Joe Ross' Guide to Solving the WSJ Meta with Excel

This is a place to learn about the Muggles community and some of the terminology we use. It also contains suggested strategies for solving meta crosswords, as well as a repository of all past WSJ crossword contests and solutions.
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Joe Ross
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Re: Joe Ross' Guide to Solving the WSJ Meta with Excel

#81

Post by Joe Ross » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:05 pm

Link to 202010 WSJ CC Third Time's a Charm spreadsheet

EDIT: Apologies to anyone who may have downloaded the spreadsheet with my entries & thoughts on it.

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Joe Ross
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#82

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:55 am

Solved only the Theme Answers, got the initials SET AMT, and searched for 6-lettered synonyms and thought, "DOSAGE?" Further searching found "PERCENT" and others.

Finished solving the grid, while noticing the DOUBLES, then found the third instances & "ALLURE" and submitted.

Filled in the grid on the spreadsheet and highlighted & circled by way of explanation.

20200110 Third Time's the Charm JPR.gif


Inca
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#84

Post by Inca » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:57 am

Truly appreciate these spreadsheets that you post.
The "background" (i.e. the clues) seem to be rather greyish (instead of black) or blurred. Is that just my computer or is it intentional. Any way that I can darken it?

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Joe Ross
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#85

Post by Joe Ross » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:25 pm

Inca wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:57 am
The "background" (i.e. the clues) seem to be rather greyish (instead of black) or blurred. Is that just my computer or is it intentional. Any way that I can darken it?
Inca,

I've adjusted the current puzzle's PDF transparency to 35%. Click on the link, again, to reopen/download. You may wish to adjust the PDF's transparency up or down, per the following:

Adjust PDF Transparency.png

Inca
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#86

Post by Inca » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:55 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:25 pm
Inca wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:57 am
The "background" (i.e. the clues) seem to be rather greyish (instead of black) or blurred. Is that just my computer or is it intentional. Any way that I can darken it?
Inca,

I've adjusted the current puzzle's PDF transparency to 35%. Click on the link, again, to reopen/download. You may wish to adjust the PDF's transparency up or down, per the following:


Adjust PDF Transparency.png
I assumed that I had to change the transparency. My problem is that in my version of windows I cannot find it in the Picture Format Tools:
Image
Attachments
Picture Format Tool Ribbon.PNG

Inca
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#87

Post by Inca » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:57 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:25 pm
Inca wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:57 am
The "background" (i.e. the clues) seem to be rather greyish (instead of black) or blurred. Is that just my computer or is it intentional. Any way that I can darken it?
Inca,

I've adjusted the current puzzle's PDF transparency to 35%. Click on the link, again, to reopen/download. You may wish to adjust the PDF's transparency up or down, per the following:


Adjust PDF Transparency.png
Oh and when I right click on the image all i get is Move Here, Copy Here or Cance. I do not get the formatting options

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Joe Ross
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#88

Post by Joe Ross » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:08 pm

Inca wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:55 pm
My problem is that in my version of windows I cannot find it in the Picture Format Tools:
Two things:

I've changed the PDF transparency in the linked spreadsheet. It's the same, original link. Have you tried it? Is it dark enough?

Screenshot_20200119-165834.png
In your menu, try the down arrow to the right of "Picture Effects". If that doesn't lead you to Picture Transparency, try the square/southeast-pointing-arrow at the bottom-right of the image for more options, possibly Picture Transparency.

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Joe Ross
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#89

Post by Joe Ross » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:26 pm

Below is an older puzzle with 40% Picture Transparency for the PDF of the clues & blank grid, with a PDF of the solved grid below, which was snipped from the Monday solution.

20190906 WSJCC Squeeze Play.gif

I am chronicling available past puzzles, with their solutions. The hope is to post them in a new Topic (with proper permissions, natch), to make it easy for muggles to browse them and their designs/mechanics.

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#90

Post by Inca » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:33 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:08 pm
Inca wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:55 pm
My problem is that in my version of windows I cannot find it in the Picture Format Tools:
Two things:

I've changed the PDF transparency in the linked spreadsheet. It's the same, original link. Have you tried it? Is it dark enough?



In your menu, try the down arrow to the right of "Picture Effects". If that doesn't lead you to Picture Transparency, try the square/southeast-pointing-arrow at the bottom-right of the image for more options, possibly Picture Transparency.
Thanks so much for your help.
In the end, I did look through all the options and only found transparency under a section called "Shadow" and interestingly enough it was at 100%. So I wasn't changing that. However, I did change the Contrast to 100% and the Brightness to -38% and that helped.
I think this must have something to do with opening the file in a different version of Excel. (But it does seem strange that Transparency now is under Shadow???)
Format Pictures Window.PNG

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Joe Ross
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#91

Post by Joe Ross » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:51 pm

You're welcome! I hope it helped you.
Inca wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:33 pm
But it does seem strange that Transparency now is under Shadow?
That transparency is likely for the shadowing, only.

