Monthly Archives: October 2020

NYT Spelling Bee 10-31-20 final: Queen Bee

So I got to Queen Bee tonight! Second time ever. But one word was provided to me by Calah, who was certain I had had that word already. That word is BAWD: A woman in charge of a brothel.

That was the only word I’d been missing, and the Queen Bee screen popped up.

Meanwhile, Calah got her second genius placing tonight with a score of 81.

There are some I missed yesterday that I should have gotten and some that are new to me.

The words in the former category are: FAMILIAL, MAFIA, RAFFIA, RIFFRAFF.

The words in the latter category are:

ARIL: A botany word! An extra seed covering, typically colored and hairy or fleshy, e.g. the red fleshy cup around a yew seed.
FILIAL: Relating to or due from a son or daughter.
FILIALLY: Adverb of the above.
FRIARY: The place where friars live.
RILL: A small stream
RIYAL: Another spelling of the rial, the money unit of Iran and Oman.

Today’s final score: 29 words for 109 points
Genius minimum: 76 points
First word: BACKWARD
(Of the pangrams, Calah found DRAWBACK first.)
Omissions: RAAB, BRACK
Good inclusions: ABRACADABRA on Halloween

RIP Sean Connery. You were in a lot of people’s minds recently, as Trump’s osteopath’s name is Sean Conley. It’s always disappointing to hear Sean Conley’s name, and it hurts extra to know that he’s the only public figure of the two who can do things in the present.

So much has happened since I wrote this post, right?

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Here are some thoughts from Friday afternoon but posted Saturday at 10am.

I have a clock that was given by my dad to his parents before the turn of the century. There’s no screen that goes all the way across; rather, there’s an arm that has some dots on it, and it moves back and forth. Persistence of vision makes it look like the display is there to read without issue.

I got this clock after they passed.

There is no daylight saving time setting on the clock because it just goes off the date.

And now I realize that the iHome I used to have made me flip a switch. So lame.

But there’s a problem that I hadn’t expected to run into with this clock or, really, ever.

The clock’s earliest date available is January 1, 1999, so we know this model was first sold in 1999. Back then, daylight saving time ended the weekend before Halloween.

Ever since 2007, DST has ended the weekend after Halloween.

So for this week, the clock has been an hour behind. Fall back happened too early.

It’s been a little jarring, but starting in the early hours, it’ll be back on track.

It’s a little after 4pm PDT on Friday right now. I hope things have gone well since then. I expect there to have been some developments since, but I’m hoping it’s uneventful.



NYT Spelling Bee 10-30-20 final

Finally a return to a somewhat reasonable point minimum for genius!

But we’ll go over yesterday’s misses first.

LEONINE: This is a new word for me. It means of or resembling a lion or lions. Cool.
LINTEL: A horizontal support of timber, stone, concrete, or steel across the top of a door or window. Interestingly enough, this is the answer to a crossword clue today!
LOONIE: The Canadian one-dollar coin.
NONILLION: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
TITTLE: In huge contrast, this is a tiny amount or part of something.
TOILE: An early version of a finished garment made up in cheap material so that the design can be tested and perfected. Oh that’s how to spell it? I think I heard this on Project Runway.
TONTINE: Oh yeahhhh. This is the death pool.
TOONIE: The Canadian two-dollar coin.
WIENIE: Another spelling of weenie. Weird.
WINNOW: Remove the chaff from the grain.

Back to today:

I was really happy that FLIMFLAM was a word. I heard that word for the first time years ago watching an episode of Cheers! I was ready to tweet about it not being a word, but it went!

Final score: 44 words for 165 points
Genius minimum: 153 points
First word: FAMILIARLY

NYT Crossword 10-30-20 DNF

Yeah, I didn’t come close to finishing this one, and I stopped well before the half-hour mark because I wasn’t making more progress.

But there’s a clue in this puzzle that made me really happy.

13D Comedian Mitch who said “I haven’t slept for 10 days, because that would be too long”: HEDBERG, of course.

A few months ago I introduced this comedic genius to Calah, and when I read her the clue, she got the answer right away. Because obviously.

