#664 - "Leading by Example"

An excellent puzzle written by one of the innovators of the meta crossword format. It comes out every Friday at noon and increases in difficulty throughout the month. Available for modest subscription (worth every cent) here: www.xwordcontest.com
Laura M
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#101

Post by Laura M »

I had the 3-letter adjectives hidden in the themers as well as the single letter + word thing (except I missed OTOE and found a few others), but I didn't put them together. I can't really say I was oh so close, because there were a lot of other rabbitless holes I couldn't pull away from; in particular I kept trying to do something with EG (e.g.)...

I think my streak was up to 25 but maybe only 24, in any case it was longer than I ever expected to get! Back to zero and no pressure for week 4 :-)
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Bird Lives
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#102

Post by Bird Lives »

BarbaraK wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:02 pm ...that weird clue for I M Pei. I wonder if one of Matt’s test solvers told him that was a big leap, so he added M arch. to nudge in that direction.
That clue, or maybe it was another one, led me to search for clues that had a letter or letters pronounced as a letter -- as in WNBA, not CTRL, which is pronounced "control." There were six such clues, so I kept looking for ways to connect them or their entries to the six 3-letter hidden words.
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Joe Ross
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#103

Post by Joe Ross »

Al Sisti wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:14 pm
KayW wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:20 pm I was the blind squirrel who found myself on the leaderboard with an answer I realized had to be "wrong" a minute after I submitted. I had been staring at the puzzle without any concrete ideas since Saturday, and finally on Tuesday noticed that the letters nestled in the nook of black-square overhangs formed a word. I think my overtired brain was reasoning that the first few black square patterns happened to look like upside-down "L"s for "Leading", and the letters in my answer were "TOPped" by a black square HAT. I was so excited to finally see a two-word phrase that I quickly submitted.
...
And thanks as always to Joe Ross, who very kindly makes an excel template of MGWCC puzzles available to subscribers only, upon request.
When Joe announced at the Zoom meeting that you'd made the leaderboard, you had a perfect "Wha? Ha!" expression.
I wish I had recorded it. :)
Domini
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#104

Post by Domini »

I’m still giving side eye to LOW TOE. Matt said it wasn’t supposed to be phrases, but I’ve never heard anyone describe a toe as low... I guess physically? Big 👍 little 👍 gnarly 👍 low...no. I got it in the end (with some awesome collaboration with fellow clever Muggles), but that Low Toe threw me off the track I was sniffing around early on. C’est la vie!
MikeM000 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:25 pm I got hung up on the literal "by example" part of the title and the pieces of the following clues:

4A: ", maybe"
15A: ",e.g." (*)
55A: ", say"
52D: ",e.g."
And wondering about if ", in French" or ", in material science" or a few others counted as "examples".
Same same same! These are the six “examples” I found:

15A Japan’s Amaterasu, eg
17A Basil or Braxton
23A Libya and Liberia are there (abbr)
47A Rigel and such
55A Yew or ash, say
52D Calligraphy and choreography, e.g

If you take the first letters of these answers (leading by example) in grid order, it spells STAB AT. Obviously wrong, cause it’s not two three-letter words and it doesn’t use any of the * clues but the first one... but it seemed so perfect that it couldn’t be a coincidence! I thought maybe it was instructions and I tried poking holes through all the AT combinations in the grid...not enough were in the theme answers so I knew that was off :(
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KayW
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#105

Post by KayW »

Joe Ross wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:51 pm
Al Sisti wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:14 pm
KayW wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:20 pm I was the blind squirrel who found myself on the leaderboard with an answer I realized had to be "wrong" a minute after I submitted. I had been staring at the puzzle without any concrete ideas since Saturday, and finally on Tuesday noticed that the letters nestled in the nook of black-square overhangs formed a word. I think my overtired brain was reasoning that the first few black square patterns happened to look like upside-down "L"s for "Leading", and the letters in my answer were "TOPped" by a black square HAT. I was so excited to finally see a two-word phrase that I quickly submitted.
...
And thanks as always to Joe Ross, who very kindly makes an excel template of MGWCC puzzles available to subscribers only, upon request.
When Joe announced at the Zoom meeting that you'd made the leaderboard, you had a perfect "Wha? Ha!" expression.
I wish I had recorded it. :)
Al, I had already mentally accepted the loss of my relatively puny streak - as you and others have also discussed this week. So this was like a last-minute reprieve from the governor... I think. Now I get to go through it all over again on week 4 :lol: So maybe more like a stay of execution.

