Muggle Overview

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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Bob cruise director
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Muggle Overview

#1

Post by Bob cruise director » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:53 am

The Wall Street Journal started the meta contests in September 2015. At that time metas were new to most of us and we did not understand them so we were totally Lost At Sea. After a couple of months, Sally Schott started the Lost At Sea cruise for those of us who were learning. What followed was that those who solve the meta had made it to the shore and were enjoying the sun and the Tiki Bar.
Naturally those of us on the ship gravitated to the bar to assuage our sorrows. So quickly Isaac from The Love Boat showed up as our bartender. It is Isaac's picture which graces our Blog Page. Along the way we christened ourselves the Muggles in pursuit of the elusive WSJ mug. And as we tried different approaches to solve the each contest, we went down some rabbit holes in pursuit of the elusive critter. (don’t ask about the logic of rabbit holes on a ship).

Along the way, Sally had some family issues so I took over as the tour director. I put out a quick status on Friday and then list the ship and shore parties on Saturday noon and Sunday noon and a final count about 9pm on Sunday.

All of this is in good fun and for the enjoyment of doing the contests with others that have the same interest. This blog is to encourage success for all members and foster a comradery from coast to coast. We also have some side discussions, principally on our favorite NFL teams.

For those looking for the answer there are several sources - all after midnight on Sunday
1) The Monday WSJ crossword will have the answer and the logic briefly
2) On line the Monday pdf file will also have the answer
3) Web sites like www.crosswordfiend.com will have the answer
4) On this blog - in addition to the correct answer many of us post the path we got to it or the path that led us to the wrong answer. In addition to the humor, it shows logic that can help with future contests.
Bob Stevens
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jenirvin
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#2

Post by jenirvin » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:41 pm

Thanks for the overview, Bob!
Image
~ Jennifer/jenirvin

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Abide
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#3

Post by Abide » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:11 pm

At tonight's Zoom meetup there was discussion of the origin of "lost at sea". I did some digging in the dark web and uncovered these comments from "Secret Ingredients" November 18, 2016. I added the bold in the first post from Sally Schott.


Sally Schott
4 years ago
I understand what a "meta" is in a cryptic. I have no inkling of what they are in these puzzle contests. Presumably one looks in the three starred answers? One? All? Would appreciate some direction as to how one even thinks about these, because I have been and am **completely** at sea.In the old comment section, would definitely have posted this under the name "baffles."

Peter Abide
4 years ago
Sally Schott The term "meta" just means a puzzle within a puzzle. There is a question to be answered. The answer to the question is usually found in the grid, usually in the longer answers. I said usually because the key to the answer can be almost anywhere. Sometimes you get a hint like the asterisks as being important to the meta answer. The title is also sometimes a hint to either the answer or how to get there. Write out the three long entries and see if anything jumps out at you. If not, put it down and come back later.This is a helpful link for further explanation http://observer.com/2015/11/chasing-the ... -puzzle/If anyone needs another meta this weekend, I found this contest to be about a Week 2 Gaffney level : https://chriswords.com/

CHRIS STINNETT SUBSCRIBER
4 years ago
Peter Abide Sally Schott Peter, thank you for the links and especially the puzzle link at chriswords.com. I enjoy these puzzles so much, and all the comments, too! Mrs. Chris

Meg Duvall
4 years ago
Peter: thanks for the link to Chris King's puzzles. I just got his meta, which of course looks much easier after it's been gotten.

MIKE MILLER
4 years ago
Sally Schott Here's our guide to the WSJ Crossword Contest http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/ ... tguide.pdf

Sally Schott
4 years ago
Thanks, Peter and Mike. I'll read all the links and the weekly comments and see if this starts to sync. Thus far, you are all speaking Swahili and I'm on an iceberg somewhere.



