"I Won't Spoil The Ending" - January 15, 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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Colin
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#341

Post by Colin »

For me, my weekend was spent down two holes:
1) Roman numerals based on the film dates... lots of “I”s and lots of ways to play with spoiling them
2) Reverse engineering 5-letter animated film names. Only RANGO and MIRAI fitted my hypothesis of taking a letter from each long clue in sequence, but I couldn’t align them with the meta.
Very nice puzzle MG - well done solvers!
One world. One planet. One future.
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Meg
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#342

Post by Meg »

I missed one of the themes and came up with ABUS. or A BUS. Sounded like Albus. It’s always good to check your work, which I did soon after.
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LadyBird
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#343

Post by LadyBird »

My first--and lenghthiest--rabbit hole started when I discovered that a Disney show called Johnny and the Sprites had a song called Welcome to Grotto's Grove.. Followed by Googling animated movies for the various years.

Then I tried things with "I". That Bourne in Melbourne kept bugging me and then I realized the mechanism.
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HunterX
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#344

Post by HunterX »

HunterX wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:58 pm
RichA2 wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:44 pm So this is one of those where I think I’m on shore, but with a nagging doubt that it might be the wrong shore. I’m going to submit tonight before the deadline, and in the meantime plan to keep looking for the tiki hut to make sure I’m in the right place.
I find it rare to have that nagging doubt you refer to, though I have been there. (e.g. With MMMM puzzles.) With Matt Gaffney and Mike Shenk, it's usually a 100%-er. The pieces just fall into place so beautifully. This one (no spoiler) uses a mechanism that I (IMHO) consider very "Matt Gaffneyesque."
The part that I consider "Matt Gaffneyesque" is that you apply a mechanism at the end that you already used to get there. So after finding the first two words of the 3-word movie titles, you then fill in the 3rd word of the title. This then gets you to the first two words of another 3-word title, and you have to fill in the 3rd word. When Matt uses this, it reminds me of one of my favorites, "Where's the Rest?" where you pluralized words and found the homonym that ended in 'ze', which gave you 'dough' to which you did the same thing to get 'doze'.
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SusieG
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#345

Post by SusieG »

I made this more complicated by assuming that I was looking for five animated movies. Of course I saw BOURNE and COMING TO but stubbornly stayed on the animated train until Sunday afternoon. After giving up for a few hours I saw all the others and realized the years aligned.
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Cap'n Rick
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#346

Post by Cap'n Rick »

mikeh wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:02 am BTW, did anyone else see BATHEMAGGOT and think BABE MAGNET and get lost going down that road?
I initially saw BATHMAT after removing an EGGO.
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Bird Lives
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#347

Post by Bird Lives »

We old Upper West Siders thought there might be an animated biopic "Abzug's Life."
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DBMiller
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#348

Post by DBMiller »

The reason web submitting didn't work this week is the presence of an apostrophe in the answer. Messes up the form submission.

It wasn't until after I submitted that I noticed we used the ENDING of each word in the theme answers.:

welCOMING grotTO
raMEN domaIN
cloTHE melBOURNE
batHE magGOT
tiffANY forGIVEN

A nice touch.
minimuggle
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#349

Post by minimuggle »

This puzzle had so many rabbit hole possibilities. I would never have made it to shore without some nudges...(thanks Wendy)... I made so many incorrect assumptions like thinking the animated film would have 5 letters due to the 5 long clues. And I also looked for animated films to match the 5 long clues. I also looked at Elaine De Koonig's Red Grotto painting of 1988 but alas...... Once I got a helpful hint that I shouldn't be looking for animated films in the 5 clues, I had fun looking up movies in those years which appeared to match. Who knew there was a film called Anal Domain. Knew it was wrong and when I got the right film I kicked myself. Great meta! Wish I could have solved it on my own, but it was still fun.
ron
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#350

Post by ron »

HunterX wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:19 am
ron wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:47 pm
Omnibus wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:09 pm 86C51DE6-85F4-4C5E-9DF5-0B592B13B546.jpeg
I got the same message. I am thinking (I will try to be careful here not to spoil anything) it is because I included something in my answer, which, when I did not include it, allowed it to be accepted.

