"The Play's The Thing" - April 9, 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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joequavis
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#361

Post by joequavis »

Mister Squawk wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:57 am
joequavis wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:13 am If this one seemed vaguely familiar to anyone, take a gander here...

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=98

My apologies for having posted this briefly on Thursday. I had forgotten how similar they were!!
So was the previous iteration of this puzzle easier (the theme clues were identified, along with the name of the play) or harder (additional indirection: first letters -> character -> answer play name)?
I think the previous one was a touch easier. All you needed was the first letters of the embedded character names, not the plays involved. But both pretty straightforward.
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Franklin.Bluth
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#362

Post by Franklin.Bluth »

ajk wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:36 am
RobM wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:21 am Okay, be honest: Who recognized Berowne from LLL? Not me, but the other five letters were enough to extrapolate the last.
Yeah, that was the wobble I referred to. Spent some time trying to force OBERON in there before realizing that would be two from Midsummer. After backsolving the L I looked up the LLL characters. Pretty sure I’ve seen it, but not for a long while.
Same thing for me...started to look for OBERON but abandoned that immediately, as we already had PUCK.

I've never read LLL (tbh it always seemed like a more "minor" entry in the canon), but somewhere its cast of characters must have burrowed into my brain because the next thing I saw was BEROWNE. Had to Google what play it was from, however.

Too bad Gaffney couldn't have used someone from Lear to make the L, but we'd have all quibbled that it would lead to a K. But then the PUCK threw me off at first because I always just call it Midsummer Night's Dream, foregoing the A.

Is have appreciated a shout out to the first Shakespeare play, Titus Andronicus, or my personal fave Troilus and Cressida, for the T, but Twelfth Night was an acceptable alternative. As You Like It would've been a better A entry.
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jenirvin
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#363

Post by jenirvin »

John77 wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:24 pm
Dennis wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:54 pm An hour last night well spent! Probably my fastest trip from ship to shore yet, and I am on a two out of four "streak." Will readily admit I had to utilize the search engines a bit having been a pre-med major. Although I will here give enormous credit to my high school English teacher: small rural school, my graduating class was 92 in number, and we had Mrs. Yoder all four years for English. Probably the best teacher in my total years of pre-graduate, graduate, post-graduate, and professional education. It seems appropriate to publicly honor her here. Suspect many here have similar stories.
I, too, was a pre-med major but fortunately was able to include an elective that used this text:
My copy is well-worn and well-loved.
~ Jennifer/jenirvin
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C=64
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#364

Post by C=64 »

Franklin.Bluth wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:27 am
Too bad Gaffney couldn't have used someone from Lear to make the L, but we'd have all quibbled that it would lead to a K.
That wouldn't be a quibble; that would be a broken mechanism spelling MORTAK.
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anaerobe
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#365

Post by anaerobe »

Interesting how games (crossword puzzles, Jeopardy!, etc.) can expose ignorance in broad categories of knowledge. I have always gravitated toward the sciences-CLEP'ed out of comp I and II (took no english classes in college), my humanities consisted of history of science and anthropology, and ended up w/ two degrees in microbiology. I suspect the right side of my skull is totally empty! In this puzzle, I recognized ROMEO but that was it.

That said, recently I endeavored to read more fiction. I decided to start with Sci Fi (of course) and Google told me the 1st sci fi book written was: Frankenstein.

Probably preaching to the choir here, but that book is fantastic. I enjoyed it so much. It has romance, tragedy, action/adventure, mystery, etc., I was so surprised (granted, up to that point everything I knew about Frankenstein I learned from Mel Brooks). Since then, I have managed to read 1984 and a few others. Shakespeare truly looks like undiscover'd country to me, but after this puzzle I think I'll give him a try!
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Jacksull
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#366

Post by Jacksull »

The word MORTAL appears 4 other times in Hamlet. It shows up at least twice in each of the plays that lead to the meta (6 times in Macbeth).

In all of Shakespeare, MORTAL appears 105 times.
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Wendy Walker
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#367

Post by Wendy Walker »

Mark just sent this photo from a customer's wine cooler. Thought this crowd of sophisticated imbibers might get a chuckle:

cooler.jpg
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.
otlaolap
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#368

Post by otlaolap »

It does seem to me that Google ought to be smarter.
  • Me: shakespeare play duncan
  • Google: Duncan is a character in Shakespeare's Macbeth
  • Me: shakespeare play iago
  • Google: Iago is a character in Shakespeare's Othello
  • Me: shakespeare play romeo
  • Google: The answer to this week's contest crossword is MORTAL
Franklin.Bluth
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#369

Post by Franklin.Bluth »

C=64 wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:50 am
Franklin.Bluth wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:27 am
Too bad Gaffney couldn't have used someone from Lear to make the L, but we'd have all quibbled that it would lead to a K.
That wouldn't be a quibble; that would be a broken mechanism spelling MORTAK.
I'm not sure that's correct. These plays all have much longer titles than what we typically refer to them as...like The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Tragedy of Hamlet. The answer wasn't TTRTAL...