Sally two weeks later- "Chain Letters" December 2, 2016

Sally Schott
3 years ago
@Greg: Perfect. This is all the encouragement I need ............ to quit. Or as we say on the Lost At Sea cruises, Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here. Cruise packages currently offered on a two-for-one special, drinks included. In fact, drinks required.
Last edited by Abide on Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#4

Post by Abide » Tue Aug 11, 2020 10:41 pm

First account of use of Muggle- "Change at the Top" November 4, 2016


Robert Stevens SUBSCRIBER
3 years ago
I stumbled with the meta all yesterday and had just fallen asleep when I had the AHA moment. After tossing and turning thinking I would forget the solution, I sent in the answer at 2:41 am.There must be something wrong with me.

Wendy Walker SUBSCRIBER
3 years ago
Robert Stevens , There is something wrong with ALL of us, are you kidding me? :-)

Beth Albers
3 years ago
Robert Stevens It could be serious. You have all the symptoms of being a MUGgle!

Note: Three weeks later, Kas again brought up "MUGgle":

Kas DeCarvalho
3 years ago
Hi, fellow MUGgles! Gutted through the grid, and managed it without breaking my No Google rule, but the AHA moment on the Meta is eluding me. I have some thoughts, particulalry based on the title, but I need to sit down with a pen...fingers crossed...

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#5

Post by Al Sisti » Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:10 pm

Great stuff...

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Bob cruise director
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#6

Post by Bob cruise director » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:31 pm

Peter
Thanks for the research. I agree with Al = Guinness me. Wrong quote "great stuff"
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Al Sisti
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#7

Post by Al Sisti » Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:15 pm

Bob cruise director wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:31 pm
Peter
Thanks for the research. I agree with Al = Guinness me. Wrong quote "great stuff"
Well actually, Guinness = great stuff, so...

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Abide
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#8

Post by Abide » Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:47 pm

I forgot to mention first use of "rabbit holes" --Robert Stevens 12/2/16

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#9

Post by whimsy » Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:44 pm

As I go through the backlogs and practice more puzzles (I'm only as far back as Fall of 2018),I've been on the lookout for the origins of being "Naticked" because it's three towns away from me (as we say in these parts.)

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#10

Post by KayW » Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:04 pm

whimsy wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:44 pm
As I go through the backlogs and practice more puzzles (I'm only as far back as Fall of 2018),I've been on the lookout for the origins of being "Naticked" because it's three towns away from me (as we say in these parts.)
I first came across that term in a Rex Parker blog.This page from 2008 includes the inspirational grid.

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#11

Post by Hector » Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:57 am

whimsy wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:44 pm
As I go through the backlogs and practice more puzzles (I'm only as far back as Fall of 2018),I've been on the lookout for the origins of being "Naticked" because it's three towns away from me (as we say in these parts.)
Hopkinton has much better clue potential than Natick. Town 26.2mi from nearest major city.

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Al Sisti
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#12

Post by Al Sisti » Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:32 pm

Hector wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:57 am
whimsy wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:44 pm
As I go through the backlogs and practice more puzzles (I'm only as far back as Fall of 2018),I've been on the lookout for the origins of being "Naticked" because it's three towns away from me (as we say in these parts.)
Hopkinton has much better clue potential than Natick. Town 26.2mi from nearest major city.
Sounds like a good marathon route... except when you're done, you're 26.2 miles from home.

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#13

Post by Kas » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:09 am

Going to add some history, here...
1. Sally is 100% credited for coining (I'm almost sure) and driving forward (without question) the whole "Lost at Sea" concept. Longtime Muggledom will recall that there was actually a competing theme, based on Tolkien's LOTR...I don't quite remember the premise, but it was something like, non-solvers remained in Mordor, solvers made it to the Shire...something like that...

2. I'll take credit for coining "Muggle," partially because it's true [blushes], but mostly because I wanted to add the historical note that the original, proper spelling was indeed with odd capitalization: "MUGgle"...but that part didn't stick/is lots in the mists of the Old-WSJ-Comments-History (O.W.C.H.), which they erased when they revised the site, alas...

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