"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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minimuggle
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#361

Post by minimuggle »

I had about 6 pages of worksheets on this one. I immediately got the French words (although I had chef d'oeurve) but that wasn't leading me anywhere. I got nonsense applying the letters. Then I tried it in German since "pardon my english" was a German production but that led to more nonsense and many words that I could never pronounce. Then I thought it might be translations that were crazy like "cul" de "sac" being "ass bag". I must admit I had fun with that path. I had a feeling chef d'oeurve was wrong since I honestly hadn't heard it before so I asked a French friend for French phrases for "masterwork" or "masterpiece" and he gave me a ton, but NOT tour de force. It wasn't until I noticed "Grice" and "corp" that the aha moment came. That led me to figure out that the answer was "tres bien" and I needed an "s" and a "t".....finally led me to sour forte and tour de force. I am still wondering why google translate did not come up with tour de force. Definitely something to take up with my French friend who works at google. Have a great day everyone
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Jeremy Smith
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#362

Post by Jeremy Smith »

Early on I considered, but never fully explored, the “French Connection.” I instead focused on English variations of the theme answers. Of course, that got me nowhere.
boharr
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#363

Post by boharr »

minimuggle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:21 pm I had a feeling chef d'oeurve was wrong since I honestly hadn't heard it before so I asked a French friend for French phrases for "masterwork" or "masterpiece" and he gave me a ton, but NOT tour de force. .... I am still wondering why google translate did not come up with tour de force. Definitely something to take up with my French friend who works at google. Have a great day everyone
On Crossword Fiend, Matt writes: "Huh, I’m surprised by the PIECE DE RESISTANCE / TOUR DE FORCE issue. “Tour de Force” outgoogles “Piece de Resistance” 30-to-1."
minimuggle
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#364

Post by minimuggle »

Actually I hadn't even thought of piece de resistance. And neither did my French friend. That's a good one. No matter it took me so long to solve this puzzle.
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Limerick Savant
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#365

Post by Limerick Savant »

DrTom wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:37 am
Limerick Savant wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:57 am
DrTom wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:37 am
Non c'est n'a pas grave seulement si tu es dans la tombe!
No but I did have an acute attack of the aigu 😉
Thank goodness you did not end up Aigues Morte!
Ah, but then I would just be calmed. 😉
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femullen
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#366

Post by femullen »

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?
Certainly wouldn't have been too much if I'd thought of it. I did think to look for French words embedded in the grid, found a few, but they had no apparent relationship to the theme answers. It simply never occurred to me to render the theme answers themselves into Frenglish--an obvious step to many here, but utterly opaque to me. At one point I wondered if "English" in the clue referred to putting spin on a billiard ball, so I went looking for indications that the answer might be given by bouncing some hidden words off the grid edges. Ce qu'on fait a partir du desespoir.
For nudges, feel free to PM me. I won't have a clue how to help you, but you just might shove me ashore.
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Limerick Savant
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#367

Post by Limerick Savant »

mheberlingx100 wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:37 am
Joe Ross wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:19 am
Limerick Savant wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:57 am I had a similar reaction and waffled between the two for some time but ultimately decided to submit the French version based on three things:
1. The play on the common phrase in the title, indicating French
2. Trés Bien is a more flexible phrase
3. It was D-Day 😉
1. The numbers speeled out TRÈS BIEN.
Yes, but my thought was that the French phrase was just the second to the last step, and to complete the meta, you had to translate back to the two-word English phrase. That would mirror the translation done for the clues.

I will bet there will be loads of VERY GOOD answers. Unfortunately, it won’t be very good for us solvers.
I agree. My decision really came down to a French coin toss. Maybe you should sou?
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Magistra
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#368

Post by Magistra »

I got the answer once I realized that chef d'oeuvre was not working. I found tour de force in an online French dictionary, which is more reliable than Google translate. Before I consulted the dictionary, though, I picked up on the (mistaken) idea of ouef - egg. Somehow I also had Coca Cola mixed into my muddled thinking. Hmm, I thought. Is there a French recipe for eggs cooked in Coke? Well, no, but apparently you can soak an egg in Coke and you will be able to bounce it like a rubber ball! A French teen has a video that explains it all.
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Limerick Savant
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#369

Post by Limerick Savant »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:29 am I was so lucky with this one! When I was filling in the grid, my first guess for 11D was cul de sac. The "French" portion of my brain lit up and stayed lit up when I encountered deathblow and immediately thought of coup de grace. After that nom de plume came easily. But like, oh, 75% of my Muggle colleagues I had trouble finding the "right" translation for masterwork. Neither chef d'oeuvre nor piece de resistance worked. A little (more) Googling uncovered the correct phrase.
It didn't even occur to me to translate the final phrase because its letters were so clearly delineated.
Like so many, I too figured out three quarters of the meta and that was enough to yield très bien. From there I needed to pucker up my strength and search the grid for the final two entries that revealed Gaffney’s tour de force
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SusieG
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#370

