"Endnotes" - January 22, 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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BarbaraK
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#441

Post by BarbaraK »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:36 am
C=64 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:33 am From what I've seen (which isn't comprehensive and others can chime in), the constructors always take care to arrange the letters in order somehow: top to bottom, left to right, in a spiral if that fits the theme... Whenever a solver says they randomly anagrammed some letters to get the meta answer, they're missing something or doing it wrong.
Anagramming has been required a few times in the past. One example is the 4-26-19 puzzle; there are others. I'll mention a few others later if no one else has done it by the time I get back.It's 5:30 am, and I'm leaving to go get in line for my Covid vaccine.
Obviously elegance is in the eye of the beholder, but to my eye there is a huge difference between anagramming theme answers/parts of theme answers vs deriving a series of letters from the theme answers which must then be anagrammed to get the meta answer.

I don't particularly like anagrams and wouldn't mind if neither was used. But I can acknowledge the former as a reasonable meta mechanism. The latter just feels sloppy and careless, as if the creator couldn't be bothered to arrange things properly. I have seen it on occasion, but never that I recall (I'm never sure enough to say absolutely never) in a WSJ meta.
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CPJohnson
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#442

Post by CPJohnson »

On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
Cynthia
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Janet
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#443

Post by Janet »

This one eluded me! I got the first part (That Sam Raimi in the grid got me looking at do re me...). Then I was stuck. Usually the steps are in the grid, occasionally in the clues. I did not expect a combination of both!
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JAQT
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#444

Post by JAQT »

I was definitely in the shortcut category. For me, the notes/keys at the ends of the six clues ("endnotes") really stood out. I knew that I was missing something, based on the "elegance" comments pre-solution, and since it is very un-Shenk-line for the letters in the answer to be unordered.

I even studied the theme answers but never saw step 1. But it is not the first time that themers turned out to be unrelated to the solution (i.e., they were never themers at all), so I shrugged and submitted.
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JAQT
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#445

Post by JAQT »

On a completely unrelated note, perhaps an unanswerable question, does anyone have statistics on the number of times that a Mike Shenk puzzle mentions his Alma Mater?
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DrTom
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#446

Post by DrTom »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
Yea! I think we will all find out that it doesn't matter which vaccine (as long as it is one of the "majors") we got but that we GOT a vaccine. Sore arm is not uncommon, after all someone just ran almost 1 inch or more of steel into your muscle. For the pain I suggest ibuprofen (as long as your kidneys are in good order) and bourbon (even if they aren't, make em work for it - just kidding!)
NUDGES! If you see that I have solved, feel free to PM me, along with what you have done so far, and I'll be happy to nudge you onto the right track.

This is a community, feel welcome, and never feel uncomfortable asking a question.
steveb
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#447

Post by steveb »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
By my count, there have been 228 WSJ metas, so these 10 solutions involving anagrams represent about 4.4% of them. This proves both that solutions hardly ever involve anagrams, and that you have to be aware that they might.

Congratulations on getting the vaccine!
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CPJohnson
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#448

Post by CPJohnson »

steveb wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:54 pm
CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
By my count, there have been 228 WSJ metas, so these 10 solutions involving anagrams represent about 4.4% of them. This proves both that solutions hardly ever involve anagrams, and that you have to be aware that they might.

Congratulations on getting the vaccine!
There's 1 more....4/26/19. So, 11 by my count. You are right....not very many. (Last week's puzzle was #278 on my list.)

The vaccination process was a slog. It's a FCFS system here, so the line is long, and it moves slowly. But, they can't set up a good appointment system because they don't know which vaccine or how much of it they will receive until the day before. We did OK, but it's really bad for people on oxygen tanks, and people with bad backs who can't sit that long, or the frail elderly who are in good enough health to live at home, but not good enough to sit in a car for 4-6 hours with no food or bathroom access.
Cynthia
gatogato
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#449

Post by gatogato »

I've lost sleep the last 3 nights wondering where DEGBAC fits in.. and now I see I completely skipped a step.
steveb
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#450

Post by steveb »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:32 pm
steveb wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:54 pm
CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
By my count, there have been 228 WSJ metas, so these 10 solutions involving anagrams represent about 4.4% of them. This proves both that solutions hardly ever involve anagrams, and that you have to be aware that they might.

Congratulations on getting the vaccine!
There's 1 more....4/26/19. So, 11 by my count. You are right....not very many. (Last week's puzzle was #278 on my list.)

