"I've Got Two Words For You" - July 30, 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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Post by CPJohnson »

Commodore wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:11 am Chased down the well?known white whale this week. AHA But...
Question for the archivists: How often does a meta answer include letters not discovered within the grid or clues by way of clever mechanism or other torturous sorcery? J-E-M-I-S-I-N
My guess is 12%; perhaps someone else with better records can determine how many without having to do a manual count.
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Post by SReh26 »

KscX wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:04 am N K JEMISIN just sold her Hugo award-winning series to Tristar and she will be adapting them into screenplays, I found in my research (aka googlin for the meta). Kudos to her; I look forward to reading the book and then seeing the movie - one of my favorite pastimes. No complaints on the puzzle! Straightforward but fun and added to my library.
Well, given that, she hardly needs to care if we knew of her! Go, N.K.!

Reminds me of what happened to Tolstoy when War and Peace was published. He expected the immediate critical acclaim he deserved, instead the world, as he saw it, completely ignored him! Only a few reviews came out way after it was published. That’s gotta burn. Although it IS a long book!
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Post by MikeM000 »


Muggle-XWor Stars & Celebrities
What do they know?
Do they know current sci-fi authors?

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Post by Ergcat »

My first/only rabbit hole was looking at the prevalence of “to” or “ot” in the grid. The title led me to look for “two words” ( synonyms, homonyms, foreign words, etc of TWO). So I “see” TO in many grid words — Otto, clot, motored, ketone, dote..... but this never led to anything. So I pivoted to the “two word” answers and the authors! Led me quickly to “NK somebody”!
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Post by Mister Squawk »

Also in the rabbit hole department, the letter frequency for "O" was twice the natural frequency.

And I was really hoping the answer was going to be CS Lewis...
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Post by whimsy »

Oh, and in my search for more validation for N K Jemisin (beside the jammies) I wanted something from CLOT (HOT, POT, JOT) and, because of DONHO, something from: OSLO, OTTO, KEMO, SNO, HBO, RODEO.........
Probably should have just appreciated the title more -- "I've Got Two Words For You" -- and only two words.
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Post by lbray53 »

My "wrong" guess. You can string the two letters of the names together like this:


So CJ as in Cherryh fits the pattern at the very beginning. No other author (including HG Wells) fit so all I needed was to make up a way for the TWO WORDS to make sense. At one point I had myself convinced that C J stood for two words so that was good enough. The constructor was only giving us "TWO WORDS" of the name. Weak. I know.

All the buzz about others getting this meta wrong actually supported my answer because I assumed that was referring to HG Wells.
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Post by ksbfl »

Limerick Savant wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:06 am A discussion with another Muggle about the correct spelling of the author’s name, its relationship to a favorite Irish whiskey, and autocorrect; led me to thinking about an earlier side discussion on this thread. So, with apologies to O. Nash, here is my response to that discussion:

The one-l lama
He’s a priest
The two-l llama
He’s a beast
I bet you’ll see
A three-l lllama
Before you grasp
The Oxford comma
Thanks for finally getting me to look that one up. Now where did I get:
A three-l lama is a fire
A four-l lama burns much higher.
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Post by Tom Shea »

lbray53 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:34 am My "wrong" guess. You can string the two letters of the names together like this:


So CJ as in Cherryh fits the pattern at the very beginning. No other author (including HG Wells) fit so all I needed was to make up a way for the TWO WORDS to make sense. At one point I had myself convinced that C J stood for two words so that was good enough. The constructor was only giving us "TWO WORDS" of the name. Weak. I know.

All the buzz about others getting this meta wrong actually supported my answer because I assumed that was referring to HG Wells.
I had JG Ballard via a similar route.

On to next week.
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Post by DianeA »

I agree H.G. WELLS would have been an easier answer - more well known to me, at least. BUT H.G. WELLS was the answer of the Matt Gaffney puzzle of 5 July 2019 (He's Good). I remembered that answer, and knew he'd likely not duplicate so that lead me to find the nicekid clue and then Mr. G helped.
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Post by femullen »

LadyBird wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:16 am I got the 4 authors and the double initials and then saw the 4 two-letter answers with corresponding initials. I was then convinced that the answer HAD to be HG WELLS. Try as I might, I could not backsolve that answer from the grid. For some reason, I went looking through the grid for 2-word answers and noticed that there was an "extra".