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KayW
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#92

Post by KayW » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:55 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:26 pm
I am chronicling available past puzzles, with their solutions. The hope is to post them in a new Topic (with proper permissions, natch), to make it easy for muggles to browse them and their designs/mechanics.
Joe you got my vote! This is a fabulous idea and very generous of you to offer to share with the rest of us. In addition to reviewing the meta hints forum - which has helped me early and often! -
reviewing older metas and their mechanisms is another trick I try when I am stuck. But I find it a pretty cumbersome process.

Also I feel your efforts should be awarded with at least an honorary mug ☕️... Oh wait someone already gave you one of those, didn’t they?

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Joe Ross
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#93

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:33 pm

Testing a typical posting for one month of past Crossword Contest combined PDFs & Solutions. They will likely be in a new Topic.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MARCH 2017

20170303 WSJCC Go Down for the Count.gif

20170310 WSJCC What Should I Be.gif

20170317 WSJCC Now You See It - Now You Don't.gif

20170324 WSJCC Star Search.gif

20170331 WSJCC Name That Species.gif



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#96

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:23 am

A lesson in how to spend days in Rabbit Holes:

RH#1:
--Saw 50A LAKE SALMON & 45A EERIER, which solidly put LAKE ERIE in this Ohio mind
--This gave this stubborn Ohioan the idea to lose the first and last letters of grid words to find the proper names for the other bodies of water.
--With the help of Wikipedia, soon found 59A RIVER PRAWN & 29D POISED for OISE RIVER (France)
--With the help of Wikipedia, soon found 17A BAY SCALLOP & 4D PUSHKIN for USHKI BAY (Russia)
--Stubborn mind is mumbling, "Game, set, & ...!"
--Stubborn mind sees 24D CHESS & 51D APEAK, but they don't fit the pattern...
--Stubborn mind sees 62D ARK & 22A TICK, but they don't fit the pattern...
--With the help of Wikipedia, ibuprofen for the alphabet hangover, and a night's sleep, found 40A SEA BASS & 31D PESTOS for SETO INLAND SEA (Japan), anagram be damned
--Stubborn mind is slightly assuaged, but starting to head for the sideline tent to submit to concussion protocol
--Stubborn mind is mumbling, "What's with these number pairs? I cannot make any SENSE out of them!"
--Wikipedia knocks on the front door, abandoning its typical online reminders & begging for needed cash, now demanding it in person for the severe abuse it's been given
--Stubborn mind finally admits that there are only 5 Earth oceans and a limited number of named oceans in our solar system, none of which fit "the pattern"
--Stubborn mind reluctantly throws in the towel on RH#1, despite its being "So PRETTY!"

20200131 JPR RH#1 Parting the Waters.gif
20200131 JPR RH#1 SeasOceans Parting the Waters.gif

RH#2:
--Too many hours spent trying to beat square number pair pegs into round holes
--What you won't see, below, are the digital crumbles of the equivalent of 3 elementary school-sized erasers at the bottom edge of the screen and strewn about the keyboard

20200131 JPR RH#2 Parting the Waters.gif


RH#3, SUCCESS!:
--24D CHESS & 51D APEAK mean something
--62D ARK & 22A TICK mean something
--Stubborn mind finds 65A BARE & 25A RING
--Stubborn mind finds 62D YELL & 42A OWE
--Relieved mind makes sense of the number pairs, "FINALLY!"
--Relieved mind sees that the meta answer will be SPRING (ro)LL
--Stubborn mind needs to find the (proper name) LAKE combination, in that order, since the others follow that new pattern
--Stubborn mind considers ONTARIO, but LAKE ONTARIO doesn't fit the new pattern, nor is ON TERRIO, or some such, on the grid
--Stubborn mind finally sees 6A SOUP & combines it with the original 45A "EERIER", and drops the "new pattern"
--Stubborn mind sees that the number pairs only apply to the proper names, not to the homophones on the grid

20200131 JPR RH#3 Parting the Waters.gif

--Sheepish mind admits that if it had seen SOUP EERIER first, this meta may have been solved by 6 PM, Thursday
--Humbled mind crawls off to lick its wounds

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MajordomoTom
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#97

Post by MajordomoTom » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:32 am

I consider the SOUP EERIER piece to be the sickest part of this one. I also thought LAKE ERIE and (a) that didn't have 7 letters and (b) didn't fit the others which were all pairs of puns, so kept looking and screamed "SOUP" to my wife. She thought I was nuts (she's correct).
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.



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Joe Ross
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#100

Post by Joe Ross » Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:00 am

I think this is correct.

Spent way too much time with anagrams.

20200214 Grid Daring JPR.gif

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