"Thorough Enough" - September 24, 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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Ergcat
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#321

Post by Ergcat »

SReh26 wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:24 am I got a late start on this as I was busy with other things this weekend. So I found myself panicking as we approached the deadline. I ignominiously begged some muggles for aid like Eliza Doolittle. I frantically looked up words with ough in them. Midway through, I wondered, essentially, WTAF?? Why does this matter so much to me? Across-and-Down Syndrome? Meta-Bolic Syndrome? But once the aha moment occurred, I knew it was all worth it.
I’m afflicted with the same malady! 😂 all weekend I toiled over the meta and kept telling myself “ it doesn’t matter”. But as Sunday midnight approached, I had to ask for a hint… just couldn’t let it go! But, like you said, the “aha” moment was all worth it! It’s a crossword contest solvers “crack”! 😂
pjc
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#322

Post by pjc »

Besides some of the other rabbit holes mentioned, I also went down a different one based on the title. "Thorough enough" isn't a phrase I think I've heard used - but 'tough enough' is ('thorough' minus the 'hor'). Or, 'through enough' (minus an 'o'). So, I thought what I was looking for were words in the grid that could be other words by removing letters. The first one that jumped out at me was 'SOILIED' which becomes 'SOILED' with the removal of an I. And, yes, there are a bunch of others in the grid. Useless search :-D

Congrats to those that got it!
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Tom Shea
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#323

Post by Tom Shea »

Al Sisti wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:25 pm
Tom Shea wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:49 am Anyone else have the Fabulous Thunderbirds earworm like me?
Our Blues Society brought in Kim Wilson for a show earlier this month. He is as cool as the other side of the pillow.
8-)
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JJD
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#324

Post by JJD »

Yes, the SOILIED > SOILED rabbit got me for a while.
And the UTOPIA is like EDEN and there’s an ADEN.
And lots of 4-letter “word ladders” like ADEN DELI DALI…

BTW: anyone else notice DAVE OATS?
Franklin.Bluth
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#325

Post by Franklin.Bluth »

JJD wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:29 am I’m great at finding very plausible rabbit holes!
There are 8 “thorough enough” answers:
Doctor electric October second previously professor urban examination (or, you could use Delicatessen, which contains the word delicate, an antonym for rugged.) surely that’s the right path!

Yeah, I have always struggled on these alternate answer metas. The long answers all made perfect sense to me, so I didn’t think they were wonky at all.

Also, it couldn’t possibly be a coincidence that AIWA fits nicely into FAIRWAY, leaving you a R. And the wonky URB fit into DURABLE, leaving an A. Or maybe PUMPERNICKEL is a rye, which is similar to RAY.

Even when I was literally shoved off the boat towards shore, I got Though instead of Although, and just got stuck because there was only 1 vowel and 7 consonants.

If I had to have guessed an answer, it was going to be DETAILED, because the answers that weren’t THOROUGH ENOUGH were “de-tailed”.
Also DELI/DALI. That threw me off the scent.
Barney
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#326

Post by Barney »

Al Sisti wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:25 pm
Tom Shea wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:49 am Anyone else have the Fabulous Thunderbirds earworm like me?
Our Blues Society brought in Kim Wilson for a show earlier this month. He is as cool as the other side of the pillow.
How have I even lived without that metaphor.
mydogsam
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#327

Post by mydogsam »

THOROUGH ENOUGH: An Alternate Solution

Thorough = Thoreau

Thoreau: Say it right! The name of the man who penned Walden is Henry David Thoreau, pronounced THOR-oh, not Tho-ROW, say scholars, even though the majority of Americans accent the last syllable. How do we know? Jeffrey S. Cramer, curator of collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, says the evidence is irrefutable. "Thoreau himself made an incredible number of puns" on his own name, puns whose meaning hinges on saying the name as if it were "thorough."

Manhattan (17A): “I don’t like the city better the more I see it, but worse. I am ashamed of my eyes that behold it. It is a thousand times meaner than I could have imagined. It will be something to hate, —that’s the advantage it will be to me; and even the best people in it are a part of it, and talk coolly about it. The pigs in the street are the most respectable part of the population. When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man?”

