"We're Back in Business" - July 16, 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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HunterX
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#341

Post by HunterX »

AnnieMac wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:54 am Hello, Muggles! First-time poster but long-time time puzzler and fan of this forum. I can't believe it, but I won the mug this week and wanted to share a funny story. On Friday morning, I poured hot coffee into a mug, then crossed the kitchen and heard a small pop. The mug had cracked, so I quickly poured the coffee into another mug and told the universe that it owed me a WSJ mug. Then I looked at my still-unsolved meta, swam crookedly ashore, and sent in the answer. Sure enough, the universe --and Mike Miller--supplied the new mug! Thank you for all the support you unknowingly provided over many puzzles!
Ah! So I need to arrange to have my normal Friday mug crack or otherwise become unusable, then send curses to the universe and demand payment in the form of a WSJ mug? And here I was throwing salt over my shoulder (onto my food), wishing on stars (who look super cute in People Magazine), blowing eyelashes (out of my face since they've gotten long during the pandemic), and sacrificing virgin (bottles of wine).
sf592000
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#342

Post by sf592000 »

While my gut knew the answer would be some reversal of the fill, and even noting 'name' in the first long answer, I couldn't get over "Rat and Race", "Work and Day"... always next week!

As a side note related to being back in business, my company allowed workers back into the office last week after a 16 month hiatus. Most elected to continue working from home, but for me it was a very welcome and quite enjoyable return to 'normalcy'.
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Joe Ross
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#343

Post by Joe Ross »

HunterX wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:40 am I used to get caught up highlighting the double letters, and then adding the diagonal groupings as well. Eventually I learned to ignore them (most of the time), along with other diagonal letter arrangements (most of the time) and anagrams (most of the time). I'll try them if I get desperate. But they are not at all common in meta mechanisms.
^ ^ ^ T H I S ^ ^ ^

I call it "playing Boggle." As soon as I catch myself doing it, I walk away for an hour, minimum.
SReh26
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#344

Post by SReh26 »

mheberlingx100 wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:10 am
SReh26 wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:22 am
TRidgway wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:37 am Not in a million years. Huge props to those who found it!
This is why I feel there is no shame in asking for a nudge (or eight 😅). If it‘s that or not doing it at all, take a nudge (or a check). What I am striving for is holding off asking until I‘ve truly given it my all.
And if you’ve only been doing these for a short time, you will get better and better as time goes on. I’ve been doing the WSJ contest puzzle for 4 years. The first few puzzles I had no clue. After a couple of years, I got maybe 75% of them. Now I’m on my longest streak ever - since mid-December (with a couple of close calls).

So, keep at it! Soon you’ll be treating yourself to Guinness at 4:15 pm Eastern time like Al S.
Thanks for the encouragement! I keep forgetting that it’s only four months since I started doing / trying to do metas. I mean no disrespect (except to myself) for saying it feels like longer. 🤣
Dawnkey
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#345

Post by Dawnkey »

mntlblok wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:25 am
My fear is that this could be a gateway habit leading to cryptics.
Cryptics are so much easier than metas. Cryptics have rules.
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iggystan
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#346

Post by iggystan »

Dawnkey wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 2:43 pm
mntlblok wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:25 am
My fear is that this could be a gateway habit leading to cryptics.
Cryptics are so much easier than metas. Cryptics have rules.
Ain't that the truth. I 💕 cryptics and the other variety puzzles that WSJ provides.
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pookie
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#347

Post by pookie »

No one saw all of those state abbreviations in there?
OR,MA,ND,MO,MI,IL,NE,KS,IN ?
I was sure that the USA was "Back in business" !
56 A clue was STATE! :o
Alas, couldn't un-see it.
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LadyBird
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#348

Post by LadyBird »

Too many rabbit holes--my cheat sheet was a mess. The "duh" pondering (circled in pink) was on my sheet since Thursday.
20210719_151107.jpg
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HeadinHome
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#349

Post by HeadinHome »

Gahhh! Five minutes after finishing the (difficult!) grid Thursday evening I wrote this at the top of my paper:
NAMEC ACROM PANYA TTENA CROSS VIFOT

So due to a careless subscribing error I never saw the key clue. Slow down, Wendy.

I actually had the will power to set this aside once we reached our (short) vacation destination Friday morning and not fuss over puzzles all weekend. We rode the Virginia Creeper Trail Friday, hiked the glorious Grayson Highands Saturday. Got home a few hours ago and have the MGWCC grid done. Looking for meta.
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Grayson Highlands, Virginia
Grayson Highlands, Virginia
The other Wendy. :roll:
MikeMillerwsj
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#350

Post by MikeMillerwsj »

First, picking up my jaw at the thought of encoding a secret message backwards in a set of symmetrical entries. Second, congrats to the many solvers who cracked this one: We had 1288 entries, about 75% correct, right in line with our usual rate.

So many other 3-letter guesses: IBM (14), INC (10), AMT (9), WFH (8), HOV (7), HRS (6), lots and lots and lots of others. Congrats to this week's winner: Anne McAneny of Midlothian, Va.! (See her funny post above...)
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mntlblok
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#351

Post by mntlblok »

Dawnkey wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 2:43 pm
mntlblok wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:25 am
My fear is that this could be a gateway habit leading to cryptics.
Cryptics are so much easier than metas. Cryptics have rules.
Those "rules" have always struck me as being extremely ambiguous. Maybe I'm just too simple minded. . .
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BarbaraK
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#352

Post by BarbaraK »

Shirley wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:12 pm Ashore. I’ve been doing the WSJ meta puzzles for about a year but this is my first post. I want to thank Mike Shenk, Matt Gaffney, the other puzzle writers, and the WSJ for giving me a brain teaser to look forward to each Thursday. I’ve been doing crossword puzzles for 49 years but none as enjoyable as these. Being a nobody, I expectantly wait each week to see if I get to have my name in the WSJ. Maybe some day!
So solving for “49 years” rather than just 50ish seems like you must know exactly when you started? Good story?