I like Swiss cheese. Unless I’m with four or more people.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

NYT Spelling Bee 10-29-20 final

Getting more toward normal, but genius minimum still is about 60 points too high. Sure, it’s better than 100 points too high, but when I got more than 50 words to get to that minimum, that’s kinda unreasonable. I’ve heard Calah lament that it’s tough to want to do the Spelling Bee when you know you’re just going to have to spend a long time on it and there’s so much competing for that time. Suffice it to say that I’m glad I’m not the one in a doctorate program.

So this is what I didn’t get yesterday.

DENTIN: The layer of tooth underneath the enamel. Who knew? Probably Calah knew.
EDIT: Sometimes not enough is far too much.
EDITED: Didn’t get it then, either.
EFFETE: Not the first time for me.
EVENTIDE: Fancy word for evening.
FETID: Mad stank.
IDENTIFIED: Wow. I hadn’t recognized this one.


TIDIED: Color Calah surprised that this wasn’t one I found.


So a bunch I could have gotten, but I got to genius, and I’m OK to have stopped there.

Just like today.

Final score: 51 words for 196 points
Genius minimum: 193 points
Pangram: TOWLINE
First word: ONION
Fun omission: InItToWinIt

NYT Crossword Puzzle 10-29-20 Complete

I know what you’re thinking: Matt! Yesterday you were congratulated for a one-day streak that actually was a three-day streak. How did you get congratulated again for a one-day streak when now it’s most certainly a four-day streak?

The answer is easy: I am so capable.

As if you needed proof!

But as someone who likes to understand things, I feel like I should be embarrassed that I don’t get this puzzle. I finished, sure, but I don’t get it.

I hope this makes sense in retrospect. I mean much later retrospect.

71A “I’m busy!” … or, if read in four pieces, an aid in solving several clues here: NOTNOW.

Really, no idea. I know the answer’s correct because I’m on a one-day streak, but I do not understand where this comes into play.

Most of the answers don’t even seem to match up with the clues. Enough did for me to make words out of the remaining ones, but

oh noes.

I just got it.

The clues are too long.

NOTNOW isn’t not now, it’s No T, No W. Wow! I mean o!

1A Twice over – TW = ice over: FREEZE
17A Tallowy – TW = alloy: AMALGAMATE
62A Twin bed, perhaps – TW = in bed, perhaps: FASTASLEEP

OK that wasn’t SO bad. I wish I’d gotten it earlier, but at least I got there on my own.

My favorite clue for the entire puzzle isn’t what you’re expecting. It’s not 15A Biblical companion of Moses: HUR, a certainly important character in my sister‘s bat mitzvah production entitled “Sinai: The Movie.”

That absolutely pulled ahead early, but it was bested by another one.

36A Like all prime numbers besides one: ODD.

This clue is fun for me because all prime number are odd except for one, and that’s two. Because all prime numbers are odd except for one, and one isn’t prime. But two is prime, and two is even. So there you go.

NYT Spelling Bee 10-28-20 final

Give me a break. This is unruly. Genius level starting at 245? It’s not not fun, but it’s a slog like today’s crossword puzzle. Also like today’s crossword puzzle, I stopped at about half an hour.

Yesterday I didn’t miss too many. It would have been hard to miss a lot because there were so few words at all.

AGAZE: Looks about right
GEEZ: Tell me about it!
MEZE: An appetizer in the Mediterranean. But no horchata, no torta.
MINIMIZE, MINIMIZING: Not too big a deal
MIZZEN: The mast aft of the main mast.

ZINNIA: An American plant of the daisy family, which is widely cultivated for its bright showy flowers.

As I said, about half an hour in, I’d had it with this puzzle. Please go back to the medium puzzles. You know, where genius is at like 124 or 136 or so. Or the 63 ones. Just no more of these endless ones. Please!

Final score: 48 words for 245 points
Genius minimum: 245 points
First word: FEINT
Omissions: TEENIE. I’ll stop there because I shouldn’t try to add more words to this list.

NYT Crossword 10-28-20 Complete

OK. What. In. The. World! I know I’m a little out of practice, but when did Wednesday get to be so difficult? I’m used to taking a beating on Thursdays, not Wednesdays. And I completed this partially by brute force until the it finally told me that I had finished and am on a one-day streak despite clearly being on a three-day streak. Way to cut it unnecessarily Shortz, NYTXW.