Good Bread (27A): “With every new year, I find myself going back to bread. It’s the opposite of what we’re “supposed” to do in January; I should be telling you about a new energizing juice cleanse. But if we diet to restore the body, we bake to restore the spirit, cultivating the qualities we wish to embody throughout the year: the determination to begin, the self-assuredness to knead the dough, the resourcefulness to change course if it goes awry, the patience as it rises, the patience as it cooks, the patience as it cools.”

Never The Less (47A): Thoreau, seeing in his times that frightening compulsions for bigness, progress and excessive wealth were ruining the country, sought to gain his reader's attention with the two most magnificent - and - most moral - words in "Walden": "Simplify, simplify." For those of dim vision, he used directness: "Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion." For Thoreau, small was not only beautiful, it was sane and honorable. He pitied townsmen in nearby Concord who kept panting after larger farms, bigger houses, wider barns and heavier cattle. If acquired, this load of wealth crushes and smothers, until "men have become the tools of their tools."

Congestion/Common Cold (62A): “I have been sick so long that I have almost forgotten what it is to be well, yet I feel that it all respects only my envelope.” He caught a severe cold in December, 1860. The cold persisted and developed into chronic bronchitis with cough which lasted all through 1861. His condition gradually worsened and he died of “consumption” on May 6, 1862.

Hint: The answer to this week’s contest crossword is an eight-letter word describing a good contest crossword solver’s thinking.

What is common between a good contest crossword solver’s thinking and Thoreau’s thinking?

SOLUTION: Thoreau's writing style is dense with metaphor, and filled with sentences that pile on observation after observation, and reflection upon reflection, until, before you know it, you've gotten to the end of the paragraph without crossing nary a period.

Now isn’t META-phor a more sensible answer than changing all those answers to incorporate all that “OUGH” gobbely-gook?
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Kris Zacharias
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#328

Post by Kris Zacharias »

"Cough" as a possible answer for 62A and "sourdough" for 27A led me to the solution. This puzzle got me thinking about the inconsistencies of spelling and pronunciation that characterize the English language. That led to the old joke that an alternative spelling of "fish" is "ghoti," if the "gh" is pronounced as the "gh" in cough, the "o" is pronounced as the "o" in women, and the "ti" is pronounced as the "ti" in notion.
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whimsy
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#329

Post by whimsy »

Never did reach shore. While I had some of the -ough words, it was nowhere near enough.
Many of the same rabbit holes mentioned. Also certain that ACROSS, with its unusually worded clue and strategic placement, was a directive rather than a theme entry. Early in the game, I wanted there to be BEEF (side of - yo, Rocky!) in one part of the grid, and SLAW (side of) in another. Then the 8 letter path to connect them would be the answer!
Or again, BARN (side of) could have been in the grid, and I still wouldn't have hit it!
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mikeB
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#330

Post by mikeB »

I made a couple of rookie errors in solving the puzzle, significantly retarding the solve.

#1. I chased a shiny object, turned it into a rabbit hole, and took way too long to let it go and move on. The shiny object was a box defined by three “X”s in the grid. Reminiscent of the star in Connect The Dots (6/11/21). Very pretty (like all rabbit holes, right?), and supported by the clue for 70A, ACROSS; an “x” being a form of a cross; PED XING road sign, “thinking outside the box”, and other artifacts of confirmation bias. A critical question ignored for too long: What does this have to do with either the title or the themed clues/answers? There was no plausible way to get from this shiny object to those classical connections. I should have moved on much sooner.

#2. Later, after giving full credit to the title’s double OUGHs, I found the substitute words “borough”, “sourdough”, “although” and “cough” for what I thought were the only four themed entries. Those words, minus the OUGHs, gave me 13 letters to work with. What a mess. I spent a lot of time trying to tweeze an 8-letter answer out of that quagmire. I was late asking myself a second critical question: Which actually are the themed answers? It is a mistake to assume only the longer ones are the themed ones. Sometimes yes, but foolish to assume.

