NYT Spelling Bee 6-15-21 final

Hot, hot day in LA. First day of California’s reopening. Wow! And at the same time, Spectrum decided to be garbage all day. Not at all moments. But like 90-second outages at random intervals. It’s just long enough for it to make everything stop working and long enough where there’s a question as to whether it’s worth putting up with the slower speed of a hotspot from my phone.

Also I got notified that I have 500 likes of my posts! Cool! Thanks, everyone!


Meatier Misses

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.
DOLOR: literary A state of great sorrow or distress.

Related, from the Online Etymology Dictionary:


fem. proper name, from Spanish Maria de los Dolores, literally “Mary of the Sorrows,” from plural of dolor, from Latin dolor “pain, sorrow,” perhaps from PIE root *delh- “to chop” “under the assumption than ‘pain’ was expressed by the feeling of ‘being torn apart'” [de Vaan]. 

LARBOARD: archaic term for port (as opposed to starboard).

Today’s summary

Final score: 19 word for 96 points.
Genius minimum:
First word: BUOYANT.
Last word: BOOTY.
Pangram: BUOYANT.

My friend Daniel told me this joke years ago: “How can you tell if an ant is male or female? [OK, how CAN you tell?] You put it in water. If it sinks, it’s a girl, and if it floats, it’s a boy-ant.” We were in our late-20s when he told me this joke.


NYT Crossword 6-15-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Today is supposed to be very, very hot. I still have extra water bottles in the freezer in preparation for a loss of power. I hope it doesn’t come. Instead, Spectrum has decided to be unreliable since last night, so that’s been a blast.

With the wind and dryness, it will be like living in a convection oven. We’ll live with fans as long as makes sense, but then the air conditioner is going on for absolute certain.

I pulled out 9D Tex-Mex offering that lacks a crunch: SOFTTACO because Calah makes these amazing soft tacos. Sometimes she uses ground beef. Sometimes she uses brisket. Slow cooked with onions and other stuff. Then fresh, homemade guac. I’m salivating right now thinking of them.

The theme of this puzzle is something near and dear to many millennials.

20A Unchangeable: WRITTENINSTONE.
34A Dressy floor-length garment: OPERACLOAK.
41A Something a kid might blow right through: BUBBLEWAND.

51A Set of legendary objects from the Harry Potter series found at the ends of 20-, 34- and 41-Across: DEATHLYHALLOWS.


Now, I have read through the fourth book in the series, but I got through the Goblet of Fire right after it was released. I haven’t read past it, I haven’t seen the movies, and I didn’t get past the first few pages of The Sorcerer’s Stone in the early days of COVID.

I finished this one in 7:36 while watching The Amazing Race with Calah Monday night.

Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 2)

These two oak tables were going to be a challenge. The first challenge was to get to the oak.

Table 1: 1/4-sheet palm sander.

Definitely a rough time.

The main board of the table started out pretty gross. I mean it wasn’t the worst I’ve dealt with, but it was bad. Water damage was the main issue. It looked like a potted plant lived on it, and then either smaller flowers or tea.

After 18 minutes of sanding. I was making some considerable headway.

There was still clearly more to do.

I kept going, and almost 10 minutes later

I think this water stain is the worst I’d dealt with. The prior step-up end table project also had some crazy water stains, but those were manageable. I wasn’t sure what would happen with these.

Let’s switch over to the the other table.

Table 2: Random Orbital Sander

But first a little bit about the sander and the sandpaper.

I had waited for the DeWalt sander to go on sale on Amazon. When it did, I got it. But the sandpaper for a random orbital sander is different from the sandpaper for a 1/4 sheet palm sander.

After some research, I came across the 3M Pro Grade sandpaper that claimed not to clog. Also that it had grit of varying size and sharpness, so rather than 80-grit, there was 80+. I got a variety pack.

It says not for retail sale on the real box, too. I don’t understand. That’s amazon for you.

I expected the random orbital sander to be much more powerful at removing material. And it was.

Water stains not as bad. Could be easy!

Four minutes of progress with the 80+.

Eight minutes in, and I saw stains I hadn’t seen before. Including a familiar big circle! Another potted plant or flowerpot, I imagine.