The vaccination process was a slog. It's a FCFS system here, so the line is long, and it moves slowly. But, they can't set up a good appointment system because they don't know which vaccine or how much of it they will receive until the day before. We did OK, but it's really bad for people on oxygen tanks, and people with bad backs who can't sit that long, or the frail elderly who are in good enough health to live at home, but not good enough to sit in a car for 4-6 hours with no food or bathroom access.
You're right about the number of puzzles being 278. I was trying to go too fast and my mental arithmetic was off. 11/278 is an even lower percentage: 3.96.
JRS51
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#451

Post by JRS51 »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
I was glad to have finished the meta (with the “elegant” intended solution) Friday morning. Wouldn’t have had any time for last minute solving.
Yesterday my wife (retired RN) and I (retired pulmonary MD) spent 11 hours volunteering at a coronavirus vaccination site. It was very well organized and over 3600 shots were given at our location. A large team of staff and dozens of volunteers kept the cars moving through the site. She was giving shots and my role was primarily to talk to people with a history of allergy to medication or vaccines (I also gave 1 shot myself, to one of the other volunteers).
We also received our second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Mild side effects today (the expected sore arm, headache off and on, fatigue). Overall a very positive experience, our second day at the vaccine site, and we plan to continue to volunteer when we can. We hope all of you are able to obtain your shots in the upcoming weeks!
rosiegirl
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#452

Post by rosiegirl »

ky-mike wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:44 am Trifecta!

After my daughter won a mug a few years ago and I won one last year, my wife (not on the forum) is today's mug winner. Congrats to her!
Jealous! Do they only give 1 mug away per week? What are the odds of 3 family members winning one? You should all head out to buy lottery tickets!
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ky-mike
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#453

Post by ky-mike »

rosiegirl wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:00 pm
ky-mike wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:44 am Trifecta!

After my daughter won a mug a few years ago and I won one last year, my wife (not on the forum) is today's mug winner. Congrats to her!
Jealous! Do they only give 1 mug away per week? What are the odds of 3 family members winning one? You should all head out to buy lottery tickets!
Two mugs within 2 months - I agree that those are long odds as I have been playing for many years. The third was April 2017.
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C=64
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#454

Post by C=64 »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.
Sure, most of these involve anagramming as the first step. But I'm talking about anagramming a set of letters you've pulled from the grid for your final answer.
4/22/16: the 5 letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
5/13/16: the 10 letters of the final answer are not in order, but parenthetical numbers are given in the theme clues indicating the order.
10/21/16: the letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
3/31/17: numbers are provided to tell what order to apply the mechanism to five grid entries. the letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
11/17/17: the letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
12/15/17: a guest constructor gives us a weird puzzle that does involve anagramming letters for part of the answer, after eliminating the rest of the alphabet.
11/30/18: the 8 letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
1/4/19: anagram mechanism throughout. you get the partial answer SENEGAL, which must be anagrammed to ANGELES.
8/28/20: the 6 letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
10/29/20: no anagramming involved in this one. the order of the 5 letters in the answer is determined by the order of the five words crossing GHOST.

Six of these ten puzzles give you the letters in the final answer in grid order, from top to bottom; no further anagramming required. Two give you numbers in the clues to help you get the letters in the correct order. One gives you a word in grid order (SENEGAL) which must then be anagrammed. And one, 12/15/17, gives you alphabet soup that needs to be unscrambled, but these letters don't even appear in the grid; they're the remaining 26 letters of the alphabet that didn't appear in the mechanism.

So what I've been trying to say is, if you find a set of random letters from the grid -- what I call alphabet soup -- and need to anagram them for your final step, you almost certainly have the wrong letters or you have overlooked part of the meta mechanism.
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jhseeman
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#455

Post by jhseeman »

Joe Ross wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:00 am
jhseeman wrote: Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:19 pm Big fan of Home Free...great harmonies and acapella
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQt9jKDCqHo
Holy wow.

Thank you.

If you want to see women turn to jelly, watch reviewers of Home Free's videos. There are two opera singers, in particular, and a voice coach from Australia, then more I am sure.
I have seen some of them, but really only need to watch my wife when we listen to them. :-)

Also, if you really want to have your mind blown by a singer.

Dimash - SOS it will begin a rabbit hole of music for you. He's by far and away the best singer in the world, hands down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEz1qGS0T1Q
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DrTom
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#456

Post by DrTom »

JRS51 wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:47 pm
CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.