Post by SusieG »

Magistra wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:52 pm I got the answer once I realized that chef d'oeuvre was not working. I found tour de force in an online French dictionary, which is more reliable than Google translate. Before I consulted the dictionary, though, I picked up on the (mistaken) idea of ouef - egg. Somehow I also had Coca Cola mixed into my muddled thinking. Hmm, I thought. Is there a French recipe for eggs cooked in Coke? Well, no, but apparently you can soak an egg in Coke and you will be able to bounce it like a rubber ball! A French teen has a video that explains it all.
That’s quite a convoluted rabbit hole! At least it was enjoyable.
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iggystan
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#371

Post by iggystan »

boharr wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:49 pm
minimuggle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 12:21 pm I had a feeling chef d'oeurve was wrong since I honestly hadn't heard it before so I asked a French friend for French phrases for "masterwork" or "masterpiece" and he gave me a ton, but NOT tour de force. .... I am still wondering why google translate did not come up with tour de force. Definitely something to take up with my French friend who works at google. Have a great day everyone
On Crossword Fiend, Matt writes: "Huh, I’m surprised by the PIECE DE RESISTANCE / TOUR DE FORCE issue. “Tour de Force” outgoogles “Piece de Resistance” 30-to-1."
As someone else pointed out there as well, if you Google "masterwork in french", or the like, "tour de force" doesn't show up readily. It appears that this tripped up a few folks, but back-solving appeared to work.
FKelly
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#372

Post by FKelly »

Like many of you, I filled in DEATH BLOW, recalled the title PARDON MY ENGLISH (FRENCH), and immediately thought COUP DE GRACE. The appearance of GRICE in the same row, an unusual fill, brought to mind a classic mechanism of getting words via a fill word that's one-letter different from the desired word, GRICE/GRACE. Later, finding CORP/COUP explained the ordered pair of numbers. The fill letter that changes is one of the desired letters in the order they appear in the French phrase. (2,6) = (R,I).

Two other theme answers followed the same pattern: PSEUDONYM => NOM DE PLUME with fill words NON and PLUMB yielding (8,5) = (N,B) and BLINDALLEY => CUL-DE-SAC with fill words CEL and SEC yielding (3,7) = (E,E). At this point, I had _RE_BIEN which suggested TRES BIEN and was confirmed by 67-A "C'EST magnifique!" So I was sure the French two-word phrase TRES BIEN was the answer.

Only problem was that I associated "Peak of artistic achievement" or MASTERWORK with CHEF-D'OEUVRE or CHEF DE OEUVRE and found that corresponding fill words didn't exist. By trial and error, I searched the fill words for words with an S that could serve as the first word and words with a T that could serve as the second word to be changed to form a French phrase with the pattern ____ DE ____. Eventually, I found SOUR and FORTE which could yield TOUR DE FORCE. (4,1) = (S,T). However, this is not a good translation of the 28-D clue "Peak of artistic achievement". A better clue would have been "A feat of strength or virtuosity" (The American Heritage Dictionary,1982 and The Random House French Dictionary, 1981). This could still be reasonably translated as MASTERWORK for the fill and is the dictionary definition of TOUR DE FORCE.

Excusez-moi monsieur Gaffney.
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mikeB
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#373

Post by mikeB »

This was a great meta – the kind I would have relished solving if I were able. I was not learned enough to get TOUR DE FORCE. However, what really blocked my progress was not realizing that the parenthetical numbers set forth a sequential order. All is lost without that. I rack that up to lack of experience. The process of working the meta was rewarding and a pleasure, notwithstanding my lack of success. I miss the thrill of victory, of course, but that is a fleeting benefit that accompanies a particular meta; the more lasting reward is the bolstering of one’s ability to solve future puzzles.
Franklin.Bluth
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#374

Post by Franklin.Bluth »

mikeB wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:27 pm This was a great meta – the kind I would have relished solving if I were able. I was not learned enough to get TOUR DE FORCE. However, what really blocked my progress was not realizing that the parenthetical numbers set forth a sequential order. All is lost without that. I rack that up to lack of experience. The process of working the meta was rewarding and a pleasure, notwithstanding my lack of success. I miss the thrill of victory, of course, but that is a fleeting benefit that accompanies a particular meta; the more lasting reward is the bolstering of one’s ability to solve future puzzles.
Sometimes the numbers mean to grab a specific letter from the theme entry (e.g. 4,1 means to grab the fourth and first letters, in that order).