At the 30-minute mark, the DeWalt random orbital sander with 3M Pro Grade 80+ sandpaper had blown away the DeWalt 1/4-sheet palm sander with 3M regular 60-grit.

And the amazing thing after an hour of use:

How is there no clogging? I’d swapped out the 60-girt numerous times at this point.

The other surprise: It was never oak. I’m working with maple!

I like maple better, anyway.

More next week!

Note: This post is a little lighter on text. I’ve been struggling with WordPress to get captions back on my photos. No luck just yet, but that has eaten up a lot of time. More cool stuff later.

NYT Spelling Bee 6-14-21 final

Clippers won tonight, including this amazing dunk by Kawhi Leonard!

There’s really not much more I can add to that. I have to stop myself from just watching that video on loop in order to write this post.

Yesterday I missed TOWNHOME (the other pangram), ENTENTE, MENTEE, MONTH, MOTEL, ONTO, TEEM, TEEN, TENEMENT (I could have sworn I got TENEMENT), and THEE.

Meatier Misses

TOWHEE: A North American songbird of the bunting family, typically with brownish plumage but sometimes black and rufous. 10/10 chance Lauren got this.

Texas A&M AgriLife program breeds birds!

Calah saw this, and said, “The only way is TOWIE,” and I think we’re all in agreement that there’s never enough of it and no replacement for it.
TWEE: Excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental.

Today’s summary

Letters: LABDFOR
Final score: 35 words for 114 points.
Genius minimum: 113 points.
First word: BOLLARD.
Last word: OFFAL.

NYT Crossword 6-14-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Crossword streak to eight days! It used to show the Monday streak, but oh well. I like this one more.

The weather forecast for today is not so pleasant. High of 91 that feels like 96 but 88 in the shade. And breezy but not the cooling breeze. Convection oven breeze. But it’s going to be even hotter the next day. Pardon me while I fill the freezer with water bottles for when the power goes out.

OK I’m back.

I pulled out 2D 1960s dance craze: WATUSI because I’d not heard of it before. So I looked it up. And I found this video:

It’s amazing that it exists at all. The viewing experience is enhanced by its inconsistent video quality and color settings. Also dancing is fun. So go, them! Pre-TikTok dancing for all to see.

Homophonic theme today!

20A Food for Little Miss Muffet: CURDSANDWHEY.
31A Chinese dissident artist: AIWEIWEI.
36A U.S. Naval Academy anthem: ANCHORSAWEIGH.
43A Neighbor of Botswana: ZIIMBABWE
54A Breakup song by Fleetwood Mac: GOYOUROWNWAY.

Finished this one in 4:06. Happy Flag Day!

NYT Spelling Bee 6-13-21 final

I got to spend time with my sister tonight! She told me about a game that is about birds. I don’t remember the name of the game, but I probably will learn the name of the game by the end of the week. I miss a lot of bird names, but the birds Ezersky decides to include in the word list are, to her, disappointingly few.


Meatier Misses

DEMIT: Resign from (an office or position)
DIMITY: A hard-wearing, sheer cotton fabric woven with raised stripes or checks.

From BelovedLinens.net A Textile Lover’s Diary.

TATAMI: A rush-covered straw mat forming a traditional Japanese floor covering. It’s been so long since this has been in the Spelling Bee that it was worth calling out again that I don’t know it.

Today’s summary

Letters: TEHMNOW
Final score: 43 words for 146 points.
Genius minimum: 142 points.
First word: TEETHE.
Pangram: HOMETOWN.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 6-13-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Seven days in a row whattup! Since I hadn’t been doing Saturdays, this is the longest streak of actual days for the NYT Crossword. Meanwhile I’ll be on a 250-day streak for overall posting when I hit publish on this blog post. I’m happy I didn’t forget to grab the congrats screen this time.

Also it’s important to note that this is a terrible attempt at a maple leaf in a grid. Children see this puzzle, for crying out loud!

I pulled out 18A Lex Luthor, to Superman: ARCHFOE because what a weird answer. I had been jammed up because I was fairly certain it was NEMESIS. It wasn’t. And knowing is half the battle.

This puzzle was about Canada. Why now? I don’t know. Canada Day is July 1. It’s June 13 today. Maybe it’s the exchange rate?

