Category Archives: Completed

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-23-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 2D Kind of treatment: ROYAL because that was holding me up from getting this pule done many minutes faster. For a long time, I’d had LOCAL in there instead. It made sense, I guess. LOCAL anesthetic, LOCAL bus, LOCAL dessert. But it was ROYAL instead. That let me knock out 17A Revelation: EYEOPENER and 4D Solid: STOUT.

No theme today, which is kind of a shame after some decent ones recently.

44A Spot of coffee?: BREAKROOM was a meh answer. I get the pun, but I don’t particularly like it.

I learned a little bit about geography with 41A Tasmania’s capital: HOBART.

64A Attraction at a water park: LAZYRIVER. I think the slides are far superior to the lazy river. I wouldn’t go to a water park to seek out the lazy river. But maybe I’m spoiled living walking distance from the ocean.

Finished this one in 33:30.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-22-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I thought I was going kinda slow with this one, as I did it while waking up, but that was wrong! I beat my old Thursday best by almost a minute! But this did feel like an overly friendly Thursday puzzle. And you see that the streak is at 46 now. Like I said in yesterday’s post: “Tomorrow’s puzzle will show that my streak really is still alive.”

I pulled out 22A Land of plenty?: ASIA because I don’t understand this answer. I had been under the impression that Australia is the land of plenty. That’s why it’s easy for them to reject temptation.

The theme for this puzzle was far out.

17A Ones sporting man buns and ironic T-shirts, say: HIPSTERS. Did covid bring back the manbun or did it never leave. And can it please go away for forever? I mean aside, meh.
20A Closest living relatives of whales: HIPPOPOTAMUSES. How do you stop a hippo from charging?
35A They enforce discipline among legislators: PARTYWHIPS.
42A Locations of some dives: SHIPWRECKS.
63A Little dipper?: PITACHIP. Awful answer. Really dumb. Pita chips can be big.
57A Inseparable … or like three pairs of answers in this puzzle?: JOINEDATTHEHIP.

That caused doubling!

1D Get back into shape: REHHAB instead of REHAB.
2D Come up: ARIISE instead of ARISE.
3D Lukewarm: TEPPID instead of TEPID.

27D Exhibited relief, in a way: EXHHALED instead of EXHALED.
33D It can be heavier in the summer: AIIR instead of AIR.
21D Admits: ACCEPPTS instead of ACCEPTS.

51D Run-of-the-mill: HOHHUM instead of HOHUM.
52D Upper echelon: ELIITE instead of ELITE.
53D Took performance-enhancing drugs: DOPPED instead of DOPED. But in the world of stonks and hodl, DOPPED seems real.

With the bonus:
32A Pelvic joints: COXAE.

I realize now that I’m disappointed the the puzzle didn’t make giant HIPs. The formatting should have extended.


Finished this one in 12:12. A new personal best for a Thursday.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-21-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Finally had the chance to do the crossword puzzle! Tomorrow’s puzzle will show that my streak really is still alive.

I pulled out 19A Action after a bad golf drive: RETEE because it reminds me of my first time in Scotland. I was playing the New Course in St Andrews with some randos, and I was having a rough time. Now, I’d been used to parkland golf, which has tree-lined fairways. But the New Course at St Andrews is a links course. It’s more like open field.

So after 11 tough holes, I stood at the 12th tee and planned it out in my mind. I hit a perfect draw to what I thought was the green. But it wasn’t the green. I found that out when the randos I was playing with asked me why I was celebrating when I’d hit the ball over there. When I said that it was exactly what I’d wanted to do because the green was right there, they laughed and pointed to the flag that was right in front of us. So to add one bizarre thing to the next, I reached the proper green on my second shot and two-putted for a birdie. Below is the markup of what I remember of my shots, seven years later. I didn’t retee.

This was another fun puzzle theme.

The grid itself has a Z in it, and there Z’s for deez. Zays for days.

17A Raucous music style similar to boogie-woogie: BARRELHOUSEJAZZ.

