Author Archives: raabidfun

About raabidfun

I'm a guy living the #raabidfun lifestyle. I figured I would create a blog about crossword puzzles I do. The idea is to do the NYT crossword and the WSJ crossword daily as much as I can. That includes when I don't finish and have clearly failed. They can be difficult. Also I am not an attorney, and any legal analysis in this blog reflects my interpretation, which means it can be flawed and should not be relied upon for use in legal matters (especially against me).

Woodworking: One-off IKEA table project (part 1)

As the focus this week mainly is on whatever pardons Trump is going to dole out today and the preparation for tomorrow’s inauguration, and the focus of next week is Biden’s first week in office, I’m saving the chairs update for a couple weeks and am bringing you a story of an IKEA table project I am not soon to repeat.


Months ago I saw an IKEA table in the free stuff section of craigslist. I like mid-century modern furniture, and from the pictures, this table looked an awful lot like one of those made from solid wood.

I reached out to the person who posted it and headed out to pick it up. She told me she’d put the legs and mounts into one of the drawers so it was ready to go.

When I got there, I grabbed the table and wiped it down before putting it into my car.

A few blocks into my drive home, I realized I’d made a huge mistake. The table reeked of weed. Just so strong. But it also smelled like someone had tried to get rid of the odor. So it smelled like weed and urinal cake. So foul.

I resolved to disassemble the table and leave it in the garage for weeks, and I prayed I wouldn’t get pulled over.

I noticed a few things when I went to take the table apart: First, it was standard IKEA stuff. That is to say that it was not solid wood. Second, while all four legs were in the drawers, there was only one mount of the four. Third, the plastic wood veneer had bubbled and looked super gross. In my rush to get out of there, I had mistaken the plastic veneer for messed-up wood. Nope!

The sane thing to do would be to throw it away. That was an option I felt was valid. And likely.

I decided that in order for me to attempt anything with this table, all of the following criteria had to be met:

  1. The table would air out fine. I’m not stinking up my home.
  2. I would be able to figure out a way to make the surface look nice.
  3. I could find mounts that would work.
  4. Total resource spend would be kept under $5.

Since there’s a part 2 of this, you know that all four were met. The way I did it is worth reading about next week.

This was for certain the jankiest project I’ve done so far.

WSJ Crossword 1-12-21 Complete and a story about baseball!

This blog post ended up mostly being about the clue and answer I pulled out, so it may be more entertaining to read than most of the WSJXW blog posts are. I did struggle with this one a little, but I made my way through. This doing-them-all-on-Sunday thing is fine so far. We’ll see how it continues.

I pulled out 8A Ballpark official: SCORER because it reminds me of when I was a baseball broadcaster in college. I read the entire NCAA rulebook for baseball and always brought the book with me to games because I had no one around me to let me know what had just happened when there was a crazy event in the game. There was one game I called with my often-broadcast partner Mitchell Clements where this rulebook came in handy. A guy got to first base, and the next batter was power hitter. I saw that the third baseman was playing almost on the outfield grass, and although this batter had the speed to turn a close triple into a long single, he decided to drop down a bunt down the third baseline. To the casual baseball fan, it seems like a standard sacrifice bunt play: He was thrown out easily, and the runner moved over from first to second. However, it didn’t look to me like that’s what he had wanted to do. I saw that the third baseman was playing deep. I figured he saw the same thing. Rather than give himself up, it sure seemed like he had gone rogue and decided to drop down a bunt into no-man’s land in an attempt to make it to first safely.

Per the rules:

Sacrifice
SECTION 8. A sacrifice bunt is credited to the batter when, with fewer than
two outs, his bunt enables a runner to advance, provided no other runner is put
out attempting to advance. A sacrifice fly is credited when, with fewer than two
outs, his fly, fair or foul, enables a runner to score. In either case, the sacrifice
ruling applies when the batter is put out before he reaches first base or would
have been put out if the ball had been fielded without error.
This is is what everyone knows.

