"Hotlinks" - June 25, 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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Joe Ross
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#361

Post by Joe Ross »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:29 am
JeanneC wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:43 am Missed it this week. But I almost spit up my coffee this morning when I realized the song people were alluding to this weekend. Gawd, what a maudlin song! I remember rushing to turn off the car radio every time it played. What a good laugh I just had! 😂
What is this song that people keep referring to? The puzzle contains "A Boy Named Sue". Never heard it or heard of it. Is that it?
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SusieG
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#362

Post by SusieG »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:29 am
JeanneC wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:43 am Missed it this week. But I almost spit up my coffee this morning when I realized the song people were alluding to this weekend. Gawd, what a maudlin song! I remember rushing to turn off the car radio every time it played. What a good laugh I just had! 😂
What is this song that people keep referring to? The puzzle contains "A Boy Named Sue". Never heard it or heard of it. Is that it?
It’s Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey. If you’ve never heard it, DO NOT LISTEN TO IT. You will have a slow playing ear worm that will drive you insane.

When I was a teenager a boy I liked told me it was his favorite song. I immediately lost interest in him. My family was staying in a hotel where the above-named artist was playing a concert. We could hear the whole thing in our room. The entire family wanted to pull our ears off after hearing that song more than once. I guess he played an encore of the encore.
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iggystan
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#363

Post by iggystan »

Funny, I had the answer before completing the ladder and that "verified" it for me. I still wasn't sure though but went with it. Not too many mentions of what I feel were red herrings, WARD and WISE. They caused me some consternation.
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DBMiller
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#364

Post by DBMiller »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 7:15 am After finding the three separate ladders in the theme answers, I went around the usual routines of counting up and down, looking for homophones, looking for anagrams, and so on. Got nowhere; came back the next day. Various other things did not pan out, and I was frustrated that I could find no way to connect things in the grid. Finally the good idea hit and I came up with WILD and FIRE. Seemed pretty good, and knew I'd likely not find anything else.

Decided to let it sit for a few hours, Then, after after a while, thought I might as well read the forum, as I'd reached the end of my rope. Oh God no: all these mentions of pageantry.

When I got up to page 8 I came across this (excerpted):
DBMiller wrote: Fri Jun 25, 2021 3:50 pm Pageantphobia: The unreasonable fear of thinking you have the wrong meta answer either because 1) It came too easy; 2) Because you don't trust the link between the puzzle's title/meta hint/theme answers/meta answer.

My advice is, "Don't worry". There hasn't been a pageant since the original where people didn't fully make the connection to the title, and only connected the themed answers.
Bingo: "make the connection to the title": I just had not seen that nice link this week. Email sent to WSJ.
Glad it helped, but one of the standard reminders is "Title, Title, Title!".

If I were to give out a hint, mine would have been, "It's all WELL and GOOD until Homo Erectus falls off the 64A".

I went back and looked to see if there was any clue that referred to missing link, but did not find one. That might have made it too easy?

In my notes, I also started with FIREWALL as a guess, but it didn't complete the ladder, only made a link to WILL/WELL.
Nlobb
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#365

Post by Nlobb »

I really liked this puzzle! It was especially nice not to have to use Google one time to look up any of the answers in the grid especially names of a rap band, TV character etc. that I didn't know and won't remember. (Not that there is anything wrong with those; I just never know them.) Also no use of Google to work the meta. Altogether one of my favorite puzzles. Thanks for a fun solve.
Ann
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#366

Post by Ann »

The cost of solving the puzzle was steep: the hideous strains of “wildfire” running through my brain.
Dave Barry does an excellent analysis in his list of bad songs. And it’s bad. Really, really bad.
Susan Goldberg
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#367

Post by Susan Goldberg »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:29 am
JeanneC wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:43 am Missed it this week. But I almost spit up my coffee this morning when I realized the song people were alluding to this weekend. Gawd, what a maudlin song! I remember rushing to turn off the car radio every time it played. What a good laugh I just had! 😂
What is this song that people keep referring to? The puzzle contains "A Boy Named Sue". Never heard it or heard of it. Is that it?
No. It’s called Wildfire by Michael Murphey from the 70’s. It’s about a now deceased former lover. Wildfire was her horse.
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SReh26
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#368

Post by SReh26 »

SusieG wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:51 am
otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:29 am
JeanneC wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:43 am Missed it this week. But I almost spit up my coffee this morning when I realized the song people were alluding to this weekend. Gawd, what a maudlin song! I remember rushing to turn off the car radio every time it played. What a good laugh I just had! 😂
What is this song that people keep referring to? The puzzle contains "A Boy Named Sue". Never heard it or heard of it. Is that it?
It’s Wildfire by Michael Martin Murphey. If you’ve never heard it, DO NOT LISTEN TO IT. You will have a slow playing ear worm that will drive you insane.