The giveaway for this one being word order, not individual letters, was that there were no repeated numbers - just 1-8, but in scrambled order. Once the first step revealed that the theme answers consisted of 8 words (connected by "de") that part solved itself.

Of course, just putting them in order yielded gibberish. It was that final step - matching them with answers in the grid - that really made me appreciate the genius of the construction.
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CPJohnson
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#375

Post by CPJohnson »

I think that those of you who know lots of French were impeded by your knowledge. I was able to come up with Pardon My French when I read the title, but, were it not for Meta Daughter, I'd have never thought of all 4 "___de___" phrases, let alone chef-d'oeuvre or any of the other possibilities.

On a side note, we are headed to Pittsburgh tomorrow to see three Dodgers/Pirates games. The weather forecast is iffy, at best. Does anyone have a recommendation for Things To Do In Pittsburgh? We've been to the Conservatory, the Science Center, the Duquesne incline, and the Heinz Center. Thanks for any suggestions.
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JaneGummy
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#376

Post by JaneGummy »

Forget a nudge, I needed a full body slam on this one. Got tangled up in the four French words in the grid (ciao, forte, elyse, cest), thought English could Relate to billiards spin, basically lost. In hindsight, i should have recognized the sequence of parens numbers, another learning moment, but there was Absolutely no way I was gonna work my way thru this multi step process on my own.

Many thanks for the patience of my nudger, I imagine him thinking "come on dumbass! You can do it" 😊🤣
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KscX
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#377

Post by KscX »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:37 pm I think that those of you who know lots of French were impeded by your knowledge. I was able to come up with Pardon My French when I read the title, but, were it not for Meta Daughter, I'd have never thought of all 4 "___de___" phrases, let alone chef-d'oeuvre or any of the other possibilities.

On a side note, we are headed to Pittsburgh tomorrow to see three Dodgers/Pirates games. The weather forecast is iffy, at best. Does anyone have a recommendation for Things To Do In Pittsburgh? We've been to the Conservatory, the Science Center, the Duquesne incline, and the Heinz Center. Thanks for any suggestions.
RIVERS OF STEEL - old iron plant. Look it up. Warhol museum, and visit the make your own studio there. Fun. Good brewery in an old church, too. Hopefully all are still open after the last year! And finally -funicular is worth doing twice.
Last edited by KscX on Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
JaneGummy
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#378

Post by JaneGummy »

Forget a nudge, I needed a full body slam on this one. Got tangled up in the four French words in the grid (ciao, forte, elyse, cest), thought English could Relate to billiards spin, basically lost. In hindsight, i should have recognized the sequence of parens numbers, another learning moment, but there was Absolutely no way I was gonna work my way thru this multi step process on my own.

Many thanks for the patience of my nudger, I imagine him thinking "come on dumbass! You can do it" 😊🤣
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LadyBird
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#379

Post by LadyBird »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:37 pm I think that those of you who know lots of French were impeded by your knowledge. I was able to come up with Pardon My French when I read the title, but, were it not for Meta Daughter, I'd have never thought of all 4 "___de___" phrases, let alone chef-d'oeuvre or any of the other possibilities.

On a side note, we are headed to Pittsburgh tomorrow to see three Dodgers/Pirates games. The weather forecast is iffy, at best. Does anyone have a recommendation for Things To Do In Pittsburgh? We've been to the Conservatory, the Science Center, the Duquesne incline, and the Heinz Center. Thanks for any suggestions.
Ooh, I ditto this request! My daughter and her husband (and our brand new grandbaby) are moving to Pittsburg next month while he does a year-long internship in the area. So ideas that would work well with a little one are also appreciated. My daughter has already informed me--reluctantly--that the National Aviary is there :D
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lacangah
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#380

Post by lacangah »

KscX wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:06 pm
CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:37 pm I think that those of you who know lots of French were impeded by your knowledge. I was able to come up with Pardon My French when I read the title, but, were it not for Meta Daughter, I'd have never thought of all 4 "___de___" phrases, let alone chef-d'oeuvre or any of the other possibilities.

On a side note, we are headed to Pittsburgh tomorrow to see three Dodgers/Pirates games. The weather forecast is iffy, at best. Does anyone have a recommendation for Things To Do In Pittsburgh? We've been to the Conservatory, the Science Center, the Duquesne incline, and the Heinz Center. Thanks for any suggestions.
RIVERS OF STEEL - old iron plant. Look it up. Warhol museum, and visit the make your own studio there. Fun. Good brewery in an old church, too. Hopefully all are still open after the last year! And finally -funicular is worth doing twice.
Strong thumbs up on all the above; the Rivers of Steel tour was an especially nice surprise. Would add the Bayernhof Museum as an interesting rainy-day tour as well. Enjoy your visit!
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