"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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DrTom
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#401

Post by DrTom »

HunterX wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:20 pm
DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:12 pm
HunterX wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 11:21 am

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.
I agree but I'm only rational a fraction of the time and I am constantly inducing variables in my expressions on line. I'll often try to do four at once, though the quadratics always confuse me. But I see your point so I'll try to paly it straight and not be so obtuse next time, right!
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.
Nsmoretz@gmail.com
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 12:00 pm

#402

Post by Nsmoretz@gmail.com »

I liked the suggestion to look at past puzzles. I’ll try that on Friday’s. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give this one a solid 10+
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HunterX
Posts: 365
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Location: Philadelphia, PA

#403

Post by HunterX »

DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 1:11 pm
HunterX wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:20 pm
DrTom wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:12 pm
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.
I agree but I'm only rational a fraction of the time and I am constantly inducing variables in my expressions on line. I'll often try to do four at once, though the quadratics always confuse me. But I see your point so I'll try to paly it straight and not be so obtuse next time, right!
While your comments there are integral to the conversation, I'd swear they sound familiar. They are just SO derrivative...
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ardentgailla
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Location: West Virginia

#404

Post by ardentgailla »

I figured the NSEW thing, but couldn't come up with a viable answer. I'm so mad I missed the other directionals!
Aspiring MUGgle
I don't want to be "always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth." 2 Tim 3:7
zacmoretz
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:50 pm

#405

Post by zacmoretz »

Nsmoretz@gmail.com wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 1:11 pm 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.
Hey it’s Aunt Norma, hooray!!! @Nsmoretz
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Tripod
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 10:19 pm
Location: Massachusetts

#406

Post by Tripod »

I picked the wrong week to go into "puzzle blackout mode" until Monday...I stayed offline for the last few days because of family commitments. I didn't get a chance to solve until today...you know, just for the love of the game.

Dude!

That was a mind-blow. Great construction. Clever puzzle.

My nerd-brain saw the clustering of directional letters, but struggled to find a starting point (29D, 7D, 57A, 41A?) until getting a nudge on 13D. That was the "aha" for me. Then, clearly, seven sections of fence need eight fence-posts...bingo. Also felt like there were a fair number of taunts in there: 16A, 27A, 36A, 63A, 46D, 55D?

Glad to see a Muggle won!

Consolation prize: I had a decent weekend?
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anaerobe
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Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:11 am
Location: OK

#407

Post by anaerobe »

TeaJenny wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:23 am I had the directions right - got all 8 of them. I had the mechanism right. I just couldn't figure out where to start.
Same. My first try was starting in the center (the E in DRESS). I then saw 13D, but I only thought to start at the O, N, and E. After each attempt, I found myself off the grid...not on the same page...over the edge...well, you get it.

Thanks to a nudge, I realized that 'square one' meant 'the square with the one in it' ??!?....geez
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anaerobe
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#408

Post by anaerobe »

As a candidate for Rabbit Hole of the Week, I humbly submit the cul de sac of logic I entered after first ID'ing the 8 directions:

A) U,D,L, and R are RELATIVE directions. Hey, that's eight letters...but it doesn't feel right.

B) N,S,E, and W are CARDINAL directions. Hey, that's eight letters too, but also doesn't feel right.

C) What birds are RELATIVES of CARDINALS that have 8 letters?

BUNTINGS!

Man, if only the puzzle theme had been: 'WHAT TO DO WITH NO OUTS AND, A RUNNER ON FIRST, A RUNNER ON SECOND, OR RUNNERS ON FIRST AND SECOND", I would've nailed it........
MikeMillerwsj
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:46 pm

#409

Post by MikeMillerwsj »

Well, this was an ingenious and elusive puzzle. (It eluded your faithful correspondent despite extensive bashing of head against it.). We had fewer respondents than usual but quite an impressive number of successful decoders: 940 entries, 81% correct.

Some fascinating clusters of incorrect guesses: OBEDIENT (12), CARDINAL (12), EASTWARD (6), NAVIGATE (4), DRESSERS (3), SURPRISE (3), and sundry others. Congrats to this week's winner: Emily Woodard of Lenexa, Kan.!
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Al Sisti
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Location: Whitesboro NY

#410

Post by Al Sisti »

anaerobe wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 5:12 pm As a candidate for Rabbit Hole of the Week, I humbly submit the cul de sac of logic I entered after first ID'ing the 8 directions:

A) U,D,L, and R are RELATIVE directions. Hey, that's eight letters...but it doesn't feel right.

B) N,S,E, and W are CARDINAL directions. Hey, that's eight letters too, but also doesn't feel right.

C) What birds are RELATIVES of CARDINALS that have 8 letters?

BUNTINGS!

Man, if only the puzzle theme had been: 'WHAT TO DO WITH NO OUTS AND, A RUNNER ON FIRST, A RUNNER ON SECOND, OR RUNNERS ON FIRST AND SECOND", I would've nailed it........
Well yeah, except nobody bunts any more! A lost art, a forgotten tactic whose life span was shortened by sabermetrics.
Susan Goldberg
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Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:16 pm

#411

Post by Susan Goldberg »

EmilyW wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:49 pmI won the mug!
Wow!!!! Congratulations!!! Just out of curiosity, how do they let you know? Email?
Susan Goldberg
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:16 pm

#412

Post by Susan Goldberg »

Well, at least this is a Monday where I didn’t slap my head for being so close, but just missed it. I had a bunch of the ingredients, but not enough to have gotten there ... chalking this one up to a learning process. I agree it was certainly a genius construction!
EVJ
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Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 6:40 pm
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#413

Post by EVJ »

Susan Goldberg wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 5:46 pm
EmilyW wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:49 pmI won the mug!
Wow!!!! Congratulations!!! Just out of curiosity, how do they let you know? Email?
Yes! Email.
rosiegirl
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:26 pm

#414

Post by rosiegirl »

After reading the comments about the Richard III crossword puzzle (the puzzle was actually named King Me!), I decided I needed to take a look at it. Wow...that was some puzzle! I think I would have had to been led by the hand, step by step, to find the answer to that one!
EmilyW
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:03 pm

#415

Post by EmilyW »

Susan Goldberg wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 5:46 pm
EmilyW wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 12:49 pmI won the mug!
Wow!!!! Congratulations!!! Just out of curiosity, how do they let you know? Email?
Thank you! I was notified by email this morning. And also in case anyone was wondering, I used the online submission form to submit my answer so I can confirm that it works!
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OGuyDave
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#416

Post by OGuyDave »

CallMeShane wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 5:18 am This is a meta that fell pretty quickly if you did a frequency analysis on the theme answers.
...
Yep, I did the frequency analysis:

Code: Select all

$ perl freqCount.pl wsjxwd_20210514.txt
 Using FILE  wsjxwd_20210514.txt

         Frequency order                  Character order
 Ltr  Count  Expected   Difference           Ltr  Count
  E    36      28          +8                 A    20
  S    25      18          +7                 B     3
  A    20      19          +1                 C     4
  D    16       8          +8                 D    16
  R    14      12          +2                 E    36
  L     9       9          +0                 F     1
  N     9      12          -3                 G     8
  O     9      13          -4                 H     2
  G     8       4          +4                 I     4
  T     7      13          -6                 J     0
  K     6       2          +4                 K     6
  M     6       4          +2                 L     9
  U     5       6          -1                 M     6
  C     4       4          +0                 N     9
  I     4      12          -8                 O     9
  B     3       3          +0                 P     1
  H     2       3          -1                 Q     0
  F     1       2          -1                 R    14
  P     1       6          -5                 S    25
  W     1       2          -1                 T     7
  Y     1       3          -2                 U     5
  J     0       0          +0                 V     0
  Q     0       0          +0                 W     1
  V     0       1          -1                 X     0
  X     0       0          +0                 Y     1
  Z     0       0          +0                 Z     0
  
From this, noticed the higher freqs of the Es and S's, but didn't notice the D's. Since there were lower than normal N's, and only one W, I'm not sure I was ever super-confident that NEWS (bad news for me, I guess) was the appropriate route.

