Monthly Archives: November 2020

NYT Spelling Bee 11-30-20 final

Hello from Day 12 of the current California COVID curfew. The rules are changing a little bit, but they’re not getting any less restrictive.

Yesterday’s misses were pretty good.

Great words like ATTAINT, BIENNIA (two-year blocks), IAMB, IAMBI, MINIM, MINIMA, TIBIAE.

TANNIN: A yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substance present in some galls, barks, and other plant tissues, consisting of derivatives of gallic acid, used in leather production and ink manufacture.
TATAMI: EVERY TIME! A rush-covered straw mat forming a traditional Japanese floor covering. I feel like I need to get one to remember it. (I have no affiliation with this seller, and this should not be interpreted as knowledge of, vouching for or support of anything this seller does.)

Today was significantly faster than yesterday.

Final score: 36 words for 147 points.
Genius minimum: 146 points.
First word: THROUGHOUT
Bad spellings: WORTHOG isn’t WARTHOG.

NYT Crossword 11-30-20 Complete

This was yet another Monday puzzle I got through quickly but got something wrong. I spent more than equal time finding that one square as completing the rest of the grid. And when I found it, I was not only annoyed but educated.

The clue I decided to pull out today is 14A Suffix with switch: EROO.

This is the one that turned out to have given me so much trouble. I went through the entire puzzle over and over to try to find anything wrong at all. I started to feel like the puzzle was broken and just didn’t recognize my accurate completion. There couldn’t be an issue with AROO.

But there was. 1D ___ and haw: HEM makes way more sense than does HAM. So that’s that.

I figured out the theme on the second related clue.

I skipped 8A Capital of 71-Across because I hadn’t gotten to 71A.

18A *Restaurant chain known for its coffee and doughnuts had the right number of spaces for TIMHORTONS, so I quickly jumped back to 8A.

8A Capital of 71-Across: OTTAWA–whose hockey team is appropriately named the Senators.
18A *Restaurant chain known for its coffee and doughnuts: TIMHORTONS
62A *Pancake topping: MAPLESYRUP
4D *Leafs-watching time, maybe: HOCKEYNIGHT, though I had thought and then rejected HOCKEYFIGHT for the Toronto Maple Leafs clue.
27D *Important step after erring: SAYINGSORRY, even though I would have expected it to be SAYINGSOREY.

71A Place associated with the answers to the starred clues: CANADA, of course!

Completion time was an appalling 12:41, but at least now I know it’s SWITCHEROO and not SWITCHAROO. And knowing is half the battle.

NYT Spelling Bee 11-29-20 final

Hello from Day 11 of the current California COVID curfew!

This one was quite a slog. Really just tough to get through this one. The crossword puzzle also seemed interminable. I decided to call this one without getting to genius earlier this evening.

Of course I then continued to try because I really wanted to get to genius level. I got a few more words, but it wasn’t enough.

I mean it totally was enough for me. My brain is gone.

Yesterday some easy ones I missed were: ALOFT, FLEE, FOAL, FOOL, LEAFLET, LEFT, LOFT, TAFFETA.

I disagree with the words FALLOFF, FLATFOOT.

I don’t think I ever would have found FELLATE on my own.

My issue with the inconsistencies with A-words includes AFLAME that I missed but was on the word list. AROAR wasn’t a possibility here, but that’s a word that has yet to get the respect it deserves.

But then there are the ones that are still new to me.

FETTLE: Condition. From etymonline: “condition, state, trim,” c. 1750, in a glossary of Lancashire dialect, from northern Middle English fettle (v.) “to make ready, fix, prepare, arrange” (late 14c.), which is of uncertain origin, perhaps akin to Old English fetian “to fetch” (see fetch (v.)); perhaps from Old English fetel “a girdle, belt,” from Proto-Germanic *fatilaz (source also of German fessel “fetter, chain,” Old Norse fetill “strap, brace”), from PIE *ped- (2) “container” (see vat). Related: Fettlerfettling.

I’m way too bleary-eyed to continue to look at this.

Final score: 44 words for 188 points.
Genius minimum: 207 points!
First word: ANIMATE
Pangram: AMBIENT
Tweet explanation:

Maintenant is the French word for now.

So it’s looking for now in all the wrong places.

It made me happy to write this, and it seems like I’m not the only one who tries some French words when the letters ask for it.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 11-29-20 Complete

Well this puzzle was crazy for me. Slow and tough.

For a lot of it, I didn’t even think I’d finish. But there was one clue that I couldn’t figure out, but when Calah looked at it, she got it immediately.

1A Its logo has a blue, red, orange, yellow and green “M”: GMAIL.

