"Pardon My English" - June 4, 2021

A place to discuss the weekly Wall Street Journal Crossword Puzzle Contest, starting every Thursday around 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please do not post any answers or hints before the contest deadline which is midnight Sunday Eastern time.
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otlaolap
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#341

Post by otlaolap »

And a request for those of you who send nudges: what would have been some good nudges for this puzzle? I got a private message asking for a nudge, but referred the guy to couple of oldies [there it is again] because I, a newbieish, had no idea how to construct a delicate nudge. Did know enough not to say "the is a very good answer to your question". What is a good nudge?
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femullen
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#342

Post by femullen »

sanmilton wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:04 am
femullen wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:40 pm
sanmilton wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:00 pm

I think you mean (6,8)(1,3)(2,8)(1,7)(4,1)(4,5)(7,4)(1,3)(8,1)(2,6)(3,4), but I'm not sure! :P
You could well be right, but I won't know till Monday morning when the mystery of the parens is revealed. This weekend I have occupied my customary stool with Isaac. I've absolutely no idea what to make of the meta.

My own parenthetical two-word phrase here is a Cartesian puzzle of ambiguous origin. Some people here could surely crack it in a minute or two.
If 1234 5678 is TRÈS BIEN, then I assume INTERN TESTS BEST ENTRIES.
Very clever! Mine was not as sophisticated.

C'est tres simple: the ordered pairs are just the Cartesian coordinates of squares in the grid. The ambiguity is in where to place the origin. Not unreasonably, I placed it in the lower left-hand corner, thus making the grid correspond to the first quadrant. Taking the letters found at the coordinates in sequence (and using a blank square as a space), I spelled "NO IDEA," which is what I had.

I should have titled my puzzle, Pardon My French and spelled out "AUCUNE IDEE," cela que je n'avais.

8^)
Last edited by femullen on Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SusieG
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#343

Post by SusieG »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:51 am For those of you who submit online, does the online submit mechanism actually allow an accented character to be entered (asks one who does not know French and who submitted an unaccented character be email}?
I submitted by email, and didn’t even consider putting an accent in the answer, because the online submission form doesn’t usually allow them.

I also considered VERY GOOD, but felt that the numbers directed the correct answer. I wondered after submission if I had been “pagaented.” My chances of actually winning are so low, it didn’t bother me much.

This puzzle was not all that difficult for me — I solved it on a napkin on the airplane ride home. These four phrases seem to be more commonly said in French and the title gave it away. I did have trouble finding three words in the grid, but was able to easily fill in the blanks using the numbers and back solve later. IMO this was the easiest puzzle containing numbers in parentheses!
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hcbirker
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#344

Post by hcbirker »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:00 am And a request for those of you who send nudges: what would have been some good nudges for this puzzle? I got a private message asking for a nudge, but referred the guy to couple of oldies [there it is again] because I, a newbieish, had no idea how to construct a delicate nudge. Did know enough not to say "the is a very good answer to your question". What is a good nudge?
I nudged with “what is another way to say 11 down”.
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hoover
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#345

Post by hoover »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:05 am
sharkicicles wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:17 am I'll repost here what I said on Crossword Fiend, this is one of the few Gaffneys I didn't enjoy, solving them or not.

"One of the few times I will actually criticize the Gaff, by the way; I was split between CHEF D’ OEUVRE (and it’s clued as 4,1 which sidesteps the D’ versus De problem) and PIECE DE RESISTANCE. But if you google “masterwork french” you get both of those but not TOUR DE FORCE. Eh, it’s a f***in’ crossword puzzle. And Matt has given me a lot of fun puzzles over the years, so don’t get me wrong. But I’m a little pissed over this one. (I’ll get over it and gladly solve his puzzle next week.)"
SharkIcicles, I am still in awe of you for getting MEANDER so quickly ... but surely if you feel the need to blame someone, shouldn't it be Google, not Matt, for failing to deliver the correct phrase to you immediately, and on a silver platter?
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TeaJenny
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#346

Post by TeaJenny »

PXL_20210607_125637512.jpg
I got hung up on chef d'oeuvre at first and played around with various letter combinations, coming up with ouef lace (egg lace), which is an actual thing, but didn't make any sense.

