Monthly Archives: August 2021

NYT Spelling Bee 8-31-21 final

It’s the last day of August! And as seems to be consistent with Los Angeles weather during the month, it rained today. As you know from my woodworking projects, I pay more attention to what’s put out on the street toward the end of a month because that’s when people move out and get rid of furniture. So they leave furniture out by the curb, and then it rains, and everything is damaged and I get nothing because I prefer not to pick up warped furniture.


Meatier Misses

HATHA: YOGA! A yoga system of physical exercises and breathing control.
LANTANA: A tropical evergreen shrub of the verbena family, several kinds of which are cultivated as ornamentals. I never can remember this word. I always wonder what the thing is that is like ALANTA but isn’t. No amount of wracking my brains is enough.

NATANT: Swimming or floating.

Today’s summary

Letters: IEGHTWY
Final score: 16 words for 72 points.
Genius minimum: 69 points.
First word: EIGHTY.
Last word: WIGHT.
Pangram: WEIGHTY.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 8-31-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 2D Grassy South American plain: LLANO because that’s a word that I had missed time after time in the NYT Spelling Bee. Finally I learned it and find it almost routinely. Solving this clue was super easy for me, and I’m very proud of that.

This puzzle was another of those bad-pun theme ones. I use the term pun loosely because puns can work both ways. These really couldn’t.

18A Good snack for a pilot?: WINGNUTS. Wingnuts are a terrible snack for anyone. I mean I get that nus can be on a plane, and wins are on a plane, but wingnuts are not food.

Wingnuts: Choking hazard at all ages. (MSCDirect)

24A Good snack for a gangster?: TOUGHCOOKIES. Tough cookies may be a great snack for a teething child. I mean if frozen minibagels are good for teething children, tough cookies should be fine. But for a gangster? Lame.
39A Good snack for a flea market dealer?: BARGAININGCHIPS. We all know about bargaining at flea markets, but if they’re going with flea market, why not make a flea joke? And if they’re not going to make a flea joke, why not just opt for used car lot? And bargaining chips aren’t meant for eating! Then you can’t use them!
51A Good snack for an arsonist?: FIRECRACKERS. Also not food! Hot Tamales would have been way better because it would have made sense.

The official slogan is GET FIRED UP!

Or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

It’s like they had arsonists in mind!

Firecrackers are not food.

62A Good snack for an optometrist?: EYECANDY. Shame on you, Eric Bornstein. Let’s get Eric Baird in there instead.

Finished this one in 8:02.

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Woodworking: Step-Up End Table Pair Project (Part 9)

The time had come for finishing the tables.

As usual, I had resolved to go with teak oil.

I have posted about this decision with prior projects, but it bears mentioning again why.

Teak oil is a finish that penetrates the wood itself rather than resting atop it. Polyurethane can chip, flake off, finish dull, be uneven. And once that happens, poly is hard to spot-patch. If something such as a spoon drops on a table finished with poly, there’s a dent and a breach of the finish. If the same thing happens to a table finished with teak oil, there’s a dent, but the table still is protected. Rarely do you want to dent your stuff, but if someone else does, the hope is that the culprit is someone whose good qualities far outweigh the damage caused by once-airborne utensils.

Teak oil wears away and has to be reapplied from time to time, but that means it can be reapplied from time to time without issue. (Speaking of which, I need to do that on a lot of my stuff.) Teak oil also brings out the grain in a reflective or shimmering way that I haven’t seen in other finishes.

For this post, I’ll focus on Table 1 (1/4-sheet palm sander) with some comparisons to Table 2 that had not yet been started.

With a completely prepped board and my trusty Jo-Ann (nee Fabrics) cardboard box, teak oil would stay where I wanted it to.

And the crazy before-and-after-by-way-of-two-tables:

Craaazy, right?

And for the top:

The back:

The sides:

The drawer:

And then dry assembled:

If only I could compare it to how it looked before.

Oh, wait!

I love this photo.

Still to go: Table 2 and the legs!

NYT Spelling Bee 8-30-21 final

Got to Amazing. The genius minimum was too high, and I had way more to do today than I had time to do. Calah and I got back from SLO this afternoon after a quick trip up. Her family is great, and I’m happy to be part of it.

Yesterday I missed BOOM, EMBLEM, and MELEE.

Meatier Misses


Today’s summary

Letters: AHILNOT
Final score: 41 words for 155 points.
Genius minimum: 214 points.
First word: HALO.
Pangram: Nope.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 8-30-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 53A Jose _ (tequila brand): CUERVO because I was taught in college that good tequila is 100% agave, and Cuervo just says that it’s made with agave, but there’s no disclosure as to how much agave. And if it were 100%, I imagine they wouldn’t hide that.

This puzzle’s theme was probably sponsored by:

18A Doesn’t have fortitude: LACKSHEART.
23A Home of the University of Kentucky: LEXINGTON.
36A Finishes eating ice cream or soup, say: LICKSTHESPOON.
51A Rescuer for when you’ve lost your key: LOCKSMITH.
56A Tiny neighbor of France: LUXEMBOURG.