When I was a teenager a boy I liked told me it was his favorite song. I immediately lost interest in him. My family was staying in a hotel where the above-named artist was playing a concert. We could hear the whole thing in our room. The entire family wanted to pull our ears off after hearing that song more than once. I guess he played an encore of the encore.
Heh- I started listening to it for the first time ever yesterday. Didn’t get far.
Last edited by SReh26 on Mon Jun 28, 2021 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
boharr
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#369

Post by boharr »

Do we think Patrick Berry likes the song?
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ReB
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#370

Post by ReB »

LADDERS didn't occur to me as a hint because the phrase I associate with the meta mechanism is WORD CHAINS, which is what I thought of as soon as I saw the title was HOT LINKS and noticed how close were the spellings of the 4-letter subwords in the theme answers.

And once I found I could create three chains that I could link together with just two "missing links" - and that the two links were FIRE and WILD, that closed the case...mostly - I just had to hope there wasn't something more subtle I was overlooking.
Last edited by ReB on Mon Jun 28, 2021 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Susan Goldberg
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#371

Post by Susan Goldberg »

In my darkest despair, I almost threw out sausages too!! I tried to find the letters in the grid and backsolve, but that went nowhere.
MikeMillerwsj
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#372

Post by MikeMillerwsj »

It's always a treat to have the brilliant Patrick Berry in our rotation, and this week's was a characteristically ingenious offering. It was trickier than usual, but you rose to the occasion: We had 1300 entries, about 78% correct (roughly our average percentage).

From our incorrect guesses, you could almost see our solvers following the trail very close to the end: FIREWALL (31), FIREWOOD (15), FIREWIRE (6), plus many others. And SAUSAGES (26) which looked like a bit more of a wild guess from the title, right?

Congratulations to this week's winner: Richard Basuk of New York, NY.
woozy
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#373

Post by woozy »

"This week it seemed the Submit button was missing from the online version of the puzzle, so I had to submit via email for the first time. Did I just miss it?"

Rather strange. I've never seen a submit link at all on the online puzzle ever. But interestingly, on the non contest puzzles when you complete the grid correctly you get a congratulations pop-up. You don't get that on the meta puzzles as you are not done just by doing the grid. This week I *did* get the pop-up when I completed the grid. I hypothesis, however data-entered the puzzle forgot to indicated it was a meta.

I guess I will further hypothesize that there is something about the Firefox Browser that the script to give a submit button when you complete the grid just fails to work and that is why I have *never* seen one and have no idea what you are talking about.

I do sometimes wonder if *none* of my submissions have ever been received as I've always submitted by e-mail and have never received any form of confirmation.
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Joe Ross
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#374

Post by Joe Ross »

boharr wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 11:24 am Do we think Patrick Berry likes the song?
What do we have against Patrick Berry? Of course he doesn't like the song!
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Gman
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#375

Post by Gman »

Did anyone else notice the words HEAT and LINK hidden (in the shape of a Tetris L) in the grid between four of the 6 long across answers? Amazing how much energy your mind can waste on rabbit holes that in hindsight were probably unintentional accidents in the grid.
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Scott M
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#376

Post by Scott M »

I started looking at the letter changes in the three partial word ladders I had. When I saw that the changes in the last three words were WORD -> WOOD -> GOOD (DOG), I thought I was looking for a sausage link. But saw the light shortly after.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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Nlobb
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#377

Post by Nlobb »

Wildfires are not my favorite topic; not because of the song...
Twice we have nearly had our rustic summer cabin burned down by wildfire.
Once it burned the cabin next to ours.
The second one burned down the OUTHOUSE, leaving the cabin intact. Very inconvenient!!!
Laura M
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#378

Post by Laura M »

tigerfly222 wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 3:11 am Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but question to the other online solvers out there...
This week it seemed the Submit button was missing from the online version of the puzzle, so I had to submit via email for the first time. Did I just miss it?
Very occasionally, the WSJ website accidentally publishes the Friday contest crossword as a regular crossword, which has Reveal and Check buttons (also you get the popup confirmation when the grid is correct) instead of the Contest Info and Submit buttons. If that happens, you have no choice other than to submit by email, so you did the right thing! It's confusing but doesn't affect anything otherwise.
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#379

Post by mntlblok »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:29 am
JeanneC wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 8:43 am Missed it this week. But I almost spit up my coffee this morning when I realized the song people were alluding to this weekend. Gawd, what a maudlin song! I remember rushing to turn off the car radio every time it played. What a good laugh I just had! 😂
What is this song that people keep referring to? The puzzle contains "A Boy Named Sue". Never heard it or heard of it. Is that it?
Reminds me. Spent a portion of the weekend reading up on Shel Silverstein. What a wide ranging talent. Had known "some" of it, but learned a ton. Cool to see that he was buddies with Steve Goodman and John Prine. Oh, and had had no idea that he had written "On the Cover of the Rolling Stone"! AAMOF, that whole album.

Was there a pony named Sue?
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#380

Post by KayW »

DannyWalter wrote: Mon Jun 28, 2021 9:24 am Huh. A real challenge if you had never heard of a word ladder. I learned something new, so it's a good day.
I've seen word ladders in many many puzzles over the years, so as soon as I saw that clue and all the double four-letter word entries I knew exactly what to do. I wondered how folks who weren't familiar with that concept would FARE. Not WELL, it seems.
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