"Following Directions" - May 14, 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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Hidden in 3D
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#381

Post by Hidden in 3D »

I always look at the reviews posted on crosswordfiend.com first to see how those experts solve the meta. Today's explanation by Conrad (who has been subbing for Laura B. lately) was excellent. His path was very similar to mine in that he tried the compass direction letters (NSEW) first and when that didn't work, he tried the body relevant letters (UDRL). He went to bed when neither path worked. (It took me two days to think to use the latter letters! :oops: ) He also suggested checking frequency analysis of each letter. I found these words in his summation fascinating:

"My mistake was assuming that compass and body relative letters were mutually exclusive. I find it interesting how we invent imaginary meta rules and then struggle (and sometimes fail) to solve the meta as a result."

That was EXACTLY what I did. Something in my brain made me assume that it was an either/or type of mechanism and I never made the leap to do both. Obviously I belong in Conrad's "sometimes fail" grouping, but I learned a lot from this one and hope to be able to apply that knowledge the next time I need it!!
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zacmoretz
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#382

Post by zacmoretz »

boharr wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 9:10 am
zacmoretz wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:56 am I don’t think you’re being honest if you call that only 3 1/2 stars. I think there is some “solver’s bias” in the rating system... 5+ for me.
There is a solvers' bias. All the page-one pros rating puzzles at one star. There is a simple solution: more people need to rate the puzzles.
Totally agree. Everyone who doesn’t solve it, make sure you rate it as well each week!
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Richard
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#383

Post by Richard »

I did not get it and am not sure how to rate it.

I do congratulate Matt on the construction.

I had the basic idea figured out but did not focus on the ONE. I did see the word ENDS and was trying to end up there.
Was also trying to make words out of the path. I probably should have given that up and tried something else.

Even seeing the correct solution its not something that causes me say "AHA", Would have to work through all the directions in the starred words without making a mistake and then getting the answer. More work to me than mental insight.

Feel like I did not spend enough time on it to get it but probably spent more time on it than warranted.
JeanneC
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#384

Post by JeanneC »

Congratulations to the solvers! I was on another planet entirely and fell into the “mask” and “rna” rabbit holes—and that was just for starters. Another lesson learned: just because a clue is asterisked, that doesn’t mean it must be part of the ultimate answer.
“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions”. Lillian Hellman
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MikeM000
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#385

Post by MikeM000 »

Joe Ross wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 9:29 am
Bird Lives wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 9:22 am
Joe Ross wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 9:14 am

Consider this beauty enstolen.
It's not my coinage. You've been watching the wrong TV shows. This wasn't on British Bake-Off.(Push the slider to 0:50 if you're in a hurry). Or just read the top of the screen.
.
I stopped watching British baking shows when Nigella Lawson's dresses akin to 'Lucille's', in Cool Hand Luke, became less promulent.

Do you mean cromulent? Or is "promulent" a made-up word like "enstolen"?
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HunterX
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#386

Post by HunterX »

camandsampowercouple wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 9:30 am
boharr wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:50 am
Abide wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:24 am If you don’t see the signaling clue at 13-D, it’s impossible. IMO that clue should have read more like “Square____(good place to begin following directions)”
Mike's done this before. On the RICHARD III puzzle, once I figured out what to do, I didn't know where to begin. After looking at the grid for what seemed like hours, I saw the word START sitting right there toward the bottom. Duh. Lesson learned. When he uses the word "start," listen up.
Omg I remember that puzzle destroying me all weekend :lol:
"King Me!" was one of my favorites. And this one is joining it. I guess I like the visual part of it?

I like hearing how different methods (e.g. spreadsheet, paper) helped others follow the directions. King Me was what sold me on using my iPad. And this one was no exception.
Directions.png
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HunterX
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#387

Post by HunterX »

DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:26 am I suppose it would have been really special had it ended up in the bottom right, but that would have been SUPERNATURALLY AMAZING given all of the constraints this puzzle's construction must have imposed.
My math-major daughter indicated something about how using the axially symmetrical clues plus a middle one made it impossible to hit the bottom right corner due to the odd number of total directions. You need a net of 15 to the right and 15 down to get there

I just took their word for it.
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#388

Post by hoover »

sharkicicles wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 1:17 am
DrTom wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 1:05 am OK, my weird sense of humor had me chuckling about this for about 70 miles.

We stopped at a rest stop on the way back from the Keys. In the Men's rest room, above and to the left of the hand dryer and sink was this sign:

hands free.jpg
well, if it was near the urinals, that probably would not have been the cleanest rest stop in the country.
Or sign.
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auee89
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#389

Post by auee89 »

[/quote]

"King Me!" was one of my favorites. And this one is joining it. I guess I like the visual part of it?

I like hearing how different methods (e.g. spreadsheet, paper) helped others follow the directions. King Me was what sold me on using my iPad. And this one was no exception.

Directions.png
[/quote]

I like using my iPad as well. Here is an early iteration of my meandering. No clue how I arrived at this pattern :-). Although, I would turn left or right depending on the direction I was traveling - as if on a road and not necessarily going left and right on the grid.

