Monthly Archives: October 2020

Woodworking: End table refinishing project (part 2)

The end table I picked up was from the Free Stuff section of Craigslist. It was on a front lawn, so I didn’t even have to enter a building or interact with anyone. When I approached the house, I saw someone leaving from it, so I confirmed that the furniture on the lawn was left there with the intention of being taken away by strangers.

Now, the table actually looked pretty good in the picture. It seemed as though it just needed to be sanded and refinished. There was a big stain on the top of it that needed to be removed, sure, but that seemed doable.

When I looked at the table itself, though, it was worse than I’d expected.

But that meant it was better than I’d expected.

Other items had been removed since the post was put up, but this was still there. Probably because it the top was split. I wouldn’t know how a lot more of it was split until later, but that it had remained on the lawn was good enough for me.

I wiped it down, put it in my trunk, and I drove away.

A split and that oval ring! Well, many oval rings. And more splits.

When I started to look at the split, I noticed that someone had attempted to repair the panel adjacent to the split. That part jutted out a little bit, and the gluing was a little thick with not enough pressure holding it together.

Then there were more discoveries!

Most of the screws that held the table together were stripped. So removing the screws became its own challenge.

I got a screw extractor set from Amazon, and I was surprised at how awesome and easy it is to remove screws with stripped heads.

And I got to see the repair job a prior owner had attempted.

Oh noes! Too much glue and poor alignment!
Remnants of tape to keep it together instead of using a clamp!

OK, so repairs had to be made, which meant that suddenly I had to get clamps of my own. I ended up getting some DeWalt parallel bar clamps. I figured I’d use them again, and buying them means I kinda need to use them again. I also bought some spring clamps so the boards would stay even while drying.

While I sanded the old glue from between the boards before gluing them up, I decided not to sand the faces of the boards. My friend Gerry agreed with that assessment of not sanding till later so I would avoid duplicate work, and that ended up being a good call.

But as I was prepping the top board for gluing, I realized that there was a split that ran too deep. I broke the boards apart at the seam with my bare hands like it was matzah. It would be three boards to glue up rather than two.

That was only on the top part, though!

The lower section was in three pieces already.

It could have been worse!

Friday afternoon I glued up lower section and let it dry for a little more than 24 hours.

Look at that thing dry! That was pretty much my Saturday.

Saturday night I did the same for the upper board.

That looks familiar, right?
It’s just a little smaller.

I decided that Sunday would be for sanding the lower board and the side pieces. I wanted to get as much done possible Sunday because Monday’s forecast called for very strong winds.

I was surprised at what I found as I continued to sand. That will be in next week’s post.

NYT Spelling Bee 10-26-20 final

I tried to finish this one, but it’s just gotten to be too much work. If the only alternative to the really short puzzles is this, give us back our short puzzles, please! I still prefer the middle puzzles.

Let’s take a look at yesterday’s misses before saying some good things about today’s awfulness.

FACTOTUM: This is a word I hadn’t known until today. I’m happy I learned it because it’s a fun word. It means an employee who does all kinds of work. (Bob Honey, perhaps?) But Johannes factotum means jack of all trades–from the 1500s!
AUTOMATA: Another word for automaton.
COACT: I’ve missed this before.
TOCCATA: I’ve missed this before as well.

Now back to today.

There were some very Trump-sounding words in today’s grid.


The inclusion of ADROIT makes me feel like it was the New York Times but with an Op-Ed by Rudy Giuliani.

Ultimately I got within three dozen of the genius minimum before calling it quits.

Final score: 43 words for 222 points
Genius minimum: 253(!)
Amazing minimum: 181(!)

NYT Crossword 10-26-20 Complete

Not a PR but not so bad, either. Finished in 5:06. But well below my 9:41 Monday average, which includes the ones on my phone. I don’t even remember when I did a 4:21. But my Monday streak is more than half a year long, so it’s the small wins.

67A Home made of hides: TEPEE. This is the spelling I missed in the Spelling Bee the other day, and it still smarts.

