"We'll Have Waters All Around" - March 26, 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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Bird Lives
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#381

Post by Bird Lives »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:03 am
Bird Lives wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:09 am When I clicked on the sigma and saw the1000. I couldn't believe it.
I was thinking "what foods have a number in them?" and TID came to mind. My mental process was as follows: "Yeah, but the clue numbers couldn't possibly add up to that much, could they?! ... Well, let me estimate by rounding ... OMG, that could actually work!"
My first paper-and-pencil sum was 990. I got out the calculator and ... just like Joe, there it was.
It could have been one of those Chinese dish translations like Seven Happiness Pork or (per Firesign Theater -- anyone remember them?) Thrice Humiliated Chicken. Thank God it wasn't that 7-layer salad my sister-in-law makes at family get-togethers. (Her daughter, a woman not a kid, added the numbers by hand and also got 990. And when she said that at our Zoom on Saturday, I told her, Do the math.)
michaelm
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#382

Post by michaelm »

Scraps wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:30 am Random comments:

THOUSAND was derivable; ISLAND was inevitable. Many muggles commented on their desire for something solid to tie in the third word. Personally, I'm fine with not having everything spelled out--we are supposed to make connections and complete ideas when solving, right?

The puzzle was close to offering a slight confirmation of the implied DRESSING. There were 23 islands in the grid. THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING has 22 letters in it. As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"

I don't know what else he could have done to get us to dressing:
Some mashup combination of Dresser (Mo.) and Singer (Fla.) Islands?
A clue asking what one puts in a turducken in Grand Isle (grand being slang for thousand)?

I wanted the answer to be Long Island Iced Tea, even though its four words were obviously disqualifying.

Fun puzzle.

The puzzle was close to offering a slight confirmation of the implied DRESSING. There were 23 islands in the grid. THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING has 22 letters in it. As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"

To solve that problem, read 1A and 75A as a command and add an A?
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Bird Lives
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#383

Post by Bird Lives »

I also loved the title. I don't think I ever could have come up with something that good that combined "Islands" with "something you order in a restaurant."
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SusieG
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#384

Post by SusieG »

You guys are going to laugh at my giant rabbit hole! I saw a few AU and OS and BA and my mind went to the periodic table of the elements. Cu + Ba = At (atomic numbers of copper and barium added together = 85, which is the atomic number for Astatine). The problem was that two of the islands only had one element, and some had several. You also end up with a truckload of letters. I assumed the answer was “YOUR BEST TABLE.” Who asks for 1000 island dressing, unless they’re at McDonald’s?

My first thought when I saw the solution was William of Occam. I also whiffed on Matt’s previous puzzle that didn’t use the grid. I don’t feel bad, because I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. Well, except for adding up all those atomic numbers.
Scraps
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#385

Post by Scraps »

michaelm wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:16 am

The puzzle was close to offering a slight confirmation of the implied DRESSING. There were 23 islands in the grid. THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING has 22 letters in it. As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"

To solve that problem, read 1A and 75A as a command and add an A?
Brilliant, but it would make it four words.

I spent a few minutes trying to convince myself that Thousand IslandS Dressing might be an acceptable variant, before deciding to submit and post before page one filled up.
LesY
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#386

Post by LesY »

To Bob's request for funny responses to our friends @ WSJ: "Cheeseburger, Pepsi, Chips!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puJePACBoIo

I figured "island" was in the answer given the acrobatics Matt used to avoid the word - that plus "larger number" landed on TID pretty quickly.
But for the actual mechanism? Well, I tried so many other things first. Think I invented a couple new metas, and it sounds like others did as well.

Interesting week with an always fun group!
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Prozach
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#387

Post by Prozach »

Joe Ross wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:22 am I wouldn't say that DRESSING was implied, given:
  • The answer to
    this week’s contest
    crossword is a
    three-word phrase
    that’s something
    you might ask for in
    a restaurant
    .
  • something you might ask for in a restaurant only allows for a noun phrase.
  • The extremely explicit 1A clue & grid entry demand that 23 numbers be added to find the answer.
  • 23 ISLAND grid entries were crammed, stuffed, cajoled, harangued, & jig-sawed surgically into a 15x15 grid.
  • Adding the clue #s for the 23 ISLAND grid entries gives a precise total of a THOUSAND.
What else could the answer be?
I submitted "Thousand Island Please" as the phrase. I think that there is an incongruence between "something you night ask for" and a "phrase". I went with the more likely conversation in the restaurant:

Waiter: What kind of dressing would you like?
Patron: Thousand Island please.