Let’s see.

July 1 is the 182nd day of the year. June 13 is the 164th day.

182 x .82 = 149, which is May 29. So no. The exchange rate would have to be at 0.9. I don’t even want to think of that possibility.

104A Six-time winner of the N.H.L.’s Art Ross Trophy, born in Saskatchewan: GORDI(EH)OWE.
108A “24” and “Suits” actress, born in Halifax: LESLI(EH)OPE.
4D Alberta city named for an eagle-feather headdress: MEDICIN(EH)AT.
10D Two-player game invented in Toronto: TABL(EH)OCKEY. I am a huge fan of table hockey. I used to play on New Year’s Eves with Nick Wenger who had (maybe still has) the game at home. I was stoked to score a goal, and I considered two a major coup. The last time I played against him, he blocked so many shots that I recreated part of Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey IRL.

16D Seasonal destination near Quebec City: WINTERIC(EH)OTEL. Check out the snow cannons in the video below!

19D Program introduced by the Trudeau government in 1984, colloquially: FRE(EH)EALTHCARE. Yeah, but how are they doing at covid vaccine rollout? Only 4.6% of the population is fully vaccinated? Get it together, Canada! But don’t fault them for not being generous. They will donate 13 million spare doses to developing countries! Oh, wait, 7 million of those donated doses are reported Novavax that haven’t been approved in Canada. Welp! That seems like a good way to build confidence in Canada and trust in the vaccine process around the globe!

76A Like all the answers with pairs of circled letters, punnily: M(EH)DEINCANADA. But also meh-ed in America.

Finished this one in 55:57, mostly on my phone.

NYT Spelling Bee 6-12-21 final

Today we watched Joe Rogan get burned in skywriting. It started off with a marriage proposal that followed with “SHE SAID YES,” which was then followed by the sappiest stuff and then “JOE ROGAN IS LITEALLY (sic) 5 FOOT 3.”

Yesterday I missed CANNULA, HAUNCH, NAAN, NATAL, and ULNA.

Meatier Misses

LACUNA: An unfilled space or interval; a gap.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary

lacuna (n.)

“blank or missing portion in a manuscript,” 1660s, from Latin lacuna “hole, pit,” figuratively “a gap, void, want,” diminutive of lacus “pond, lake; hollow, opening” (see lake (n.1)). The Latin plural is lacunae. The word has also been used in English from c. 1700 in the literal Latin sense in anatomy, zoology, botany. The adjectival forms have somewhat sorted themselves: Mathematics tends to use lacunary (1857), natural history lacunose (1816), and lacunar (n.) is used in architecture of paneled ceilings (1690s), so called for their sunken compartments. Leaving lacunal (1846) for the manuscript sense.

LANTANA: A tropical evergreen shrub of the verbena family, several kinds of which are cultivated as ornamentals.

From Nature & Garden. Good tips on plant care.

LUNULA: The white area at the base of a fingernail.
NUTHATCH: A small songbird with a long strong bill, a stiffened square-cut tail, and the habit of climbing down tree trunks head first.

All About Birds has a page all about the Nuthatch!

Today’s summary

Letters: TADEIMY
Final score: 53 words for 220 points.
Genius minimum: 214 points.
First word: DAYTIME.
Pangram: DAYTIME.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 6-12-21 Complete

Argh! I excitedly hit the thing too early, and the finish screen went away! But I finished a Saturday, and it said I’m on a one-day streak, despite it actually being a six-day streak. See, it’s 10pm here in LA, so it’s tomorrow already in New York. For streak purposes, it’s still Saturday in LA, so tomorrow should show a seven-day streak if I solve the Sunday puzzle. I got a more generic image, but at least it shows that it’s a six-day streak.

I pulled out 32A Fragrant rice: BASMATI because it’s pretty much the only rice I buy. Do I sometimes want short grain rice? Maybe. Do I find Basmati rice to be fragrant? Not really. Do I wash Basmati rice three times like it says to? Oh absolutely not. I just know it’s fragrant rice because it says so on the bag.

I was really hoping for a theme in this one, but it doesn’t have one. I had thought that 6A Stick around on July 4?: SPARKLER would be FCRACKER or something fun like that so I’d know that letters were missing. IRE is a word. But no such luck.

