#674 - "Please Form Two Lines"

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
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tonyrobots
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#61

Post by tonyrobots »

Would take a last minute nudge if anyone sees this. I have a hint of a step one, but it’s not coming together, so might be a red herring hole.

edit: alas! no takers. I was sniffing in the wrong direction anyway, and was unfamiliar with the line in question to boot. Week 1, here I come.
Last edited by tonyrobots on Tue May 04, 2021 12:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
MountainManZach
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#62

Post by MountainManZach »

Beam me up! Thanks to @CrossedPurposes and @DrTom for the helpful nudges. I probably shouldn’t be as excited about my first 5/5... but I am :-D
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Bird Lives
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#63

Post by Bird Lives »

The solution requires a method we may have seen before: Go find a specific, obscure thing on the Internet and apply its words to the words in the grid and clues. It’s a piece of cake, a snap.

1. One word of each theme entry is part of a fairly well-known line: Into each life some rain must fall.

2. It’s the next-to-last line of a poem by Longfellow, “The Rainy Day.” Since you didn’t know that, you had to search the Internet to find the second line: Some days must be dark and dreary.


3. Each of the words in that line is the first word of a clue. The first letter of each entry for those clues spell out the answer.

That answer, CHEER UP, was good advice for me and perhaps others who were discouraged by needing help with more than one of the steps.
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Schmeel
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#64

Post by Schmeel »

It takes more time to solve a meta right than to explain why you solved it wrong.
Way over my head.
Looking forward to next week...
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MikeyG
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#65

Post by MikeyG »

Couple of interesting notes:

1. All seven words in the first line are four letters long - and are the only four-letter long words in each of the phrases (i.e. none has two 4-letter words). I kind of caught this and was scrambling around. I'm surprised I got this epiphany, though the "lines" part in the title kind of got me in that direction.

2. I wonder how many others were thrown by the Ella Fitzgerald red herring - I was for a bit, as she sang an Ink Spots song with that title borrowed from the Longfellow poem.

3. It seemed like a slightly harder version of Christmas's "Poetry in Motion," where the references to "'Twas the Night" were definitely more self-evident than this one.

Finishing off at 156 in all, the hardest of the Week 5's I've seen so far (guest-solver King's epic Chutes-and-Ladders tribute had 192 and CANDIDE from January with 284).

This Mike might mess with madhatter's Monday muggle meta to tide me over! Curious to hear about how you guys progressed with this one!
Less cross words, more crosswords.
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Hector
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#66

Post by Hector »

I suspect Matt considered ELLA to be a nudge towards the lyric, which would in turn nudge towards the poem, but I agree with Mike that it could have the opposite effect, highlighting the song as opposed to the poem. Still, it's a very cool meta.

The four-letter words in the themers anagram to ME FIRSL, which wants to be ME FIRST -- a line about being in line. Too bad about the L. But wait: that L is from LIFE, and that themer tells us that THAT (there's our T!) is LIFE.
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jhseeman
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#67

Post by jhseeman »

The Ella reference definitely took me in the wrong direction, wasn't until someone nudged me that it wasn't a music reference and I should see where that lyric came from that I got off the music theme. Nasty Twist.
EmilyW
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#68

Post by EmilyW »

I'm so glad I didn't devote much time to this one. I never in a million years would have solved that. Congrats to all who figured it out!
Big Mac
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#69

Post by Big Mac »

Got stuck on the significance of the theme entries, which seemed too random to be random. I never put them into the Google machine though. Sigh.
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Bird Lives
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#70

Post by Bird Lives »

I got musically distracted even before discovering the "into each life" line. "That's Life" and "Some People" Are both first lines to songs of the same name (the latter is from Gypsy). I could see that none of the other themers fit with this, but for a while I couldn't see anything else. Then came Ella and the Ink Spots, each Ink Spot being a seven-letter, two-word phrase.

The all-four-letter-words thing also led me the wrong way. I tried putting them into two lines of 14 letters each.
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MikeM000
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#71

Post by MikeM000 »

Reading the Fiend's summary...just wow at this. I noticed MUST and "Must", SOME and "Some", and "Days of Thunder" -> HEAVYRAIN but totally missed the poem, Ella Fitzgerald's song, and everything else. I bow my head and wait for Friday.....
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Dplass
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#72

Post by Dplass »

Unless you know the poem or song already, this was kinda unsolvable.
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joequavis
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#73

Post by joequavis »

Dplass wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:27 pm Unless you know the poem or song already, this was kinda unsolvable.
I tend to agree, but I knew of neither...
I grew up in the 80s and loved watching movies...over and over and over again. I recognized this particular phrase from its use in the movie "My Blue Heaven" as a sort of on-screen chapter title. I eventually decided to Google to see where the phrase originated.
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Dplass
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#74

Post by Dplass »

joequavis wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 3:48 pm
Dplass wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:27 pm Unless you know the poem or song already, this was kinda unsolvable.
I tend to agree, but I knew of neither...
I grew up in the 80s and loved watching movies...over and over and over again. I recognized this particular phrase from its use in the movie "My Blue Heaven" as a sort of on-screen chapter title. I eventually decided to Google to see where the phrase originated.
"I don't believe in tipping. I believe in OVER tipping!"
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DrTom
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#75

Post by DrTom »

Well Ella and Ink Spot had me for a bit but I as warned off the Queen of scat (just as well, it was Ink Spots so 8 letters and not really a phrase) The as I pondered weak and weary I harkened back to “Dreary” author and the warning I got about the song not being the same then proved to be the beacon home. Never more!

