Monthly Archives: September 2020

NYT Spelling Bee 9-22-20

I’m just one point away from genius level. This puzzle is so long.

Lots of fun ones today, though, including TAPTAPTAPAROO, from Happy Gilmore.

I’ve got a little time left. I’ll get that last point, right?

NYT Spelling Bee 9-20-20 final

I really feel like I’m just one word away, and I just can’t get there. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ve missed. The last time I’d missed just one was when I hadn’t gotten GOOGOL. Also that time I knew the max score and count, so my first Queen Bee would have had an asterisk on it anyway.

Final score: 36 words for 203 points.

NYT Spelling Bee 9-20-20

So after Rosh Hashanah ended this evening, I went to work on this puzzle. I raced through a shocking number of pangrams and on to genius. I thought that this time I could go all the way.

Now I’m stuck. It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve hit a wall well in excess of minimum genius level. Every additional word found seems like it should be the last, but it just isn’t. I have a short amount of time before the day rolls over to tomorrow, but this is one of those really annoying ones.

So far 36 words for 203 points. And genius was way back at 149.

Joe Biden is coherent if not downright presidential

The other morning, Joe Biden had a roundtable discussion with veterans at a Tampa community college, and it may have been the most underrated event of the campaign season.

In the roughly hour and a half meeting, Biden didn’t answer rapidfire questions; rather, he took time to address each person’s point. I’m not used to seeing this outside civil discourse (I know! I miss those days, too!), and it’s entirely foreign to me when it comes to presidential primary winners in advance of the general election.

Biden provided no material for soundbites, either, which have been a staple of campaigns and apparently had shrunk to nine seconds in 1988.

Nine seconds?

The way Biden addressed people in the room, it seemed as though he had forgotten that the cameras were there at all, and I felt like I was able to spy on a private meeting he’d have while running this country. And, to me, what I heard was awesome: He was prepared, he was confident, he was humble, and he cared.

In some cases, he wasn’t afraid to say he didn’t have an answer immediately but would consider what was being said.

It is a welcome break from Trump, who has reportedly boasted about driving the media crazy intentionally as a game and is no doubt an entertainer.

Also, have you noticed how Trump’s hands don’t veer far from his body when he speaks? It looks super weird until you cut off the sides of the image to limit the picture to the old 4:3 aspect ratio. He’s been on TV so long that now he stays in frame even when he’s speaking at a rally (and even though we now have the wider 16:9 TVs).

Those who are used to the entertainer approach easily could see the Biden roundtable as boring and slow, and many comments reflect that. But I listened to what he was saying and how he came to answer what was asked. I was pleasantly surprised. He provided background to his answers so they made sense. And this is really important when questions are asked that are too narrow in scope for a brief answer to be useful.

Imagine you’re not used to making spicy food and are asking a friend advice on how much chili powder to use. If your friend gives you an answer, you might find out that your mouth is ablaze. But if your friend explains the difference between chile powder and chili powder and the effects of jalapeƱo peppers and habanero peppers that you might want to consider but didn’t know to, but that you should probably add some and then taste it and then adjust because it’s a preference thing, you may react poorly because that’s a long-winded answer with no conclusion when you were just asking for an amount, or you may be thankful because the longer answer enabled you to enjoy what you’re making.

A question about Trump’s proposed end of social security yielded an answer that started, “This is both simple and complicated,” and then went further.

He first established a baseline of understanding: Employers and employees split the funding for social security through paychecks.

Then he explained his experience with economic stimulus during his vice presidency and how Trump’s promised elimination of the payroll tax for social security is a terrible idea.

So detractors will say he gets lost, but those who listen will understand that Joe Biden’s approach is one based in logic. And ignoring the cameras completely and having an honest discussion is what we need right now.

Joe Biden does have his flaws, but there certainly are more reasons to vote for him than that he’s anyone but Trump.

NYT Spelling Bee 9-18-20

So I’m running around trying to get things ready for Rosh Hashana that starts tonight. I’ve gotten a lot of the way through today’s puzzle, but there’s a vein of answers I may not have hit, and I may not be able to get all the way there by the time the holiday starts in a little more than two hours.

Appropriately, NOGGIN doesn’t count for today.

I’m 14 points short of the 171 minimum for genius level and have tallied 29 successful words.

I hope I can finish this year off right, but forgive me if I don’t get there.