"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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PJM
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#421

Post by PJM »

There are a number of sci-fi writers who go by the initials "N.K.," including N.K. Quinn (https://www.amazon.com/N.K.-Quinn/e/B07 ... scns_share) and N.K. Goddard (

I submitted the "correct" entry as Jemisen appeared to be the most well-known and because 45A "Groundbreaking" was a possible reference to Jemisen's "Broken Earth" trilogy.

Since the solution came down to choosing the "best" answer and not the "definitive" answer, I found the meta less satisfying than most others.
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auee89
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#422

Post by auee89 »

Did anyone else see this pattern after finding the 2 words? Where, after splitting the words, you see the same initials for all 4 authors as you read down? This cannot be a coincidence! :-) I was looking for a link to NK and this new pattern Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and never found it (obviously).

Image

Sorry if someone else also posted this, but this was too interesting to me to not share. Have a great week everyone! Oh, and I am done messing with the week 5 Gaffney - totally clueless there.
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Flying_Burrito
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#423

Post by Flying_Burrito »

I suspect that Matt and mike will come back with vengeance on the next meta they create. I had the crossword and the meta logic done relatively quickly but I confess that without google I would have never been able to come up with Jemisin and the purist part of me has an issue in using Google for it (but that's just me and everybody is free to do as they deem fit). If I had to race for time i would have been part of page 1 but with the wrong answer (5D being Sac for 'they bring people home" and I would have deduced that Isaac Asimov was the one). That's the thing about being on Page 1, you may be fast but that does not necessarily mean you are right. Hhave a great week y'all
Senor Guaca Mole :mrgreen:
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Richard
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#424

Post by Richard »

I saw the two words and the initial thing right away. Googled the NK and found two names and picked what looked like the more famous one.

Submitted but was not sure as I don't read much sci fi and had never heard of NK.

Spent the weekend thinking it was too easy and looking for something else. Pleasantly surprised that I had it all along.

Not sure whether to praise Matt for making me aware oF someone who looks like a very accomplished writer or complain that it is hard for me see how she is "well known." Maybe "prolific" or something. "Award winning" could be limiting.
hoover
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#425

Post by hoover »

ksbfl wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:43 am Playing on an iPhone (a tiny old beloved SE no less) in the middle of the Adirondacks is not conducive to grasping the gestalt. I “jotted down” the sets of initials, eliminated the duplicates and was left with J G (Ballard.) Violated my rule of never submitting an answer I have to justify.
I went down that rabbit hole for a nanosecond, but there wasn't any lettuce at the bottom so I popped back out.
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Limerick Savant
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#426

Post by Limerick Savant »

It occurs to me Mike could have referenced another famous author in the puzzle by including a clue like:

Scout’s likely confession to her best friend after killing that annoying bird outside the Finch house
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hoover
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#427

Post by hoover »

HunterX wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 9:59 am 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."
... which is why "SF" can stand for "speculative fiction."
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BrianMac
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#428

Post by BrianMac »

This thread is testing my resolution not to argue on the Internet. :|

Winning four Hugo awards for best novel means that you are, by definition, a "a well-known science fiction writer." I'm quite surprised there can be any controversy about that.

(I had not heard of her prior to this puzzle.)
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Conrad
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#429

Post by Conrad »

BrianMac wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:17 am Winning four Hugo awards for best novel means that you are, by definition, a "a well-known science fiction writer." I'm quite surprised there can be any controversy about that.
Agreed. So does selling over 2 million copies of one trilogy (Broken Earth).
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SReh26
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#430

Post by SReh26 »

Anyone know who John Coffee is?

If you are in his field, he is a VERY well known name. Renowned even.

If you are not in his field, you will think I’m making a joke and there is no such person.

With apologies to Donald Rumsfeld, RIP, some people know some things and other people know other things, and some people don’t know they don’t know.

And it’s ALL GOOD! To quote MC Hammer.
Last edited by SReh26 on Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
periperi
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#431

Post by periperi »

Conrad wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:23 am
BrianMac wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:17 am Winning four Hugo awards for best novel means that you are, by definition, a "a well-known science fiction writer." I'm quite surprised there can be any controversy about that.
Agreed. So does selling over 2 million copies of one trilogy (Broken Earth).
I disagree. When you poll a relatively learned group of people and most haven't heard of someone, they aren't "well known" in any real sense. She is well known among a specific community (science fiction), but she is not generally well known among the population. Enver Hoxha was well known to Albanians. He is not well known the world at large. To me, well-known means if you mention a name to 10 people selected at random on the street, at least 6 or 7 of them will at least say the name rings a bell. I don't think NK qualifies. H.G. Wells would. Anyone can be well known within a niche community -- and the community can even be millions of people.
hoover
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#432

Post by hoover »

SReh26 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:31 am Anyone know who John Coffee is?

If you are in his field, he is a VERY well known name. Renowned even.

If you are not in his field, you will think I’m making a joke and there is no such person.

With apologies to Donald Rumsfeld, RIP, some people know some things and other people know other things, and some people don’t know they don’t know.

And it’s ALL GOOD! To quote MC Hammer.
This may explain why I am puzzled about all of the jokes about Margaret Cho. Maybe I'm at the sweet spot of both old enough and young enough to have gone to see one of her standup shows in the 1990s, but to me, Margaret Cho is a recognizable household name that I don't have to Google.
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SReh26
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#433

Post by SReh26 »

hoover wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:46 am
SReh26 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:31 am Anyone know who John Coffee is?

If you are in his field, he is a VERY well known name. Renowned even.

If you are not in his field, you will think I’m making a joke and there is no such person.

With apologies to Donald Rumsfeld, RIP, some people know some things and other people know other things, and some people don’t know they don’t know.

And it’s ALL GOOD! To quote MC Hammer.
This may explain why I am puzzled about all of the jokes about Margaret Cho. Maybe I'm at the sweet spot of both old enough and young enough to have gone to see one of her standup shows in the 1990s, but to me, Margaret Cho is a recognizable household name that I don't have to Google.
yes and she had a TV sitcom for a bit. I know of her too.
boharr
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#434

Post by boharr »

periperi wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:35 am
Conrad wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:23 am
BrianMac wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:17 am Winning four Hugo awards for best novel means that you are, by definition, a "a well-known science fiction writer." I'm quite surprised there can be any controversy about that.
Agreed. So does selling over 2 million copies of one trilogy (Broken Earth).
I disagree. When you poll a relatively learned group of people and most haven't heard of someone, they aren't "well known" in any real sense. She is well known among a specific community (science fiction), but she is not generally well known among the population. Enver Hoxha was well known to Albanians. He is not well known the world at large. To me, well-known means if you mention a name to 10 people selected at random on the street, at least 6 or 7 of them will at least say the name rings a bell. I don't think NK qualifies. H.G. Wells would. Anyone can be well known within a niche community -- and the community can even be millions of people.
Doesn't it all depend on the criteria one uses? And aren't there a myriad examples to ponder or argue over? Is Moe Berg well known?
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ky-mike
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#435

Post by ky-mike »

In my wife’s email today
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woozy
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#436

Post by woozy »

I'm sorry but no-one said you *couldn't* use Google. The mechanism made it clear we needed a sci-fi author who goes by N.K. and so I figured I'd google "N.K. science-fiction" and hopefully, if I'm correct, the top three or four hits would be consistent. Well, the first three or four *pages* were consistent. And I *had* heard of her. Not enough to remember her name, but I certainly remember the Hugos and the Rabid Puppies. I remember at the time thinking "geez, I really haven't been keeping up with sci-fi lately."

And as for Margaret Cho. *Of course* I've heard of her.
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HunterX
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#437

Post by HunterX »

periperi wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:35 am
Conrad wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:23 am
BrianMac wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:17 am Winning four Hugo awards for best novel means that you are, by definition, a "a well-known science fiction writer." I'm quite surprised there can be any controversy about that.
Agreed. So does selling over 2 million copies of one trilogy (Broken Earth).
I disagree. When you poll a relatively learned group of people and most haven't heard of someone, they aren't "well known" in any real sense. She is well known among a specific community (science fiction), but she is not generally well known among the population. Enver Hoxha was well known to Albanians. He is not well known the world at large. To me, well-known means if you mention a name to 10 people selected at random on the street, at least 6 or 7 of them will at least say the name rings a bell. I don't think NK qualifies. H.G. Wells would. Anyone can be well known within a niche community -- and the community can even be millions of people.
I think if your definition requires having 6 or 7 out of 10 random people on the street know the answer, then, in the case of people, you are defining "a famous person." I've seen shows that ask random people on the street who the Vice President of the United States is, or to name just one of the 9 Supreme Court Justices. And many people couldn't do one or the other of those. Yet the VP and all the Justices would definitely be considered well known, and even famous. And if you refine the phrase you are defining further by asking for a well-known [category], then the "man on the street" test is a little less relevant still. It then means something more like "Out of all the [category of people], this person is well known."

So Muggles are a somewhat self-selected group who don't represent the public at large. And apparently don't represent that group of people who could name this particular "well-known sci fi author."
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sanmilton
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#438

Post by sanmilton »

BrianMac wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:17 am This thread is testing my resolution not to argue on the Internet. :|

Winning four Hugo awards for best novel means that you are, by definition, a "a well-known science fiction writer." I'm quite surprised there can be any controversy about that.

(I had not heard of her prior to this puzzle.)
I'm right there with you, Brian!

Although there are many Muggles in this category, it seems that their definition of whether a person (or thing) is "well-known" comes down to whether he, she, or it is known to them personally. But there are notable opera singers that go unnoted by me (and I consider myself a fan) and popular vacation destinations that might as well be on another planet as far as I'm concerned. Being smart enough (or dogged enough) to ferret (OK, rabbit) out a meta solution doesn't make a person all-knowing, and neither does not knowing something mean that it is not otherwise well-known. (Could be a triple negative! Sorry!)

And another thing: Aren't we allowed to learn something new while attempting to solve one of these puzzles? Isn't using a search engine now an acceptable avenue of learning? Like you, I didn't know. So I did some Google research, and now I know. There shouldn't be any shame in that, and it should have no bearing on whether an entry is worthy of submission.
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BrianMac
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#439

Post by BrianMac »

periperi wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:35 am I disagree. When you poll a relatively learned group of people and most haven't heard of someone, they aren't "well known" in any real sense. She is well known among a specific community (science fiction), but she is not generally well known among the population. Enver Hoxha was well known to Albanians. He is not well known the world at large. To me, well-known means if you mention a name to 10 people selected at random on the street, at least 6 or 7 of them will at least say the name rings a bell. I don't think NK qualifies. H.G. Wells would. Anyone can be well known within a niche community -- and the community can even be millions of people.
Constructors are pretty careful in whether they describe someone as "well known" versus "famous." I think you're describing the latter. "Among the population" and "to the world at large" were not qualifiers in the meta prompt.

Edit: HunterX beat me to it. :)
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Kas
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#440

Post by Kas »

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.
Yep. "H.G. Wells" was my top-of-mind answer, too...but I went back to the well, and luckily, my bucket came up with Jemisin. In any event, this illustrates my comment last week about the likelihood of this Meta causing a lot of, uh...back-paddling. (And I'm chuckling at the mental image of a bunch of people putting their Maitais down at the cabana, walking despondently back to the shore and swimming back to the ship...) :)
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