Monthly Archives: January 2021

Woodworking: One-off IKEA table project (part 2)

When I had first partially disassembled the IKEA table, I saw that the plastic veneer had been applied to both sides of the tabletop. I thought that this was unnecessary, but I was appreciative because I gave me an idea: flip the table top over and use the underside at the topside.

I began fully breaking down the table.

Now, I’ve taken apart IKEA furniture before. It hasn’t been pleasant, but it also hasn’t been difficult.

This was difficult.

Sometimes the things that catch the bolts aren’t aligned correctly. I turned them. I jiggled. I jiggled the panels. Nothing was working.

Then it dawned on me that it might have been glued together.

Who glues IKEA stuff together? The whole point is that you just use the allen wrench the thing comes with.

When I saw some give, I decided to use arm strength. I’m no bodybuilder, but I have some arm strength at my disposal.

I found that the table had indeed been glued together. Ridiculous.

The table–like much IKEA furniture–is normally held together by the dowels/pegs and by the bolts. The bolts are what keep the parts from being disconnected, but the dowels/pegs keep the thing intact. Of course, unless they’re glued in place. When they are, they keep the thing together, too.

The holes for the dowels/pegs and the bolts are drilled only on one side. If my idea were to work, I’d have to drill through the other side.

I have a drill and drill bits, so that was no tall order.

Rather than drill from the other side, I just drilled the holes all the way through. That way there would be no misalignment.

Once drilled through, I installed the bolts.

It was looking like my plan could work.

I reassembled the table with the old top hidden directly above the drawers.

But there were now holes in the top of the table!

Now it was my turn to use glue on a piece of IKEA furniture.

I was prepared with glue gun and plastic screw cap covers that I had around.

I’d fill the holes with glue gun and then cap them off before the glue cooled down.

I’m happy with the result.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-25-21 final

Hello from Day 1 of the removal of the California stay at home order! This probably will not last long!

Bear with me as I continue to write this post. I finally got to genius moments ago. I will be updating this every sentence or two.


Meatier Misses

BEANPOLE: A stick for supporting bean plants.

There you have it.

BOABAB: The tree that I had forgotten about… again.

Such a trippy photo.

BOLA: (especially in South America) a weapon consisting of a number of balls connected by strong cord, which when thrown entangles the limbs of the quarry. And I went to UCSB!

Can you find me in this commercial?

PLEB: informal, derogatory An ordinary person, especially one from the lower social classes.
PLEBE: informal US A newly entered cadet or freshman, especially at a military academy.
POBLANO: A large dark green chili pepper of a mild-flavored variety.

Today’s summary

Final score: 46 words for 166 points.
Genius minimum: 165 points.
First word: AIRMAIL.
Pangram: ADMIRAL.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-24-21 final

Hello from Day 66 of the current California COVID constant curfew! They’re saying that Gavin Newsom is going to lift the stay at home order tomorrow throughout California. I’m so glad COVID is over! Yay! Sure, the CDC says there may very well be another 100,000 deaths in the next four weeks, but why not open up all of California? What could possibly go wrong?


Meatier Misses

GHEE: Clarified butter made from the milk of a buffalo or cow, used in South Asian cooking.

That looks appetizing for sure!

HIED: archaic went quickly.

Today’s summary

Final score: 45 words for 176 points.
Genius minimum: 169 points.
First word: BOBBLE.
Pangram: OPENABLE. Lauren says there are at least two. I found one.

WSJ Contest 1-23-21

This puzzle was easy to get to but hard to solve.

With six word and a six-letter meta puzzle, I had to be on the right track.

That the puzzle is in the key of C gave me more confidence. And that it was a C meant it was probably a DO RE MI type of thing.

I looked for things at the end. HEEL probably went with SOL because heel and sole. That became obviously wrong the more I went along.

What if I tried to find notes everywhere? Would that help?


Back to the original.

OK way more sense. The letters at the end of each long word.