HOWEVER, then there’s this:

Exception—If, in the judgment of the official scorer, the batter is bunting primarily for a base hit, do not score a sacrifice. Instead, charge the batter with a time at bat.
http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/BA12.pdf

I knew it had to be the latter. I knew there was no chance he had been instructed to play smallball in that situation.

Announcement from the official scorer: “Sacrifice.”

After that game, the head coach was unfazed by my question about that play. He shrugged it off and said that sometimes they ask this batter to drop down a bunt to move a guy over and that the plan had worked. I was unconvinced and asked the guy later what had really happened. He seemed kind of excited to tell me that my analysis in real time had been entirely correct.

Since I wasn’t the official scorer, it went down as a sacrifice. But I knew the rule.

That was true a decade ago, and it remains in the most recently published rulebook.

Major League Baseball unsurprisingly has a similar rule:

http://www.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2007/10_the_official_scorer.pdf

But there’s an interpretation that the NCAA rulebook does not have:

http://www.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2007/10_the_official_scorer.pdf

So there you go.


The title of this puzzle is A Few Brief Words.

20A Secret compartments in some desks: HIDDENDRAWERS. Also what is often found under a pair of pants on the bedroom only after the rest of the laundry is done.
33A Some Pixar works: ANIMATEDSHORTS.
40A Long proboscises: ELEPHANTTRUNKS.
57A Golden Gloves competitors: AMATEURBOXERS.

All underpants: DRAWERS, SHORTS, TRUNKS, BOXERS.

Finished this one in 18:15.

NYT Crossword 1-19-21 Complete

The wind is supposed to pick up in the next couple hours. It’s going to be crazy, and I’ll have the police radio on in the background. I think it will be downed trees today. I hope there won’t be fires.

I pulled out 67A Actor Mickey of “The Wrestler”: ROURKE because for too much of the puzzle, I had ROONEY in there. It’s understandable, right?

Mickey Rooney in Killer McCoy (1947).
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008).

I figured out the theme about 1/3 of the way through this puzzle.

18A *Bygone Crayola color: LEMONYELLOW. It took me a while to realize that this wasn’t LEMONY ELBOW–the thing that happens when you’re not careful around these:

Reminds me of going to the ballpark.

41A *Sweet, healthful treat: FRUITCUP. Will Shortz is in Del Monte’s pocket.
62A *World’s largest terrestrial arthropod: COCONUTCRAB.

Giant crab or tiny human?

12D *Sign in a deli window, perhaps: HOTCOFFEE. Because HOTPASTRAMI was too long.
35D *Staple of Japanese cuisine: WHITERICE. Hard to argue when it’s the majority of the country’s flag.

60D Word that can follow either half of the answers to the starred clues: CAKE.

LEMON CAKE/YELLOW CAKE, FRUITCAKE/CUPCAKE, COCONUTCAKE/CRABCAKE, HOTCAKE/COFFEECAKE, WHITECAKE/RICECAKE.

Finished this one in 17:10 because IGUANODON is spelled two O’s and one A.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-18-21 final

Hello from Day 60 of the current California COVID constant curfew! They say it’s going to be really windy starting tonight and into tomorrow. They say it’ll be sustained 25MPH+ winds and 40MPH+ gusts. It can’t help but bring to mind the old saying: When a window is left open, a door closes. Loudly.

Yesterday I missed COACT, COOPT, LAPTOP, LOATH, OATH, PACT, PLOT, TACT, TALC, TOCCATA, and TOPCOAT.

Meatier Misses

CATALPA: A tree with large heart-shaped leaves, clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers, and long, slender seed pods, native to North America and eastern Asia and cultivated as an ornamental.

Either a tiny hand or a very large leaf.

HATHA: : a system of physical exercises for the control and perfection of the body that constitutes one of the four chief Hindu disciplines.
PALATAL: Phonetics (of a speech sound) made by placing the blade of the tongue against or near the hard palate (e.g. y in yes).
PHAT: informal Excellent.
TACH: short for tachometer.

Today’s summary

Final score: 41 words for 159 points.
Genius minimum: 159 points.
First word: BLOTTO.
Pangram: COLLECTIBLE.
Tweets:

NYT Crossword 1-18-21 Complete

Today there was kind of muted craziness. The Trump administration said the travel ban from Europe is ending or something. That’s silly because COVID obvz. Then Biden was like, “Hang on, buddy!” Also Kayleigh McEnany reportedly has moved back home to Florida already. Does she not know that that’s where the Trumps are moving, too??????

I pulled out 3D “Here comes Poindexter!”: NERDALERT because of what this is. Might as well have been “Look! Someone doing the crossword!”


Today’s theme was something like why travel the world when you can travel the whole world in this country?

17A City where you won’t find the Eiffel Tower: PARISTEXAS.
24A City where you won’t find the Parthenon: ATHENSGEORGIA. Republic of Georgia should look into naming one of their towns after the city in Greece, too.
46A City where you won’t find Virgil’s Tomb: NAPLESFLORIDA.
56A City where you won’t find the El Greco Museum: TOLEDOOHIO.

Finished this one in 7:48.

WSJ Crossword 1-11-21 Complete

I’m trying something new here, and I’m hoping you’ll bear with me. Since the WSJ crossword takes up time during the week, I figured I’d try to do all of them each Sunday and time their posting to go out each day but a week late. EXCEPT for the Friday puzzle. That one will be posted on time on Sundays.

I pulled out 66A Lease signer: TENANT because I’ve been watching Because This is my First life, and it’s pretty good! It’s the fourth K-Drama I’ve started and the third I think I’ll make it through. Start-Up and Crash Landing on You were easy to watch. Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol wasn’t for me. Because This is My Frist Life has a lot of promise.


The title of this puzzle is Going to Pot.

17A Something with negligible value: HILLOFBEANS.
25A Scouting activity, quaintly: WEENIEROAST. Does KROQ still have the Weenie Roast concert?
39A Is motivated by self-interest: HASANAXETOGRIND. When did ax become axe? I remember ax growing up, but now it’s axe? It’s like how Australia is a continent but now Oceania is a continent?
48A “Double, double toil and trouble” concoction: WITCHESBREW.

61A Unremarkable sort, or what you’re left with after 17-, 25-, 39- and 48-Across: ORDINARYJOE.

Of course a Monday puzzle is the one about coffee. Though I guess that could also be a Friday puzzle. Or a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.

COFFEE BEANS, ROAST COFFEE, GRIND COFFEE, BREW COFFEE.

Finished this one in 8:44.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-17-21 final

Hello from Day 59 of the current California COVID constant curfew. With just a few days left of the Trump presidency, when are the massive pardons going to drop? Remember that you can play Pardon Me! bingo.

Yesterday I missed KNEE and KNEEING.

Meatier Misses

KEPI: A French military cap with a flat top and horizontal brim.

The creepiest picture I could find.


KIPPA: another term for yarmulke. I have only seen this with an h at the end.
NANKEEN: A yellowish cotton cloth.
NAPKIN: A square piece of cloth or paper used at a meal to wipe the fingers or lips and to protect garments, or to serve food on. Now, I know what this is. Calah thinks I don’t. But I do. I have manners.

Today’s summary

Final score: 43 words for 149 points.
Genius minimum: 147 points.
First word: HATCH.
Pangram: POTLATCH.
Tweets:

Because a dreidel is a top.

WSJ Crossword Contest 1-17-21 Answer

This puzzle started off with a busted WSJ puzzles site. I couldn’t do the crossword puzzle on my screen no matter which computer or browser I used. So I printed it out. I did the puzzle in pen, and that got Calah to call me a lunatic or something to that effect.

As I went through, I did have some errors, so I had to overwrite some of my answers. It’s not the prettiest of grids, but it’s honest.

It was a lot of fun, but I knew I couldn’t get the meta puzzle answer from this nonsense.

So it was off to Excel!

Way easier to read and to highlight!

The clues fell into place, as did the highlighting.

And, of course, the missing word of the movie titles.

AMERICA
BLACK
ULTIMATUM
GAME
SUNDAY

A BUG’S with the missing LIFE because I WON’T SPOIL THE ENDING.

