Monthly Archives: June 2021

NYT Spelling Bee 6-30-21 final

It turned out that we didn’t do the crossword puzzle as a group last night, so I didn’t have to wait the seven minutes on average that it would take to complete this past Saturday’s NYTXW.


Meatier Misses

PENITENT/PENITENTLY: Feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong; repentant.
TIPPET: A woman’s long fur scarf or shawl worn around the neck and shoulders.

Fee Fie Faux Fur! Get your Tippets from James Alexander (£59.00)

TIPPLE: An alcoholic drink.

Today’s summary

Letters: BAHILTU
Final score: 16 words for 87 points.
Genius minimum: 87 points.
First word: HALIBUT.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 6-30-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Not bad for a puzzle entirely completed on my phone while lying in bed this morning. I left one square blank so I could get the completion screenshot on my computer. WordPress gets angry if the screenshot is too small. I know I can take a screenshot on my computer of the image on my phone, but that’s so much work when I’m going to take a screenshot of the grid anyway.

I pulled out 6D “A series of _,” infamous analogy for the internet: TUBES because I shared that with Calah a few months ago or a year and a half ago or yesterday. Who even knows at this point?

“The internet is not something you just dump something on–it’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes!”

Shame on me for thinking that nobody cared about that anymore. I’d filled out MEMES instead of TUBES initially. Because at this point, the internet really is just a series of memes.

I was able to solve today’s puzzle by figuring out the theme after solving a couple of the related clues and coming across the clue that unites the theme clues.

17A *Like many old video game soundtracks: EIGHTBIT.
19A *Common purchase for a tailgate: SIXPACK.
26A *Sinbad’s milieu: SEVENSEAS.
41A *Burger chain named for a father and his sons: FIVEGUYS.
54A *One of two for the 1990s Chicago Bulls: THREEPEAT.
63A *Anthem whose French lyrics predate its English lyrics: OCANADA.
66A *Former fashion retailer so-named for its 57th Street address in Manhattan: NINEWEST.

57D: Woman in a 1982 hit who can be reached using the starts of the answers to the starred clues: JENNY.


Pro tip for travel: If you go to like a supermarket or drugstore and don’t have a discount card, use ([local area code]) 867-5309. Someone likely has signed up with that number as a joke or as a community service. Either way, go for it.

Finished this one in 14:45.

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NYT Spelling Bee 6-29-21 final

Well, I didn’t make it to genius today. And it’s just as well. I ran out of words in my brain. And energy.

I’m fighting to keep my eyelids from closing and sealing right now, so this will be brief.


Meatier Misses

BETEL: The leaf of an Asian evergreen climbing plant that is used in the East as a mild stimulant. Parings of areca nut, lime, and cinnamon are wrapped in the leaf, which is then chewed, causing the saliva to go red and, with prolonged use, the teeth to go black. Oh, right. This thing that I keep blocking from my mind.
INUTILE: formal Useless; pointless.
LINNET: A mainly brown and gray finch with a reddish breast and forehead.
LUNETTE: An arched aperture or window, especially one in a domed ceiling.

Today’s summary

Letters: PEILNTY
Final score: 39 words for 164 points.
Genius minimum: 173 points.
First word: PELLET.
Pangram: INEPTLY.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 6-29-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

It took me a while to get the theme of this puzzle, but everything fell into place when I did. And now I’m up to a 23-day streak. I’m going back to play board games tonight after missing last week’s night because I had to work late unexpectedly. Tonight may be another night of having to watch as my friends solve the Saturday crossword, but that’s OK.

I pulled out 4A Small piano: SPINET because it’s wrong! A piano by definition is A large keyboard musical instrument with a wooden case enclosing a soundboard and metal strings, which are struck by hammers when the keys are depressed. The strings’ vibration is stopped by dampers when the keys are released and can be regulated for length and volume by two or three pedals.

A spinet plucks the strings when the keys are depressed.

It’s wrong and it’s bad and it’s wrong.

The theme of this puzzle is out of order!

