I pulled out 2D Thorny tree: ACACIA because cutting boards are important to me, and acacia cutting boards are inexpensive and in abundance. Even Williams-Sonoma has acacia cutting boards for cheap.
But as you’ll see in tomorrow’s woodworking blog post, I like other woods for cutting boards.
17A Former CNN anchor with a true-crime series on the Investigation Discovery channel: PAULAZAHN. 24A Places where kids can feed goats and sheep: PETTINGZOOS. 40A Classic Nintendo character named after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife: PRINCESSZELDA. 52A Warsaw currency: POLISHZLOTY. Will they ever join the euro? No.
64A So simple … like 17-, 24-, 40- and 52-Across?: EASYPEASY. Because P Z for all the answers.
I pulled out 12D One hell of a writer?: DANTE because this year’s theme for the Magic Castle is Dante’s Inferno. Well, it’s Dante’s Inferno II because the theme a decade ago was regular Dante’s Inferno, and a fire did break out, and it was bad.
But this year they have a specialty drink called El Diablo, and it comes with an awesome souvenir cup.
The title of this puzzle is Sports Nuts.
22A Your ex’s new date whom you just can’t stand?: OFFENSIVEREBOUND. 34A Kegels, e.g.?: FLOOREXERCISE. 51A First square of a crossword?: STARTINGBLOCK. 68A “I’ll be your waiter tonight,” e.g.?: SERVICELINE. 82A Conspiracy theory so wild that it can’t be aired?: UNPLAYABLELIE.
96A Plan to leave at a very specific evening time?: SEVENTENSPLIT. I learned in college the theory of how to knock down both pins. I’ve tried but haven’t been successful. I also rarely get the opportunity. 114A Blackjack dealer?: DESIGNATEDHITTER.
I pulled out 15A Like cranks: GROUCHY because I’ve found that the only crossword thing worse than a puzzle edited by Will Shortz is a puzzle edited by Will Shortz and written by Sam Ezersky. The NYT Spelling Bee has a lot of nonsense, and when Sam writes a crossword puzzle, it’s not much different. A lot of the words were weird, and the tougher answers weren’t rewarding.
The best part was that there was no theme for this Saturday puzzle.
More later, but I’ve run out of time and have an early morning. Go Dodgers! Two more to win to get to the World Series 😮 😮 😮
I pulled out 20A Number of Emily Dickinson poems, out of the 1,700+ she wrote, that were published during her lifetime: TEN because I find it amazing that she only had 10 items published while she was alive and people are talking about her a century later. Meanwhile I’m nearing 1000 posts on this blog, and I have no illusions that people not related to me will know about me a quarter of a century after I’m wormfood.
I pulled out 22A Dead even: ALLTIEDUP because right now the Dodgers are up by two after one inning, and all tied up would be the best case outcome of tomorrow’s game. Now I’m back to this post, and Dodgers are down 5-2 at the Seventh Inning Stretch. Ridiculous.
19A *Children’s book whose title character says “If I can fool a bug, I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs”: CHARLOTTESWEB. 6D *Chain known for its soft pretzels: AUNTIEANNES. 25D *Prominent left-leaning political action committee: EMILYSLIST.
28D Literary trio found in the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues: THEBRONTES. Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte, and Emily Bronte.
I pulled out 22A Like neon gas: NOBLE because I had written INERT because it fit and worked, except that it turned out that it fit but didn’t work.
17A Athlete who rarely gets sacked or has a pass intercepted: STARQUARTERBACK -> S|TAR|QU|ART|ERBACK. 29A Run-down places: RATTRAPS -> |RAT|TRA|PS. 33A Figure to aim for, according to personal trainers: TARGETHEARTRATE -> |TAR|GETHE|ART|RAT|E. 42A Pastry made with an orchard fruit: PEARTART -> PE|ART|ART|. 56A Political group symbolized by a donkey: DEMOCRATICPARTY -> DEMOC|RAT|ICP|ART|Y.
37D Various creative mediums … or a hint to variations found in the shaded squares: ARTFORMS. Because they’re A-R-T in different forms. Yay.
I spent much of this day on my newest project that I’ll document in my weekly woodworking blog that drops every Tuesday at 10am PT. When the time changes after Halloween, it still will be at 10am PT, but t will be PST rather than PDT. I don’t know why we don’t have PDT for forever like we’d told the California legislature that we approve them to do.
I pulled out 76D Abacus piece: BEAD because I thoroughly enjoy the Arrested Development gag.
The title of this puzzle is Common Core. Because teaching to a test is always the way to make sure students learn, but if there are no standards, how do we make sure things don’t go off the rails? I’m just glad that I don’t have to make education policy. I’m sure that Joy Resmovits has more to say on this topic.
23A Meaningful work?: ROGETSTHESAURUS. Until I was in my early 20s, I thought that Roget was pronounced as written. Like Rodget’s. During a discussion with my dad, I said something about Roget’s (pronounced Rodget’s) Thesaurus, and he started to ridicule me. As this is an infrequent activity of his, I was confused as to why. “I’ts pronounced ro-ZHAY.” I didn’t believe him because why would that be? These are English words. But it was ro-ZHAY all along. 36A Ballet supporter, e.g.: PATRONOFTHEARTS. I know ballet is hard to do, but I know that I want to go to the ballet. I’d rather support the magical arts. 63A Present without being present: THEREINSPIRIT. Good name for a Halloween-themed band. 87A Ritzy transports: CHARTEREDPLANES. I want to take a private jet one day. I don’t want to pay for it, but maybe I’ll get to go on a trip with someone? 106A You wouldn’t want them to have a crush on you: BOACONSTRICTORS. This reminds me of a thing that was brought to my attention by William Goldman’s book Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade:
Okay. This is from a supposed U.S. Government Peace Corps manual. It is given to volunteers who work in the Amazon jungle. It tells what to do if an anaconda attacks you. In case you don’t know much about them, maybe this will help: they are the largest snakes in the world, they can grow to thirty-five feet, can weigh four hundred pounds.
This is what the manual said:
1. If you are attacked by an anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are.
2. Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another.
3. Tuck your chin in.
4. The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.
5. Do not panic.
6. After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic!
7. The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.
8. When the snake has reached your knees, slowly and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the snake’s mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake’s head.
I pulled out 8A Bright night lights: NOVAS because my friends Cat and Nick have a dog named Nova. Nova is very big and very friendly. If Nova ever sees this blog post, hiiiiiiiiiiiiii!
Honorable mention clue: 15A “Sorry if you were offended,” e.g.: NONAPOLOGY because Calah and I were talking today about nonapology apologies and how annoying they are.
No theme for this Saturday puzzle, but the time was something exciting for me. I bested my personal record of 20:12 on July 24, 2021 with a new record of 20:11. I had to scramble to find when the prior record was, but I got there. So it bears mentioning again: