Monthly Archives: July 2021

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-21-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Finally had the chance to do the crossword puzzle! Tomorrow’s puzzle will show that my streak really is still alive.

I pulled out 19A Action after a bad golf drive: RETEE because it reminds me of my first time in Scotland. I was playing the New Course in St Andrews with some randos, and I was having a rough time. Now, I’d been used to parkland golf, which has tree-lined fairways. But the New Course at St Andrews is a links course. It’s more like open field.

So after 11 tough holes, I stood at the 12th tee and planned it out in my mind. I hit a perfect draw to what I thought was the green. But it wasn’t the green. I found that out when the randos I was playing with asked me why I was celebrating when I’d hit the ball over there. When I said that it was exactly what I’d wanted to do because the green was right there, they laughed and pointed to the flag that was right in front of us. So to add one bizarre thing to the next, I reached the proper green on my second shot and two-putted for a birdie. Below is the markup of what I remember of my shots, seven years later. I didn’t retee.

This was another fun puzzle theme.

The grid itself has a Z in it, and there Z’s for deez. Zays for days.

17A Raucous music style similar to boogie-woogie: BARRELHOUSEJAZZ.

21A Bolivian capital: LAPAZ.
48A Spaces (out): ZONES.
53A The titular Nelsons of a classic sitcom: OZZIEANDHARRIET.
60A Dish with tomatoes and mozzarella: NEAPOLITANPIZZA. My cousin Ken makes a mean Neapolitan pizza in his pizza oven. He always seems to leave out the vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate, though. I don’t understand it.
4D Columnist Klein: EZRA.
12D Partner of confused: DAZED.
13D This clue number minus deux: ONZE.
15D Passions: ZEALS.
33D Make easier to recite, as the Great Lakes via HOMES: MNEMONIZE.
34D Vodka cocktail with cranberry and grapefruit juice: SEABREEZE.
46D Construction vehicle, informally: DOZER.
47D _ Day, Down Under holiday: ANZAC.

Finished this one in 14:27. It’s better than my overall Wednesday average, but it’s higher than my four-week Wednesday average. To be fair, I was distracted by Calah breaking open a coconut.

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NYT Spelling Bee 7-20-21 final

So the Wall Street Journal sent out a disappointing headline.

Why they couldn’t use the any of the following terms: Uighur, Uyghur, genocide, ethnic cleansing, slave, slavery is beyond me. Also the focus should be on the kidnappings, reeducation programs, brainwashing, etc. I remember I first hear of the Uyghur people when I was in my hotel room in Port Ellen, Islay, Scotland. It was heavy news to hear straight from a distillery, but that was two years ago.

Yesterday I missed only three words FIFING, WIGGLING, and WOOING.

Meatier Misses

None. I could have gotten them all.

Today’s summary

Final score: 17 words for 78 points.
Genius minimum: 77 points.
First word: PIRACY.
Pangram: PRIVACY.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-20-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I decided to add a four-week average to the table at the bottom to see how my daily time compares not only to my overall as logged by the NYTXW site but also how I’ve been doing recently. Have I been doing better? Have I been doing worse? Am I right on? Since it’s not too difficult for me to track, I figure I might as well.

I pulled out 29A Almost unfathomably large number: GOOGOL because that’s a word whose spelling I know only from the NYT Spelling Bee.

Theme time! Wait, no theme? Just long answers?

19A Kind of headlight on older cars: SEALEDBEAM.
26A Observation deck feature not for the squeamish: GLASSFLOOR.
44A Stored deeply and securely: INTHEVAULT.
52A Chocolaty treats that you might “break me off a piece of”: KITKATBARS.

Finished this one in 9:54.

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

The instructions for the table saw I got has the following section:

9. Dust suction

At the back of the housing of your FSK [table saw] you will find a connecting piece for dust suction, see fig. 9: a vacuum cleaner is connected here.
This should always be operational while working! Not only because it guarantees a clean working environment, but also because this prevents the interior of the saw from becoming contaminated with sawdust.

Well, I got a vacuum that is rated for this type of use, and I can’t wait to try it out and make a real table to use. But for now, the project concluded below has been working fine.

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 7-19-21 final

I’ve found the best way to get Calah to read my blog is to have her read it as I type. Otherwise she’ll wait for a month and a half or so for the blog posts to pile up and then take some time to read all of them. This often is when I’m trying to tell her other things. The only way she can get me to stop is by saying she’s reading things I’ve written.

OK she’s gone. I was writing that more for her entertainment. She really does let them pile up, but I only know she’s reading them near me when she starts laughing or sending me pictures of typos that I then correct. It’s good to have her on my side, and by this time next month, she and I will be married.


Meatier Misses

MALEFIC: literary Causing or capable of causing harm or destruction, especially by supernatural means.

malefic (adj.)