For my calculation, i am continuing my streak, unless i find a stronger explanation for "Dressing".

The challenge in phrasing the clue and description of the answer is not to give it away. I guess in the balance between not giving it away, and making it it rather ambiguous, Matt erred on the side of ambiguity.

I also found the "We'll have waters all around" not particularly helpful this week. With 23 islands clearly observable, and with 1 begging us to look at them, i thought it was redundant. Any suggestions for a different title?

It's not surprising the that the third word is controversial, and rightfully so, i think. But, this doesn't diminish the heroic effort of fitting these 23 islands into the grid with the over-imposing constraint of summing them up to 1,000. This is a heroic task.
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auee89
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#388

Post by auee89 »

One rabbit hole. I looked for the bodies of water that surrounded each island and looking for the biggest body. I found that they could be put into 3 groups and played with the starting letters (and others) of the islands - to no avail. Then I did the sum and aha! As with others here, I kept looking for "dressing." That would have made the puzzle "elegant" in my mind if that loop was closed. Fun puzzle!
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zacmoretz
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#389

Post by zacmoretz »

Dang it! I guessed this answer right away but did not submit because I did not figure out the actual metric and did not have time to work through all the numbers. Besides, we don’t do math, we do words right? If I wanted to do math I would do sudoku! Aunt Norma got it though!
michaelm
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#390

Post by michaelm »

Scraps wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:21 am
michaelm wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:16 am

The puzzle was close to offering a slight confirmation of the implied DRESSING. There were 23 islands in the grid. THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING has 22 letters in it. As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"

To solve that problem, read 1A and 75A as a command and add an A?
Brilliant, but it would make it four words.

I spent a few minutes trying to convince myself that Thousand IslandS Dressing might be an acceptable variant, before deciding to submit and post before page one filled up.
Brilliant, but it would make it four words.
Oops!
Thousand Island A(d)dressing?
Nah, can't repair that blunder.

On first attempt, added the numbers up to 1,000 Thursday evening and actually thought to myself if I don't solve this meta at least maybe I'll have something interesting to add to the forum Monday morning. Friday brought the most deserved Homer Doh! in quite a while.
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TPS
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#391

Post by TPS »

I am impressed that Matt got 23 Islands into one grid but there were two things I took issue with.

1. This puzzle was easier to guess the correct answer based on the title and prompt (and maybe solving for a couple of the island answers) - than it was to solve the entire puzzle and then use the correct method. Both involve presuming the final word of the phrase. I think had Matt simply made the prompt “Something you order in a restaurant” that would have made it less easy to guess (I know I wouldn’t have guessed it anyway). I’ll also point out that what I used as my confirmation was that someone else had clearly guessed it correctly on page one and then later went back and confirmed it - So I knew it was a puzzle where you intuit the answer and use the method to confirm.

2. There are 22 letters in TID - if you have the skill to get 23 islands in a grid that sum to 1000 I would imagine you have the skill to get 22 islands into a grid and get them to sum to 1000.

If he had left the “3 word phrase” out of the prompt but had 22 islands which also equaled the 22 letters in TID it would have been a subtle confirmation.

Anyway my streak continues - I guess - although I don’t feel good about it after successful Hail Marys of Marie Curie and TID.

***Also for those who asked - My Redacted post basically said you can guess this puzzle as easy as you can solve it just based on the prompt and title and think about what could fit both. This typically isn’t the case but it was for this puzzle.***
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Joe Ross
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#392

Post by Joe Ross »

Bird Lives wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:03 am
Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 am
Abide wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:24 am My shore leave was delayed for 2 days because I had added the numbers by hand, and came up with 998. I discarded that as another rabbit hole. This morning I thought about using a calculator and it all “added up”.
My most common nudge to baffled Muggles was "check your math." Several came SO CLOSE!
Sometimes that guy Joe Ross has a point with the spreadsheet thing.
Two-things:
  • This is the first time I've used the mathematical capabilities of Excel to solve a meta. (Are you reading this, Meg?) I started and continue to use it for it's easy & superior mark-up, list-building, & ink/toner/paper-free characteristics.*
  • To one muggle, I used variants of "Re-check your math!" 64 times. That beloved, unnamed muggle claims it was only 4, but we disagree. It's *possible* that my count is a tad hyperbolic based on extreme AYFKM?!?!? emotions, but we'll never know... ;) :shock: :roll: :?: :?
*Checkout HunterX's wonderful Suggestion for using an iPad app to solve Metas!
SarasotaSun
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#393