17A Toy with a spring, literally: THEJACKBOX. Quiplash is the best of the those and then Drawful and Fibbage are second? Maybe with Fibbage second-minus. Anyway, it’s THE(JACK)BOX or JACK literally in THE+BOX. Jack in the box.
24A Put an early stop to, literally: THENIPBUD. THE(NIP)BUD->NIP literally in THE+BUD. Nip in the bud.
31A Interfere, literally: THEBEWAY. THE(BE)WAY->BE literally in THE+WAY. Be in the way.
40A Undecided, literally: THEUPAIR. THE(UP)AIR->UP literally in THE+AIR. Up in the air.
48A Unrealistic, as wishes, literally: THEPIESKY. THE(PIE)SKY->PIE literally in THE+SKY. Pie in the sky.
55A “Years ago …,” literally: THEBACKDAY. THE(BACK)DAY->BACK literally in THE+DAY. Back in the day.

Finished this one in 22:30

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Woodworking: My first post, revisited

When I posted this back in October of last year, I threw in a picture of the folding chairs I’d refinished. That came up in conversation Monday night, and I decided to push the next installment of the end tables project to next week and share more pictures of the folding chairs.

Here’s the original post:

When I was 11, I took woodshop in summer school at Horace Mann Elementary school in Beverly Hills. It was the first of three woodshop summers. Two decades later it seems crazy to let someone of that age deal with all kinds of tools that can lead to permanent damage, but at the time, I just made sure to be careful.

I made a chessboard and a side table/stool. They’re still going strong, but they do need some attention. I tried to turn chess pieces at 13 when my summer woodshop class was at Beverly Hills High School, but those came out poorly. The Horace Mann shop didn’t have a lathe. Beverly’s did.

I’ve made things over the years, and the lessons from woodshop class and Mr. Bartkoski have stuck with me.

(Sidenote: I just now found out that Mr. Bartkoski passed away in January 2007. My day is now a little sadder.)

In the past decade, my woodworking activities have mainly been focused on refinishing things other people have made and people afterward have made worse, either because they actively didn’t care or because they didn’t know what to do.

For example, I was given my coffee table by a friend who was moving. After years of parties and little attention to cleanup by the people who lived in that house, the table looked pretty gross. But I saw potential.

Yeah, I know.

When I sanded it down, I found a stain that wended its way around part of the table. I don’t know what had spilled, but it’s many, many layers deep.

The stain remains!

I forewent finishing it with teak oil in favor of staining it and applying a polyurethane topcoat.

Gotta hide that ugly stain with stain of my own!

Ultimately, I am happy with the end result.

Minor blems, but I don’t care right now.

Recently I refinished some folding chairs found in the alley, but there wasn’t nearly the same level of filth.

I did the first of the set of six by itself and then the other five at once. The refinished one on the left looks better, yeah?

As you can see, I like to take things people have given up on and make them look like they’re not garbage. Some projects are easier than others, and there’s no guarantee that a project won’t amount to a total waste of time.

So I picked up a step-up end table that was on craigslist’s free stuff. I wiped it off, brought it back with me, and then let it sit outside. This one is going to be the biggest challenge yet. Stay tuned.

NYT Spelling Bee 6-28-21 final

Ugh. Such a humid day today. And a long Spelling Bee. Like who has that kind of time? But I couldn’t let it go when I realized that I could just put UN in front of everything until the genius bee popped up.

Yesterday I missed DUETTED.

Meatier Misses

DEPUTE/D: Appoint or instruct (someone) to perform a task for which one is responsible.

It’s always great to learn another word related to delegation.

It’s clearly related to deputy, but I’m interested in the etymology, so as always, I look to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

depute (v.)

mid-14c., deputen, “to appoint, assign as a substitute or agent,” from Old French deputer (14c.), from Late Latin deputare “destine, allot,” in classical Latin “to esteem, consider, consider as,” literally “to cut off, prune,” from de- “away” (see de-) + putare “to think, count, consider,” literally “to cut, prune,” from PIE root *pau- (2) “to cut, strike, stamp.” Meaning “assign to a deputy” is from early 15c. Related: Deputeddeputing.

Today’s summary

Letters: TBEILNU
Final score: 55 words for 228 points.
Genius minimum: 228 points.
First word: UNITE.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 6-28-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

This was a surprisingly difficult Monday for me. I started last night and almost completed it, but my eyelids got really heavy, and I stopped. When I picked it up today, it was still tough! But I got through it. Definitely weird to claim to have gotten through a Monday.

I pulled out 51D Scent of an animal: SPOOR because I’d been unaware of this term.

Etymology time! From the Online Etymology Dictionary!

spoor (n.)