“doing mischief, producing disaster or evil,” 1650s, from Latin maleficus “wicked, vicious, criminal,” from male “ill” (see mal-) + -ficus “making, doing,” from combining form of facere “to make, do” (from PIE root *dhe- “to set, put”). Related: Malefical (1610s).

ICEFALL: It’s like snowfall but with ice.

Today’s summary

Letters: IFGLNOW
Final score: 48 words for 301 points.
Final score: 49 words for 310 points.
Additional word: INFILLING.
Final score: 50 words for 311 points.
Additional word: LION.
Final score: 51 words for 318 points.
Additional word: LOGGING.
Final score: 52 words for 326 points.
Additional word: NIGGLING.
Final score: 53 words for 331 points.
Additional word: LINGO.
Final score: 54 words for 338 points.
Additional word: GINNING.
Final score: 55 words for 339 points.
Additional word: LOIN.
Final score: 56 words for 348 points.
Additional word: NONILLION.
Final score: 57 words for 355 points.
Additional word: FOGGING.
Final score: 58 words for 361 points.
Additional word: WILLOW.
Final score: 59 words for 366 points.
Additional word: IGLOO.
Final score: 61 words for 381 points.
Additional words: WINNOW and WINNOWING.
Final score: 62 words for 382 points.
Additional word: OLIO.
Final score: 63 words for 389 points.
Additional word: WOOFING.
Final score: 64 words for 396 points.
Additional word: LOLLING.
Final score: 65 words for 397 points.
Additional word: INFO.
Final score: 66 words for 404 points.
Additional word: ONGOING.
Genius minimum: 297 points.

I kept pushing, and if I can’t get to Queen Bee with 107 points above genius minimum, what am I even doing?

First word: FOLLOWING.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-19-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

The Monday streak is in full effect. It’s stretched to 66 weeks. As a comparison, Calah and I have been going out for 106 weeks, so that’s more than 62% of our relationship.

I pulled out 23A Decorates with bathroom tissue, as in a Halloween prank: TPS to point out how crazy this activity seemed just 12 months ago. Just wasting toilet paper by throwing it over a house? A tree? Even Halloween mummy costumes. And now we all have too much toilet paper. Or do we? The Delta variant is causing LA to reinstate the mask mandate. Is a run on toilet paper next?

Well, unlikely.

The theme of this puzzle was fun. I enjoyed this theme a lot.

17A Summery quip, part 1: TAKINGADOG.
35A Quip, part 2: NAMEDSHARK.
40A Quip, part 3: TOTHEBEACH.
57A End of the quip: ISABADIDEA.

It’s true! Taking a dog named Shark to the beach is a bad idea. It’ll probably get sand in your car.

But then again, the humor of calling for Shark and then telling people, “It’s OK. He doesn’t bite,” would really be fun.

Finished this one in 6:10.

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NYT Spelling Bee 7-18-21 final

It’s midday and I’m hungry. I haven’t found the pangram. This fast isn’t so much fun, especially with the humidity. The alternative is to turn on the air conditioning, but that also would dehydrate. There’s no winning. Just toughing it out.

Yesterday I missed ACHY, CYCINC, INANITY, ITCHY, and ITTY.

Meatier Misses

HINNY: The offspring of a female donkey and a male horse. I hadn’t realized that a mule is a male donkey and female horse. The more you know!

Today’s summary

Letters: FACEILM
Final score: 29 words for 104 points.
Genius minimum: 103 points.
First word: FACILE.
Pangram: ????

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-18-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Finished this one in 38:37, which is a good 20 seconds under yesterday’s Saturday. But my Sunday average is almost an hour.

I pulled out 6A Viva _ (aloud): VOCE because the first time I’d heard anything like this was in the book about The Room and inspiration for the feature film of the same name, The Disaster Artist, written by Greg Sestero. But the audiobook read by the author really is the way to take in the story. In it, he uses the term sottovoce, literally under or low voice, which we call a whisper. So that helped me get the answer to this clue.

The title of this puzzle is Dig In.

31A “With enough butter, “With enough butter, _“: ANYTHINGISGOOD.
38A “A party without cake is _“: REALLYJUSTAMEETING.
65A “If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. _?”: WHOSGOINGTOKNOW.
92A “I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I _“: EVENPUTITINTHEFOOD.
101A “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for _“: THESTEAKTOCOOK.

119A Chef quoted in this puzzle’s italicized clues: JULIACHILD.

From the Julia Child Foundation

This is tough to watch because today is Tisha B’Av, which is a fast day. So I’m hungry. A little less than seven and a half hours to go.

Finished this one in 38:37.