21A Bolivian capital: LAPAZ.
48A Spaces (out): ZONES.
53A The titular Nelsons of a classic sitcom: OZZIEANDHARRIET.
60A Dish with tomatoes and mozzarella: NEAPOLITANPIZZA. My cousin Ken makes a mean Neapolitan pizza in his pizza oven. He always seems to leave out the vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate, though. I don’t understand it.
4D Columnist Klein: EZRA.
12D Partner of confused: DAZED.
13D This clue number minus deux: ONZE.
15D Passions: ZEALS.
33D Make easier to recite, as the Great Lakes via HOMES: MNEMONIZE.
34D Vodka cocktail with cranberry and grapefruit juice: SEABREEZE.
46D Construction vehicle, informally: DOZER.
47D _ Day, Down Under holiday: ANZAC.

Finished this one in 14:27. It’s better than my overall Wednesday average, but it’s higher than my four-week Wednesday average. To be fair, I was distracted by Calah breaking open a coconut.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-20-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I decided to add a four-week average to the table at the bottom to see how my daily time compares not only to my overall as logged by the NYTXW site but also how I’ve been doing recently. Have I been doing better? Have I been doing worse? Am I right on? Since it’s not too difficult for me to track, I figure I might as well.

I pulled out 29A Almost unfathomably large number: GOOGOL because that’s a word whose spelling I know only from the NYT Spelling Bee.

Theme time! Wait, no theme? Just long answers?

19A Kind of headlight on older cars: SEALEDBEAM.
26A Observation deck feature not for the squeamish: GLASSFLOOR.
44A Stored deeply and securely: INTHEVAULT.
52A Chocolaty treats that you might “break me off a piece of”: KITKATBARS.

Finished this one in 9:54.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-19-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

The Monday streak is in full effect. It’s stretched to 66 weeks. As a comparison, Calah and I have been going out for 106 weeks, so that’s more than 62% of our relationship.

I pulled out 23A Decorates with bathroom tissue, as in a Halloween prank: TPS to point out how crazy this activity seemed just 12 months ago. Just wasting toilet paper by throwing it over a house? A tree? Even Halloween mummy costumes. And now we all have too much toilet paper. Or do we? The Delta variant is causing LA to reinstate the mask mandate. Is a run on toilet paper next?

Well, unlikely.

The theme of this puzzle was fun. I enjoyed this theme a lot.

17A Summery quip, part 1: TAKINGADOG.
35A Quip, part 2: NAMEDSHARK.
40A Quip, part 3: TOTHEBEACH.
57A End of the quip: ISABADIDEA.

It’s true! Taking a dog named Shark to the beach is a bad idea. It’ll probably get sand in your car.

But then again, the humor of calling for Shark and then telling people, “It’s OK. He doesn’t bite,” would really be fun.

Finished this one in 6:10.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-18-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Finished this one in 38:37, which is a good 20 seconds under yesterday’s Saturday. But my Sunday average is almost an hour.

I pulled out 6A Viva _ (aloud): VOCE because the first time I’d heard anything like this was in the book about The Room and inspiration for the feature film of the same name, The Disaster Artist, written by Greg Sestero. But the audiobook read by the author really is the way to take in the story. In it, he uses the term sottovoce, literally under or low voice, which we call a whisper. So that helped me get the answer to this clue.

The title of this puzzle is Dig In.

31A “With enough butter, “With enough butter, _“: ANYTHINGISGOOD.
38A “A party without cake is _“: REALLYJUSTAMEETING.
65A “If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. _?”: WHOSGOINGTOKNOW.
92A “I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I _“: EVENPUTITINTHEFOOD.
101A “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for _“: THESTEAKTOCOOK.

119A Chef quoted in this puzzle’s italicized clues: JULIACHILD.

From the Julia Child Foundation

This is tough to watch because today is Tisha B’Av, which is a fast day. So I’m hungry. A little less than seven and a half hours to go.

Finished this one in 38:37.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-17-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

This one was tough. It took me a bit to get going. I took stabs, and finally stuff started to fall into place.

I pulled out 21A Bagel variety: PLAIN because I disagree. I don’t consider plain to be a variety. I consider plain to be the opposite. Sure, could one say that bringing both sesame and plain is a variety of bagels? Yeah. But is the plain bagel what causes it to be a variety or the sesame seed bagel that causes it to be a variety?