But had I had the brilliant inspiration to do a frequency analysis on just the starred answers, like this:

Code: Select all

$ perl freqCount.pl drseuss slurred reeds dress welds dresden denuded
 Using TEXT  drseussslurredreedsdressweldsdresdendenuded

         Frequency order                  Character order
 Ltr  Count  Expected   Difference           Ltr  Count
  D    10       2          +8                 A     0
  E    10       7          +3                 B     0
  S     9       4          +5                 C     0
  R     6       3          +3                 D    10
  U     3       1          +2                 E    10
  L     2       2          +0                 F     0
  N     2       3          -1                 G     0
  W     1       0          +1                 H     0
  A     0       4          -4                 I     0
  B     0       1          -1                 J     0
  C     0       1          -1                 K     0
  F     0       0          +0                 L     2
  G     0       1          -1                 M     0
  H     0       1          -1                 N     2
  I     0       3          -3                 O     0
  J     0       0          +0                 P     0
  K     0       0          +0                 Q     0
  M     0       1          -1                 R     6
  O     0       3          -3                 S     9
  P     0       1          -1                 T     0
  Q     0       0          +0                 U     3
  T     0       3          -3                 V     0
  V     0       0          +0                 W     1
  X     0       0          +0                 X     0
  Y     0       1          -1                 Y     0
  Z     0       0          +0                 Z     0
I would have seen that there were only the eight letters, and that would led me towards, but not necessarily to the promised land.


Not crushed (like that post!) that I didn't get this one. Great meta.

TFTXWD anyway.
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iggystan
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:39 pm

#417

Post by iggystan »

Originally, I, too, tried to use only the cardinal compass directions of NESW, but wasn't getting anywhere. Then out of the blue, my mind realized that all of the other letters were directions as well. Then I tried to use them to create a word, but didn't count the black squares so came up with gibberish as others have pointed out. Then I decided to count the black squares and, voila!, a word appeared. Others have asked how you come to arrive at the letters - they are the letter in the last square after following the directions of each of the theme words. I did notice the Square One clue when solving the grid, so I was sure that was the starting point. It's funny when everything falls into place and very frustrating when it doesn't. I have pondered over a bunch of these for a while and they seem to take over every waking moment when you don't "see" them.
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SusieG
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#418

Post by SusieG »

This was a brilliant puzzle! I saw the note to start at square one immediately, but it took me a little bit to figure out that the directions were “mixed.” Very Seussical, indeed. Trying to explain the solve to my husband and son over breakfast was hilarious...”down, right, south, east, up, south, south...” I wish I had a photo of my son’s face as he listened to my “directions.”

I’m still amazed at the construction — very similar to the Richard III puzzle, so veteran solvers had an advantage.
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Tom Shea
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#419

Post by Tom Shea »

Count me among those that STILL don't see how the letters in meanders were picked out of the meandering path.

KAS n! squared.
Rufus T. Firefly
MaineMarge
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#420

Post by MaineMarge »

Ok people, now that we’ve had a chance to test our ability to follow directions, here are some much easier directions for you to follow to see this happen with garlic scapes in your own home.
230D7803-B8D8-4652-BFA7-D9F1553F9A53.jpeg
1. Buy any number of garlic scapes at the market. ( or cut your own✂️)
2. Recut the ends.
3. Place in a vase or container of water
4. For the next 3 weeks watch the intricate ballet as they slowly uncurl UDLR around each other as they lengthen and head skyward.
This is a yearly joy in our house. 👩🏻‍🌾
An August 8th photo.
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