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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#142

Post by Joe Ross »

20200717 WSJCC RNTT grid.gif
20200717 ABCs TTLS sheet music.gif
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pddigi
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#143

Post by pddigi »

Deleted - I think I might have posted in the wrong area.
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Joe Ross
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#144

Post by Joe Ross »

pddigi wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:49 am Deleted - I think I might have posted in the wrong area.
Whatever you have to post, it's welcome here.
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Joe Ross
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#148

Post by Joe Ross »

I will create Excel forms for crosswords, cryptics, & acrostics, if they aren't hexagonal & if they do not vary too far from a 15x15 grid. PM me if you want a particular puzzle in Excel. Anyone may request this, particularly creators. If it is a standard 15x15 puzzle, do not hesitate to ask.

I don't post links to subscribed puzzles, for the obvious reason. I create & use a spreadsheet for MGWCC, every week, since I subscribe and (attempt to) solve. If you subscribe, feel free to request it, once, & I will PM the link every week, until you say "Stop."

I also create a spreadsheet for the weekly WSJ Number Puzzles. IMO, it's the perfect tool for solving Killer Sudoku. No, it doesn't "solve" the puzzle via formulas, although it could be modified to do so. You'd have to edit it yourself, or find someone much smarter than me.

If a Muggle (or creator) subscribes to a puzzle, PM me & I can create it. I will also send the standard 15x15 blank, with instructions on how to create your own. You'll need to send me the PDF or PUZ file. I include the clues, if they are available in an image, such as a PDF. I will not type a puzzle's worth of clues.

After creating a few, a standard 15x15 puzzle requires 2 or 3 minutes to create the form, 5 total minutes, maybe, including posting or PMing the link.

This Saturday's WSJ Acrostic is wider & is shallower, so it took me awhile to create it. I'm not a fan of spending 30+ minutes creating a single puzzle form. Ask, but I may decline!
Inca
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#149

Post by Inca »

You are so nice to offer this.
I have a technical question. I've noticed that when I tab after filling a square on the crossword grid that while it normally advances to the next square, if it is the last square of the word, it will advance to the next "white" square, jumping over the black ones. (BTW, I love this) How do you do that?
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Joe Ross
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#150

Post by Joe Ross »

The black cells (of grid #1) and all numbered cells are locked (Format Cells... Protection...) and cannot be edited. Excel skips locked cells when TABbing.

The black cells of grids #2 through #15 can have characters, which show as light gray.
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KayW
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#151

Post by KayW »

Joe Ross wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:13 am I will create Excel forms for crosswords, cryptics, & acrostics, if they aren't hexagonal & if they do not vary too far from a 15x15 grid. PM me if you want a particular puzzle in Excel. Anyone may request this, particularly creators. If it is a standard 15x15 puzzle, do not hesitate to ask.

I don't post links to subscribed puzzles, for the obvious reason. I create & use a spreadsheet for MGWCC, every week, since I subscribe and (attempt to) solve. If you subscribe, feel free to request it, once, & I will PM the link every week, until you say "Stop."

I also create a spreadsheet for the weekly WSJ Number Puzzles. IMO, it's the perfect tool for solving Killer Sudoku. No, it doesn't "solve" the puzzle via formulas, although it could be modified to do so. You'd have to edit it yourself, or find someone much smarter than me.

If a Muggle (or creator) subscribes to a puzzle, PM me & I can create it. I will also send the standard 15x15 blank, with instructions on how to create your own. You'll need to send me the PDF or PUZ file. I include the clues, if they are available in an image, such as a PDF. I will not type a puzzle's worth of clues.

After creating a few, a standard 15x15 puzzle requires 2 or 3 minutes to create the form, 5 total minutes, maybe, including posting or PMing the link.

This Saturday's WSJ Acrostic is wider & is shallower, so it took me awhile to create it. I'm not a fan of spending 30+ minutes creating a single puzzle form. Ask, but I may decline!
Joe that is unbelievably kind of you to offer to create a template for the acrostics. But IMHO the online solving mechanism that WSJ already provides for acrostics is more than adequate and friendly. And this is coming from the queen of the paper dinosaurs!

(Acrostics are the only puzzle type I've found so far that I actually prefer to solve online. Because transcribing the letters from the answer key to the grid is so tedious. And in the case of my geezer eyesight, incredibly error-prone!)
Last edited by KayW on Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Inca
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#152

Post by Inca »

Joe Ross wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:21 am The black cells (of grid #1) and all numbered cells are locked (Format Cells... Protection...) and cannot be edited. Excel skips locked cells when TABbing.

The black cells of grids #2 through #15 can have characters, which show as light gray.
Aaaah, that makes sense, thanks
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Joe Ross
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#156

Post by Joe Ross »

In creating an Excel form for an unusual cryptic, I was embarrassed :oops: to realize that I had not publicly acknowledged Dplass for his suggestion that the Excel forms use a fixed-width font, Consolas. I changed the font, when suggested a few weeks ago, and agree that it is a much-needed improvement. Thank you!

Constant feedback from KayW has been extremely useful & appreciated!

Which reminds me to request others to make suggestions on how to improve these Excel-based forms, or to ask questions on how to use. The aim is to make solving puzzles easier. If these do not, please give me the chance to improve the forms until they do.

Many thanks and best luck, Muggles!

Joe
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Joe Ross
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#158

Post by Joe Ross »

I did not find this puzzle easy, until I did. Below is maybe 1/2 of what I tried, having overwritten other attempts & rabbit holes plumbed.

20200821 WSJCC Less and Less JR1.gif
20200821 WSJCC Less and Less JR2.gif
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