I guess I would prefer assortment to variety if we’re talking about bringing more than one type, but I still believe that the original (i.e., plain) is not a variety but remixes (e.g., sesame seed) are.

And a quick check of Oxford says: “A thing which differs in some way from others of the same general class or sort; a type.”

So there you have it.

There was no theme for today’s puzzle, but here’s one more thing I found interesting.

15A First name in flight: AMELIA. Now, I had put in WILBUR. As in Wilbur Wright. Wright was wrong.

Wilbur is running alongside the flying Orville. From the Air & Space Magazine

I hadn’t really studied this picture that is so famous and awesome, North Carolina put it on its statehood quarter two decades ago:

They thought we wouldn’t notice that they moved stuff around!

The story by Tom Crouch that goes along with the marked-up photo is amazing. Also Wilbur was 36 and Orville was 32 when this happened.

It is one of the most famous photographs ever taken. The time was 10:35 on the morning of December 17, 1903. The place: The sand dunes four miles south of the little fishing village of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Earlier that morning, Orville Wright had set up the camera on a tripod pointed at the spot where he thought the airplane might be in the air. When three members of the U.S. Lifesaving Service Station at Kill Devil Hills walked up from the beach to help out, Wilbur handed John T. Daniels the bulb that would activate the shutter and told him to squeeze it if anything interesting happened.

I have often thought that being in the darkroom as the image emerged on the fragile glass plate would have been almost as exciting as witnessing the flight. “In the photographic darkroom at home,” Wilbur Wright once explained, “we pass moments of as thrilling interest as any in the field, when the image begins to appear on the plate and it is yet an open question whether we have a picture of a flying machine, or merely a patch of open sky.” With this image, they must have been thrilled indeed.

Experienced amateur photographers, the brothers honed their camera skills as they documented their flight research. By 1902, they were using the camera that would take the famous picture, a Korona-V, made by the Gundlach Optical Company. One of the best cameras on the market, it captured every detail of the flight of the world’s first airplane.

The craft rode down the 60-foot monorail track (A) on one bicycle wheel hub mounted under the forward elevator support and another on a cradle that was left behind when the airplane took off (B). The footprints in the sand (C) outline the spot where the small bench (D) served as a rest for the right wing before the flight. The shovel (E) was used in positioning the rail and burying an anchor that would hold the airplane in place on the rail before takeoff. The coil box (F) in front of the shovel provided the spark to start the engine. The small can (G) contained a hammer and nails for minor repairs.

But does the photo document a genuine flight? Orville Wright was flying into the teeth of a 24- to 27-mph headwind, moving forward so slowly that Wilbur had no trouble keeping up with him. While his distance over the ground was only 120 feet, the true distance flown through the air, because of the headwind, was calculated at 540 feet, well beyond the 300 feet the brothers decided would constitute a sustained flight.

The photo captured a moment when the elevator was at the extreme point. Evidence that Orville was able to recover and continue flying is found in the fact that when the photo was snapped, the airplane had travelled only 20 feet over the ground and had been in the air no more than two or three seconds. Far from being stalled, it is still flying and has to travel another 100 feet over the ground in the next nine or ten seconds. Orville was clearly exercising a measure of control over the craft. Each of the three flights that followed that morning was longer than the one before, culminating in Wilbur’s final flight, which covered 852 feet over the ground in 59 seconds. So the famous photo is just what it seems to be, an astounding image of the world’s first airplane at the outset of its first flight.

The Wright Brothers’ First Flight Photo, Annotated
A careful study of the shot taken in December 1903 at Kitty Hawk shows the moment of aviation’s birth.

Finished this one in 38:57.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-16-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Whew Friday.

I pulled out 56A Whiz: MAVEN because maven comes from the Hebrew word מבין (meh-VEEN) which means understand. So a maven is someone who understands.

The theme of this puzzle is Friday, I guess.

There’s nothing specifically long, so here’s some other stuff that stood out:

14A Band featured in Disney World’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: AEROSMITH.