I had thought that it was a logo that had many M’s. When Calah right away figured out what it is, I looked at the favicon of another tab in Chrome and saw the multicolored M they were talking about. If not for Calah, no chance I finish this puzzle.

The title of the puzzle is Six-Pack, and I still am not certain why that title is applicable to this one.

I figured out the formula of the theme about halfway through the grid’s completion. Not halfway through the time because I was stuck awhile.

23A Very short-lived gemstones: EPHEMERALDS.
EPHEMERAL: Short-lived
EMERALDS: Gemstones
34A TV quiz program about an epic poem: GILGAMESHOW
GILGAMESH: Epic poem
GAME SHOW: TV quiz program
93A Magnificent plan of action: FIRSTRATEGY
FIRST RATE: Magnificent
STRATEGY: Plan of action
107A Dance celebrating 2010 legislation: OBAMACARENA
OBAMACARE: 2010 legislation
MACARENA: Dance at many celebrations I’ve been to
3D Emergency situation caused by a terrier: AIREDALERT


RED ALERT: Emergency situation
11D Salon job named after a comic book hero: SUPERMANENT
SUPERMAN: Comic book hero
PERMANENT: Curly hair!
63D Pounding on a pie topping: HAMMERINGUE
HAMMER: Pounding!
MERINGUE: Pie topping and a dessert unto itself!
74D Entertainment host Ryan, that smart aleck!: WISEACREST
WISEACRE: Smart aleck

This one took me an absurd amount of time and brought my average up big. But I finished. Works for me!

NYT Spelling Bee 11-28-20 final

Hello from Day 10 of the current California COVID curfew!

In a pretty cool milestone for me, my blog now has 40 followers. Thank you to all who read my musings. If you like what I write, please encourage your friends to read this, too. If you don’t like what I write, please encourage people you detest to read every single post of mine.

There were some words that I likely would have gotten if I weren’t in such a rush: DEEPENED (I had gotten DEEPEN), NEED, NEEDED, NEEDLE, NEEDLED, NENE (I keep waiting to do HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUA’A), NOODLE, NOODLED, and OLDEN.

I probably would not have gotten DONEE or ODEON.

There were no new or confusing words in this one, but there were a lot of words overall.

As for today, there was a glaring omission that would have been my first word.

Really, really sad. This is how the Spelling Bee started off for me today.

Final score: 37 words for 141 points.
Genius minimum: 139 points.
First word: FOLATE
First accepted word: OFFAL
Other tweet:

Of course FATALE by itself wasn’t in the word list, but FEMME was.

How could I not give a shoutout to Calah upon seeing this? She replied with really the only appropriate gif, so I’ve got that going for me, too.

Going back to watching Crash Landing on You now, so I’ll see you tomorrow for the Sunday crossword and Spelling Bee!

Good night!

Last night’s dinner: This week’s attempt

Last Friday night I made pigs in blankets with homemade puff pastry. Last night I did the same but made the wrapping shorter.

But I also used dinner franks instead of hotdogs. While I think they’re the same ingredients, dinner franks are thicker. So shorter wraps and thicker dogs made it kinda sketchy.

Certainly wrapped thinner
Can’t forget the sesame seeds!
They look fine.
Maybe a little dark, but that’s how it goes!

It seems like 19 minutes in the oven at 425 was too much. They certainly were not done at 10 minutes when I flipped them around,

NYT Spelling Bee 11-27-20 final

Hello from Day 9 of the current California COVID Curfew!

After the high of today’s NYT crossword, I didn’t remember that I hadn’t yet finished the spelling bee. So in a mad dash, I did what I could. And this is the result.

Yesterday’s easy misses were ANNAL, LAYMAN, LOAMY, LOYAL, LOYALLY, NYLON, ONLAY, ONLY, ORAL, and ROLL.

One I never would have gotten is NONROYAL.

AMYL: Chemistry (as a modifier) The straight-chain pentyl radical —C₅H₁₁. Because this is OK, but MOLAL isn’t. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Seriously, bro?!
LLANO: I keep forgetting this South American treeless grassy plain. But also no HORCHATA and no TORTA.

As for today’s race to genius:

Final score: 37 words for 139 points.
Genius minimum: 137 points.
First word: OPENED
Final word: DEPENDED

Explanation of my tweet:

There’s a band called Plone, which made the song Plock.

Here’s something straight lifted from Wikipedia:

Plone is a free and open sourcecontent management system built on top of the Zopeapplication server. Plone is positioned as an “Enterprise CMS” and is commonly used for intranets and as part of the web presence of large organizations. High-profile public sector users include the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Brazilian Government, United Nations, City of Bern (Switzerland), New South Wales Government (Australia), and European Environment Agency.[2] Plone’s proponents cite its security track record[3] and its accessibility[4] as reasons to choose Plone.

but where does the name come from?

