"Please State Your Full Name" - May 21, 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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Post by FirstMax »

SReh26 wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 6:47 am For those who looked for California, did you also look for Alabama? It was shoehorned in there between California and Maine, well, within California (CAL).

Without a nudge, how did one identify which of the many states were the golden 5?
We were looking for a 5 letter word and there were 4 relatively long Across answers that clearly had two letter stand alone words (Maine was an outlier). When the puzzle gives you crumbs, eat them. Also, it helped to have a vacation planned for Tennessee in the coming week, sing Davy Crockett while driving back from the barber, then walk in the door and think STATE your full name. Puzzle solved.
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Post by Bob cruise director »

CallMeShane wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 5:06 am The California-Maine conundrum

I see two possibilities:

option A: Gaffney could not find a 10 letter word or phrase that began with ME (like MENSA TESTS) where he could come up with down answers to fit the grid

option B: Gaffney sits in his lair with a Snidely Whiplash sneer, stroking his mustache, silkily whispering “What can I do this week to give CallMeShane the most aggro?” Bwah-ha-ha!!!!!

I’m going with option B.
Come to the Matt Gaffney Q&A in June and you can ask him that question. I am sure that he will get a laugh out of it.
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Post by Ergcat »

jhseeman wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:25 am I like I"m sure others got stuck looking for California, as the other three were the first letters of the clue. After looking for a good long time for how to force it realized (with the help of a 2x4 upside the head) that there wasn't a shoehorn big enough to fit that one into the grid.
I finally justified using ME instead of CA by looking at the clue “ response to ‘I’m on the OTHER line’”.... so I used the other one!! Plus it gave me the “i” I needed! 😂
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Post by Ergcat »

Richard wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:17 am I think this was an excellent meta. First of all it was a "no doubter" when you got it you knew it was right. Second, for me, it had a few aha moment. Seeing the 2 letter state abbreviations at the start of the theme words, seeing you needed to find the entries for the full name, seeing that it was not the start of the theme words but the the letter "words" in the theme words that mattered. I, like many I am sure, spent a lot of time dealing with the CA. Plus USA in the grid for added confirmation.

Loved the use of the word "Lawfare."
The word “law fare” was what jumped out at me to help me solve the meta! I saw the state abbreviations early but didn’t know what to do with them... until I saw “law fare” and thought “hey, that sorta looks like Delaware but with needs the DE and has an extra f...” from there it was an easy solve. Besides the CA vs ME issue....
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Post by TMart »

The themers were consistent in that it was the two-letter word in each phrase that was the state abbreviation. They were also inconsistent in that the two-letter word was first in only 4 of the 5. I guess Matt could have used a clue like “ _______ McGee” (Janis Joplin song) to put MEANDBOBBY in the grid for a ten-letter entry to be completely consistent with a starting state abbreviation, but who knows if the grid could actually be completed that way. Still a great meta with a nice built in rabbit hole in California!
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Post by Bird Lives »

States 650.jpg
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Post by Ben B »

We identified the “state” clues in the long answers right away but had no idea what to do with them. After a break my son noticed the law fare completion of Delaware and we were off to the races. We got stuck on California and never noticed Maine. I rationalized a shoehorn fit into Frailer, Rho, and Iain but we knew we were missing something. What a great puzzle and we are kicking ourselves about Maine! The good thing is we have gained more experience and this is something that definitely can be learned and improved! Have fun everyone!
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Post by Dplass »

KRM wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:07 am So, after one gets the names of the states, where is the clue/hint that tells the solver to look for answers in the grid with the remaining letters of the state names? Is it that there is no such hint/clue and is something one just notices by staring at the grid?
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Post by Hamrock »

I got the state thing and finally got the right answer...but before another rabbit hole was songs and bands and the album they were on....you know like state your full name for the record..almost got answer of label doing it that way. Anyone else?
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Post by sf592000 »

I also went down multiple rabbit holes on this one:

Happy accident that 17A - OH and 50A - HI are the 17th and 50th states?

IN AWE and OK GO also threw me for a loop.

FIO Laguardia - FL, Matt Damon - MD, IAIN Armitage - IA, Nero Claudius - NC

I also was heavily distracted by watching this over and over again during the solve.