I did get a real chuckle that this Meta was inexorably to Wadsworth while my I’ll fated Addictive Additive was tied to Wordsworth. Was that fate OR A replacement coincidence?
MountainManZach
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#76

Post by MountainManZach »

Dplass wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:27 pm Unless you know the poem or song already, this was kinda unsolvable.
I didn't know either, and with a nudge from @DrTom I got it. My path:
1) The title initially got me thinking about lining up words, so the 4-letter words were my focus from the start. Intentional breadcrumb? Just lucky? Who knows.
2) For whatever reason "rain must fall" sounded in-the-language-y. That led me here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsunFw7K2ng. Enough words in common to be suggestive, not enough to get me to force a fit. So maybe it's a play on another song lyric?
3) Queen --> Ella. Not knowing the song probably saved me from the red herring. Because I didn't know it, I read the Wikipedia page, which led me to the Longfellow poem.
4) Spinning wheels on trying to make something out of the theme leftovers, DrTom told me to look elsewhere. Remembered the really strange clue for POE, and Robert's your father's brother.
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BarbaraK
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#77

Post by BarbaraK »

Ok, can we discuss the elephant in the room, or rather the snowman. As everyone knows, the one and only definitive source of snowman construction instructions is “Frosty the Snowman” and it clearly states the he has a button nose and two eyes made out of COAL. So 60A is wrong! I kept trying to fit a 2EYES in there and wondering if it was part of the meta, but no.

I’m shocked that a man responsible for raising two impressionable (and adorable) young children is going through life with such a giant and significant misunderstanding of snowman construction and hope that this will save him from passing it on to another generation.

;)
TRidgway
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#78

Post by TRidgway »

BarbaraK wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 7:03 pm Ok, can we discuss the elephant in the room, or rather the snowman. As everyone knows, the one and only definitive source of snowman construction instructions is “Frosty the Snowman” and it clearly states the he has a button nose and two eyes made out of COAL. So 60A is wrong! I kept trying to fit a 2EYES in there and wondering if it was part of the meta, but no.

I’m shocked that a man responsible for raising two impressionable (and adorable) young children is going through life with such a giant and significant misunderstanding of snowman construction and hope that this will save him from passing it on to another generation.

;)
Yes, this! Also, NOSES was symmetric to FLESH, which could be clued without using "zombies" - and zombies eat brains, not flesh. I mean, the new ones in the TV shows maybe are different. But all the zombies in my life mutter "bwwwaaaaaaiins" as they shuffle about, not "flllllleeeeeessh." So, two symmetric entries with clues that were a little more specific than strictly necessary, but in a way that made them fishy.
(All in good fun of course - brilliant puzzle, no complaints. One who would do metas must plan to spend time with rabbits.)
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Dplass
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#79

Post by Dplass »

TRidgway wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:32 pm
BarbaraK wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 7:03 pm Ok, can we discuss the elephant in the room, or rather the snowman. As everyone knows, the one and only definitive source of snowman construction instructions is “Frosty the Snowman” and it clearly states the he has a button nose and two eyes made out of COAL. So 60A is wrong! I kept trying to fit a 2EYES in there and wondering if it was part of the meta, but no.

I’m shocked that a man responsible for raising two impressionable (and adorable) young children is going through life with such a giant and significant misunderstanding of snowman construction and hope that this will save him from passing it on to another generation.

;)
Yes, this! Also, NOSES was symmetric to FLESH, which could be clued without using "zombies" - and zombies eat brains, not flesh. I mean, the new ones in the TV shows maybe are different. But all the zombies in my life mutter "bwwwaaaaaaiins" as they shuffle about, not "flllllleeeeeessh." So, two symmetric entries with clues that were a little more specific than strictly necessary, but in a way that made them fishy.
(All in good fun of course - brilliant puzzle, no complaints. One who would do metas must plan to spend time with rabbits.)
Same, I had BRAAAAAIN (really, BRAIN) instead of FLESH the first time around.
MaineMarge
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#80

Post by MaineMarge »

I got the meta with a lot of help from Joe Ross. I have no illusions of being ready to tackle a week 5 ( or 4) without help,so I’m very grateful to those of you who are willing to show us the way.
Now for some fun- we all remember the recent Rabbi Small meta; I hadn’t read any of them, so got Friday the Rabbi Slept late on Kindle( it was/is still? Free to Amazon Prime members). Yesterday I came to the part of the book where a character was listening to a weather forecast for rain. The announcer said” oh well, I guess into each life some rain must fall” !! What are the chances??? I’ll let you know if a woodpecker figures into the plot...
Good book!
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