order the "people pieces". Ironically, I was working on it to distract me from Sunday's expectedly disappointing playoff game against the Saints.
It could be worse. you could be a Steelers fan and then you would have burned the puzzle.
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Joe Ross
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#460

Post by Joe Ross » Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:32 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:28 pm
It could be worse. you could be a Steelers fan and then you would have burned the puzzle.
Dang. Golly. Gosh. That was a shame. Hmm.

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