"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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Jeremy Smith
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#421

Post by Jeremy Smith »

rosiegirl wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:44 am Well, this was a disastrous week. Leaving 19 across off and using 60 across instead gave me 23 answers, but not the correct ones, so did not add up to 1,000! I was done after that. Apologies to those who tried to help me with nudges!
Yep—same mistake I made. 22 of the themers referred to a place. 60A refererred to a place. 19A refers to a name.
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Henry Paul
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#422

Post by Henry Paul »

Thanks to all the helpful muggles who tried to nudge us in the right direction.. but to no avail. It certainly didn't help that I got "Cairo" instead of "Capri" and never went back to correct it. So when the (oh so very smart) Mrs. ended up totaling 929 (on her calculator) it didn't help all that much.

Oh well; to next week!
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DaveKennison
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#423

Post by DaveKennison »

Hmmm. I see the problem in the cluing, kind of, but ... “Waters All Around” suggests looking in the grid for islands. Ellis Island is indeed an island, whereas Sucre, Bolivia, is a city. Yes?

And I want to know ... where’s my mug, damn it?! ... 😜
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Kris Zacharias
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#424

Post by Kris Zacharias »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:50 am
Kris Zacharias wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:31 am Conversation this morning after I read what the meta is and how to determine it:
Me: I did write down a column of all the numbers of the clues and add them up, but I did not get 1,000!
Husband: You should have used a calculator.
Kris, please share with us the conversation that followed that oh-so-helpful comment!
something like:
Me: argh, argh, argh!
Husband: Don’t feel bad. . .
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whimsy
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#425

Post by whimsy »

Never got it -- rightly or not, I'm blaming Fog-o-Vax.
And in the Now for Something Completely Different arena --
I had something spring to mind upon first reading the prompt and in order to make it so, I considered the possibility of names of Czech Republic islands hidden in the grid -- I know, landlocked, but hey, maybe in the rivers? That way I could justify Separate Checks, Please.
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mikeB
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#426

Post by mikeB »

I couldn’t get to the connection for “dressing” and was ready to give up. Fear of pageantedness. While on the elliptical, I went over the puzzle in my mind. Was there a clue for “How do I look?” Must check that out for where and how it fits. As in: Dressing to go out? Couldn’t wait to get back and verify that. Lo and behold, it was right there for #14. But right below it was “Are you sure?” for #17. That was my confirmation of the third word.
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RPardoe
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#427

Post by RPardoe »

Given the islands, and the title....my initial guess at the answer (and the one I kept wanting to get from the grid) was: ON THE ROCKS
Meta Nudges - If you need some help, please feel free to PM me with what you have tried and where you are stuck.
Cryptic Puzzles - If you are stuck or want to understand how to parse a clue, please feel free to PM me.
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LadyBird
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#428

Post by LadyBird »

Finally--a puzzle with lots of post-mortem discussions! It's been a while.

I noticed all of the islands but visited a few of the rabbit holes already discussed--bodies of water, adding things up various ways. Then it hit me that TID dressing could be a possibility--I yelled my idea upstairs to my husband. But how to prove it? Then I decided to add all the clue numbers up (they certainly won't come anywhere near 1000). My jaw dropped when they did. I ran upstairs with my phone/calculator to show my husband.

But then I wanted to find that dressing. The first double letters that I saw were DD (from 1A) but there weren't any RRs, etc. Then I thought about looking for salad components to see if the letters for dressing were on top of them. That too went nowhere. So, I submitted TID, but gave up on looking for dressing (esp. since someone that I checked with said that there wasn't a way to find dressing in the grid).
MikeMillerwsj
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#429

Post by MikeMillerwsj »

As some have noted, this was a stupefying feat of construction. Matt might be one of the only people in puzzledom who could have pulled this off. It was also a challenging one, after a run of more accessible contests: we had 1474 entrants, about 83% correct.

Other guesses included SURF AND TURF (14), TABLE FOR TWO (8), SALT AND PEPPER (6), THE WINE LIST (7) and many many others.

Congrats to this week's winner: John Yochem of Corvallis, Ore.!

And a special treat for our subscribers: Our puzzle editor Mike Shenk and his colleagues at the Puzzability puzzle-making concern have created a fantastic set of interconnected puzzles exclusively for WSJ subscribers. You can check it out here. https://www.wsjplus.com/offers/spring-puzzles.

One more programming note: WSJ puzzle fans will know the ingenious work of Patrick Berry, one of the most brilliant word-puzzle creators on earth, who creates a monthly Saturday variety puzzle for us. Patrick has a jaw-droppingly brilliant new set of word puzzles available on his site, with a portion of the proceeds going to Covid relief.

https://aframegames.com/store/?download ... ent-policy
hoover
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#430

Post by hoover »

I never made it to shore. I found the 23 islands, but didn't find the right ADDition to perform to get the meta. After jotting down the clue # and answer for each of the 23, here are the things I tried that were way more complicated than was expected:
  • Using A=0, etc. add up the values for all letters in each word, then mod26 the result and convert that back to a letter. Gibberish.
  • Using A=0, etc. add the first and last letters in each word, then mod26...
  • Using A=0, etc. add the cell number to the value of the first letter in each word, then mod26...
  • Somewhere in there I tried some rot13...
I'm just glad it didn't require the latitude and longitude of each island, because that's where I was headed next.
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Kas
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#431

Post by Kas »

