"Looking for that Spark" - February 12, 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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otlaolap
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#381

Post by otlaolap »

Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
Eric Porter wrote: Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:50 am Like many here, I had the answer before fully understanding the mechanism being discussed in recent posts. If you get that, you'll have even less doubt.

I pondered whether Matt had that mind for the actual answer but dumbed the meta down a little because as Mike Miller explained, this month's puzzles are tailored to beginners.
I think Mr Porter nailed it. And if so I would never have gotten the right answer.
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Dplass
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#382

Post by Dplass »

ky-mike wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:20 am
Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
Since this is part of a series of puzzles to help bring new meta solvers into the fold, it is demonstrating one technique of a meta construction. This one was pretty easy for seasoned solvers, but may not have been quite as easy for those newer to meta-land.
Then I'd contend that the FIRE would be even MORE confusing to newer solvers...
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HunterX
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#383

Post by HunterX »

LadyBird wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:30 am
Tom Shea wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:42 am
ajk wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:36 pm Have eaten many times at Hula Grill, which is a solid backup to good-luck-getting-a-table Duke’s.
Need to mention the best line of the movie was uttered by Carl Reiner's wife (and Rob's mother) - "I'll have what she's having."
When putting in my order earlier at the Tiki Bar, I so wanted to say "I'll have what she's having", but too much of a spoiler!

We watched it again last night. What fun. Based on when it came out, we probably first saw it when we were dating.
Indeed, it would be too much of a spoiler. (And even half of it was, in fact.) Don't forget the line at the start of that scene: "Its just that all men are sure it never happened to them and all women at one time or other have done it so you do the math."

My fiancée and I watched it new year's eve. A restaurant we like here and have gotten take-our from during the pandemic has been doing an occasional special dinner and a movie night, where they have a special item on the menu for you to get and suggest a movie to watch to go with it. Given the ending takes place on new year's eve, that's what they suggested.

Great speech then too: "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

But who can forget: "Baby fish mouth!"
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ricky
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#384

Post by ricky »

Solved the meta in 55 seconds, long before finishing filling in the grid. Entered HOUDINI, thought "maybe there's a Sally," went to the SE, started reading the clues there, hit Sally RIDE. The rare weekend when WSJ and MGWCC are both a stroll in the park.
Check out my biweekly contest meta at Lexicon Devil

Latest puzzle: "Takes Shorts," 6/3/21

UPDATED Deadline: Thursday, June 10, 12 PM EST
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HunterX
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#385

Post by HunterX »

Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:21 am
ky-mike wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:20 am
Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
Since this is part of a series of puzzles to help bring new meta solvers into the fold, it is demonstrating one technique of a meta construction. This one was pretty easy for seasoned solvers, but may not have been quite as easy for those newer to meta-land.
Then I'd contend that the FIRE would be even MORE confusing to newer solvers...
I think you might be right. But I do feel the Belafonte/Struthers combo was sufficient for most people to guess the answer. The FIRE construction would then be 1) a satisfying confirmation for experienced solvers, and 2) something to show newbies a la "This is a way we REALLY construct these things, so look for mechanisms like this."
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Bird Lives
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#386

Post by Bird Lives »

boharr wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:37 am
Martin wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:40 am
flyingMoose wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:23 am
I inferred from 39A and its four-letter answer that there would be four instances of Harry/Sally.
Yes, the meta was clear. But is Harry 5 an Easter Egg (a literal rabbit hole), an additional theme element that we haven't cracked, or a flaw?

Edit: Matt says it was not intentional.
If you went down the RabbitRun rabbit hole looking or a fifth Harry, you could find a Sally (if you pushed it) to go with him. Yeats, who/which crosses RabbitRun, wrote a poem called Down by the Salley Garden. And if you wanted to go all phonetic (as these constructers often do), looking at 21D Yeats, you could arrive at Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general.
It's a shame to have a Harry without a Sally, especially on Valentine's weekend. So let's continue in the conspiracy-theoretical search. Toby (#132) alluded to the Yeats poem, and YEATS/YATES is good. Also, in the grid, YEATS is next to LYRICS, and since "Down By the Salley Gardens" was put to music, its words are now lyrics. Now all we need to come up with is an indicator that allows us to get rid of the E in Salley,
boharr
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#387

Post by boharr »

Bird Lives wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:49 am
boharr wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:37 am
Martin wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:40 am
Yes, the meta was clear. But is Harry 5 an Easter Egg (a literal rabbit hole), an additional theme element that we haven't cracked, or a flaw?

Edit: Matt says it was not intentional.
If you went down the RabbitRun rabbit hole looking or a fifth Harry, you could find a Sally (if you pushed it) to go with him. Yeats, who/which crosses RabbitRun, wrote a poem called Down by the Salley Garden. And if you wanted to go all phonetic (as these constructers often do), looking at 21D Yeats, you could arrive at Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general.
It's a shame to have a Harry without a Sally, especially on Valentine's weekend. So let's continue in the conspiracy-theoretical search. Toby (#132) alluded to the Yeats poem, and YEATS/YATES is good. Also, in the grid, YEATS is next to LYRICS, and since "Down By the Salley Gardens" was put to music, its words are now lyrics. Now all we need to come up with is an indicator that allows us to get rid of the E in Salley,
To get from YEATS to YATES you move the E, signaling the entire removal of the E in SALLEY. :lol:
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Commodore
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#388

Post by Commodore »

boharr wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:37 am
If you went down the RabbitRun rabbit hole looking or a fifth Harry, you could find a Sally (if you pushed it) to go with him. Yeats, who/which crosses RabbitRun, wrote a poem called Down by the Salley Garden. And if you wanted to go all phonetic (as these constructers often do), looking at 21D Yeats, you could arrive at Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general.
I recognized that improbable intersection (20A & 21D) as an easter egg for my Feb 14 Meta.
Clue: Née Sally Yeats Answer:The Commodore's Lady
Why indeed! 'Tis the maiden name of...My Lady.... my valentine, Mrs. C!

