"Two for One" - July 23, 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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Gman
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#321

Post by Gman »

I was glad I printed this one out. Between 31A, YANKEE/CLOAK/MANTLE and the 7 e.g.s, I knew right away what steps one and two of the mechanism were. Had I just written the 7 word lists, I would have been left with gibberish and anagrams. By printing out the puzzle I could see that the examples all overlapped.
PJM
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#322

Post by PJM »

If you 'got' the mechanism but, for whatever reason, didn't at first get that all of the relevant clues contained "e.g.," you would have spent some time dealing with extra letters courtesy of;

German article: EIN/DEN
Checkroom collections COATS/BAGS

I'm saying these are intentional rabbit holes and not artifacts. Right, Mr. Shenk?
michaelm
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#323

Post by michaelm »

Anyone notice that there were seven letters I (Roman Numeral ONE) in the grid?
That's the direction "I" was heading before connecting Cape Mantle with Yankee Mantle.
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Mister Squawk
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#324

Post by Mister Squawk »

DrTom wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:43 am
Mister Squawk wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 4:39 am Please tell me that I am not the only person who got the answer but used a COMPLETELY different mechanism.

To wit:

If you take the main answer "SET A GOOD EXAMPLE" two letters at a time, you can find each letter pair in a single answer elsewhere in the grid:

Code: Select all

   atSEa
     TAllis
     GOlem
 themODerns
stridEX
    gAMe
     PLea
(ignoring the fifteenth letter 'E'). If you then rearrange the answers in grid order, the answers contain the answer:

PLEA
TALLIS
STRIDEX
ATSEA
GAME
GOLEM
THEMODERNS
I second Hunter X's WOW. This so looks like something I would do. I didn't but I have arrived at answers in an odd ways before. This however is a paragon of creativity.
I would be interested to know if in fact both mechanisms were intentional. I have a hard time believing that the presence of those letter pairs in words that, when taken in grid order, contain the letters PARAGON is a coincidence.

After all, the title of the puzzle is "Two for one".
JeanneC
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#325

Post by JeanneC »

Thought the rabbits were going to abduct me this week. Could not ignore sadIRONS (Jeremy who played twin doctors with the last name MANTLE in Dead Ringers) and Bruce and Laura DERN from the the clue The MoDERNS. Ah me! I think Harvey is knocking at my door.🐇
Good luck to those in the running for the mug!
“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions”. Lillian Hellman
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femullen
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#326

Post by femullen »

It's a bit of a relief, really, that of all the rabbit holes I dug, not a one was even close. That is, this is a puzzle I wasn't going to get, no matter what, so I was rewarded for quitting early last night with a couple extra winks.

I will tattle on myself a little, though: on my first pass through the Down clues, I wrote 2D, GAS, which, I correctly concluded, couldn't be right because it crossed 12A, GAS, but I took no further notice. Most of the rest of the time I spent trying to do something with all the double letters: EEL-->ELS, REEDS-->RED, there had to be something there, right?

My Hail Mary, I decided early on, was going to be NUMERAL, as in "2, for one."
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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mntlblok
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#327

Post by mntlblok »

My simple mind felt sorry for the clue writer for using "mantle" as a clue for "cape" - *especially* when "Yankee" had already been somewhere in the puzzle and they'd used a "less fun" clue for that. It's conceivable that I might've noticed more of the coincidences had I not struggled so with the grid. Probably also haven't done enough crosswords over the years to recognize enough of the "standard" clues (though my wife *does* know many more of them). "Gas" certainly didn't jump to mind for 12A. :-( The Harry/Sally example should've helped here. Biggest takeaway for me this week is accepting that I can't automatically take the shortcut of just checking the clues related to the "long" answers. Love me some shortcuts. Laziness could ultimately be my meta downfall. Oh, and back to that "mantle" thing. Forced me to switch avatars, again. :-)
MatthewL
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#328

Post by MatthewL »

