Category Archives: Completed

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 brooklynlacrosse.org)

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.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:213:499:29
Tuesday10:235:2213:42
Wednesday16:037:3817:30
Thursday21:0913:0929:46
Friday16:2335:12
Saturday27:4335:55
Sunday15:1158:36

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.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:213:499:29
Tuesday10:235:2213:42
Wednesday16:037:3817:30
Thursday13:0930:00
Friday16:2335:12
Saturday27:4335:55
Sunday15:1158:36

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-13-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

Clearly the MLB All Star Game is on everyone’s mind.

I pulled out 33A Proficient: ADROIT because it is another example of how we love right-handedness and hate lefties. Lefties are sinister.

sinister (adj.)

early 15c., “prompted by malice or ill-will, intending to mislead,” from Old French senestresinistre “contrary, false; unfavorable; to the left” (14c.), from Latin sinister “left, on the left side” (opposite of dexter), of uncertain origin. Perhaps meaning properly “the slower or weaker hand” [Tucker], but Klein and Buck suggest it’s a euphemism (see left (adj.)) connected with the root of Sanskrit saniyan “more useful, more advantageous.” With contrastive or comparative suffix -ter, as in dexter (see dexterity).

The Latin word was used in augury in the sense of “unlucky, unfavorable” (omens, especially bird flights, seen on the left hand were regarded as portending misfortune), and thus sinister acquired a sense of “harmful, unfavorable, adverse.” This was from Greek influence, reflecting the early Greek practice of facing north when observing omens. In genuine Roman auspices, the augurs faced south and left was favorable. Thus sinister also retained a secondary sense in Latin of “favorable, auspicious, fortunate, lucky.”

Meaning “evil” is from late 15c. Used in heraldry from 1560s to indicate “left, to the left.” Bend (not “bar”sinister in heraldry indicates illegitimacy and preserves the literal sense of “on or from the left side” (though in heraldry this is from the view of the bearer of the shield, not the observer of it; see bend (n.2)).

Things you shouldn’t do are gauche.


gauche (adj.)

“awkward, tactless,” 1751 (Chesterfield), from French gauche “left” (15c., replacing senestre in that sense), originally “awkward, awry,” from gauchir “turn aside, swerve,” from Proto-Germanic *wankjan (source also of Old High German wankon, Old Norse vakka “to stagger, totter”), from PIE *weng- “to bend, curve” (see wink (v.)).

But proficient?

adroit (adj.)

1650s, “dexterous,” originally “rightly,” from French adroit, which by Old French had senses “upright (physically and morally); able, clever, skillful; well-formed, handsome; on the right-hand side; veritable,” from adverbial phrase à droit “according to right.”

This is from Old French à “to” (see ad-) + droitdreit “right,” from Medieval Latin directum (contracted drictum) “right, justice, law,” neuter or accusative of Latin directus “straight,” past participle of dirigere “set straight,” from dis- “apart” (see dis-) + regere “to direct, to guide, keep straight” (from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,” with derivatives meaning “to direct in a straight line,” thus “to lead, rule”). It expresses prominently the idea of a trained hand. Related: Adroitlyadroitness.

Now that we’ve gotten rid of the southpaws, here’s today’s theme.

18A Address every aspect of something: COVERALLTHEBASES.
28A Immediately: RIGHTOFFTHEBAT.
44A Oddly and unexpectedly: OUTOFLEFTFIELD.
57A Situation that starts things completely over: WHOLENEWBALLGAME.
6D Kind of pitcher: RELIEF.
39D An umpire’s outstretched arms signifies this: SAFE.
48D Certain worker in a stadium: USHER.


Finished this one in 10:23.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:213:499:29
Tuesday10:235:2213:42
Wednesday7:3817:31
Thursday13:0930:00
Friday16:2335:12
Saturday27:4335:55
Sunday15:1158:36

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-12-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

What started 64 Mondays ago continues today. Make that 65 Mondays in a row!

I pulled out 65A ___ network: NEURAL because I’m a big fan of Janelle Shane‘s AI Weirdness blog. The bizarre things her neural network comes up with has put me in tears on numerous occasions.

Also Tesla is ready for fully self-driving with good decisions. Except that it isn’t fully self-driving.

And as far as good decisions go?

I’m happy that there was a good theme on a Monday.

17A Song lyric before “short and stout”: I(MALI)TTLETEAPOT.
26A Attorney general under George W. Bush: ALBER(TOGO)NZALES. There’s a reason it was so easy for me to come up with Alberto Gonzales, and that reason is Harry Shearer.

I used to listen to Le Show on the regular, and it’s weird for me to realize right this moment that I haven’t heard an episode in almost a decade. Yikes.
43A Appeasing, idiomatically: THROWIN(GABON)ETO. Also a lyric from the above song.
56A Grilled Japanese dish on skewers: CHICKENYAKITORI.

62A Where this puzzle’s circled letters can be found: AFRICA.

Finished this one in 6:21.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:213:499:29
Tuesday5:2213:43
Wednesday7:3817:31
Thursday13:0930:00
Friday16:2335:12
Saturday27:4335:55
Sunday15:1158:36

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-11-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

It’s July 11. Usually that means 7-Eleven has free slurpees from 11am to 7pm. It didn’t happen last year, and this year you have to do stuff through the app? I heard the free slurpee offer can be redeemed at any point this month, but they’re making me get an app? Forget that! Too much work for a free slurpee.