Mother. Of. All. Rabbit Holes.
Sigh.
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Joe Ross
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#432

Post by Joe Ross »

hoover wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:39 pm I'm just glad it didn't require the latitude and longitude of each island, because that's where I was headed next.
Post of the week.
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eagle1279
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#433

Post by eagle1279 »

Billy M wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:25 am . . . I would say that about three times a month a guest would request thousand Island for either a seafood dish, a salad that was already dressed, or occasionally, and please bear with me, a very nice steak. While we didn't keep it in house, pretty much any kitchen has the things to make it . . .
This brought back a happy childhood memory. In our frugal household, my mom would sometimes serve a homemade dressing, a tangy salmon-colored dressing which we loved. She called it "Grandma Dressing" and we four kids assumed it was a special family recipe. Only years later did I figure out that my mom and her mother (from an even more frugal upbringing) were simply mixing small amounts of ketchup and mayonnaise! Add some pickle relish, and you have TID.
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pookie
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#434

Post by pookie »

Every week, muggles talk about the steps involved in solving and especially that "last" step, invoking doubts among solvers fearing that they haven't searched far enough. (PAGEANT)
To say that the only rule is that there are no rules is ridiculous, especially when so many rules are IMPLIED!

A friend of mine who compares notes with me on the contest chimed in: "Of course saying the only rule is there are no rules is ridiculous. I suspect what he meant was that the mechanism for solving the puzzle is different every week and that mechanism can be whatever the puzzle creator wants it to be. That said, I think the best metas are the ones where the answers are in the puzzle itself. If the answer has to be inferred, then there is no concrete answer. I mean, there is the answer the puzzle creator intends, but without a clear "paper trail" to that answer, one could argue any answer is correct."

I've been stumped more than I've gotten the correct answer. But when all of the methods are futile and the answer turns out to be "implied", well, it's like a long story that ends with, "then I woke up and it was only a dream."
boharr
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#435

Post by boharr »

Wait. Weren't there 23 answers floating in the puzzle itself waiting to be added up? Nothing implied there.
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hcbirker
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#436

Post by hcbirker »

hoover wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:39 pm I never made it to shore. I found the 23 islands, but didn't find the right ADDition to perform to get the meta. After jotting down the clue # and answer for each of the 23, here are the things I tried that were way more complicated than was expected:
  • Using A=0, etc. add up the values for all letters in each word, then mod26 the result and convert that back to a letter. Gibberish.
  • Using A=0, etc. add the first and last letters in each word, then mod26...
  • Using A=0, etc. add the cell number to the value of the first letter in each word, then mod26...
  • Somewhere in there I tried some rot13...
I'm just glad it didn't require the latitude and longitude of each island, because that's where I was headed next.
I stopped myself from those calculations based on the short explanation needed for the meta on the Monday post.

Always keep that in mind.
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mikeB
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#437

Post by mikeB »

I’m new at this, but it seems it could be argued that the solution to this meta is contained entirely within the puzzle and does not necessitate inferring any element of it.

There were 23 relevant islands in the puzzle, reinforced by Clue #1 and the puzzle’s title. So ISLAND.

And the clue numbers of those islands add up to 1,000. So THOUSAND.

And there are two clues, #14 and #17, that are of the same format (and the only ones of that format), and they happen to abut one another in the grid, and they also happen to describe one side of a conversation (“How do I look?” followed by “Are you sure?”), that is typical when a couple is dressing to go out. So DRESSING.

That third word was a long struggle for me until I saw how #14 and #17 completed the connections to the puzzle. But I admit I could be reading too much into it. But it is consistent with some of the advisories to look for patterns and coincidences in the clues and grid. If intentional, it’s a very creative structure, the way you have three related words that come at you from three very different routes in the puzzle.
hoover
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#438

Post by hoover »

KayW wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:01 am
Al Sisti wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 12:04 am
2. My hail mary should have counted, had I sent it in: "Java To Go." (Java and Togo are islands)
Brilliant!! That will have to become a meta answer on its own one day.
Except that Togo isn't an island; it's a coastal country of western Africa between Ghana and Benin. Perhaps you were thinking of Tonga?
hoover
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#439

Post by hoover »

hcbirker wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:34 pm I stopped myself from those calculations based on the short explanation needed for the meta on the Monday post.

Always keep that in mind.
I'm new here, so I'm not quite catching your drift. Which Monday post are you referring to? This forum, or elsewhere? I haven't read the whole 22 pages of this thread, so...
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sanmilton
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#440

Post by sanmilton »

Just one more: My parents were kind enough to introduce me to sit-down restaurants at an early age, and I had the opportunity early in life to select my choice of dressing for my side salad. I often ordered thousand island dressing before I acquired the taste for blue cheese and perhaps before ranch was widely available. Years later, when I first learned about Russian dressing, I was surprised at how similar it seemed to thousand island, and how it was perhaps even less sophisticated. It was so prosaic that I felt confident betting a friend the cost of a meal for the two of us at New York's then celebrated Russian Tea Room. The bet was whether "Russian" dressing was even available there. (I thought not!) When our waiter took our order, my friend asked if he could have Russian on his salad. "But of course!" was his costly (to me) reply. We did not have much caviar, but we did have a little with the blinis served before our salads. The moral? Thousand island dressing, like the meta puzzle under discussion, is not for everyone. Probably there are some temples of haute cuisine that would never deign to serve it. But the elegant Russian Tea Room was not one of them.
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