But I agree with a point you made earlier. Since I truly did not deserve to win this week, I feel like my streak is now living on borrowed time and I'll be prepared to take the hit the next time I'm stuck.
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SusieG
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#106

Post by SusieG »

I saw the adjectives, so I guess I actually did find “something”. And I did see RED ROSE, but none of the rest. Never ever would have put LOW with TOE ( :? ),so I don’t really feel bad about missing this and ending my streak — which was long for me, but short compared to most. Congrats to those of you who solved this.
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Al Sisti
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#107

Post by Al Sisti »

SusieG wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:17 pm I saw the adjectives, so I guess I actually did find “something”. And I did see RED ROSE, but none of the rest. Never ever would have put LOW with TOE ( :? ),so I don’t really feel bad about missing this and ending my streak — which was long for me, but short compared to most. Congrats to those of you who solved this.
Yeah, some of those could have seemed like a stretch unless you looked at it as "ONE is an example of something that's ODD," "TOE is an example of something that's LOW," etc.
ricky
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#108

Post by ricky »

Did Matt just never notice that the last four of his six theme entries contained, respectively, BLACK, GREEN, BELL and HOT, all of which form two word phrases with PEPPER? And there was one down, GINMILL, with a second half suggesting PEPPER MILL? I thought this pattern absolutely could not be a coincidence.

With the other two, I figured SUNGODDESS = SOL and ALLOWED= LICIT... SOLICIT. Which has a common definition, "ask for," that is (3,3).

But what about all those peppers? I was looking at lists of six-letter words connected with PEPPER and saw SHAKER, whose letters you can rearrange to spell ASK HER. (3,3) - I figured that had to be it (missing that I'd discarded the FOR, which is important in distinguishing soliciting something and simply asking a question).
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Al Sisti
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#109

Post by Al Sisti »

ricky wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:55 pm Did Matt just never notice that the last four of his six theme entries contained, respectively, BLACK, GREEN, BELL and HOT, all of which form two word phrases with PEPPER? And there was one down, GINMILL, with a second half suggesting PEPPER MILL? I thought this pattern absolutely could not be a coincidence.

With the other two, I figured SUNGODDESS = SOL and ALLOWED= LICIT... SOLICIT. Which has a common definition, "ask for," that is (3,3).

But what about all those peppers? I was looking at lists of six-letter words connected with PEPPER and saw SHAKER, whose letters you can rearrange to spell ASK HER. (3,3) - I figured that had to be it (missing that I'd discarded the FOR, which is important in distinguishing soliciting something and simply asking a question).
Wow... I can definitely see how you couldn't let that go.
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Joe Ross
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#110

Post by Joe Ross »

First, deepest, and most treasured rabbit hole:

First (LEADING) *Theme Clue, with "e.g." (EXAMPLE) to boot:
15A. *Japan's AMATERASU, e.g.

The two grid entries directly above 15A:
12A. and 13A. AMI TERESA

There were enough other similar, but not quite as 'charming' grid entries above & below other *TEs & *TCs to lock me up for more than a couple of days. Of course, after the fact, I'm embarrassed to list them in detail.
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TMart
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#111

Post by TMart »

My rabbit holes were all very shallow, but there were hundreds of them.....

1. Leading word of each themer - SUN, ALL, BELL, BLACK, ALF, ORTHO. Nothing.
2. The three letter hidden adjectives - should have dug more deeply on this, because it was the right one. Never thought to look at the crossers.
3. SUN GODDESS - contains DDE, so I did lots of research on presidential (i.e. "leading") initials
4. SUNG ODD ESS, ALL OWED, and the best one, BELL WET HERS. Phrases hidden in the themers. Nothing there either.
5. Each themer had another word in the same row, which is a noted Matt technique. Couldn't find anything there.
6. The lack of symmetry! What's up with that?!
7. Clues that used "e.g.", "and such", "say"....all example words. Nothing.
8. Highlight the grid and look for unused areas. Most areas have double and triple down crossings of the themers except the NE and SW corners, which combined have *six* long down entries - must mean something? Nope.
9. Lots of clues with alliteration - "Pride of a punter", "Basil or Braxton" "Calligraphy or Choreography". Nothing there either.

..and many, many more.

I beat this thing to death, and in the end, it beat me worse. Kudos to Matt on a devious meta.
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MikeyG
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#112

Post by MikeyG »

TMart wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:00 am I beat this thing to death, and in the end, it beat me worse.
Seems like I'm used to that happening in the meta world!

I couldn't let the "leading" part go, so like you, I was on Rabbit Hole #1 just for ever - but you had the bizarre "ALF" (TV aliens?) and "ORTHO" (dental related prefixes?) that seemed like they wouldn't lead anywhere.

I sometimes try to grok things backwards now, now that I know that the answer usually relates in some way to the mechanism or the title or the process or what have you. So I thought, "Maybe three letter words" and was scouring around - but just couldn't make it work (even with the oft-noted RED ROSE) without a nudge...but I got in under the wire, somehow.

But, yeah, I've barely recovered from this, so I look forward to a breezy Week 4...I hope???
Less cross words, more crosswords.
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MajordomoTom
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#113

Post by MajordomoTom »

Jeremy Smith wrote: Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:09 pm This may be a streak breaker for many. :shock:
very many. I didn't even submit a guess.
"Lots of planets have a North", the Ninth Doctor.
wjchatto
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#114

Post by wjchatto »

I thought for sure that the fact the puzzle was not symmetrical was relevant. On the bottom row the 4th square from the left should be black (or the top row 4th square from the right should have a letter). One or the other. I thought that was a cardinal rule for crosswords.
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