(There was actually a third question I asked too late: Where is my highlighter? Earlier deployment would have gotten me to the final missing letter much more quickly.)

Lessons learned. This meta bolsters my ability to avoid these pitfalls, which might very well rescue a stuck solve on a future meta or two.
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Franklin.Bluth
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#331

Post by Franklin.Bluth »

Kris Zacharias wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:43 pm "Cough" as a possible answer for 62A and "sourdough" for 27A led me to the solution. This puzzle got me thinking about the inconsistencies of spelling and pronunciation that characterize the English language. That led to the old joke that an alternative spelling of "fish" is "ghoti," if the "gh" is pronounced as the "gh" in cough, the "o" is pronounced as the "o" in women, and the "ti" is pronounced as the "ti" in notion.
Incidentally, -ough may be pronounced at least 7 different ways in standard English, plus another 4 in variants:

STANDARD
OO, as in through
OH, as in though
OW, as in bough
AH, as in fought
OFF, as in cough
UFF, as in rough
UH, as in thoroughly

VARIANTS
UP, as in hiccough (non-standard spelling still occasionally used)
OCH, as in lough (sometime spelling of Scottish "loch")
OCK, as in hough (archaic spelling, now standardized as "hock")
OP, as in Ough's Road (place in Ontario)
boharr
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#332

Post by boharr »

Franklin.Bluth wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:53 pm
Kris Zacharias wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:43 pm "Cough" as a possible answer for 62A and "sourdough" for 27A led me to the solution. This puzzle got me thinking about the inconsistencies of spelling and pronunciation that characterize the English language. That led to the old joke that an alternative spelling of "fish" is "ghoti," if the "gh" is pronounced as the "gh" in cough, the "o" is pronounced as the "o" in women, and the "ti" is pronounced as the "ti" in notion.
Incidentally, -ough may be pronounced at least 7 different ways in standard English, plus another 4 in variants:

STANDARD
OO, as in through
OH, as in though
OW, as in bough
AH, as in fought
OFF, as in cough
UFF, as in rough
UH, as in thoroughly

VARIANTS
UP, as in hiccough (non-standard spelling still occasionally used)
OCH, as in lough (sometime spelling of Scottish "loch")
OCK, as in hough (archaic spelling, now standardized as "hock")
OP, as in Ough's Road (place in Ontario)
The makings of yet another meta!
MikeMillerwsj
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#333

Post by MikeMillerwsj »

This week's answer is ABSTRACT. The clues for each of eight symmetrically placed answers in the grid could also clue a word ending in -ough: FORMAN/Attenborough, MIXED DRINK/borough, PUMPERNICKEL/sourdough, DURABLE/tough, FAIRWAY/rough, NEVERTHELESS/although, CONGESTION/cough, ACROSS/through. The first letters of the -ough words spell the contest answer.

It was a clever and unusually thorny one for our solvers (including yours truly who was properly stumped). We had 1004 entries, about 69% correct, both below our usual pace. Lots of other eight-letter guesses including FLEXIBLE (44), CREATIVE (37), CRITICAL (28), ANALYTIC (11), DILIGENT (11) and many others.

Congrats to this week's winner, John Munn of Kalamazoo, Mich.!
Heddafish
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#334

Post by Heddafish »

Franklin.Bluth wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:53 pm
Kris Zacharias wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:43 pm "Cough" as a possible answer for 62A and "sourdough" for 27A led me to the solution. This puzzle got me thinking about the inconsistencies of spelling and pronunciation that characterize the English language. That led to the old joke that an alternative spelling of "fish" is "ghoti," if the "gh" is pronounced as the "gh" in cough, the "o" is pronounced as the "o" in women, and the "ti" is pronounced as the "ti" in notion.
Incidentally, -ough may be pronounced at least 7 different ways in standard English, plus another 4 in variants:

STANDARD
OO, as in through
OH, as in though
OW, as in bough
AH, as in fought
OFF, as in cough
UFF, as in rough
UH, as in thoroughly