Finished this one in 37:43. That’s actually my only Saturday score. I used to do the Saturday crossword with friends Tuesday nights. We just started doing board games in person again after more than a year online for covid safety, but we haven’t done the Saturday crossword together in a while. When we do it together it takes like six minutes. Alone is slower.

OK now off to the Spelling Bee!

Williams-Sonoma boosts my ego

I went to Williams-Sonoma this week and was very disappointed in what I saw. I went all the way out to Manhattan Beach because for some reason I believed the Manhattan Beach location to be a very large store. But it is a very small store. It’s nothing like the Beverly Hills location was before it closed permanently years ago.

Now, Calah and I had gone to Crate & Barrel to see their stuff as we’re continuing to finalize our registry, but there were some items that were too expensive for too poor quality.

I had expected Williams-Sonoma to be better. And some things were slightly better quality. But all things were higher prices.

There were some wooden salad tongs on clearance for $15 reduced from $25. I would have paid maybe $5?

Then there were things that were worse quality. Like an olivewood salad bowl–a salad bowl priced at $150. For comparison, that is $150 more than the amount of salad I want to eat.

Hmm, if were were to buy it, we might not have money for salad. Oh, wait, this would be for wedding registry, so we would still have money for salad. Damn.


The salad bowl was splitting before ever being sold. Right on the shelf. Split.

I asked a clerk what happens with this type of item if it’s purchased off the registry and then cracks after a single use.

“You have 30 days to return it,” she said.
“Is that in new condition with the labels still on and everything?”
“But you see it’s cracked just on the shelf.”
“Yes, but they would consider cracking like this normal wear and tear.”
“That’s weird. This is broken already.”
“Oh, I have the bigger [$200(!)] one, and the cracks are much larger. And that happened very quickly. I just don’t let the salad dressing go so high so it doesn’t get stuck in the cracks because then I wouldn’t be able to clean it out.”
“That doesn’t sound very good.”
“I went to a woodworker who told me to take epoxy and squirt it into the cracks to seal it up. But how am I supposed to get a needle that small?”
“So I guess I won’t be putting this on the registry.”
“That’s your decision, but these bowls crack. That’s part of what they do. Maybe it’s the type of wood they use.”
“Yeah, not putting this on the registry.”
“That one is too small, anyway. The one I have at home is larger. And that one fits enough salad just for me.”
“I mean I guess it would hold more if you could fill it all the way, but since the cracking…”
“I suppose so.”
“I guess I’ll go ahead and put this back.”

So it’s back on the shelf. Cracked. But out there for sale.

Now, I’ve encountered many issues in my woodworking projects, but I’ve not tried to sell broken things for hundreds of dollars. Scruples or something. Annoying.

And not everyone is happy about buying broken things or things that break quickly. They make that known in reviews!

But the reviews don’t start off bad.

Will last a lifetime (*****)
This is a large, beautiful olive wood salad bowl that is made by hand. As such there are minor imperfections which are typical with artisan works and (for me anyway) add to the value of the design. For this however, I would recommend that you go to a WS store so that you can choose the one that suits you—As each one is different. Beautiful piece and highly recommend.

Wow! Sounds amazing! Hey, wait a second!

Seems a little premature to have Will last a lifetime as the title. You know, unless someone is coming to kill him.

Wood putty filler too visible (***)
We recently received the largest of these bowls. I was a little reluctant to spend that much for a bowl but based on the previous review of lasting beauty I went for it. I understand that this is pieces of wood glued together to form the bowl. I didn’t however expect the putty that is used as a filler to be so visible. Especially around the top rim of the bowl. It is a very light color and doesn’t look even. I echo the previous review to go in and look at them before buying. That being said no one wants a bowl they would serve at a party to show this much putty right on top. I’m trying to be balanced with a three star rating. It’s hard to find a large salad bowl. I could live with imperfections inside the bowl. The one I received just doesn’t look finished. We’ll return and see if there is a better one. Too much money for this type of imperfection.

Cracked (*)
“First bowl cracked 3 weeks in. Got a replacement. This bowl also cracked about 1 week in. Have not washed it, have not used it. Save your time and get a different bowl.”

Welp! Looks like that’s not the salad bowl for us!