Category Archives: Completed

NYT Crossword 9-29-20 complete

I can’t sleep, so I’m writing this post from bed. I know I haven’t done a crossword post in a while, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been doing the puzzles. I’ve been doing the Monday puzzle for two dozen weeks in a row, and the Tuesday streak for half that. I ran out of time a few months ago because I’d forgotten about it until well into remote board games with my friends and couldn’t break away.

This puzzle had a typography theme:

18A No later than + 19A Tightly packed: UN(TIL|DE)NSE ~

24A Gray in the face + 25A Prodigies, informally: AS(HY|PHEN)OMS –

51A Homes with wheels + 53A “Toy Story” boy: C(AMPERS|AND)Y &

61A Something to make in an emergency? + 62A having low odds of success: H(ASTE|RISK)Y *

Two things I find interesting to point out in this puzzle.

The first is the history of ampersand. While this is a good detailed history from the OED, the summary is that the symbol is a combined et, the name ampersand is a screwed-up version of and [referring to &] per se and. So & is itself and. It also used to be the 27th letter, so there’s that, too.

To go one step further along these lines, I went to the Getty Villa with my family back in February, and I saw “&c.” in some old writings. That turned out to be an even shorter version of et cetera. It makes sense: etc.=et+c, and et=&, so et cetera=etc.=&c.

The other thing worth mentioning is 52D Sewing machine inventor Howe: ELIAS.

Our government explains Elias Howe’s invention in an adorable, dated site likely geared toward children. I know it’s not intended to educate Trump because his name doesn’t appear every so often.

Essentially, Elias Howe made a sewing machine, but it kinda sucked. Isaac Singer and Allen Wilson made it good. Nobody’s heard of Elias Howe, but everyone knows Singer sewing machines

NYT Crossword 8-19-20 Complete

OK someone tell me what’s going on here. I’ve never seen this in my LIFE.

1A. With 5-Across, means of survival
1D. With 41-Across, generational sequence

The answers to 5A is BOAT, and the answer to 41A is CYCLE. The answer to both 1A and 1D is LIFE.

I haven’t discussed Will Shortz in a while, but dude! Come on! If it’s not sloppiness, it’s totally Real sad, bro.

Is he slipping? Did he forget to edit this one? I’m still at a loss for words on this one, and that’s a surprise because I had to come up with one fewer than I thought I’d have to.

NYT Crossword 8-17-20 Complete

Back to some crosswords! I did this one on my phone. Computer is easier, but phone is more convenient from bed.

The highlighted clue here is 22A That is to say, in Latin: IDEST.

This brings up the discussion of two specific common misuses in writing: i.e. vs. e.g., and my fiancee knows all too well that I enjoy talking about this one.

These two are taken from Latin.

First, e.g.: This is short for the Latin exempli gratia, which means (for) example’s sake. Use this when you’re illustrating your point by providing a subset of all the examples that can be used in that way.

I own scores of domain names, and almost all of them redirect to this blog. When people ask me how to get to my blog, I don’t give the same answer every time. While there are many I repeat (e.g.,,, I rarely know which domain name I’ll provide in advance of the conversation.

I have more than those three that I repeat. I could have included,, and, as I use those frequently, too. But I didn’t, so it’s e.g.

Second, i.e.: This is short for the Latin id est, which means that is. Direct translation. It signifies a specific item you are discussing/describing. Think of i.e. as the word namely.

Remember when this blog had a more generic domain name? I certainly do. When I started this blog, I was OK with the free name I got. But when I decided to register a domain name through WordPress, I dropped the free one (i.e. in favor of using

I’m not giving an example of free WordPress names, I’m talking about my free WordPress name. My free WordPress name only can refer to

So there you have it.

WSJ Crossword 8-10-20 Complete

Pretty simple puzzle. Finished in 5:27. Remember when I used to finish in about twice that time?

The puzzle’s title is Huge Crowd, with the emphasis on the former. They follow the clue 34A Concert crescendo, and what 16-, 24-, 49- and 59-Across all have: BIGFINISH

16A Gibberish: MUMBO(JUMBO)
24A Generally: BYAND(LARGE)
49A “Fantastic!”: THATS(GREAT)

Nothing really standout about this one. No new words learned. I still haven’t gotten that pangram from today’s NYT Spelling Bee. I don’t know how I’m missing it, but I am. I got one more word, but it wasn’t the pangram. Update on Spelling Bee later.

NYT Crossword 8-10-20 Complete

After a few days off from the crossword puzzles, I’m back with the NYT Monday. I had done the NYT Thursday but never posted the puzzle that was mostly empty anyway. Really tough time with that Thursday.

So this Monday puzzle was not the easiest Monday but still a Monday. I could see this as a Tuesday, but I might just be tired today.

The theme had to do with 56D Typically lost items that are “found” in the starts of 16-, 24-, 45- and 57-Across: KEYS
16A Designation on many a driver’s license: ORGANDONOR because the musical instrument organ has keys.
24A Bright, sunny area of a house: FLORIDAROOM because Florida keys. Also I had never heard of this room.
45A Launch vehicle for many NASA missions: ATLASROCKET because atlases have keys. I had to think about this one awhile. Key like legend.
57A Ringlet on a salon floor (what’s a salon?): LOCKOFHAIR because locks have keys.