CMaj scale:

DO – C
RE – D
MI – E
FA – F
LA – A
TI – B



There you have it! DEGBAC

I submitted CHORDS, but I know that’s not right.

NYT Crossword 1-24-21 Complete

It’s so cold today in LA! It rained and hailed yesterday. It’s sunny out now, but it’s 54 degrees outside. Bananas. But the rain has made me realize I can make progress on the chairs with the chisel set that my college roommate Darren got me as a gift recently. But more on that in the woodworking chair project series. Woodworking series posts every Tuesday at 10am PT.

I pulled out 37A Singer Watson, a.k.a. Tones and I, with the 2019 hit “Dance Monkey”: TONI because I think the clue is bad. The song itself is catchy. As much as I don’t care for it, it’s not the worst every so often. But the clue has the answer in it. There are down clues to get you there if you don’t know that her name is TONI (which I didn’t), but you might as well have clues like Musician Adams, a.k.a., with the 2009 instant classic “I Gotta Feeling,” or State of origin of Tramar Dillard, a.k.a. Flo Rida, with the 2007 breakout single “Low.”

I remembered to look at the title of the puzzle this time, and that helped me solve a lot of it.

Sugar, Sugar is even more helpful now that I look at it again. I got that it is candy from the Sugar, but I now I realize that the two Sugars is indicative of that already.

22A Bookworms call dad?: NERDSRINGPOP. This was one of the last ones I got in the entire puzzle. Some friends of mine proposed to their now-wives with ring pops and then went ring shopping later. I proposed to Calah with a costume jewelry ring. I’m not talking a ring that looks nice but isn’t expensive. This ring probably came in a big pack that had a choking hazard warning on it. I had gotten it for free years earlier in a creative wedding invitation. Despite earlier statements she’d made that the type of ring didn’t matter, Calah looked at it and said no repeatedly and emphatically. So there we were at the park at night near a lamppost. I was on one knee on the damp ground with a ring out, and I got denied. But I’m good at quick thinking. In an attempt to make the situation less awkward, I pulled out from my pocket a ring box and revealed an honest engagement ring with a stone that caught what little light there was. My second attempt got a more favorable result. Of course she’d tell the story a little differently. But now I get to look forward to her reading this and expressing horror at me telling the world a story with too little context and arguably major, relevant omissions.
31A A young Justice Ginsburg chuckles?: BABYRUTHSNICKERS. Aw, I miss RBG. Especially now that ACB is sitting in her chair.
47A Do core exercises all day, every day?: CRUNCHNOWANDLATER. This could not be a more applicable clue and answer. Whenever I’ve had Now and Later, it’s been hard, and I eat a little bit of the wax paper wrapper that I cannot separate from the petrified candy. Even though CRUNCH in this context refers to the Nestle chocolate-and-rice bar, I’ve yet to find a Now and Later that’s not made a loud sound when I chew it.
67A Burger King bingefest?: WHOPPERSSPREE. OK I had never heard of Spree until this morning.

It’s this thing.

But I can talk about Whoppers for eternity. My favorite one in the box or carton–wait a second, does it come in a carton because it’s malted milk? Whoa!–is the one that’s a little soft and chewy. It’s a wonderful surprise whenever it happens. Also Whoppers are better than Maltesers. Maltesers is reportedly the choice of terrorists. Whoppers is the choice of me.
84A Supernova in our galaxy?: MILKYWAYSTARBURST. Pretty good.
103A When E.M.T.s bring home the bacon?: LIFESAVERSPAYDAY. Pineapple is the best lifesaver.

115A Some astronomy Ph.D.s?: MARSSMARTIES. Probably the weakest of all the theme ones.

Finished in 38:35. The blog post took me way longer to write.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-23-21 final

Hello from Day 65 of the current California COVID constant curfew! There was a hail in LA today. It was like half an hour of pea size hail that built up on roofs and on the ground. It was crazy to see it before it all disappeared.