And on the topic of give me a break…

18A One reading secret messages: CODEBREAKER
28A Professional joke teller: STANDUPCOMIC
47A Health professional who has your back?: CHIROPRACTOR
62A Apt command to an 18-, 28- or 47-Across: GETCRACKING

NYT Spelling Bee 10-25-20 final

This one was no good. I only know that there is pangram because Lauren said there is. I’m going to find out soon what it is, but this is the first time in a while that I haven’t gotten it.

Misses from yesterday–some of which are embarrassing:

LIEU: In place of a comment about this word, I’m just taking the opportunity to express my appreciation for Congressman Ted Lieu.

Cannon House Office Building 236 as of April 2017. What a pro. Flags of CA, USA, POW/MIA

LUPINE: Super bummed I got VULPINE and not LUPINE.
PULE: Cry querulously or weakly.
PULI: A sheepdog of a black, grey, or white breed with a long thick coat.
PUPIL: The Spelling Bee is the best teacher.
UNLEVEL: bumpy
UNPILE: To make less of a pile.

Back to today.

Final score: 23 words for 63 points
Genius minimum: 73
First word: CAMO
Should have been in word list: TACOFUMA

NYT Spelling Bee 10-24-20 final

Another short one but not as short as they get. While I roll my eyes at these types, Calah says she likes them better.

And now for yesterday’s misses!

CHICHI: Oh that’s how this word is spelled?! Like posh, though that’s such a chringy word.
COHO: Like the salmon.
HOOK: I liked LAWYARRRR but didn’t choose hook.
PHOTIC: Ah. Relating to light. OK.
PHOTOPIC: Relating to looking at things in daylight. But also it would be a great puzzle about words that are synonyms when split apart. I’d recommend this to Will Shortz, but there’s better chance that Kenley Jansen makes the proper pitch (i.e. one not in the strike zone) at the end of tonight’s game than it is that I’ll recommend anything to that guy again. But, yeah, PHOTO and PIC are synonyms.
POTHOOK: Calah initially said that that was unfair until I pointed out that I had recently purchased some pothooks to hang the lids of the sets of pots and pans.

I had some breakthroughs as I went along tonight and ended up past genius. I decided to call it quits so I could write this post rather than run out of time and not get to Queen Bee anyway.

Final score: 29 words for 101 points
First word: VULPINE
Pangram: VULPINE

NYT Spelling Bee 10-23-20 final

Back to the trend of short puzzles! Calah beat me in total score today, so that was pretty cool.

I missed some annoying ones yesterday.

ALLAY: I’m afraid I missed this.
ARRAY: And I use Excel!
AWRY: Like how some of this puzzle went for me.
DRAY: I missed this beer cart again!
DRYAD: I missed this tree nymph again!
DRYWALL: It turns into steam when fire hits it. Who knew?
DYAD: Part of the misses in this area.
KAYAK: I miss kayaking. I went with my cousins a while ago.
YAWL: A two-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailing boat with the mizzenmast stepped far aft so that the mizzen boom overhangs the stern.

Final score: 24 words for 84 points.
Genius minimum: 79 points
First word: HITCH
Missed opportunities: TIKTOK (doesn’t have an H), THOT, THICC, CHOOCHOO, HIPHOP

No crosswords today because I was busy working on the thing for Tuesday’s series about woodworking.

NYT Spelling Bee 10-22-20 final

And we’re right back to the short puzzles that are make you feel like you’re someone Trump owes money to: Go for it, but you’re probably not going to get much for your work.

Yesterday I missed a bunch!

Good news is that I got all the pangrams.

