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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#162

Post by Joe Ross »

Link to WSJ+CC Part 2 Variations on a Theme Excel Form

Link to WSJ+CC Part 2 Variations on a Theme PDF

[EDIT1: Corrected the Excel form. Some of the grid blocks were protected, since I used a previous 17x17 non-standard grid from another puzzle & forgot to be sure all were unprotected. If you previously downloaded, use the same link above for the corrected form. My apologies!]
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Joe Ross
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#165

Post by Joe Ross »

Last edited by Joe Ross on Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joe Ross
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#166

Post by Joe Ross »

It's difficult to keep up with which are subscription-based & which aren't. Also, as in the case of crosshare.org's excellent puzzles, the creators instruct that or may prefer solving & submitting via the online form for tracking statistics.

I'd rather that the creators tell me that published spreadsheet forms for their puzzles are allowed & wanted. I do not want to post without permission nor deter traffic from creators' websites.

As it stands, I create Excel forms & publish links for WSJCC (permission received) & MMM (permission assumed - Creators: let me know if you'd rather not). I also create & share MGWCC & MMMM with subscribers who let me know that they want them. I have created for other metas posted here, but I am not 100% sure that creators welcome them, nor if muggles use them.

FWIW: The most effective use of Excel for solving puzzles is for the WSJ weekly Number Puzzles, Killer Sudoku, in particular, if other nerds, like me, solve them.

Anyone may PM me with questions or comments, or post to the Solving ... Metas Using Excel topic. Your ideas & feedback are welcome & essential. Severe criticism is welcome, but may be better left for PMs. ;)
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Joe Ross
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Posts: 1691
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:46 am
Location: Cincinnati

#170

Post by Joe Ross »

The WSJ Contest Crossword Excel form has been renovated & today will be the first time it will be published. The aim was to make it much easier to use.
  • All squares within the grid are for letters, only. Clue numbers are imposed & out of the way of entering.
  • Since there are no longer rows for numbers, all commenting/notetaking cells to the right of the grids will be easier to use, since they are no longer merged. Copying & pasting, here, will work.
  • There will no longer be error messages for trying to make an entry on a protected cell, since protected cells will be skipped.
  • While using arrows or TABs, the black squares will be skipped. From the rightmost grid column, hitting TAB 4 times brings the selected cell to the next row's leftmost cell.
  • One arrow up or down brings the selected cell to the next entry in that direction. Multiple clicks are no longer needed in the vertical direction.
  • The font for the grid has been made larger.
  • There are still 15 grids created when filling out the top grid, but they are numbered 1-16, bowing to superstitious convention.
It will take me a few minutes longer to create and post the template for each new puzzle.

Creating & editing Shapes for highlighting and moving & deleting the clues to the right will be slightly more difficult, since the spreadsheet must be unprotected to do so. Care must be taken to not select, move, or edit the clue numbers within the grid when he spreadsheet is unprotected.

The number of usable cells in the entire spreadsheet has been restricted & the width of the puzzle has be made ideal for my computer at 100% viewing size. If you would like a column or two added for your viewing pleasure, please let me know.

All feedback is welcome & appreciated. You may post it here, or send a PM. If you wish to question my lineage or make rather direct personal comments, do so, but via PM, please. :)

I note my most sincere appreciation for KayW's invaluable and intelligent comments & suggestions. All flaws and questionable design choices are mine, alone.
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