“track, trace,” 1823, used originally by travelers in South Africa, from Afrikaans spoor, from Dutch spoor, from Middle Dutch spor, cognate with Old English spor “footprint, track, trace,” from Proto-Germanic *spur-am, from PIE *spere- “ankle” (see spurn).

So there you have it.

The theme of this puzzle is homophones.

17A “So, this red thing, Mom? This is not good.”: BEETREPORT. Like a beat report. But with beets.
27A “The French one is my favorite. Wait, no, the pretzel one.”: ROLLREVERSAL. Like a role reversal but with bread.
48A “Eww, mollusks … I don’t know, didn’t this make me sick last time?”: MUSSELMEMORY. Like muscle memory. Speaking of which, I went to the driving range a couple weeks ago, and I hadn’t lost my swing. I may have mentioned that, but it bears mentioning because I am proud of that. Also food poisoning is no joke.
63A “Wow, Mom, this is like at a restaurant! Dibs on the chocolate pudding!”: MOUSSECALL. I don’t understand this one. Also mousse is meh. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my feeling about mousse recently.

Finished this one in 13:26.

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NYT Spelling Bee 6-27-21 final

Happy birthday to my beautiful bride-to-be Calah! Lessons from today: Riding bikes at the beach is underrated, and wearing sunscreen is underrated. Also flour tortillas can dry out, and crumbly tortillas make for messy burritos.


Meatier Misses

None, which is a huge relief because I’m ready to pass. out.

Today’s summary

Letters: UDEIPTZ
Final score: 19 words for 98 points.
Genius minimum: 83 points.
First word: PUTZ.
Pangrams: DEPUTIZE and DEPUTIZED. <- I was ready to quit after searching and staring, and I’m glad I solved it.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 6-27-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Like I said yesterday, the streak is alive. And now it’s up to three full weeks. Which is bananas.

I pulled out 21A Homemade headgear for pretend pirates: PAPERHATS because I didn’t think about paper hats in a long time, but as the wedding draws nearer, I feel like pretending to be pirates will be part of my life in the foreseeable future.

This isn’t even pandering to a specific dedicated reader of this blog.

The title of this puzzle is Gravity’s Rainbow, and the theme had to do with rainbows. Falling.

95A Mars and 96D ___ River, part of the Texas/Oklahoma border: THE(RED)PLANET.
56A Fruit with crimson-colored flesh and 58D Southern California county: BLOOD(ORANGE).
39A 1966 Donovan hit and 42D Chicken: MELLOW(YELLOW).
6A Spruce or fir and 10D Fresh, in a sense: EVER(GREEN)TREE.
43A Sinatra, to fans and 45D Racy: OL(BLUE)EYES.
60A Popular folk rock duo and “Mood _” (Duke Ellington classic): (INDIGO)GIRLS.
100A Harmful bits of sunlight and State flower of Illinois or New Jersey: ULTRA(VIOLET)RAYS.

Finished this one in 51:05

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NYT Spelling Bee 6-26-21 final

It’s supposed to be really hot tomorrow. But tonight there are fireworks popping off in the distance. Where are they? Probably everywhere.

Yesterday I missed UNFLEDGED (the second pangram), DUFFLE, FEND, FUGUE, FUNDED, UNDEFENDED, and UNFUNDED.

Meatier Misses

FUDDLE/D: Confused or stupefied, especially as a result of drinking alcohol.

Alcohol? Etymology time!

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

fuddle (v.)

1580s, “to get drunk” (intransitive); c. 1600, “to confuse as though with drink” (transitive), of obscure origin, perhaps from Low German fuddeln “work in a slovenly manner (as if drunk),” from fuddle “worthless cloth.” The more common derivative befuddle dates only to 1873. Related: Fuddledfuddling. A hard-drinker in 17c. might be called a fuddle-cap (1660s).

Cool! Get drunk to be fuddled!

FUGU: A puffer fish that is eaten as a Japanese delicacy, after some highly poisonous parts have been removed.

“Fugu might be worth the risk, if you can get it,” says the now clearly aptly named Departures

That something called Departures recommends a thing that can kill you seems very appropriate. I don’t know if they just took the article offline entirely (only for those efforts to be foiled by because it’s crazy dangerous and irresponsible to recommend eating something known to be deadly. But literally deadly. Not like school cafeteria food deadly.

Today’s summary

Letters: RACKTWY
Final score: 21 words for 91 points.
Genius minimum: 89 points.
First word: ATTRACT.
Pangram: TRACKWAY.