Hints for Solving Meta Contests

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.
TheTunic
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:22 pm

Re: Hints for Solving Meta Contests

#21

Post by TheTunic » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:29 pm

Hey fellow crossword fans. I've been solving the WSJ almost every day now and getting better at the later in the week challenges. I am finally starting to get the Friday ones filled out, but the themed answer still eludes me. When and where do people discuss the answer and how they got there? I know we don't want to ruin it right away, but I can never find the right answer afterwards.

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Joe Ross
Posts: 1092
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 am
Location: Cincinnati

#22

Post by Joe Ross » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:52 pm

TheTunic wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:29 pm
Hey fellow crossword fans. I've been solving the WSJ almost every day now and getting better at the later in the week challenges. I am finally starting to get the Friday ones filled out, but the themed answer still eludes me. When and where do people discuss the answer and how they got there? I know we don't want to ruin it right away, but I can never find the right answer afterwards.
WSJ's Monday Crossword has Friday's solution in the bottom-right corner. The Monday crossword is posted soon after midnight, Sunday.

Also, this forum on xword-muggles has posted all of the past Contest Crossword solutions.

Extensive discussion about each week's Friday Contest Crosswords
can be found here, each under its own topic.

Welcome, muggle! Please join in on the discussion. Ask more questions as they occur.

[Edit1] Speeling correction.

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Joe Ross
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 am
Location: Cincinnati

#23

Post by Joe Ross » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:41 am

There are 3 basics I must have in mind as I solve the grid & after I have solved it:
  • Puzzle Title - It is involved with the answer or the path to the answer in 100% of puzzles.
  • Meta Clue - It is involved with the answer or the path to the answer in 100% of puzzles.
  • Theme Clues & *Entries and **Marked Grid Clues - Are involved with the answer or the path to the answer in 73% of puzzles.
*Theme Entries, Theme Answers, Long Across Answers, Longest Answers, etc.
**Asterisks, questions, parentheses, brackets, numbers, blanks, etc. These often point to what would be considered Theme Answers.

Since 3 of 4 of puzzles use Theme Entries in some manner, for me to begin by looking elsewhere for solutions is asking to be frustrated. If nothing else, I want to eliminate Theme Answers as being relevant. If clues are marked, there is no reason to begin elsewhere.

After establishing that there are or are not Theme Entries, I first relate these three basics to each other. I'll build lists of the different meanings of the words in the Puzzle Title & Meta Clues and see what clicks within the Theme Entries. I'll look for related words within the rest of the grid, clue answers that might give directions on what to do with the Theme Entries, etc.

If nothing pops, I'll move on to other strategies that may cover the other 27% of solutions.

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BarbaraK
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:37 pm
Location: Virginia

#24

Post by BarbaraK » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:38 am

If the title or part of the title shows up in a clue, look at it carefully; there’s a good chance it’s a pointer to the meta.

GlennG
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:48 am

#25

Post by GlennG » Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:09 pm

At the risk of dredging up my usual complaints about the concept of metas, I'll bring up what I have "trouble" with which isn't addressed here or in any other "resource". My usual problem in doing these isn't seeing what you're supposed to see (I'm about 95-99% at that). The problem is how you are supposed to know what you're supposed to DO with it that will proceed to the supposed "answer". So any tips on that?

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Bob cruise director
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#26

Post by Bob cruise director » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:53 am

GlennG wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 9:09 pm
At the risk of dredging up my usual complaints about the concept of metas, I'll bring up what I have "trouble" with which isn't addressed here or in any other "resource". My usual problem in doing these isn't seeing what you're supposed to see (I'm about 95-99% at that). The problem is how you are supposed to know what you're supposed to DO with it that will proceed to the supposed "answer". So any tips on that?
My best advice is to do a lot of these and look over old ones to see the techniques. Do not expect your success rate will be high to begin.
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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Joe Ross
Posts: 1092
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 am
Location: Cincinnati

#27

Post by Joe Ross » Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:38 am

Here are two discussions by WSJ Crossword stalwarts, Mike Miller, Mike Shenk, & Matt Gaffney. The first listed, September 17-2020, covers hints on how to solve metas or crossword contests. The second listed, September 10-2020, discusses creating crosswords.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 - WSJ+ Live: The Crossword Contest
20200917 WSJ+ Live The Crossword Contest.gif

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 - WSJ+ Live: WSJ Crosswords - Tricks of the Trade
20200910 WSJ+ Live WSJ Crosswords - Tricks of the Trade.gif

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Bob cruise director
Cruise Director
Posts: 1933
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:38 pm
Location: any golf course that will take my money

#28

Post by Bob cruise director » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:42 pm

Joe Ross wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:38 am
Here are two discussions by WSJ Crossword stalwarts, Mike Miller, Mike Shenk, & Matt Gaffney. The first listed, September 17-2020, covers hints on how to solve metas or crossword contests. The second listed, September 10-2020, discusses creating crosswords.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 - WSJ+ Live: The Crossword Contest

20200917 WSJ+ Live The Crossword Contest.gif


SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 - WSJ+ Live: WSJ Crosswords - Tricks of the Trade

20200910 WSJ+ Live WSJ Crosswords - Tricks of the Trade.gif
Joe
Thanks for posting the links
Bob
Bob Stevens
Cruise Director

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