Image
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Joe Ross
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#390

Post by Joe Ross »

MikeM000 wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:14 am Do you mean cromulent? Or is "promulent" a made-up word like "enstolen"?
You are correct! I misheared "cromulent" as "promulent."
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KayW
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#391

Post by KayW »

CPJohnson wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:22 am This mechanism might have been more familiar to those who have been doing the WSJ metas for a while. Previous puzzles using the path-through-the-grid mechanism are 10-18-19, 7-13-18, and 10-23-15. There may be more.
That reminds me! While I was stuck on using only the NSEW directions, I MEANDERed through Past WSJ Crossword Contests and Solutions - looking only at the puzzles created by Mike/Marie. I saw enough previous puzzles using that mechanism to convince me I was on the right path and just needed to tweak my application somehow.

Many thanks again to @Joe Ross @steveb and anyone else involved in assembling all those puzzles in one place. Looking at a collection of a particular constructor's puzzles is a great way for me to achieve a sort of meta mind meld with that constructor's approaches.
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DrTom
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#392

Post by DrTom »

HunterX wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:21 am
DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:26 am I suppose it would have been really special had it ended up in the bottom right, but that would have been SUPERNATURALLY AMAZING given all of the constraints this puzzle's construction must have imposed.
My math-major daughter indicated something about how using the axially symmetrical clues plus a middle one made it impossible to hit the bottom right corner due to the odd number of total directions. You need a net of 15 to the right and 15 down to get there

I just took their word for it.
Yes, what he said. When it comes to math I have nothing to add that would not subtract from the discussion. Besides I am sure the discussions would multiply and probably be divided. It's just a sine of our diversity...but I'm getting off on a tangent. Wait what is that large boat on the horizon, oh, not to worry its an arc.
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.
Geezer Weezer
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#393

Post by Geezer Weezer »

zacmoretz wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 10:48 am
boharr wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 9:10 am
zacmoretz wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:56 am I don’t think you’re being honest if you call that only 3 1/2 stars. I think there is some “solver’s bias” in the rating system... 5+ for me.
There is a solvers' bias. All the page-one pros rating puzzles at one star. There is a simple solution: more people need to rate the puzzles.
Totally agree. Everyone who doesn’t solve it, make sure you rate it as well each week!
I failed, but gave it a rating of 3.5. I saw 13D (helping not at all) and noted all the E's, S's, N's and D's, but only one W. I was looking for the north, south, east and west but could not make sense of it. A nimbler mind (say 3.6 out of 5) could get there, but it escaped me (a <3.5 mind)..
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HunterX
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#394

Post by HunterX »

DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:12 pm
HunterX wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:21 am
DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 8:26 am I suppose it would have been really special had it ended up in the bottom right, but that would have been SUPERNATURALLY AMAZING given all of the constraints this puzzle's construction must have imposed.
My math-major daughter indicated something about how using the axially symmetrical clues plus a middle one made it impossible to hit the bottom right corner due to the odd number of total directions. You need a net of 15 to the right and 15 down to get there

I just took their word for it.
Yes, what he said. When it comes to math I have nothing to add that would not subtract from the discussion. Besides I am sure the discussions would multiply and probably be divided. It's just a sine of our diversity...but I'm getting off on a tangent. Wait what is that large boat on the horizon, oh, not to worry its an arc.
By my calculus, too many math puns and you will loose your associative properties. Your friends will be null.
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ajk
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#395

Post by ajk »

lol had the right starting place and the right mechanism and still managed to miss it somehow. Was distracted by visiting family. Still. Had literally everything, and pretty sure I tried it more than once :lol: :lol:
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mheberlingx100
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#396

Post by mheberlingx100 »

ajk wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:31 pm lol had the right starting place and the right mechanism and still managed to miss it somehow. Was distracted by visiting family. Still. Had literally everything, and pretty sure I tried it more than once :lol: :lol:
I did the same thing. Worked all the steps twice and got gibberish. It wasn’t until I talked through with my sister-in-law (who tried it and followed directions properly) that I realized the mechanism was right but the solver (me) was flawed.
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whimsy
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#397

Post by whimsy »

Richard wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:09 am I did not get it......


I had the basic idea figured out........
Was also trying to make words out of the path.....

Even seeing the correct solution its not something that causes me say "AHA", Would have to work through all the directions in the starred words without making a mistake and then getting the answer. More work to me than mental insight......

A lot of the above for me also --- had all the right parts, but my main problem was thinking there had to be a difference between North and Up, East and Right etc. --- possibly one meant one square only while the other meant proceed to the end of the word, or row? And the black squares or not conundrum too. It began to feel too tedious, and reminded me of the adding that Thousand Islands required! :D

But I will say that this was an amazing treasure hunt of a construction! Congrats to Mike for creating it, and to all who stuck with it!
EmilyW
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#398

Post by EmilyW »

I won the mug!
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HunterX
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#399

Post by HunterX »

EmilyW wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:49 pmI won the mug!
Dammit...!

Uh... I mean... um... CONGRATULATIONS!
Nsmoretz@gmail.com
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#400

Post by Nsmoretz@gmail.com »

Not for beginners. I put my thinking-cap on, but some evil launderer had bleached out the grey matter. Congrats to those who got it.
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