That’s clearly three days.

This puzzle was absurd, but before the madness, there’s some fun.

68A U.S. Navy builder: SEABEE
This reminds me of riding bikes on at the beach with my family. I think that was the first time I had heard of the Seabees. My dad told me about how they build stuff like bees do and on the sea because the US Navy. But also that it was CB for Construction Brigade. It was among the easy clues for me to get in this puzzle.

But this puzzle was ?????????????

1A With 21-, 30-, 49-, 61- and 74-Across, end of a Carrie Bradshaw quote that starts “Men in their 40s are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle …”: TRICKY. From the word go. Holy smokes!
21A Part 2 of the quote: COMPLICATED AND
30A Part 3: YOU’RE NEVER
66A Casual ristorante: TRATTORIA. You know, just to see if you’re paying attention.
74A End of the quote: ANSWER

So Men in their 40s are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle Tricky, shamelessly self-promoting, complicated, and you’re never really sure you got the right answer.

I had been able to work a bunch of these parts from letters that were in there and the reference to the Sunday puzzle, and you’ll notice above that I did not complete Sunday’s.

Now, this puzzle took me just under half an hour to complete. In contrast, my best Wednesday was 7:55 on August 5, and my average is 18:01. So for this to be what it is and for me to have struggled with it like I had is head-shaking times.

NYT Spelling Bee 10-27-20 final

Well we went back to the puzzles with very lean offerings. From more than 250 minimum for genius to 91 minimum. Crazy.

But first! Yesterday’s misses, which are myriad. I ran out of steam to reduce this number, but at least I got both pangrams.

ACACIA: Oh, right! We’re back to trees, too.
ACAI: Yes. This thing.
ADDICT: When it comes to the Spelling Bee, aren’t we all?
ARCADIA: Isn’t this a proper noun? Annoyed at this one, and I think I’ve missed it before.
CARDIOID: A heart-shaped curve traced by a point on the circumference of a circle as it rolls around another identical circle. Isn’t that cool? Now I know!
CICADA: It would bug me that I missed this one, but I gave up yesterday after more than 200 points, so OK.
CIRRI: I’ve missed this before. Many cirrus clouds.
COATI: I’ve missed this adorable animal before.
COCCI: I’ve missed this before, too.
CORRIDA: A bullfight!
CROCI: Oh yeah! The crocus flower.
DIACRITIC: A sign, such as an accent or cedilla, which when written above or below a letter indicates a difference in pronunciation from the same letter when unmarked or differently marked.
DICTA: Many formal pronouncements from an authoritative source
DIDACT: I got didactic but not didact.
ORATORIO: A large-scale, usually narrative musical work for orchestra and voices, typically on a sacred theme, performed without costume, scenery, or action. Well-known examples include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s The Creation.
RADIATOR: I forgot these exist, but the weather should have reminded me.
RAITA: But still no horchata
RICOTTA: Mmmmm. Cheese.
ROTI: And no torta
TORII: Hunter?
TOROID: A donut?
TRICOT: A fine knitted fabric made of a natural or man-made fiber.

Final score today: 16 words for 93 points
Genius minimum: 91 points
First word: MAZE
Missed opportunity: ZIGGAZIGGAAAA

NYT Crossword 10-27-20 Complete

To start off, Dodgers won! Woohoo! Second time in my life but first time I can remember it. Now, I wish I could have celebrated with friends or at a bar, but no hugging happened after the final out was recorded.

Oh! I get it now!

So 14A was a weird answer based on the clue. Hip to, as the latest news: UPON. No, not upon but up on. It’s a weird way of putting it up, but oh well.

This puzzle had a Spelling Bee theme, and nobody likes a crossover more than I do.

15A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of U.S. CAPITOL: POLITICSASUSUAL
25A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of UNEARTHS: TREASUREHUNTER
42A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of GRAND TIME: GETTINGMARRIED
56A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of MASTERING: TRAININGSEMINAR

Again, Dodgers win! Hooray!