Then, I realized piece de resistance fit better with the other theme clue translations. I tried various things, like finding other English synonyms for the theme clues and/or the French translations. No joy there.

It finally occurred to me to put the words in order based on the parenthetical numbers. Still no good, but it felt like I was on the right track.

I kept coming back to GRICE and how similar it was to grace. Once I realized that there were other words in the grid that were one letter off from the French translations, it all clicked. I had bien, and knew I needed a T and an S for tres. A little back solving and Googling came up with tour de force, and there it was.

Unpopular Opinion: I like when there are numbers in parentheses. It's an extra clue, gives me something concrete to work with, and provides a definite structure to the answer. I feel a bit lost when the meta clue is something vague, like "a two-word phrase." That could be just about anything. Seeing the numbers here told me that it was a two-word phrase with 8 letters - much more manageable and easier to confirm that I ultimately had the correct answer. YMMV
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Deb F
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#347

Post by Deb F »

Nope. Never was gonna happen. Though I kept thinking "cul de sac" was a good answer for 11D, never occurred to me that it could lead me elsewhere. Knowing Matt, I should have. In any event, it was nice sitting with Isaac reminiscing about Capt. Stubing.
Good luck all you Muggles who were so much more clever!
MatthewL
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#348

Post by MatthewL »

Struggled with this one a bit, and got hung up on the same 25% many others did (was sure it was piece de resistance). But, once I saw the Plumb/Plume and Grice/Grace connections, the rest came pretty quickly, and I soon realized that the phrase had to be tour de force. I also wrestled with whether to submit the French versus English phrase, but what ultimately convinced me was 67A (c'est magnifique) -- if Matt was going to include a French phrase in the grid, then no reason the answer to the meta shouldn't also be French. A fun and challenging puzzle, to be sure.
Matthew
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Flying_Burrito
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#349

Post by Flying_Burrito »

It's interesting how we are all wired differently. This one to me was a 1 star in terms of difficulty (Grice after Death Blow gave it away) and some 1 stars from the past could have been 4 in my overcomplicating head. To each it's own I guess.
Senor Guaca Mole :mrgreen:
hoover
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#350

Post by hoover »

TeaJenny wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:25 am PXL_20210607_125637512.jpg
Wow, we fell down some of the same rabbit holes. I didn't mention it before, but I also had ILEBTMYD, er... TIDEMBLY, er... MILD BYTE. As well as LAOECPUE, which I plugged into a French anagrammer and came up with LE COPEAU, which Google Translate told me is THE CHIP, a meaningless two-word phrase. I kept looking. :lol:
Olaf
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#351

Post by Olaf »

Well, I’m glad I didn’t try to hard on that because it was never going to happen for me!
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KscX
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#352

Post by KscX »

How about the occurrences of DE in the grid almost in-between NON and PLUMB, very near PSEUDONYM? That was the giveaway for me. Intentional Gaffney hint or pure coincidence?
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Joe Ross
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#353

Post by Joe Ross »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:00 am And a request for those of you who send nudges: what would have been some good nudges for this puzzle? I got a private message asking for a nudge, but referred the guy to couple of oldies [there it is again] because I, a newbieish, had no idea how to construct a delicate nudge. Did know enough not to say "the is a very good answer to your question". What is a good nudge?
I won't nudge until I receive a full listing of everything a muggle has tried & thought, to date. There is always something on which they can build. I remind nudgees to build lists, to review the rich solving resources on xword-muggles, and to allow thoughts to lead them places when they are detailing & documenting what they've seen.

I quote them back, erasing everything of theirs that leads nowhere, then ask questions regarding the stuff they have correct, even if it's one word, character, or idea. I also will relist everything that they have correct, in proper order, with clue #s & direction, all grid entries CAPITALIZED, (#,#)s if there, etc. The idea is to allow them to solve by asking questions regarding their thought processes versus pointing out mechanisms & answers.