Didn't waste a lot of time looking in rabbit holes on this one. While completing the grid (which was very hard, by the way -- I mean SADIRON? Seriously?), I initially put GAS for Neon, and then realized it was CAR. Had the same hiccup with POPE and PLEA. Thought it was odd at the time. Once I had completed the grid and was searching for the meta, I went back to those, and realized there were other pairs clued with "e.g." Counted them up and voila -- 7 clues. Got the highlighter out and solved it about 30 seconds after that. But, I think this is one of those where if you don't see that connection, it was going to be hard to muscle through it.
Matthew
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BrennerTJ
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#329

Post by BrennerTJ »

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 8.47.20 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 8.47.33 AM.png
Learned how to do attachments. Ruh-roh.
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mheberlingx100
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#330

Post by mheberlingx100 »

Gman wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:50 am I was glad I printed this one out. Between 31A, YANKEE/CLOAK/MANTLE and the 7 e.g.s, I knew right away what steps one and two of the mechanism were. Had I just written the 7 word lists, I would have been left with gibberish and anagrams. By printing out the puzzle I could see that the examples all overlapped.
I used to do the Contest online, but now I print out and use paper and (erasable) pen. Hate to waste paper and printer ink, but for me, many puzzles are more difficult if I don’t have a hard copy in front of me.
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qvart
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#331

Post by qvart »

qvart wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:16 pm Ashore. I think. Not 100% :lol:
MajordomoTom wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:36 pm Should be 100% if you did it right.
It took a little while, but I hit on the "example"/"e.g." thing so I typed out the answers to those clues in a text document and realized there were other matching clues in the grid. I scanned the fill and found words that fit the clues, but I missed Yankee (d'oh!). If I had highlighted the words in the grid, it would have been obvious that they all intersected and I would have caught that one. Instead, I just typed them out in a text document and could see the letters for PARAGON. I was missing one letter but was pretty sure I had it so I didn't bother going any further. Hence, "Not 100%"
hoover
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#332

Post by hoover »

cbarbee002 wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:38 am I never made it out of the starting blocks on this one - - completed the grid in fits and starts, and never made the connections. As usual, feeling like this one should have jumped out at me. I tried to figure out what the title might mean, and actually considered that it meant two grid answers for one clue - - so I think that makes me doubly blind. Oh well, Isaac and I are BFF's now.
Hey, bud, scoot over, I think you're on my bar stool.
RichA2
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#333

Post by RichA2 »

I easily spotted the three left side pairs of interlocked grid answers. I stalled at finding more, and so concluded that there must be four more instances of (non-interlocked) grid answers matching clues for answers that appeared elsewhere in the grid. I found some: An AIRMAN is a Speedy flier; OHLORD can be a Heartfelt request; maybe REEDS are a Grasslike plant. And Mr. G tells me there was a composer named Thomas Carter. But he was Irish, not British, and Mike Shenk would not confuse the two. Put the puzzle aside.

When I picked it up the next morning, I spotted the seven e.g.s, and found may way to shore easily.

Fun one.
SewYoung
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#334

Post by SewYoung »

My only (very minor) quibble is that "innocent" is not a plea. You plead "not guilty" not "innocent". But the intent is obvious and would have been very convoluted to try to work it in another way.
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HunterX
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#335

Post by HunterX »

Mister Squawk wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 9:17 am
I would be interested to know if in fact both mechanisms were intentional. I have a hard time believing that the presence of those letter pairs in words that, when taken in grid order, contain the letters PARAGON is a coincidence.

After all, the title of the puzzle is "Two for one".
I can't imagine it was intentional. And I can easily imagine that it's coincidental that other words in the grid had an 'A' or 'R' or 'N' or even 'O' 'P' or 'G' as they are somewhat common letters. And two of the words in the list are part of the mechanism anyway.