Last edited by sf592000 on Mon May 24, 2021 8:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by periperi »

California never occurred to me as the issue -- I was pretty confident about the unique two letter words being the key. What did bother me was INAWE, OKGO, and MANIN (and to a lesser extent YOYOMA) -- they fit the pattern just as well as the obvious five so I didn't see any specific reason why they were necessarily excluded (though the length and placement made me 50/50 on it).

I also spent some time on RON(ALD), MATT(HEW), and FIO(RELLO), which also went nowhere.
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Post by jenirvin »

Never got myself out of the rabbit hole. There were just too many rabbits jumping around in my head.
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Post by otlaolap »

This was a never never never for me. Been doing these for 3/4 of a year, now, and cumulatively my average is just under 2 out of 3 (the slush of February and March did help bring it up). Congratulations to all of you who saw it.
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Post by femullen »

But but but but what about California, Alabama, Rhode Island, and Nebraska?

Wasn't even close. Not just on the wrong shore, I wasn't even in soundings. Glad I went fishing yesterday instead. Smallmouths. Yes, thanks, the fishing was much more successful than the beach assault.

For nudges, feel free to PM me. I won't have a clue how to help you, but you just might shove me ashore.
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Post by Flying_Burrito »

30 A (OKGO) was the beginning of my Via Crucis. I had noticed the state IDs but to me this had to be the start due to the answer.
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Post by iggystan »

At Diary of a Crossword Fiend (crosswordfiend.com), Matt apologizes for the 4-1 themers. He said 5-0 is ok, 3-2 as well, but not 4-1. He didn't realize that he left it that way and blames possible "baby brain" (his baby was very new at the time of construction).
I, like others, got FFTY and realized it was FIFTY, then "saw" ME, instead of CA. I didn't have any issue with it either, because all of the others were two-letter words.
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Post by SReh26 »

femullen wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 8:39 am But but but but what about California, Alabama, Rhode Island, and Nebraska?

Wasn't even close. Not just on the wrong shore, I wasn't even in soundings. Glad I went fishing yesterday instead. Smallmouths. Yes, thanks, the fishing was much more successful than the beach assault.

Precisely, My dear Watson!! Alabama, Rhode Island and Nebraska!! That’s why I asked how y’all selected the golden 5 states.
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Post by TeaJenny »

Wow I was...way off.

It never fully clicked for me. I got the states right off the bat, but then completely stalled (state capitals? state nicknames?). I actually had Maine first, but switched to California, thinking I was being clever. *facepalm* I did think LAWFARE was kind of odd, but didn't catch the similarity to Delaware. *double facepalm*

After missing "Square One" as the place to start last week, I got hung up looking for other clues that were giving directions:

26D: From the top (AGAIN)
39D: "Follow me" (THIS WAY)
63A: "There you have it!" (TA DA)

38D was the one I should have focused on: Dos Passos trilogy (USA).

To paraphrase the Brooklyn Dodgers, "Wait til next week."
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis
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Post by TeaJenny »

LadyBird wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:17 am After getting the FIFTY, I noticed OKGO & GAZA and thought--did Matt hide all 50 states in here as another level of elegance. So I frittered some time away looking for that. I think I found 30 state abbreviations. Then I looked at last week's puzzle and found 20+. So I imagine that there are lots of state abbreviations every week.

Got back from an organized owl prowl about 35 minutes ago. We managed to find a screech owl, so that was fun.
I did the same thing, thinking that the states that weren't represented might lead to the answer, and also found 30 states. Some of the abbreviations are common letter combinations. I found Indiana 7 times, and Alabama, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Georgia, Arkansas, and Nebraska 4 times each. That was a deep rabbit hole for me.
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~C.S. Lewis
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Post by Joe Ross »

The five states that work with the mechanism should be used. Those that don't, should not.

One theme entry contains the abbreviations of three states, another two. One pair of state initials in each theme entry works with the mechanism. The others don't. We're not offered perfection, but a very limited set. It's not difficult to try all pairs & select the only pairs that work.

Beyond that, please refer to Cindy's avatar.