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NYT Spelling Bee 7-17-21 final

I got the screenshot in time! No modifications needed. Tonight started the fasting holiday of Tisha B’Av. The holiday is named after the date, which is the ninth day of the month of Av. Essentially all kinds of bad stuff happened to the Jewish people that day throughout time. So we abstain from all kinds of enjoyable stuff. Among those are eating and drinking. It’s now 11:39pm, which means it’s been 3 hours and 35 minutes since I last had water because I managed this year to start fasting at exactly the right time. Legitimately the clock turned to 8:04 as I set my cup down. Pro. The fast ends at 8:39 tomorrow night, so right now it’s nowhere close to how difficult it’ll be later. On the bright side, partway through the day, the somber mood turns into goodness and optimism for the future.


Meatier Misses

Nothing to see here!

Today’s summary

Letters: YACIHNT
Final score: 16 words for 78 points.

Final score: 17 words for 83 points.
Genius minimum: 75 points.
First word: HYACINTH.
Pangram: HYACINTH.

Never gets old!

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-17-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

This one was tough. It took me a bit to get going. I took stabs, and finally stuff started to fall into place.

I pulled out 21A Bagel variety: PLAIN because I disagree. I don’t consider plain to be a variety. I consider plain to be the opposite. Sure, could one say that bringing both sesame and plain is a variety of bagels? Yeah. But is the plain bagel what causes it to be a variety or the sesame seed bagel that causes it to be a variety?


I guess I would prefer assortment to variety if we’re talking about bringing more than one type, but I still believe that the original (i.e., plain) is not a variety but remixes (e.g., sesame seed) are.

And a quick check of Oxford says: “A thing which differs in some way from others of the same general class or sort; a type.”

So there you have it.

There was no theme for today’s puzzle, but here’s one more thing I found interesting.

15A First name in flight: AMELIA. Now, I had put in WILBUR. As in Wilbur Wright. Wright was wrong.

Wilbur is running alongside the flying Orville. From the Air & Space Magazine

I hadn’t really studied this picture that is so famous and awesome, North Carolina put it on its statehood quarter two decades ago:

They thought we wouldn’t notice that they moved stuff around!

The story by Tom Crouch that goes along with the marked-up photo is amazing. Also Wilbur was 36 and Orville was 32 when this happened.

It is one of the most famous photographs ever taken. The time was 10:35 on the morning of December 17, 1903. The place: The sand dunes four miles south of the little fishing village of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Earlier that morning, Orville Wright had set up the camera on a tripod pointed at the spot where he thought the airplane might be in the air. When three members of the U.S. Lifesaving Service Station at Kill Devil Hills walked up from the beach to help out, Wilbur handed John T. Daniels the bulb that would activate the shutter and told him to squeeze it if anything interesting happened.

I have often thought that being in the darkroom as the image emerged on the fragile glass plate would have been almost as exciting as witnessing the flight. “In the photographic darkroom at home,” Wilbur Wright once explained, “we pass moments of as thrilling interest as any in the field, when the image begins to appear on the plate and it is yet an open question whether we have a picture of a flying machine, or merely a patch of open sky.” With this image, they must have been thrilled indeed.

Experienced amateur photographers, the brothers honed their camera skills as they documented their flight research. By 1902, they were using the camera that would take the famous picture, a Korona-V, made by the Gundlach Optical Company. One of the best cameras on the market, it captured every detail of the flight of the world’s first airplane.

The craft rode down the 60-foot monorail track (A) on one bicycle wheel hub mounted under the forward elevator support and another on a cradle that was left behind when the airplane took off (B). The footprints in the sand (C) outline the spot where the small bench (D) served as a rest for the right wing before the flight. The shovel (E) was used in positioning the rail and burying an anchor that would hold the airplane in place on the rail before takeoff. The coil box (F) in front of the shovel provided the spark to start the engine. The small can (G) contained a hammer and nails for minor repairs.

But does the photo document a genuine flight? Orville Wright was flying into the teeth of a 24- to 27-mph headwind, moving forward so slowly that Wilbur had no trouble keeping up with him. While his distance over the ground was only 120 feet, the true distance flown through the air, because of the headwind, was calculated at 540 feet, well beyond the 300 feet the brothers decided would constitute a sustained flight.

The photo captured a moment when the elevator was at the extreme point. Evidence that Orville was able to recover and continue flying is found in the fact that when the photo was snapped, the airplane had travelled only 20 feet over the ground and had been in the air no more than two or three seconds. Far from being stalled, it is still flying and has to travel another 100 feet over the ground in the next nine or ten seconds. Orville was clearly exercising a measure of control over the craft. Each of the three flights that followed that morning was longer than the one before, culminating in Wilbur’s final flight, which covered 852 feet over the ground in 59 seconds. So the famous photo is just what it seems to be, an astounding image of the world’s first airplane at the outset of its first flight.

The Wright Brothers’ First Flight Photo, Annotated
A careful study of the shot taken in December 1903 at Kitty Hawk shows the moment of aviation’s birth.

Finished this one in 38:57.

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