I am extremely interested in how others approach because I want to improve my ability to help others learn to become consistent solvers, then helpers of others, themselves.
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femullen
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#354

Post by femullen »

hcbirker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:18 am
otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:00 am And a request for those of you who send nudges: what would have been some good nudges for this puzzle? I got a private message asking for a nudge, but referred the guy to couple of oldies [there it is again] because I, a newbieish, had no idea how to construct a delicate nudge. Did know enough not to say "the is a very good answer to your question". What is a good nudge?
I nudged with “what is another way to say 11 down”.
I'd have answered "Dead End" and been no wiser.
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hcbirker
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#355

Post by hcbirker »

femullen wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:14 am
hcbirker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:18 am
otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:00 am And a request for those of you who send nudges: what would have been some good nudges for this puzzle? I got a private message asking for a nudge, but referred the guy to couple of oldies [there it is again] because I, a newbieish, had no idea how to construct a delicate nudge. Did know enough not to say "the is a very good answer to your question". What is a good nudge?
I nudged with “what is another way to say 11 down”.
I'd have answered "Dead End" and been no wiser.
That actually happened and then I counter nudged with “en Francais”
Heidi
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auee89
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#356

Post by auee89 »

hcbirker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:33 am
femullen wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:14 am
hcbirker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:18 am

I nudged with “what is another way to say 11 down”.
I'd have answered "Dead End" and been no wiser.
That actually happened and then I counter nudged with “en Francais”
I went with look at the title for a non-English word and look for synonyms for 64A. Too much?
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DBMiller
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#357

Post by DBMiller »

My last 25% went like this.

deathblow = coup de grâce ... Neat! I see - coRp de grIce
pseudonym = nom de plume... noN de plumB
blindalley = cul-de-sac... cEl de sEc

So masterwork must be pièce de résistance. Hmm, that doesn't work.
Okay. Masterwork should be chef d'oeuvre. Well shoot.
Alrightly then, "Master work" = "Work of the master" = travail de maître. What the heck!?!?!?!?

Think, think, think...
Oh wait. What do the letters I have spell?
?RE?BIEN - Okay, I need a T and S...
Checks grid and sees "sour" and "forte". Oh! Tour de force!

And I submitted "Tres Bien (Very Good)" as my subject line and added that I hope they didn't mind my accent.
Last edited by DBMiller on Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joe Ross
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#358

Post by Joe Ross »

auee89 wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:39 am
hcbirker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:33 am
femullen wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:14 am

I'd have answered "Dead End" and been no wiser.
That actually happened and then I counter nudged with “en Francais”
I went with look at the title for a non-English word and look for synonyms for 64A. Too much?
I don't think there is "right" & "wrong," but opinions and what muggles find effective. "Too much?" Nope.

The most important opinion on what's 'too much' is that of the nudgee. I didn't mention that I try to ask that at the beginning. If requesting a nudge, it's important to state what you want & what you don't, in terms of help. Most nudgees do.
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C=64
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#359

Post by C=64 »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:51 am For those of you who submit online, does the online submit mechanism actually allow an accented character to be entered (asks one who does not know French and who submitted an unaccented character be email}?
I always submit by email, but it's been my experience that whenever the meta answer involves a special character / punctutation, we get a bunch of people posting that the online form won't accept their answer.
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Henry Paul
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#360

Post by Henry Paul »

It's always interesting to read the "next day" comments -- I fell into the same boat (no pun intended) as others, quickly finding the initial three phrases, which I confirmed with the always helpful Wendy Walker, who "nudged" me to find the correct fourth phrase and to think about what the letters before/after the "de" meant. Backed into the fourth and then.... stucks-ville. I knew that the numbers 1-8 implied the order of the "things" that needed aligning, but I kept getting stuck on pairs of letters, combing the initial words (coUp/grAce) with the second words (coRp/grIce) and not finding anyway to link "UA" and "RI" etc together.

Looking back on it, I did have RINBLEEST which if I'd only applied the 1-8 order thing, would have yielded the right answer.

So this Gaffney puzzle:
1. Take a phrase
2. Find a corresponding (original?) French phrase (with "de")
3. Substitute letters in the French phrase with words scattered around the grid
4. Realign the substituted letters in a particular order.
Wow.

Funny observation -- in my struggle to find the fourth phrase (happy to see others went down the piece de resistance path too!) when I Googled "French phrase Masterwork" -- the #1 finding was "Which foreign word French term means masterwork" to which I thought "ho ho, lots of Muggles googling the same thing!"

Congrats to all who figured it out.
Last edited by Henry Paul on Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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