Post by SarasotaSun »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:43 am I was so lucky to get this one quickly before hitting Google! I'm amazed at the length to which other Muggles went, researching things like the islands' population, surrounding bodies of water, language spoken, history, and GDP.
I think what might have helped me along was the fact that I put little horizontal dashes next to the island clues to make sure there were 23 of them. Then I circled the islands in the grid and made little vertical dashes next to the clues to make sure I got them all. You can see that they ended up looking like plus signs!
I am shocked to see that you fill in the grid with lower case letters!
In our house, only capitals letters are used to fill in the grid.
SarasotaSun
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#394

Post by SarasotaSun »

Bob cruise director wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:00 am Matt did this to us once before and I did not like it any better then. You did not have to fill in the grid to get the meta. In fact, for most of us, the grid was just one big rabbit hole. It is one thing to have the clues interact with the grid but quite another to have the grid mean absolutely nothing in solving the meta
I agree. You didn't need to complete the grid to get the meta....just look at the clues. One big red herring.
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TPS
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#395

Post by TPS »

pookie wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:41 am Oh, no...no, no, no
DRESSING is IMPLIED? Every answer I can remember since doing these is found somewhere in the grid or the clues or the title.
If they're accepting IMPLIED answers, then you can accept mine that was implied by all those islands surrounded by water...SURF AND TURF.
Gimme a break.
I can definitely remember 1 Matt Gaffney WSJCC puzzle from last year where this was not the case...”These go to 11” (or something like that). The prompt was a Beatles Song and the solution was Hey Jude and the methodology was recognizing that there were 11 Na in the puzzle. I didn’t love that the Dressing in TID was implied with no true confirmation but it is FAR less esoteric than recognizing that there were 11 cases of Na in a puzzle and that might mean something!
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Wendy Walker
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#396

Post by Wendy Walker »

SarasotaSun wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:40 am
I am shocked to see that you fill in the grid with lower case letters!
In our house, only capitals letters are used to fill in the grid.
I have always gone the lowercase route; I don't know why. I received this message from a fellow Muggle when I shared that image with him yesterday: "WAIT A MINUTE. First no one, that is absolutely no one, puts the dots over I's in a crossword puzzle."
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.
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Meg
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#397

Post by Meg »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:50 am
SarasotaSun wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:40 am
I am shocked to see that you fill in the grid with lower case letters!
In our house, only capitals letters are used to fill in the grid.
I have always gone the lowercase route; I don't know why. I received this message from a fellow Muggle when I shared that image with him yesterday: "WAIT A MINUTE. First no one, that is absolutely no one, puts the dots over I's in a crossword puzzle."
There was an MGWCC some years ago which employed the morse code. The dots were from all the i's and j's in the grid. I always write capital letters and I didn’t get that meta. So, there you go.
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Wendy Walker
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#398

Post by Wendy Walker »

Meg wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:54 am
There was an MGWCC some years ago which employed the morse code. The dots were from all the i's and j's in the grid. I always write capital letters and I didn’t get that meta. So, there you go.
That was a great puzzle! And I DID get that one, but only because my Dad was a pilot and there were always Morse code handbooks around the house.
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.
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mheberlingx100
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#399

Post by mheberlingx100 »

auee89 wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:34 am One rabbit hole. I looked for the bodies of water that surrounded each island and looking for the biggest body. I found that they could be put into 3 groups and played with the starting letters (and others) of the islands - to no avail. Then I did the sum and aha! As with others here, I kept looking for "dressing." That would have made the puzzle "elegant" in my mind if that loop was closed. Fun puzzle!

Capture.PNG
I tried the bodies of water, but gave up quickly after a blizzard of p’s and a’s.
Schmeel
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#400

Post by Schmeel »

I missed it this week. My excuse is that Passover took precedence - but I honestly just didn't add it up.
I see that it was noted that TID has only 22 letters, but when I looked at the puzzle I saw that the title has 23 letters, and then 23 entries needed to be added so that threw me off for a bit.
I also saw that adding was required, so I got to practice gematriyas in English this week. It works much better in Hebrew...
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