We got our vaccines! Got in line at 6:10 am, left the vaccination site at 11:49. Pfizer, no adverse reaction for me yet; husband has sore arm.
I was glad to have finished the meta (with the “elegant” intended solution) Friday morning. Wouldn’t have had any time for last minute solving.
Yesterday my wife (retired RN) and I (retired pulmonary MD) spent 11 hours volunteering at a coronavirus vaccination site. It was very well organized and over 3600 shots were given at our location. A large team of staff and dozens of volunteers kept the cars moving through the site. She was giving shots and my role was primarily to talk to people with a history of allergy to medication or vaccines (I also gave 1 shot myself, to one of the other volunteers).
We also received our second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Mild side effects today (the expected sore arm, headache off and on, fatigue). Overall a very positive experience, our second day at the vaccine site, and we plan to continue to volunteer when we can. We hope all of you are able to obtain your shots in the upcoming weeks!
ALLRIGHT! With dedicated teams like that we can hit or surpass the 1.5 million a day. Thank you for all you did, a reassuring voice is a wonderful thing for someone in the midst of panic about the sickness and uncertainty about the vaccination.
NUDGES! If you see that I have solved, feel free to PM me, along with what you have done so far, and I'll be happy to nudge you onto the right track.

This is a community, feel welcome, and never feel uncomfortable asking a question.
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DrTom
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#457

Post by DrTom »

ky-mike wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:44 am Trifecta!

After my daughter won a mug a few years ago and I won one last year, my wife (not on the forum) is today's mug winner. Congrats to her!
Please tell me you do not have pets that are solving the meta, I'd like a shot at a mug sometime this decade!

Congratulations to the family - must be a hoot when you are all working on the META(s), is it a contest?
NUDGES! If you see that I have solved, feel free to PM me, along with what you have done so far, and I'll be happy to nudge you onto the right track.

This is a community, feel welcome, and never feel uncomfortable asking a question.
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ky-mike
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#458

Post by ky-mike »

DrTom wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:22 am
ky-mike wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:44 am Trifecta!

After my daughter won a mug a few years ago and I won one last year, my wife (not on the forum) is today's mug winner. Congrats to her!
Please tell me you do not have pets that are solving the meta, I'd like a shot at a mug sometime this decade!

Congratulations to the family - must be a hoot when you are all working on the META(s), is it a contest?
My daughter's win happened when she was home from college one weekend and helped work the puzzle. She really never got into it, though. My wife and I have somewhat of a contest each week to solve the meta. I gave a copy to the cat once, but he just coughed up a hairball and walked away.
MaineMarge
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#459

Post by MaineMarge »

I was one of the many who anacrammed myself into an overflowing speedboat to shore. But not before trying to make my perfect meta answer work- finale. Alas, no cigar there.
After seeing and admiring Mike’s method, and worrying about that lost FA, it was comforting to find it as the BEGINNING letters of fait accompli. Nice 2-fer, Mike.
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CPJohnson
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#460

Post by CPJohnson »

C=64 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:16 am
CPJohnson wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:38 pm On anagrams...here is my list of previous puzzles (WSJ) that used anagramming in some form to reach the answer: 4/22/16, 5/16/16, 10/21/16, 3/31/17, 11/17/17, 12/15/17, 11/30/18, 1/4/19, 8/28/20, 10/29/20.
Sure, most of these involve anagramming as the first step. But I'm talking about anagramming a set of letters you've pulled from the grid for your final answer.
4/22/16: the 5 letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
5/13/16: the 10 letters of the final answer are not in order, but parenthetical numbers are given in the theme clues indicating the order.
10/21/16: the letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
3/31/17: numbers are provided to tell what order to apply the mechanism to five grid entries. the letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
11/17/17: the letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
12/15/17: a guest constructor gives us a weird puzzle that does involve anagramming letters for part of the answer, after eliminating the rest of the alphabet.
11/30/18: the 8 letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
1/4/19: anagram mechanism throughout. you get the partial answer SENEGAL, which must be anagrammed to ANGELES.
8/28/20: the 6 letters of the final answer are in grid order top to bottom.
10/29/20: no anagramming involved in this one. the order of the 5 letters in the answer is determined by the order of the five words crossing GHOST.

Six of these ten puzzles give you the letters in the final answer in grid order, from top to bottom; no further anagramming required. Two give you numbers in the clues to help you get the letters in the correct order. One gives you a word in grid order (SENEGAL) which must then be anagrammed. And one, 12/15/17, gives you alphabet soup that needs to be unscrambled, but these letters don't even appear in the grid; they're the remaining 26 letters of the alphabet that didn't appear in the mechanism.

So what I've been trying to say is, if you find a set of random letters from the grid -- what I call alphabet soup -- and need to anagram them for your final step, you almost certainly have the wrong letters or you have overlooked part of the meta mechanism.
Great analysis! I admit, I often don't look for the final "order of the letters" step if I can anagram an appropriate answer out of the letters I have finally found.....like with MELODY for last week. But, I think it is misleading to the newbies to say that if you must anagram, you're probably on the wrong path. (The ones I have the most trouble with are in the "anagram-plus-one-letter" category. I have trouble seeing what I need to do in those cases.)
Cynthia
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