I thought a more important play should've been chosen, but LLL is the only one begining with an L. I thought it'd have been nice to shoehorn Lear in there.
Last edited by Franklin.Bluth on Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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KscX
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#370

Post by KscX »

I’m working the NYT 4/2 crossword. Check out this synergy:
A39DC1F9-09A5-4139-AF19-10659B79AF0F.jpeg
Thanks, Matt! (I’m assuming I’m right...)
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TPS
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#371

Post by TPS »

sharkicicles wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:48 am I had to brute-force BEROWNE. That was a new name for me, never having read the play.
Same - I had the meta maybe 5 minutes in but I did not have the play for “L”. I had to look that one up just for my own knowledge.
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joequavis
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#372

Post by joequavis »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:48 am It does seem to me that Google ought to be smarter.
  • Me: shakespeare play duncan
  • Google: Duncan is a character in Shakespeare's Macbeth
  • Me: shakespeare play iago
  • Google: Iago is a character in Shakespeare's Othello
  • Me: shakespeare play romeo
  • Google: The answer to this week's contest crossword is MORTAL
Love this^^

I keep looking for the "Solve" button in Joe Ross's spreadsheet. Perhaps he's working on that :D
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michaelm
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#373

Post by michaelm »

otlaolap wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:48 am It does seem to me that Google ought to be smarter.
  • Me: shakespeare play duncan
  • Google: Duncan is a character in Shakespeare's Macbeth
  • Me: shakespeare play iago
  • Google: Iago is a character in Shakespeare's Othello
  • Me: shakespeare play romeo
  • Google: The answer to this week's contest crossword is MORTAL
That is hilarious.
Don't know much about dark web or such, but it continues to amaze me that the meta answer never makes it onto the webs.
Guess that establishes the value of a mug.
mitchel674
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#374

Post by mitchel674 »

Ergcat wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:08 am
RobM wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:21 am Okay, be honest: Who recognized Berowne from LLL? Not me, but the other five letters were enough to extrapolate the last.
The first name I saw in “memberowned” was “Ned”... a character from Henry IV. But that gave me “M-O-R-T-A-H”! So then I had to search characters from LLL because I was guessing that was the play that was going to work! I had to use google!!
And, I confess, the first rabbit hole I explored was looking for “play things” and saw yo-yo and the “Duncan”! Aha, was I on to something??!! Haha, no! Seeing “Romeo” shortly afterwards, set me on the right path to shore!
Great minds! I also only came up with Ned and the subsequent MORTAH.

My 23 year old son took one look and said "Berowne from LLL". :roll: I guess all that education wasn't wasted on that computer scientist!
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Richard
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#375

Post by Richard »

I got the first five, figured it was MORTAL and had to look up Love's Labor Lost to find Berowne.

In my opinion this was another great Meta. Title fit well. Romeo and Iago are certainly not obscure characters and should have started almost all solvers on the right path.

I did spend some time trying to find something in the Diagonals of the puzzle. Saw Duncan first then Iago. Romeo and Puck followed immediately.
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#376

Post by MikeMillerwsj »

No surprise--crossword solvers are an exceptionally literate species. We had a massive turnout--3115 entries, with 88% correct. Wrong answers included a very wide range--after all, you had 262 words to choose from (fewer than that, since that word count includes duplicates): OPHELIA (a word that's not in the soliloquy but drew 48 votes... OK maybe not all solvers are flawlessly literate), DREAM (30), CONSCIENCE (13), FARDELS (11), CONTUMELY (10), UNDISCOVERED (10), ARROWS (10), and many others.

Congrats to this week's winner, Mary Gurley of Norwood, MA.!
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ajk
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#377

Post by ajk »

MikeMillerwsj wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:48 pm OPHELIA (a word that's not in the soliloquy but drew 48 votes... OK maybe not all solvers are flawlessly literate)
To be fair, many versions (including Wikipedia's) include his reaction to Ophelia's approach as part of it (Soft you now, the fair Ophelia?) :D
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mikeB
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#378

Post by mikeB »

My initial shiny object was ABBA, as in 2 B’s or not 2 B’s. A short stay in that rABBAt hole. Then Duncan and Puck leapt out at me, which brought things into focus.
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HunterX
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#379

Post by HunterX »

Wendy Walker wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:32 am Mark just sent this photo from a customer's wine cooler. Thought this crowd of sophisticated imbibers might get a chuckle:

cooler.jpg
I wholeheartedly approve. But I can imagine staring at the glass door in a conundrum, wondering which I was more in a mood for.

Also, I'm a PA native, yet I don't buy PA maple syrup. That would be like buying PA wine!
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TPS
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#380

Post by TPS »

ajk wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:33 pm
MikeMillerwsj wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:48 pm OPHELIA (a word that's not in the soliloquy but drew 48 votes... OK maybe not all solvers are flawlessly literate)
To be fair, many versions (including Wikipedia's) include his reaction to Ophelia's approach as part of it (Soft you now, the fair Ophelia?) :D
My guess is they saw the character names but didn’t know what to do with them and saw Ophelia in the soliloquy and realized that there were characters from 6 of Shakespeare’s plays none of which was Hamlet and thought the answer was the word that fulfilled that method. It’s not really that far a stretch as it would be sorta similar to the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE puzzle from last year.
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