Wondering if there were a lot of HG WELLS submissions.
"Ah!" I said at that first step.

"Hah!" I said at the second, and I too was sure it was going to be H.G. Wells.

Anticipating the fused "Aha!" reaction on the third step, I instead came up only with "Eh?"

Never heard of her before Friday. Sure have now.
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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Post by TeaJenny »

Well, that's a relief!

I got the correct answer on Thursday by figuring out that NICE KID was the only two-word phrase in the grid without a corresponding author's last name and consulting Mr. G. N.K. JEMISIN popped up immediately, and I decided it was too much of a coincidence, so I submitted right away. However, I was seriously second-guessing myself all weekend, since I couldn't get the grid to yield JEMISIN, no matter how hard I tried.

Did anyone else catch the hint created by the intersection of 37D: HINT and 45A: NEW? I took that as confirmation that the author in question was recent, which also pointed to N.K. JEMISIN.
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Post by SusieG »

N.K. Jemisin should be well-known, given her laurels. At least Matt has made her well-known here. Like others, I was disappointed there wasn’t more to the solve.

I was also triggered by Don Ho. Can’t recall is I’ve told that story here? He’s in the crosswords frequently enough I suspect that I have.
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Post by sphorning »

That was a KAS 4!
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Post by sharkicicles »

If I have any beef with this one, it’s not that the author isn’t well-known enough (if you Google “science fiction nk” she’s the first result, which IMO is enough for a meta “click”) but that Matt is a prisoner of his own genius. “NICE KID” was a clunker enough of a grid entry that I was immediately sure it had to be part of the meta. Once it was clear it was the only other two-word entry it was a quick 100 percent solve.
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Post by HunterX »

While I hadn't heard of Jemisin, my son reads a lot of sci fi, as I mentioned Friday. So when we found the mechanism and I said, "Do you know any authors who goes by 'N. K.' something?" He immediately mentioned her and the Broken Earth trilogy. Also mentioned the controversy with the Hugo Awards that is discussed in Jemisin's Wikipedia page.

I generally read sci fi if I'm going to read fiction, so I have read a fair amount over the years. But I'm a bit old-school in that I like my "Sci Fi" to be fairly "Sci" oriented. Jemisin falls into "Fantasy," which I can understand being lumped in with "Sci Fi" though I don't read any. I have more of an issue with "Horror" being lumped in with "Sci Fi," though I can understand why they do that too. As for "Historical Fiction"... I don't know. Just give me a good-old Isaac Asimov (my second favorite Isaac ;) ) Robot series story and you can call whatever you want "Sci Fi."
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Post by MatthewL »

Not much to add to what's been said, but I know at least one other person besides me used HELIPAD as the HP connection, and thought that was odd as HELIPAD is only one word. This was due to the fact that I had mistyped HOTLOG instead of HOT POT (and no, I have no idea what HOTLOG is but figured it was some dish with which I was unfamiliar). It was only after I figured out the answer that I went back to the grid and saw my error (because that one word versus two words was really bugging me). Overall, a very nice puzzle, and I wasn't bothered by having to suss out the answer with a little help from Mr. G.
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Post by iggystan »

I, too, thought first of H. G. Wells, but couldn't find a way that would work. Yesterday I also thought of C. J. Cherryh, but couldn't find a way for that to work either. Then I saw a bunch of "LE"s in the puzzle and thought of L. E. Modesitt, Jr., but again it didn't work. Finally looked at the title again, the two word answers, and the "aha" moment was found.
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Post by DBMiller »

Well damn. Never noticed the two-word answers in the grid corresponding to the Authors' initials. So I didn't see NICEKID. While my first thought was HG Wells, I needed something more to know it was right. And alas, I got stuck on Pajamas, aka, PJs.

A lot of PJ authors to go with. But PJ Manney stuck out as her books are titled (R)EVOLUTION, (ID)ENTITY, and (CON)SCIENCE. All takes on 2-word titles hidden as one.

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Post by mheberlingx100 »

I was hoping for M. C. Beaton, author of the Hamish Macbeth series. My wife and I are big fans.