Entirely possible I'm far out to sea on my answer.
Hmmm... Having solved, I think I know to what you are referring. Which makes me wonder about that detail in my submission, which was sent by email. Always wondered about exactly how they filter out all the various submissions, given the volume. Could that explain why I haven't won a mug yet? As others have written, it would be great if on Monday you could get a "Your answer was correct, but..." email. Just so you know it went through.

For now I'll just believe there is a vast conspiracy, plotting to keep me from my coveted mug. My precious...
Since the cat is out of the bag, I'm sure we're both talking about the apostrophe. I would have to think they will accept either A BUG'S LIFE or A BUGS LIFE as correct answers.

But I guess it kind of makes sense to me to not accept punctuation in the online submission, since, there's no punctuation in crossword answers either.
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Prozach
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#351

Post by Prozach »

Guess who got the mug???!? Another, fairly new, muggle!

I joined here in September and have had a blast with these puzzles. Thanks to everyone who helped me over these months.
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KayW
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#352

Post by KayW »

Prozach wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:50 am Guess who got the mug???!? Another, fairly new, muggle!

I joined here in September and have had a blast with these puzzles. Thanks to everyone who helped me over these months.
Wow - congratulations!!! 🥳


...hmmm. Perhaps I should quit and rejoin under a new name 🤔
ron
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#353

Post by ron »

I'm curious if anyone else had this problem - I wasted some time because initially GOT in BATHEMAGGOT jumped out at me, and You've GOT Mail was a major hit in the year they listed. But that led to ABUMS with the first letter mechanism, which didn't look like anything, so I assumed that not to be the direction to go. After much more staring, I realized that two words of a title were in all the other clues. OK, so then BAT GOT, THE GOT, HEM GOT? Took a while to try something with HE just because it seems too insignificant of a word.

I would have put the "careful!" on that one, not on the Bourne one.
Last edited by ron on Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BarbaraK
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#354

Post by BarbaraK »

To further elaborate on Bob's question about needing kids/grandkids to get this, I don't really think it was necessary, in fact this might be a case where too much knowledge hinders rather than helps. (See the comments from people who knew lots of movies and tried to make one of the 5 letter named ones fit.)

I had heard of A Bug's Life, but if I hadn't I'm confident a google search for 'animated movie a bugs' would have pulled it up.

Of the theme answer movies, I've seen Coming to America and Men in Black, but I'd heard of the other three. Needed google to find out which of the many Bourne movies was from 2007.

I'd guess that being familiar with one or two of them would be enough for someone get the idea and google the rest. But if you've never heard of any of them (Inca, is that you?) it would be very hard to figure out.
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whimsy
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#355

Post by whimsy »

SusieG wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:57 am I made this more complicated by assuming that I was looking for five animated movies. Of course I saw BOURNE and COMING TO but stubbornly stayed on the animated train until Sunday afternoon. After giving up for a few hours I saw all the others and realized the years aligned.
Exactly what I did! And my other getting off on the wrong foot was thinking we were supposed to do something to the ending. Never could recover from either misstep.
When I came up with TOPSOIL for the entries I had linked with "Land Before Time" (dinos, cave, grotto) and "A Bug's Life" (maggot, bug) I really thought I was on to something. But then the ends of the entries .....MELBOURNE and .....FORGIVEN gave me EPSILON. (And the 1997 date had led me to "Hercules" as a possibility!) But, wait! Earlier I had tried a method base on the appearance of the same word used in clues (i.e. "Super") and gotten OMEGA for .....GROTTO. I was sure one of those routes would get me there eventually even though I realized I was mixing oranges and apples at the moment. And not just any apple but the SPOILED, ROTTEN, TOXIC, DEFACED, WRECKED, RUINED, POISONED one!!
Here's the mug I won this week!
Capturepoisoned.JPG
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HunterX
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#356

Post by HunterX »

ron wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:48 am
HunterX wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:19 am
ron wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:47 pm

I got the same message. I am thinking (I will try to be careful here not to spoil anything) it is because I included something in my answer, which, when I did not include it, allowed it to be accepted.