Apparently this is a Florida Room. Sure. Why not? (PC:

Puzzle took me 7:31. I care more today about the Spelling Bee. Still can’t get that pangram.

NYT Crossword 8-5-20 Complete

Holy smokes! I wanted to get the crossword post out before I watch Twin Peaks through Netflix Party with some friends. I start it at 7, so I don’t have a lot of time. I looked at the clues and just went for it. I started at the top left and ended at the bottom right.

I know there is a theme in this one because some answers had to do with a theme, but I figured out the answers as I went through without ever considering the theme. I’ll look back on it later to see what that was, but this post goes out first.

This is the first time I’ve done a Wednesday this fast. I did the whole thin in 7:55 with no errors. For me, that’s amazing. I’m still stunned. I have more than 10 minutes until Twin Peaks.

NYT Crossword 8-4-20 Complete

I learned a bunch from this puzzle.

Like Brian McKnight would say, “Start it back at 1,” so here we go.

1D Mocking remark: JAPE. JAPE?! No idea.

jape (v.)late 14c., “to trick, beguile, jilt; to mock,” also “to act foolishly; to speak jokingly, jest pleasantly,” perhaps from Old French japer “to howl, bawl, scream” (Modern French japper), of echoic origin, or from Old French gaber “to mock, deride.” Phonetics suits the former, but sense the latter explanation. Chaucer has it in the full range of senses. Around mid-15c. the Middle English word took on a slang sense of “have sex with” and subsequently vanished from polite usage. It was revived in the benign sense of “say or do something in jest” by Scott, etc., and has limped along since in stilted prose. Related: Japedjaping.

So that’s a thing I now know.

53D Frozen dessert chain: TCBY. We all know that it’s the place to go for the country’s best yogurt, but I haven’t seen one of those since I was on the Santa Monica College campus.

Oh I just checked, and TCBY is still on that campus! That’s pretty cool. Too bad I have to miss out this summer because covid!

WSJ Crossword 8-3-20 Complete

Wall Street Journal’s puzzle was all about travel. You know, the thing we can’t really do right now because coronavirus has changed what we can do in our lives.

The circled answers all were types of streets:
16A 1992 movie based on an “SNL” sketch: (WAY)NESWORLD
26A Perk for an exec: PRIVATEP(LANE) <-really the only reasonable way to fly during a pandemic
46A It might entitle you to a discount: (COURT)ESYCARD<-a thing I’ve never heard of
61A Spend a semester at the Sorbonne, say: STUDYAB(ROAD)

There were other travel- or trip-based clues/answers:
10A Bag checkers at the airport: Abbr.: TSA
15A Georgia airport code: ATL
9D Potent hallucinogen: LSD
12D Chain for yodelers: ALPS
27D “Let’s go!” in La Paz: VAMOS
56D Currency in Cyprus: EURO

NYT Crossword 8-3-20 Complete

Ahhhh Monday. The return of the simple puzzle. Easy and educational.

30A Ancient carver of stone heads in Mesoamerica: OLMEC. Olmec or Ol’ Mec? To the googles!

They were an entire civilization independent of the Mayas. Worth a read:

Here’s something glaringly sloppy in this crossword:
42D H2O, south of the border: AGUA
47D Light blue shades: AQUAS

But 53D “Huh, funny running into you!”: OHHI was funny because I’m a big fan of the film The Room.

The theme clues of this puzzle are related to 57A The terrible twos, e.g. (one hopes!) … or the start of 17-, 22-, 36- or 45-Across?
17A Where to go for a fill-up: (GAS)STATION
22A Firm place to plant your feet: (SOLID)GROUND
36A Viewing options popularized in the 1990s: (PLASMA)SCREENTVS
45A Cash or stocks, e.g.: (LIQUID)ASSETS

Pretty good.

NYT Crossword 8-2-20 Complete

The Sunday puzzle continues to be my least-favorite of the week. It’s huge. I’d rather go to Dodger Stadium to catch a game or go to the bar to catch a game or get together with friends, but since those things don’t exist anymore, it’s the Sunday puzzle.

This one’s theme at least got me to chuckle. The shared G.

23A Nobody but the guy gettin’ married on his feet? (STANDINGROOMONLY)
38A Winter item you’ll be wearin’ for years? (EVERLASTINGLOVE)
58A Danger when walkin’ in a silo? (FALLINGRAIN)
87A Sayin’ “Look, here’s the thing about dry land…”? (QUALIFYINGROUND)

Of those, 87A is my favorite. I’m just imagining situations where that could come about in conversation. Summertime in the San Fernando Valley? California drought? Sinkholes?

23A is the one I like least. As many of you know, I’ve been engaged for almost six months. I wasn’t looking for a prolonged engagement, and COVID persisting is really putting a damper on wedding plans. Really, super annoying. So all these wedding-themed crossword clues make me react like McKayla Maroney.

Will Shortz at it again with those wedding clues.

As always, looking forward again to the Monday puzzle!