What does Plone mean? How is it pronounced?

Does the word Plone mean anything, and where does it come from? Why is Plone called Plone?

The word Plone originally comes from the electronic band Plone that used to exist on the Warp record label. The music is playful and minimalistic.

The founders of Plone-the-Software (Alan Runyan and Alexander Limi) were listening to Plone-the-Band when they met (as well as during the initial coding/design of Plone) – and one of the original quotes floating around at the time was that “Plone should look and feel like the band sounds”. Thus, a legend was born. 😉

The current status of Plone-the-Band is not known.

Plone is pronounced in the same manner as the word “grown”. It is not spelled out when you say it, and is not an abbreviation for anything.

What does Plone mean? How is it pronounced? — Plone CMS: Open Source Content Management (

So that’s why my tweet is not only good but funny and deserved way more respect than it got.

Have a great weekend!

NYT Crossword 11-27-20 Complete! And a new Friday PR!

I finished the puzzle and set a new Friday personal record. This one felt way easier than a Friday normally would, and I made my way through without being told I was close but that I was completely done.

First PR I’ve set in a long while!

Unfortunately, this puzzle was marred by two related clues.

39A Heavenly halo: CORONA
59A Famed Miami golf resort: DORAL

As it stands right now, we can put the ownership of both on Trump. We have a spike in Coronavirus cases right now, and I still haven’t given my family a hug since mid-March. That’s coming up on nine months without a hug from my family.

Now, it’s possible that Doral will be repossessed if Trump can’t pay back loans, right? Hot take: There will never be justice for the intentional mishandling of Coronavirus.

I don’t have a theme for this puzzle other than fast (for me), but there’s another clue I figured I’d pull out of this.

53A “Bloom County” character whose vocabulary consists mostly of “Thbbft!” and “Ack!”: BILLTHECAT. I had never heard of this before. I had filled out CATHY_ _ _ _ _, but that didn’t go. Cathy is the only comic strip I know of with ACK!

I just found out that the creator of Cathy is… Cathy.

Cathy Guisewite has been posting new stuff on her Instagram.

The new Friday PR is 16:23, which beat my old Friday PR of 16:59 from more than two years ago. Pretty happy with this result.

NYT Spelling Bee 11-26-20 final

Happy Thanksgiving from Day 8 of the Current California COVID Curfew!

It’s been kind of a weird day. I certainly missed going to my elementary school’s alumni Thanksgiving breakfast. I also missed having dinner with my family.

I’m surprised that yesterday’s spelling bee only had one pangram. I was fairly certain I had missed at least one, but it turned out that I had not.


TORI: A geometry word! Surfaces or solids formed by rotating a closed curve, especially a circle, around a line that lies in the same plane but does not intersect it (e.g., like a ring-shaped doughnut).
TORII: The gateway of a Shinto shrine, with two uprights and two crosspieces.

Torii Hunter

TORTONI: An Italian ice cream made with eggs and cream, typically served in a small cup and topped with chopped almonds or crumbled macaroons.
TRICORN: (of a hat) having a brim turned up on three sides. Maybe also hamantaschen?
TRICOT: A fine knitted fabric made of a natural or man-made fiber.

On the earlier topic of me missing CRITIC, there’s the award-winning Mel Brooks short!


Final score: 33 words for 151 points.
Genius minimum: 144 points.
First word: ANOMALY

NYT Crossword 11-26-20 complete

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was a real Thursday. You know, unlike yesterday’s Wednesday that I had thought was Thursday. But that I thought it was Sunday, so I don’t even know what’s going on.

I chose 26A More than calls: RAISES because it didn’t make sense to me until I tried to find where I’d gone wrong. It’s just poker. That’s it.

The theme of this puzzle made the electronic version of the grid look all weird.

18A Oboe or flute sound: VVOOWWEELL
29A Home to around eight million Americans: IISSLLAANNDD
47A Circumlocutory: WWIINNDDEEDD
61A Some winter wear: JJOOHHNNSS

71A Word interpreted literally in completing four of this puzzle’s answers: LONG

See? The answers are all stretched out. Elongated.

18A Oboe or flute sound: LONG VOWEL
29A Home to around eight million Americans: LONG ISLAND
47A Circumlocutory: LONGWINDED
61A Some winter wear: LONGJOHNS

This is a puzzle that I really think [Long] Calah (@ccaallaahh) could identify with.