Monthly Archives: December 2021

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-31-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 45A One of the Coen brothers: JOEL because I have friends who are brothers whose names are Joe and Avi Cohen. The Coen Brothers are Joel and Ethan. Different names. I know. Joel and Joe are close, though, and recently I learned that Abraham and Ethan are the same. Not like how Theodore and Nathaniel mean the same thing but in different languages. Rather, Biblical Abraham was also known as Ethan. So there you have it.

No theme for this Friday puzzle.

And quick update from yesterday: The rainfall total at LAX yesterday was 3.12″, which is more than the 3.09 listed partway through the day. Dry on New Year’s Eve, though.


Finished this one in 23:12.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-30-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Update on the rain in LA from yesterday’s post!

I pulled out 55A “Man, that’s something!”: OHWOW because check out what has happened here in Los Angeles over the past couple days:

Total rainfall yesterday was 1.2″ as measured at LAX.

But partway through today we were at 3.09″ at LAX, which is more than double the now-second-rainiest December 30 on record.

Final numbers will be greater. OH WOW, indeed.


18A They stay and bite: ADULTTEETH.
27A Emmy-winning comedy series of 2007, 2008 and 2009: THIRTYROCK.
46A Gains favor using abject flattery, informally: KISSESBUTT.

38A Symbol for the starts of 18-, 27-, 46- and 58-Across: XXX.

18A: Does XXX symbolize teeth? Or is 30 adulthood?
27A: XXX in Roman Numerals is 30.
46A: XXX means kisses.
58A: A bottle with XXX on it means it’s alcohol. And according to reddit, each X means a time distilled. Triple distilled means much higher alcohol concentration.

And on the topic of distillation, here’s a photo I took at Laphroaig pre-COVID:

Finished this one in 13:20.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-29-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 27A It’s a little longer than a foot: SHOE because I was going back and forth in my mind between SOCK and SHOE. I put SHOE in and never had to change, but SOCK could work. And now that you bring up socks, I bought some more smartwool socks today. They’ll arrive in the new year. But smartwool socks are amazing. Highly recommend for the cold months. And with the rain in Los Angeles right now being measured in the INCHES plural, it’s a crazy, crazy world. Be safe out there!

This is from 5:31pm. Now it’s 9:43pm. More rain has happened.


17A Lettered awards show host?: EMMYEMCEE. M-E-M-C
30A Lettered adversary in a battle of wits?: CAGEYENEMY. K-G-N-M-E
49A Lettered home on the range when no one’s home?: EMPTYTEPEE. M-T-T-P
65A Lettered school paper that’s a snap to write?: EASYESSAY. E-Z-S-A

Figuring that out before finishing it helped me solve other clues.

Finished this one in 12:20.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-28-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 61A “Make it _“: RAIN because that’s what’s going on in Los Angeles right now. And in a big way.

Our streets weren’t built for rain. I was driving around in it Thursday night on roads that are pretty new. The lane lines either aren’t reflective, or the dirt blocked out any reflectiveness. And there were no reflective buttons.

This video never can get too much play. Also shoutout to my sister for this.


20A Food topping used at Abe Lincoln’s birthplace?: LOGCABINSYRUP. Because Abe was born in a log cabin.
28A Dairy product used at the Seven Dwarfs’ dwelling?: COTTAGECHEESE. They did live in a cottage.
48A Turkey stuffing used at the Ewings’ Southfork?: RANCHDRESSING. A Dallas reference?

56A Spreads using 20-, 28- and 48-Across?: HOMEMADEMEALS. It’s good that Calah and I both cook. Otherwise one of us would be beyond overworked and with food to make on top of it all. Hooray for teamwork!

Finished this one in 7:07.

Woodworking: Finally finishing a small table from woodshop class (Part 1) (Originally published 12-15-2020)

I’m rerunning this post from a year ago this week. I will return to the cutting board project in the new year.

I took woodshop in the summers after sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. I made a chessboard the first summer and a small table the second summer. I tried to turn chess pieces the third summer, but that went poorly.

This series is about the small table project from the summer after seventh grade.

The year was 2001. At age 12, I was woodshop veteran heading back to Horace Mann School in Beverly Hills as I had been awaiting eagerly to do. But unlike the prior summer, I was going to be able to figure out what I wanted to build rather than choose from a list.

After a conversation with my folks about it, I think I came up with a stepstool or footstool or the like. My mom came across a picture of a stepstool in like Architectural Digest and asked what I thought. I remember it as being painted green, but that was coming up on 20 years ago, and I’m doing the best I can here. Whatever I made was not going to be painted green.

Equipped with the picture of what was probably only 7″ tall and with a 8″ x 14″ top, I went to the first day of summer school.

A note here is that I looked forward to a repeat of Mr. Bartkoski’s first day explanations of safety measures and how you can know how good a shop teacher is by how many fingers he has. “But don’t worry–I’ve got all of mine!” he announced with a huge grin as he displayed his hands to the whole class. I remembered gasping in horror along with the rest of the newcomers the prior summer because Mr. Bartkoski had expertly shown us the backs of his hands but curled his fingers in so nothing past the first knuckle of each finger was exposed. I was eager to hear the setup and enjoy the reactions to the punchline. And when it happened, it was wonderful. There’s really nothing like scaring the shit out of a roomful of boys and girls who are 10-12 years old.