Meatier Misses

NICOTINE: I don’t smoke, but I take in nicotine on the regular. Nicotine is in food I eat. And it’s in food you eat. No, credit does not go out to Big Tobacco or Monsanto. Rather, nicotine is present in nightshades, including potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplants. And tobacco, of course.

Tomatoes are so close to tobacco that they are plagued by the same pest. Sure, there are differences between the tomato hornworm and the tobacco hornworm, but each eats off the other’s menu without issue.

And the similarities don’t stop there.

In 2001, out came a book about the dangers of tomatoes to those who want to kick the habit. Yes, How Can You Expect to Stop Smoking If You Eat Tomatoes? makes sense. No, not the subject matter. Because AYFKM? But the book has been out of print now for two decades.

Today’s summary

Final score: 23 words for 113 points.
Genius minimum: 107 points.
First word: HIDE.
Pangram: WEIGHTED.

Hello from Friday afternoon!

This is the first weekend in a while when I won’t have all the screens up with news, and that’s a huge relief. I’m looking forward to what should be a sleepy, rainy Saturday.

Lunch today is chili that I froze earlier this month.

Happy birthday to Kevin Bebak. Shoutout to him.

I was looking forward to doing some woodworking things on Sunday, and there’s a chance that I still will be able to do it.

I haven’t posted the NYT crossword puzzle in a few days, though I’ve done Thursday and Friday. I’ll post those this weekend.

Definite high hopes for the Biden administration. I did have fun writing that letter as Trump to Biden. I used the font of his sharpie handwriting, and made it look like the marker was running out of ink a few times.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-22-21 final

Hello from Day 64 of the current California COVID constant curfew! It looks like it’s going to rain all weekend. Why bad weather in LA right now? I have woodworking projects to continue.

Yesterday I missed ATILT and PULPIT.

Meatier Misses

PAPILLA: A small rounded protuberance on a part or organ of the body.
PIPIT: A mainly ground-dwelling songbird of open country, typically having brown streaky plumage.

That’s a pretty bird!

PULI: A sheepdog of a black, gray, or white breed with a long thick coat.
UPTILT: to tilt upward.

Today’s summary

Final score: 59 words for 377 points.
Genius minimum: 376 points.
First word: CONVICTION.



Final score: 62 words for 420 points.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-21-21 final

Hello from Day 63 of the current California COVID constant curfew. The national mask mandate is happening, so I hope we can make it out to the other side quickly.

I made it to genius right before midnight, so the vast majority of this post is being written shortly after midnight. Now at 12:14 it’s done. Whew.

Yesterday I missed LIMP, LUMP, and PIMPLY.

Meatier Misses

ILIUM: The large broad bone forming the upper part of each half of the pelvis.

When it’s red, that’s bad times.

Today’s summary

Final score: 26 words for 93 points.
Genius minimum: 91 points.
First word: PLAID.
Pangram: PLAUDIT.
Tweets: So many today.

This SO was in the list in the past!

WSJ Crossword 1-14-21 Complete

It’s Thursday and the first full day of the Biden presidency. A reminder that I’m writing this on Sunday, January 17. It’s the end of my first week of doing last week’s puzzles on Sunday and timing them to post throughout the week.

I pulled out 57A Is for two: ARE because I got a chuckle out of it. Is is for one. Are is for two. What a world!

The title of this puzzle is Victory Parade. Biden won, the inauguration was yesterday, and even Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal has long turned to dunking on Trump.

17A Like an active surfer?: INMANYWAVES.
24A Message left for each of Henry VIII’s spouses?: AWORDTOTHEWIVES.
36A Suffers from a fear of icicles? FEELSILLATEAVES.
49A Motivations for midnight snacking?: THELATESTCRAVES.
58A Cat’s nine-pat allotment?: PACKOFLIVES.

It was all gratuitous these:

Dean Windass.