Entirely possible I'm far out to sea on my answer.
Hmmm... Having solved, I think I know to what you are referring. Which makes me wonder about that detail in my submission, which was sent by email. Always wondered about exactly how they filter out all the various submissions, given the volume. Could that explain why I haven't won a mug yet? As others have written, it would be great if on Monday you could get a "Your answer was correct, but..." email. Just so you know it went through.

For now I'll just believe there is a vast conspiracy, plotting to keep me from my coveted mug. My precious...
Since the cat is out of the bag, I'm sure we're both talking about the apostrophe. I would have to think they will accept either A BUG'S LIFE or A BUGS LIFE as correct answers.

But I guess it kind of makes sense to me to not accept punctuation in the online submission, since, there's no punctuation in crossword answers either.
Yes, that was what I guessed. I still wonder about whether someone looks at all the email subject lines and manually moves them to the "correct" folder, or whether they have an automatic filter (e.g. "rule" in Outlook) that pulls them out. If the latter, there is a possibility they don't take into account a variety of potential variations, such as accidental double-spaces or the like. My kids and I even wondered about whether we should send in our email with the answer/subject in ALL CAPS.

Ah, if only these were the biggest dilemmas life had in store for us.... ("First World Problems"?)
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Wendy Walker
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#357

Post by Wendy Walker »

Prozach wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:50 am Guess who got the mug???!? Another, fairly new, muggle!

I joined here in September and have had a blast with these puzzles. Thanks to everyone who helped me over these months.
So excited for you! Wonderful news! Huge congratulations.
Good luck, fellow Muggles! I'm happy to give nudges, but only if you're still stuck on Sunday. Just send me a PM and tell me what you've tried so far.
matty_p
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#358

Post by matty_p »

COMING TO AMERICA jumped out at me almost immediately, and a quick Google search confirmed the year. The admonition to be careful also prompted a quick Google check to see which Bourne film came out in 2007. But then BATHEMAGGOT stumped me and I circled the drain for hours and hours and hours.

Finally I remembered my solving basics and looked at the title again. I also thought I needed to "spoil" the ending of the theme answers, but then I looked at the two movies I was certain were right and realized that "don't spoil the ending" means you're not supposed to mention how a movie ends, quickly jumping to not giving away the end of the movie title. I had to do a deep dive on movies released the same year as HE GOT GAME to finally get that one, but as soon as I saw the third word in each title spelled A B U G S, I knew I had a winner.

Now if I could only remember to start with the title when I've finished the grid and am ready to dive into the meta, I could probably save myself about a day's worth of aggravation!
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HunterX
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#359

Post by HunterX »

Prozach wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:50 am Guess who got the mug???!? Another, fairly new, muggle!

I joined here in September and have had a blast with these puzzles. Thanks to everyone who helped me over these months.
Congratulations! Since you have only been a Muggle since September, you probably don't know that the tradition is for newbies who win mugs within their first year have to send them to a specific member whose name is an anagram of a synonym of a homophone of a word constructed by taking the last 3 letters of three 15-letter words that are held in a password-protected spreadsheet kept by Joe Ross.

That member would be me. I'll PM you my address.
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BarbaraK
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#360

Post by BarbaraK »

HunterX wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:09 am Yes, that was what I guessed. I still wonder about whether someone looks at all the email subject lines and manually moves them to the "correct" folder, or whether they have an automatic filter (e.g. "rule" in Outlook) that pulls them out. If the latter, there is a possibility they don't take into account a variety of potential variations, such as accidental double-spaces or the like. My kids and I even wondered about whether we should send in our email with the answer/subject in ALL CAPS.

Ah, if only these were the biggest dilemmas life had in store for us.... ("First World Problems"?)
From previous comments by Mike Miller, the basic process is that all submissions go into one big list and a random number generator is used to select one of them. Then a human looks at that particular entry and determines whether it is correct. If so, it's the winner; if not another is selected. So formatting variations won't affect your chances of winning. (In fact, I think he even said once that they'll actually look at the body of the selected email if someone ignores the instructions to put the answer in the subject line.)

As for the stats on the number of correct entries, since that's generally phrased as an approximation, I'd guess that's manual/human too. If I were doing it, I'd just sort the list by submission, so in this case "A Bugs Life" and "A Bug's Life" would be adjacent and easy to combine in counting.
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