Finished this one in 8:08.

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NYT Spelling Bee 8-29-21 final

Calah and I decided to take a little road trip, so we’re on that now. I’m actually writing this in the wee hours of Sunday morning before going to bed, but we’re heading out early and we’ve got a lot of road ahead of us. It’s just a short trip, but since I’ll have unreliable access to this stuff on Sunday, I’m writing it now. Yay!


Meatier Misses

FINNED: Has fins.
INDIGENE: An indigenous person.

indigenous (adj.)

“born or originating in a particular place,” 1640s, from Late Latin indigenus “born in a country, native,” from Latin indigena “sprung from the land, native,” as a noun, “a native,” literally “in-born,” or “born in (a place),” from Old Latin indu (prep.) “in, within” + gignere (perfective genui) “to beget, produce,” from PIE root *gene- “give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

Indu “within” is from archaic endo, which is cognate with Greek endo- “in, within,” from PIE *endo-, extended form of root *en “in.” Related: Indigenously.

From Eymonline

Today’s summary

Letters: MBEILOZ
Final score: 24 words for 95 points.
Genius minimum: 90 points.
First word: ZOMBIE.
Last word: EMBEZZLE.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 8-29-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 73A Santa-tracking org.: NORAD because I have fun on Christmas Eve with the NORAD Santa Tracker up in one tab and the Google Maps Santa thing in another tab. They don’t even approximate one another. My feeling is that Google doesn’t actually know where Santa is and is just crawling the web and using data from other people who claim to have seen the sleigh. If enough people from a specific geo report that at the same time, up on the map it goes! My real favorite part of Christmas eve is the Yule Log show. The log just burns and burns on my TV. And then it ends.

The theme of this puzzle was yet another pun stretch. And it was underwhelming.

22A Beams of one’s dreams?: FANTASYSUPPORTS. Because fantasy sports is a real phrase. Now, as Calah was falling asleep recently, I asked her a question, and she chuckled and said with a big smile, “I just saw lightning in my dream.” Can’t argue with that!
33A Visit a museum to see a Rembrandt exhibit?: GOFORBOROQUE. Big setup for negligible payout. Which I guess is the downside of going for broke. Gg, Dory.
49A Bird of prey that’s gently petted?: FALCONCARESSED. Falcon Crest. Dumb. And dangerous.

67A Actor Justin sitting poolside?: THEROUXINTHETOWEL. Dory should have thrown in the towel way earlier on this.
86A Make fun of small orange fruits?: DERIDEAPRICOTS. Too many dried apricots will have you respecting these things for the rest of time.
102A Mashed potatoes, on a Thanksgiving plate?: GRAVYTERRAIN. Gravy train and a mountain of mash. It’s just so painful.
116A Fourth-quarter meltdown at an N.B.A. game in Oklahoma City?: THUNDERCOLLAPSE. Thunder claps. But who can forget the Adam Morrison breakdown with Gonzaga and UCLA?


Finished this one in 48:17.

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NYT Spelling Bee 8-28-21 final

So I like to say about August that it’s the most august month of the year. I’m running out of time to say it, so here you go: August is the most august month of the year.

Yesterday I missed AHOY, ANYHOO, HOMONYM, HYMN, and MONONYM.

Meatier Misses

GAMY: (of meat) having the strong flavor or smell of game, especially when it is slightly tainted.
HOMOGAMY: Marriage between people from similar sociological or educational backgrounds.
HOMONYMY: The existence of the concept that there are two or more words that have the same having the same spelling but different meanings and origins. Also a word that I had to check the spelling of many times to make sure I got it right.
YANG: (in Chinese philosophy) the active male principle of the universe, characterized as male and creative and associated with heaven, heat, and light.

Today’s summary

Letters: IDEFGNY
Final score: 49 words for 303 points.
Genius minimum: 302 points.
First word: DEIGNING.
Last word: ENDING.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 8-28-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 36A Spam might be kept in it: TIN because I had put CAN early on, and it stayed in awhile. The late legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager referred to astronauts in the Mercury program as “spam in a can” due to their roles as riders rather than pilots, and he had no interest in participating in that way. He was the one who broke the sound barrier in 1947 while hiding that he’d broken some ribs after falling from a horse a couple days before that flight. No one completely sane signs up to be a test pilot.

Still no theme, and there aren’t enough long answers to dedicate space to them, so I’m opting to highlight another clue.

39D Violent-sounding songbird: THRASHER.

You’re welcome.

Finished this one in 31:19.

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A quick note about upcoming woodworking posts

My weekly woodworking blog drops Tuesdays at 10am PT.

My posts mainly have been about refinishing pieces of furniture made by other people.

I now have a workbench table saw. The blade only extends to 3/4″, and that isn’t a lot, but if I set everything up right, I think I can cut up to 1-1/2″, which should be plenty for many projects.

I asked reddit today about how to make a crosscut sled for a table saw with a 3/4″ blade and got mixed responses.

There will be tons of opportunity for more woodworking projects going forward.

I can’t wait to share them with you!