COCCI: I know I’ve missed these spherical bacteria before.
CODDLE: I don’t even like this word.
CODDLED: So of course I don’t like this one.
CODICIL: It’s like an amendment to a will.
COLLIE: I left the dogs out. Now we know.
COMEDIC: Others would say I usually leave this out, too.
COOED: This one’s for the birds.
DECO: And I like art deco 🙁
DEICE: I didn’t know even what I was looking at. It’s to remove ice from. DE-ICE. Typical SoCal guy over here.
DEICED: The past tense of what I still have never done in my life.
DEICIDE: There’s no killing what can’t be killed!
ECOCIDE: According to Purple Hands McConnell, this doesn’t exist.
OLEIC: Fat chance I miss this one again!

In the roughness of today, I eked out a genius result.

Final score: 18 words for 98 points
Genius minimum: 91 points
First word: AWAY

NYT Crossword 10-22-20 DNF

I’m calling it. I should have a long time ago, but now that’s it.

I couldn’t resolve everything, and my guesses didn’t get me anywhere. There are probably a lot of things wrong on this, but this is as far as I’ve gotten. I’ll revisit it another day, but that’s it for today.

I really wish I could have gotten the answer to 61A, and usually I figure the one out that brings them all together after figuring out the thread and the other answers, but none of that happened today. Better luck tomorrow, right?

WSJ Crossword 10-22-20 Complete

I haven’t yet finished the NYT puzzle today, so I’ll post that later. Likely, that puzzle will be incomplete. But this one is finished, so hooray for that.

I don’t know what it is about the Wall Street Journal puzzle that perpetually disappoints me. When I complete it, it’s like I’m relieved that it’s over. I know nobody is forcing me to do it, and maybe I just haven’t found the fun in it yet.

Today’s puzzle title is Letter Carriers. This played out as the answers to the long clues were like the BEFORE AND AFTER category on Jeopardy.

16A Crew given to cursing?: FBOMBSQUAD. Look at the Wall Street Journal being all risqué using F-BOMB in the answer to a clue.
22A Musical rock?: EFLATEARTH. Clever again! The flat earther contingent doing the WSJ puzzle must be bigger than I imagine.
36A Arizona cowboy?: DBACKONTHEHORSE. Talk about shoehorning one in! I don’t really think “back on the horse” when I hear cowboy. Maybe a better clue is recovering cowboy. Regular cowboy is just on the horse.
47A Hog market?: EBAYOFPIGS. Nothing’s more fun than conjuring the Cold War and the Russians messing with us, right?
58A Gaming workplace?: XBOXOFFICE. Because we all work in box offices? Another clue that is written poorly.

And here’s the best-worst part of the whole puzzle and by that I mean the part of the puzzle that is just wrong.

66A Letter carrier that literally distributed letters to 16-, 22-, 36, 47- and 58-Across: FEDEX

FEDEX! Right, when I send a letter, I choose FedEx. Because the thing I want to do most when I send correspondence is to go to Kinko’s and deal with something so bad there’s a game about it instead of putting a stamp on an envelope and dropping it in a blue collection box.

Now, I don’t like Will Shortz less than anyone else, but I doubt even he’d let this by. Outrageous.

NYT Spelling Bee 10-21-20 final


If that had been the only one I missed yesterday, I would be livid. It wasn’t the only one I missed yesterday, but it was pretty close.

Today’s puzzle was super long! And with at least three pangrams. I guess for all those who are new to the puzzle, it was a bait-and-switch. As if to say: “Here are a bunch of short, boring ones. Now try one where the minimum genius level is 200.

I didn’t spend all day on it. I think total time was may be 45 minutes. I had work to do that includes removing a bunch of stripped screws from that end table I’m working on. More on that will be in a blog post on the new woodworking miniseries on my blog with entries coming out on Tuesdays.

Here’s what I missed yesterday.

EPEE: I really gotta stop missing this word.
PAYEE: This is Trump’s America. What does this term even mean?
PFFT: Unbelievable.
TEPEE: The same thing as a TEEPEE but with one fewer letter. Hooray alternate spellings.

Today’s score will mean tons of words in tomorrow’s list.

Final score: 43 words for 207 points
Genius minimum: 200 points
First word: DOMICILE
Absent word: CELLIE, COOLIO