17A Last of the Ptolemys: CLEOPATRA. I didn’t realize that she was part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Good for her!

54A She’s the responsible one in the group, colloquially: MOMFRIEND. I hadn’t heard of this title before. It makes sense, I guess. But also sounds kinda rude?

33D Make an unwanted appearance in a video call: ZOOMBOMB. I pieced this one together because it couldn’t be photobomb. I don’t want to do zoom anymore ever. Please mask up and get vaccinated and then continue to mask up.

23D Holiday hearth feature: YULELOG. Probably my favorite show on December 24. The 2020 Yule Log was way higher def than I remember it being in years past.

Finished this one in 29:01.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-15-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I was pretty certain I got the theme very quickly. It even helped me solve the puzzle. But I was not entirely correct!

I pulled out 27A Sport with Native American origins: LACROSSE because that’s news to me.

As can best be determined, the distribution of lacrosse shows it to have been played throughout the eastern half of North America, mostly by tribes in the southeast, around the western Great Lakes, and in the St. Lawrence Valley area. Its presence today in Oklahoma and other states west of the Mississippi reflects tribal removals to those areas in the nineteenth century. Although isolated reports exist of some form of lacrosse among northern California and British Columbia tribes, their late date brings into question any widespread diffusion of the sport on the west coast.

The History of Lacrosse by the late Thomas Vennum Jr. (from

Is that why lacrosse is still such an east coast thing? I mean, UCSB does have intercollegiate lacrosse with a dedicated field for intercollegiate lacrosse and did when I graduated in 2011, which is more than I can say for the men’s volleyball team that got rained out at Rob Gym and had to use a court at Rec Cen because it was easier to do that than to clear out the Thunderdome during intramural basketball or something. BTW that was the men’s volleyball team that (inexplicably) lost to Ohio State in the NCAA championship game that season. Amazing that the arguably best men’s volleyball team in college sports that year was willing to put up with a dusty room with a leaky roof and not demand that the school move intramural hoops out of the arena where both basketball teams played and where women’s volleyball played. I don’t understand it.

But lacrosse–a club sport at UCSB–had a dedicated field with a permanent scoreboard.

Theme time!

I just thought there were no U’s in the answers. It’s not wrong, but it’s also entirely wrong because there were U’s where they were needed. The puzzle filled them in for me when I’d finished.

1A “Delish!”: yuMyyM. I’d put YMYM.
1D Southwest desert plant: yuCCA. YCCA.
21A Southern newspaper that William Faulkner once contributed to, with “The”: TIMESPICAyuNE. TIMESPICAYNE.
10D Neaten: TIDyuP. TIDYP.
39A Cultivars known for their yellow flesh: yuKONGOLDPOTATOES. YKNGOLDPOTATOES.
27D Easy two-pointer: LAyuP. LAYP.
48A Quantity that’s tied to one’s carbon footprint: ENERGyuSE. ENERGYSE.
36D Popular hot-and-sour Thai dish: TOMyuMSOUP. TOMYMSOUP. Strange because there’s a U there? I’d fix it later.

57A What a solver might growl after catching on to this puzzle’s theme?: WHYYOULITTLE. That made no sense to me because there were no U’s before. And then 68A “_ is easily deceived, because it is quick to hope”: Aristotle: YOUTH has a U, too, that it has in common with SOUP. It’s when Y and U are next to each other that they share a room.

I give the theme a C-.

Finished this one in 21:09.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-14-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

The streak is well alive!

I pulled out 13A Menu at un café: CARTE because I only now realize that it’s carte like card. I always think about the dessert cart in restaurants back in the day.

Today’s theme was pretty EEEEEEEEEEEasy.

17A Clamoring for “The Bonfire of the Vanities“?: CRYINGWOLFE. It’s a novel by Tom Wolfe.
24A Selling someone on “The Importance of Being Earnest”?: WILDEPITCH.

It’s Nicolas Cage!

50A Spot to store “A Confederacy of Dunces“?: TOOLECHEST. By John Kennedy Toole.
62A Positive review of a Nancy Drew mystery?: PEACHYKEENE. Check out fellow WP writer, Peachy Keen!

Finished this one in 16:03.

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