I started as a kid, but no idea exactly when. I do remember getting Dell books and the family splitting them up by difficulty.
Shirley
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#353

Post by Shirley »

Yes, Barbara! I had my first baby and I did crosswords while holding her. She just turned 49 three weeks ago so it’s a memorable number of years. And now she does crosswords and got me started on the metas. At first I thought they would be too hard for me but now I usually give her little hints.
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BarbaraK
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#354

Post by BarbaraK »

Shirley wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 8:27 pm Yes, Barbara! I had my first baby and I did crosswords while holding her. She just turned 49 three weeks ago so it’s a memorable number of years. And now she does crosswords and got me started on the metas. At first I thought they would be too hard for me but now I usually give her little hints.
That’s wonderful!
DannyWalter
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#355

Post by DannyWalter »

sf592000 wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:10 pm While my gut knew the answer would be some reversal of the fill, and even noting 'name' in the first long answer, I couldn't get over "Rat and Race", "Work and Day"... always next week!

...
This. I felt I was in a rabbit hole and just couldn't get out. Rat Race, Network, Work Day. Tried 9 to 5 as 8,7,6, looking for three letters. I didn't get to spend as much time as usual, "maybe" I could have got it. Impressive constructioin, as always.
JennyByrd
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#356

Post by JennyByrd »

Eric Porter wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:35 am
hoover wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:15 am Now that Joe Ross has posted the official WSJ answer, I'll explain the tiny 5-minute detour I took. I got all the way to NAME CAR COMPANY AT TEN ACROSS, looked at 10A, and saw HAIK. Now, where I live, there is a car dealership called MAC HAIK, presumably named after a man named Mac Haik (pronounced to rhyme with Eisenhower's nickname). And MAC has three letters... I knew that was too localized to be the answer, but it jolted me out of a straightforward solve to spend 5 minutes Googling for a different car company called HAIK. Fortunately I came to my senses and saw KIA hiding there.
I did the exact same thing. While I don't live anywhere near Mac Haik I found it on Google. For about half a second I thought the answer could be MAC.
After a little more searching, I found Haik, Ethiopia. I didn't think a town of 14K people would be making cars.
I really thought that the clue meant that the car company was based there, but realized that I was getting nowhere.
I took another look and saw KIA.

I will be interested to see what the wrong answers are.
I live near a MacHaik dealership and had the same initial thought - but I knew it was a local dealership and had more than 3 letters, so I looked more closely and saw the KIA.
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sanmilton
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#357

Post by sanmilton »

C=64 wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:10 am I understood the mechanism from "Back" and NINETOFIVE, but I got it in my head that 9 to 5 was four letters instead of five, so I got NAME, RCOM, ANYA, TENA, ROSS, three of which are names. Then at some point I noticed that some of these were 5 to 8 and others were 6 to 9, and I was finally on my way. This is what two degrees in Math Education will get you. 🙄
This is wonderful, and just the kind of thing I'm lucky to have avoided this time, because I'm more than capable of miscalculating intervals. (Is it "A to Z," or "A through Z"?)

I will say, I think the key to the meta is what Joe Ross calls the "indicator clue" for 59A. It's most unusual in its use of the second person pronoun to refer to the puzzled. "Hey, YOU! Here's your big hint!"
SReh26
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#358

Post by SReh26 »

BarbaraK wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:02 pm
Shirley wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:12 pm Ashore. I’ve been doing the WSJ meta puzzles for about a year but this is my first post. I want to thank Mike Shenk, Matt Gaffney, the other puzzle writers, and the WSJ for giving me a brain teaser to look forward to each Thursday. I’ve been doing crossword puzzles for 49 years but none as enjoyable as these. Being a nobody, I expectantly wait each week to see if I get to have my name in the WSJ. Maybe some day!
So solving for “49 years” rather than just 50ish seems like you must know exactly when you started? Good story?

I started as a kid, but no idea exactly when. I do remember getting Dell books and the family splitting them up by difficulty.

Sure your name isn’t Agatha K? Amazing how you correctly deduced that!!! What a talented group this is!
boharr
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#359

Post by boharr »

sanmilton wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:31 pm
C=64 wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:10 am
I will say, I think the key to the meta is what Joe Ross calls the "indicator clue" for 59A. It's most unusual in its use of the second person pronoun to refer to the puzzled. "Hey, YOU! Here's your big hint!"
Yes, here is an addition to your book of solving tips: When a constructor addresses you in the second person, listen.
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Limerick Savant
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#360

Post by Limerick Savant »

Wow! After reading about all the rabbit holes plumbed this week, I am really grateful that I had no time for distraction since I didn’t even look at the crossword until the 11th hour (actually 10th CDT.)

The title clued me in that I was looking for a business and to look for words spelled backwards in the long answers in the grid. It wasn’t until I got the 9 to 5 hint in the grid that it clicked there would be a string of 5 letters in each. KIA popped out immediately from 10A since I was still in reverse so to speak. Lack of time to overthink came through in the clutch again. It was like I was on automatic.
Dedicated to no nonsense nonsense
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