VARIANTS
UP, as in hiccough (non-standard spelling still occasionally used)
OCH, as in lough (sometime spelling of Scottish "loch")
OCK, as in hough (archaic spelling, now standardized as "hock")
OP, as in Ough's Road (place in Ontario)
Reminds me of one of my favorite I love Lucy bits.
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Scott M
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#335

Post by Scott M »

MatthewL wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:51 am Manhattan was what jumped out to me first, as no one's first thought on that would be mixed drink.
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otlaolap
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#336

Post by otlaolap »

BarbaraK wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:21 am I’ve had a bad track record with this type of meta, where you need to find an alternate answer for the theme clues. So I was extra pleased with myself for seeing this one and hope the lesson sticks.
Thank you for this comment. Even with the printed solution in front of my face I saw absolutely nothing until I came across your comment (quoted). I had been trying to relate the -ough words directly to the grid answers, and failing. In what way is "borough" related to "mixed drink"? I've got plenty of nothing, and nothing is nada to me. But now, with your comment, finally I see the mechanism. Thanks.
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mntlblok
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#337

Post by mntlblok »

HunterX wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:36 am Nope. Never would have gotten this one.

Got stuck on a number of rabbit holes:
- The U shaped arrangement of I-D-E-X-A-L-A in both the upper-right and lower-left.
- The various 3-letter combos that repeated and had a letter on one side of it, then on the other side of it, such as ALI-G with D-ALI, EXA-M and T-EXA-(N), H-ALO and ALO-E(S), etc.
- AIWA was phonetically like Iowa.
- AIWA was in (F)-AI-R-WA-(Y) with an R in the middle, as URB was in (D)-UR-A-B-(LE) with an A in the middle.
- There were eight 2-word clues with alliteration, e.g. "Perfect place," "Antique auto," "Serious snake," etc. Though I usually find alliteration in clues is common and not helpful. But the CAB for "Pickup part" is a synonym for TAXI, and MULE is another MIXED DRINK...
- THOROUGH is pronounced like Thoreau so were there any pond references, or environmental themes, such as NEVERTHELESS contains E-R-T-H which could be made into EARTH with an A. And B.F. Skinner's "Waldon Two" is about a UTOPIA...

The closest I got was that THOROUGH contains ROUGH, which is also where a golf drive could land, and could be how you could handle something that is DURABLE. But never took it any further. And I focused on the 4 long/themed answers since 2 letters from each would result in an 8-letter word.

Oh well. The 43-week streak has ended. And Isaac has a mortgage on my house. I ended up finding some boxed wine in a closet used to store mops for swabbing the deck, and drank it out of a plastic solo cup until Doc found me and sent me to my cabin with some aspirin and an ice pack for my forehead.

Black coffee for me this morning. And lots of it!
You have my deepest sympathies. It wasn't for lack of effort. . .
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HunterX
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#338

Post by HunterX »

mntlblok wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 6:16 pm
HunterX wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 8:36 am Nope. Never would have gotten this one.

Got stuck on a number of rabbit holes:
[....]
Oh well. The 43-week streak has ended.
You have my deepest sympathies. It wasn't for lack of effort. . .
Thank you. On the positive side, I got a lot of great procrastination time in! My list of to-do's for the weekend didn't get one iota shorter, thanks to the puzzle!

Gotta look on the bright side, eh?
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mntlblok
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#339

Post by mntlblok »

mydogsam wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:17 pm THOROUGH ENOUGH: An Alternate Solution

Thorough = Thoreau

Now isn’t META-phor a more sensible answer than changing all those answers to incorporate all that “OUGH” gobbely-gook?
While I'm a fan of self-reliance (hold a certification for solo diving), Ole David Henry's time in the woods was practically in his mom's back yard. :-)
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mntlblok
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#340

Post by mntlblok »

*So* glad that I put no more effort into this one than I did. "Cough" is *not* what comes to mind when I think of congestion. That would be "snought".

And, *just* saw Bryson sink his eagle putt on #1. :-) *All* these Ryder Cup players remind me of you "page one" types. :-)
Last edited by mntlblok on Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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