(Updike an acquired taste, and one I enjoy, notably the Rabbit series. Though, he might well elicit from some an "OK, Boomer" reaction.)

One star difficulty, but an enjoyable puzzle.
howardl
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#389

Post by howardl »

Pardon if others have already made this point. What "FIRE" did for me was to "prove" that the fifth Harry (angstrom) was a red herring.

Belafonte and Forth meet at F
Houdini and Field meet at I
Potter and Ride meet at R
Reid and Struthers meet at E

It saved me from spending much time looking for a fifth Sally. (Also, FIRE implied that the only place to look for a fifth Sally was something intersection with Rabbit Run.)
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ky-mike
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#390

Post by ky-mike »

Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:21 am
ky-mike wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:20 am
Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
Since this is part of a series of puzzles to help bring new meta solvers into the fold, it is demonstrating one technique of a meta construction. This one was pretty easy for seasoned solvers, but may not have been quite as easy for those newer to meta-land.
Then I'd contend that the FIRE would be even MORE confusing to newer solvers...
Isn't FIRE what seals the deal and confirms the answer?
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Richard
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#391

Post by Richard »

Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
As others said, this one is part of a teaching series and it provides a lesson.

For me, I saw some of the Harry/Sally combinations right away and thought this one is too easy and maybe in Pageant land as part of the teaching. The FIRE provided conformation.
Susan Goldberg
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#392

Post by Susan Goldberg »

HunterX wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:40 pm
Susan Goldberg wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:25 pm And so, as my husband and I sat down for our Valentine’s evening and went to pick a movie...well...need I say more?
No need to say more. Except, perhaps, about the history of you and your husband's relationship/rom-com BEFORE you got married. ;)

My fiancée and I watched this last year at a slightly different time of year, for reasons I can't explain until after the midnight deadline for puzzle answers.
Ok well now you can tell us!
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Limerick Savant
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#393

Post by Limerick Savant »

Claimed my spot on the beach yesterday when I got around to a fair grid and what seemed like a foregone meta if you agree with TimeOut.
H&S.png
On the other hand they don’t even list in their top 50 one of the best screwball comedies ever : The Awful Truth

Took me a little while to get the obvious meta to work after first trying to wed Belafonte to Field and almost going down the Rabbit Run hole too but I eventually found the spark to set the bonfire ablaze to warm us all this frigid week. So as I raise my glass to everyone, all I can say is

I’ll have what the Muggles are having
Last edited by Limerick Savant on Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Dedicated to no nonsense nonsense
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whimsy
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#394

Post by whimsy »

Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
I figured it was so Harry and Sally could "meet cute." ;)
MatthewL
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#395

Post by MatthewL »

Seems to me that 52D pretty much confirms the correct answer as well. I chuckled when I saw that. And then went and watched that scene again on YouTube.
Matthew
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eagle1279
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#396

Post by eagle1279 »

At first I missed the Harrys and the Sallys altogether (doh!) so I looked for "connections" and got hung up on LOKI connecting to KILO connecting to NO[LO_KI]D in the grid, then saw YEATS and NA[Y_EATS], then YOOHOO and BOOHOO and BOOTS...

Back on track only after looking at some lists of popular rom-coms and realizing how difficult I was making it for myself.
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KayW
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#397

Post by KayW »

While searching for a streaming source to rewatch this movie (because I was too lazy to retrieve the dusty DVD sitting on my shelf :lol:), I came across a 2011 5-minute sequel to the original on Amazon Prime. Starring Billy Crystal and Helen Mirren

When Harry Met Sally 2
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TPS
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#398

Post by TPS »

HunterX wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:30 am But I do feel the Belafonte/Struthers combo was sufficient for most people to guess the answer.
I tried to solve it using the clued answer while I worked the grid but failed. I had pretty much given up but then took one last look at it and then saw the Belafonte/Struthers and knew what the answer had to be. I then quickly saw the other H/S but never did figure how it related to FIRE until someone PM'd me the mechanism. I wouldn't have solved this one based on this mechanism - there was another puzzle sorta like this I think that June that I did not solve as well.
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HunterX
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#399

Post by HunterX »

Susan Goldberg wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:21 am
HunterX wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:40 pm
Susan Goldberg wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:25 pm And so, as my husband and I sat down for our Valentine’s evening and went to pick a movie...well...need I say more?
No need to say more. Except, perhaps, about the history of you and your husband's relationship/rom-com BEFORE you got married. ;)

My fiancée and I watched this last year at a slightly different time of year, for reasons I can't explain until after the midnight deadline for puzzle answers.
Ok well now you can tell us!
I did! Post 383, above yours.
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Joepickett
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#400

Post by Joepickett »

Dplass wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 9:06 am What was the point of the FIRE? It was completely inconsequential with respect to getting the name of the movie. It kind of made me feel that the setter was showing off their mad meta construction skillz.
Yes I agree. I saw BELAFONTE and FIELD and then POTTER and STRUTHERS and that was enough for me. I didn't even find or bother with the downs that crossed these. I'm a busy man. I've got things to do. :D :D :D
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