When thinking about whether Mike Shenk went to all the trouble of constructing a 15x15 grid of words where pairs that could answer the same clue crossed each other at the exact letters to spell out PARAGON in order they appear in the grid, then filled in words that might fit between all those pairs, then also constructed a 15-letter answer in the middle of this grid (which already contains a letter from the initial set of pairs), which when divided into pairs would be linked to other clue answers, which when assembled would also contain letters in seemingly random positions (1, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 9) which could be assembled to form the word previously formed by the initial, amazing, construction, William of Occam starts whispering in my ear, using another 7-letter word, "Look for the more PROSAIC explanation!"
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Mister Squawk
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#336

Post by Mister Squawk »

HunterX wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 11:29 am.

When thinking about whether Mike Shenk went to all the trouble of constructing a 15x15 grid of words where pairs that could answer the same clue crossed each other at the exact letters to spell out PARAGON in order they appear in the grid, then filled in words that might fit between all those pairs, then also constructed a 15-letter answer in the middle of this grid (which already contains a letter from the initial set of pairs), which when divided into pairs would be linked to other clue answers, which when assembled would also contain letters in seemingly random positions (1, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2, 9) which could be assembled to form the word previously formed by the initial, amazing, construction, William of Occam starts whispering in my ear, using another 7-letter word, "Look for the more PROSAIC explanation!"
Yes, although the fact that the first three words' letter positions correspond to their positions in the list is suggestive.

Also, there are only two English words that can be formed by taking one letter from each word in the given order: PARAGON and PASSAGE. (You can use the handy regular expression dictionary search at https://visca.com/regexdict for searches like this.)
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SReh26
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#337

Post by SReh26 »

mheberlingx100 wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:18 am
Gman wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 8:50 am I was glad I printed this one out. Between 31A, YANKEE/CLOAK/MANTLE and the 7 e.g.s, I knew right away what steps one and two of the mechanism were. Had I just written the 7 word lists, I would have been left with gibberish and anagrams. By printing out the puzzle I could see that the examples all overlapped.
I used to do the Contest online, but now I print out and use paper and (erasable) pen. Hate to waste paper and printer ink, but for me, many puzzles are more difficult if I don’t have a hard copy in front of me.
I’ve been doing mine on an iphone but writing out the TAs and notes on paper. I’ve been advised that by not printing out the grid and using highlighter I’m disadvantaging myself. I hope this means I’ll do better going forward!
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BrianMac
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#338

Post by BrianMac »

Mister Squawk wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 11:45 am Also, there are only two English words that can be formed by taking one letter from each word in the given order: PARAGON and PASSAGE. (You can use the handy regular expression dictionary search at https://visca.com/regexdict for searches like this.)
ESTEEMS?
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mikeB
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#339

Post by mikeB »

eagle1279 wrote: Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:38 am Interesting when correcting mistakes is helpful. My path started with entering PLEA at 4A (Innocent). The change to POPE because 6D was PLEA was a hint to the mechanism. What pushed me along the path was Queen, Ace and Hearts, then noticing there were seven “e.g.” clues. But even after establishing the pairs, I struggled to see the intersecting letters. This is where Joe Ross’s spreadsheet would have excelled (pun intended) in showing the obvious. Great meta!
Same experience – tripped up on PLEA; switched to POPE. Once the grid was done, I scanned for similar relationships & noticed CARD and AIRMAN as well. That’s when I noticed the clues for POPE and AIRMAN both included “e.g.” in both. From there it was a zip line to paragon.

Several months into this adventure, I’m beginning to think the most important three words in solving metas are “happened to notice”. I imagine that the more experience you have, the more quickly you happen-to-notice things. The process isn’t entirely systematic, due to the many possible variations in designs. And luck seems to play a part. If PLEA and POPE hadn’t been such physically similar words, or if POPE had come to mind first for 4A, this meta might have taken me substantially longer to solve.
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SReh26
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#340

Post by SReh26 »

Pretty interesting piece on Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria today on cnn. She describes how her mathematician’s independent approach to problem solving helped her win the cycling gold yesterday, despite not having trained with her national team.

Not too often that a mathematician wins Olympic gold. For some reason that seemed relevant to this community.
Last edited by SReh26 on Mon Jul 26, 2021 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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