So the answer: A Bug’s Life.

NYT Crossword 1-17-21 Complete

On this day in 1994, LA woke up to a magnitude 6.7 earthquake. With an epicenter near Northridge, it’s one of the worst things to come out of the Valley, and that’s saying something. (I know I’m going to be paying for that statement later, but it’s totally worth it.) I don’t remember the shaking itself, but I remember my dad driving us around to look at the rubble. It was pretty bad. Freeway overpasses had collapsed. Lots of stuff was broken. Generally bad times.

I pulled out 14D Fading process for jeans: ACIDWASH because I joked(?) a couple months ago that anyone in LA who wanted acid wash jeans should leave them outside because it was going to rain that night/day. The next day was beautiful because all the smog was gone.


The title of this puzzle is Double-Crossed, and the grid looks slightly different in the print edition.

23A Way into a garage, typically: OVERHEA(DD/OO)R. That’s true about half the time for me. If I go in through the overhead door, I go out through the pedestrian door. If I go in through the pedestrian door, I go out through the overhead door.
7D Subject of a Sleeves Up campaign: BL(OO/DD)RIVE. There are lots of reports of blood shortages in more places than just Transylvania. COVID has made it almost impossible to get people to donate blood. There’s less coverage of how the chocolate chip cookie industry is affected. Maybe Nutter Butter can shed some light on this type of blow.
34A Nickelodeon competitor: CART(OO/NN)ETWORK.
13D Classic dorm room meal: RAME(NN/OO)DLES. I still have not yet had ramen. And I see a lot of it in the K-Dramas.
61A Prominent women’s rights lawyer: GLORI(AA/LL)RED. And she’s not letting Harvey Weinstein get away with it.
45D Beer in a green bottle: STE(LL/AA)RTOIS. Green bottle made me think Heineken then Beck’s. I think of Stella Artois as being in a brown bottle. It’s not.

Just try to get one of these in America.

76A Visual phenomenon created by short flashes of light: STROB(EE/FF)ECT. Long exposure with a strobe makes for amazing photos.
66D Nestlé creamer: CO(FF/EE)MATE. The perfect amount of coffeemate is just get better coffee and use milk and sugar.
104A Some entertainers at children’s birthday parties: BA(LL/OO)NARTISTS.

Dennis Forel is not just an amazing balloon sculptor but a really nice guy!

85D Sallie Mae products: SCH(OO/LL)OANS. What will happen when there’s free college for everyone?
119A Awards show that airs at night, ironically: DAYTIM(EE/MM)YS. It seems like everyone in the industry has at least one Emmy. I don’t, but I’m also not in the industry.
101D Pool competitions: SWI(MM/EE)TS. Can anyone forget Ryan Lochte’s American Flag grill? Does anybody even want to?

It’s perfect.

I thought this puzzle was pretty good.

Finished in 1:11:55.

NYT Spelling Bee 1-16-21 final

Hello from Day 58 of the current California COVID constant curfew. It seemed like a pretty dull day today. I’m not complaining about that. But there was a guy who was stopped with firearms and 500 rounds of ammo in DC? And then he said it was an “honest mistake” to have been there with that? I’m just glad they got the guy.

Yesterday I missed ELEVEN, LANAI, VALCE, VANILLA, and VANILLIN.

Meatier Misses

VENAL: Showing or motivated by susceptibility to bribery. Rudy, Trump, Bannon.
VENIAL: Denoting a sin that is not regarded as depriving the soul of divine grace. As opposed to mortal sins. Like a misdemeanor, I guess.
VILLANELLE: A nineteen-line poem with two rhymes throughout, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain, with the first and third lines of the opening tercet recurring alternately at the end of the other tercets and with both repeated at the close of the concluding quatrain.

Today’s summary

Final score: 23 words for 102 points.
Genius minimum: 91 points.

UPDATE

Final score: 24 words for 103 points.
New word: PIKE.
First word: PEEKING.
Pangram: PEAKING.
Tweets: