I pulled out 65A Baseball officials, for short: UMPS because it reminded me of the old joke of what’s the difference between a catcher’s mask and an umpire’s mask? You can see out of the catcher’s mask. And isn’t the commissioner the umpire of the league? By that standard, Rob Manfred is doing a great job. By human standards, though, garbage. Total garbage.
There was a Monday theme! Two puns!
17A Group of Washington politicians?: HOUSEPARTY. 61A Group of big rig haulers?: SEMICIRCLE.
Finished this one in 4:31. If I hadn’t made that one error, I’d have been at 4:04, which still wouldn’t have been my best.
I pulled out 121A Makes less powerful, in video game slang: NERFS because it’s a term I first heard years ago when playing Madden NFL Mobile. I used to play that game all the time. I was in a league that got mad when you didn’t do all your drives and stuff. It was super intense. Then they made the game way more interactive with live play, and it started to feel like what they had done with real Madden. I mean I really liked the game back in the 2000s, but when they started to get super duper technical with every single play and with how elaborate the audible calling was, it just stopped being fun for me. Also they messed with the controls, and when I wanted to cut left with L1 and cut right with R1, I ended up pitching the ball with one of them. I didn’t really want to learn new controls when the old ones were so intuitive.
Title Theme: What a Character!
Rather than go through every single clue that contains a circled letter, here’s what they were:
SEMI and COLON in the shape of a semicolon.
HYPHEN in the shape of a hyphen.
PARENTHESIS in the shape of a close parens.
27A Any of the groupings of circled letters in this puzzle: PUNCTUATIONMARK. 67A One of two in a jack-o’-lantern?: HYPHEN. Because there are two hyphens in the name of that carved pumpkin. 112A How to see the image formed by this puzzle’s circled letters: ROTATECLOCKWISE. 115A What’s formed by the circled letters in this puzzle: SMILEYFACE.
NO! 😉 is not a smiley face. It is a winky face. At least get it right!
I’m also a little disappointed that the puzzle didn’t automatically fill in the dots of the emoticon. I had to do it all by myself in Snip & Sketch.
I pulled out 46A Home of the only world capital to border two other countries: SLOVAKIA because I’d put in DJIBOUTI initially (hoping it was right and half-expecting to boast about it being so), and I was surprised when it was a place in Europe.
It turns out that the bottom part of Bratislava is on the Hungarian border, and the left side is on the Austrian border.
1A Cause for alarm?: BURGLAR. Be careful out there! 15A Work on some issues together?: COEDIT. Co-edit. 20A Old-fashioned endings?: DEES. Because both parts end in the letter D. 33D One who puts down a few chips?: SNACKER. Who has just a few? 40D Puts down a few chips, maybe: BETS. Let’s go, $MMAT!
I pulled 49A Nickname for Chicago’s Cloud Gate sculpture: THEBEAN because I got to visit it in 2009 (I think). It’s the only time for me in Chicago, and I got to meet some people I’m friends with to this day.
I pulled out 10A Red felt hat with a tassel: FEZ because I used to play Nouns in a Bowl with friends, but Nouns in a Fez is way more fun because you use a fez instead of a bowl. Nouns in a Bucket Hat is trendier, sure, but it’s not nearly as stable.
Theme coming soon. I’ve spent a bunch of time trying to get the table to format properly. I don’t know what’s going on with WP right now.
It’s the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Rather than entirely miss out on a puzzle, here’s one from today’s date in 2010. Why 2010? Because the days match up.
I pulled out 1D Very, very soft, in music: PPP because 11 years ago was a simpler time. PPP just meant pianississimo and not the Paycheck Protection Program. We were out of the Great Recession by September 2010. I was just about to start my final year in college. I had finished an internship at Gigapix Studios, which later fell due to the FBI’s allegations of fraud. What a time it was to be alive.
The theme of this puzzle was on of those add-to-the-word to make it a pun that actually works. I repeat: What a time to be alive.
20A Meat slice on the highest shelf?: ACUTLETABOVE. It’s a cut above but a cutlet. It works. 27A Advertising sheet blowing in the wind?: LOOSELEAFLET. Loose leaf paper does blow in the wind, and an advertisement sheet is a leaflet. 52A Dribble from an icicle?: EAVESDROPLET. This one is kind of a stretch because eavesdropping doesn’t have to do with dribbling. But 2/3 ain’t bad. Refreshing change from the 0-for-at-least-August and September of this year.
I left off last week with Table 1 complete (other than the legs) and Table 2 yet to assemble.
Based on the darkness of the stain, the number and depth of the water rings, and then the warping of the wood, I was thrilled at how clear I got the wood to be.
When I dry fit the pieces together, I was happy at the coloration and the fit of the drawer with the dangly knobs cut off.
And remember how I made my own wood filler? Many people do it wrong, but I thought I’d done it right. And when I applied teak oil, this is what I got:
Yeah, I’m stoked at the result. It’s noticeable if you know where to look, but it’s not calling attention to itself.
So for the last component: The legs!
Now, I had gotten legs for the first step-up end table from a distributor in the south. After delays for the maple legs for that table, I ended up with walnut legs, but the bolts were too long and attached at wrong angles. I had to add a block of wood to make the bolts fit.
Now, this was before I got anything that could grind down the bolt, but still, I ordered legs to get legs, and I got things that had been manufactured poorly.
I contacted different hardwood suppliers and furniture manufacturers in the Los Angeles area to see if they had legs or could recommend a place for hardwood legs.
I really didn’t want rubberwood legs.
What I heard from many sources was, “We don’t do that.”
But others told me to go to tablelegs.com.
I saw the prices for legs and started sweating pretty good. But for me not to have to delay and to get it right the first time, I figured it was worth it.
I ordered the legs, and they arrived looking pretty good!
The mounting plates for the legs were the Waddell ones that I had received for the prior set that included some mismanufactured ones. But maybe the place I’d ordered from opted to get the cheapest items or just dumped them on me because I order at tiny quantities.
I tried to fit the legs to the mounting plates and found that…
Once again the legs and the mounting plates didn’t fit flush.
Both the legs and the mounts! The bolts for the legs frequently were not centered. But this is tablelegs.com! They should be perfect at table legs. And they came highly recommended!
And the Waddell mounting plates just seem to be crap at a high rate.
I wrote to tablelegs.com because I’d spent way too many hundreds of dollars to get things I couldn’t use.
To the credit of tablelegs.com they replaced the legs and the mount plates.
The legs I received the second time around still weren’t perfect, but they were better. As for the mounting plates, I got mostly more garbage.
I was able to cobble together eight matching-ish pairs from the first and second shipments from tablelegs.com. They weren’t perfect, though, and it wasn’t tablelegs.com’s fault.
And the amount of work I had to put into something I’d paid a bunch of money for in order not to do more work bugged me to the point of contacting the Waddell brand.
My first email was on March 18.
I tried again on March 30. Still nil.
Third time’s the charm because my April 5 email received a response.
I didn’t care much for how this was going. It made no sense.
Clearly, they were not interested in helping me.
Finally, the two side by side:
I like the one without the dangly knobs better.
At some point, I may cut off the dangly knobs of the other table.
I pulled out 37A Jewish community center, for short: YMHA because what? The correct answer is JCC. Really. It’s not a secret, either. Though sometimes I wish it were because people keep shootingthem up. So where is Joshua Rosenblatt going to a YMHA? Oh, Wikipedia redirects YMHA to JCC. Hard eyeroll. I know tonight starts Rosh Hashanah, and you even threw in 59A Baked pudding of potatoes or noodles in Jewish cooking: KUGEL (aslo pudding? Really? I mean, kinda but also not?), but you gotta think of better clues, bro. This feels forced.
Despite all its flaws, this puzzle had a stylish theme.
38A Fashionable … or where you might find the starts of the answers to the starred clues: INVOGUE. 17A *Asian American who became only the second woman to win the Oscar for Best Director: CHLOEZHAO. Fashion brand: Chloé. 24A *Runway model famous for her work as a Victoria’s Secret Angel: CHANELIMAN. I wish Chanel had been 5A, though. 50A *Longest resident performer at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace: CELINEDION.