When I showed Mr. Bartkoski the picture of what I wanted to make, he said that something taller and bigger would be more versatile.

There was some wood available as part of the class, but anybody who wanted to make something out of better wood was required to provide it.

It was off to House of Hardwood to get some birch. Of course I didn’t go alone. My mom took me there. I was 12, remember?

I cut, glued, clamped, planed, sanded, and routed my way through assembly of the table over the course of that summer. Per the advice of Mr. Bartkoski, I used screws to keep the leg panels in place while the glue was drying. The idea was to remove the screws afterward and fill the holes with wood putty so I could finish it.

And that’s what happened. Except that I stripped the head of one of the eight screws. So it was seven screws out and one in.

That’s how it stayed for about two decades.

Over time I used it for things like holding speakers to listen to music while I was in bed.

Later I used it under the CRT TV/VCR combo my sister used in college so I could play PS2 in my bedroom.

After a long while of the PS4 blowing hot air on and surrounding where I’d glued the top together, a crack developed along that seam.

So I had an unfinished table with a stubborn screw and new split. Eventually I’d be able to take care of it, I’d hoped. Maybe I’d get to sand off he head of the screw and go from there. But I took no action.

It stayed as an unfinished bedside table for years. And it’s not very good for a bedside table. There are no drawers. There’s no lower shelf. But it does keep things off the ground and closer to bed level, so it qualified.

This year changed everything, as 2020 has tended to do.

I had to purchase stripped screw extractor bits for the redo of the end table. It worked well for that project, and I figured there was a good chance it would work on this one.

More next week.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-27-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 37D Pollution in city skies: SMOG because early in the pandemic, Los Angeles had pretty good air quality, but now even after a heavy rain, the smog comes back really quickly. I’m staying pretty much inside now anyway. Outside is too cold and wet, and omicron, you know? I just found out about yet another friend who has been vaccinated, boosted, and had covid early on who has caught omicron. Like, what is going onnnnnnnnnn. Be safe, plz!


17A *TV remote inserts, often: AABATTERIES.
21A *Sobriety support group session, informally: AAMEETING.
30A *Animal whose name means “earth pig” in Afrikaans: AARDVARK.
40A *”Winnie-the-Pooh” writer: AAMILNE.
47A *4.0 on a transcript: AAVERAGE.
53A *Three-time Emmy winner for “Breaking Bad”: AARONPAUL.

63A Tennessee Smokies or Portland Sea Dogs … or what the answers to the starred clues comprise?: DOUBLEATEAM.

Finished this one in 7:01.

Pest Control NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-26-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 43A New York City transport stopping at Kennedy Airport: ATRAIN because I have taken this train to get to JFK. This is not a difficult or notable clue for those familiar with NYC, but I’ve been to NYC three times, and one of those times was when I was 12. The second time I was there was on my way back from Birthright in 2015. I took the A Train back to JFK. The third time was when I was in New York and New Jersey for a wedding in New Jersey. I ended up taking a Lyft from Fairlawn to JFK. I absolutely did spend time in New York while I was on that trip and stayed with a good buddy of mine when I was in NYC. So don’t come at with me you were in New Jersey not in New York. I was in both.

The title of this puzzle is Pest Control.

22A One wearing chapstick, perhaps: HORSEBACKRIDER.
32A Antarctic coordinate: NORTHPOLE.
51A Blouse and broach, perhaps: PUBLICHOUSE.
65A It has many beet and beef options: TRUEFALSETEST.
96A Pop fly: SOFTDRINK.
37D Antelope, say: GETHITCHED.
47D Approach for directions: GOOGLEMAPS.

113A Gradually fix something … or what to do to understand this puzzle’s italicized clues?: WORKOUTHEBUGS.

22A One wearing chapstick [-TICK], perhaps: HORSEBACKRIDER.
32A Antarctic [-ANT] coordinate: NORTHPOLE.
51A Blouse [-LOUSE] and broach, perhaps: PUBLICHOUSE.
65A It has many beet [-BEE] and beef [-BEE] options: TRUEFALSETEST.
96A Pop fly [-FLY]: SOFTDRINK.
37D Antelope [-ANT], say: GETHITCHED.
47D Approach [-ROACH] for directions: GOOGLEMAPS.

Finished this one in 38:35.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-24-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 32D Question that cannot be answered if its answer is “no”: YOUAWAKE because I’ve come home from the Magic Castle and asked Calah that question when I have stories to share. Like there was one time when I performed for a bunch of people who were at the Castle for the first time, and I impressed them. It took many times of asking her, but it turned out that Calah was awake after all!

No theme today in this Friday puzzle.

Finished this one in 21:09.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-23-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 47D Start of an English auto name: ASTON because Calah and I have been watching the Bond series in order, including the non-canon ones. Aston Martin features prominently in the Bond movies. We are now on Diamonds are Forever.


17A Reef deposit hung on the holiday tree?: ACHRISTMASCORAL. It’s A Christmas Carol but with coral.
31A Noble gas you can’t live without?: VITALARGON. It’s a vital organ but argon gas. Hellooooo tig welding.
41A Starbucks order for a man’s man?: CAFFEMACHO. Caffe Mocha but stronger. I like caffe mochas because they don’t taste like coffee but have caffeine. Also lots of sugar.
59A Buys tickets for a couple of friends for a Polynesian getaway?: TAKESTWOTOTONGA. I miss traveling.

Finished this one in 19:05.