I pulled out 35D She might take care of a kid on a sick day: DRMOM and 1D What the doctor ordered: DRUG because it’s super sloppy to have the answer to one clue in the question of another. Is it time for Will Shortz to hit the showers?

The tile of this puzzle is No Ruse. But really it’s No R Use. Check it:

24A Onus for a magician’s disappearing act?: BURDENOFPOOF. Because burden of proof.
26A Study of how gels gel?: GOOPDYNAMICS. Because group dynamics.
56A Angry Wisconsin sports fans?: MILWAUKEEBOOERS. Because current first place in the NL Central aby four games Milwaukee Brewers. 14 games over .500 is good, sure, but the Dodgers are 20 games over .500 and are still two games back of the Giants. And I have my own feelings about those three games dropped to the Marlins.
80A Getting “Amscray!” under control?: TAMINGOFTHESHOO. Because The Taming of the Shrew. Though I’d expected it to have to do with Pig Latin. Disappointed that it didn’t.
110A Power of a cowboy’s shoe? BOOTSTRENGTH. Because brute strength.
116A Odysseus’ wife whispers sweet nothings? PENELOPECOOS. Because Penelope Cruz.

Finished this one in 51:20.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:003:499:30
Tuesday5:225:2213:43
Wednesday10:407:3817:31
Thursday33:3113:0930:00
Friday25:0916:2335:12
Saturday35:1327:4335:55
Sunday51:2115:1158:36

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-10-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

This Saturday puzzle looked hopeless. I’m really glad I started Friday when it came out and picked it up again tonight. If I’d had to start it tonight, it would have a severe impact on anything else I’m doing.

I pulled out 1D Computer store: CACHE because I was struggling with that one for so long. I kept going back to it. At first I’d thought APPLE, but that didn’t make any sense because there was no hint that it was that. Nothing else really fit. It wasn’t the last clue I got, but it was close.

The theme also seemed to be long and a little obscure?

1A Goof: CARELESSMISTAKE. Not an early answer for me.
16A Mischievous character in West African folklore: ANANSITHESPIDER. Um, what?

Published in 1987, so I can’t claim to be too old!

Oh. I’m just uncultured.

17A Hosts: COMMUNIONWAFER. Too Jewish to have gotten this one early.
61A Passive-aggressive tactic: SILENT TREATMENT.
64A Renter’s amenity: PRIVATEENTRANCE. How is this the answer to this clue?
65A Gaze at with appreciation: FEASTONESEYESON.

Finished this one in 35:13.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:003:499:30
Tuesday5:225:2213:43
Wednesday10:407:3817:31
Thursday33:3113:0930:00
Friday25:0916:2335:12
Saturday35:1327:4335:55
Sunday15:1158:57

NYT Crossword Puzzle Remembering the Revolutionary War July 1997 (contains spoilers)

I feel like the spoiler alert isn’t quite necessary for a puzzle from 1997, but why mess with tradition?

I pulled out 55A Dairy counter purchase: YOGURT because it took a lot for me to get there. Dairy counter? Come on. Dairy counter. But it makes sense, as long as the yogurt here is frozen yogurt. Who needs to talk to anyone to get some strawberry banana?

Finished in 20:06, which is about as long as expected for many references that are crazy old.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-9-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

This one required plenty of guessing. Sometimes I was right. Sometimes I was wrong. Ultimately, I was right, and that means I get to keep the streak going.

I pulled out 39D Israeli P.M. between Rabin and Netanyahu: PERES. I had been under the long impression that Shimon Peres was only ever president, but I guess he was PM, too!

No theme but long answers:

17A Olympics haul of fame?: GOLDMEDALS.
25A Skill for a good physician: BEDSIDEMANNER.
40A Accept things as they are: GOWITHTHEFLOW.
52A Crawl: SNAILSPACE.
27D “Keep on keepin’ on!”: DONTGIVEUP.
6D People-powered vehicles: PADDLEBOATS.
24D On menus, it’s often by the lobster: MARKETPRICE.
11D Choice made while thinking “ugh”: LESSEREVIL.

Finished this one in 25:09.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:003:499:30
Tuesday5:225:2213:43
Wednesday10:407:3817:31
Thursday33:3113:0930:00
Friday25:0916:2335:12
Saturday27:4336:06
Sunday15:1158:57

NYT Crossword Puzzle 7-8-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I started this one last night and figured out the theme before solving all the theme clues!

I pulled out 29A Jules who lent his name to an article of attire: LEOTARD because I had gotten _____RD and was certain it was JACQUARD. But that wasn’t the answer. Instead, it was this man:

Circuses and Sideshows and legends: Jules Leotard.

And JACQUARD wouldn’t even fit. Not that that really mattered in this puzzle.

(How about that for a transition to the theme?)

17A Fashionable: AL(AM/FM)ODE. ALAMODE! I thought this meant it comes with ice cream.
3D Not amplified, in a way: OFF(AM/FM)IKE. OFFMIKE.
21A Coffee liqueur originally from Jamaica: TIAMARIA.

This is all new to me!

10D Rich, but not born that way: SEL(AM/FM)ADE. SELFMADE.
56A 2001 Broadway hit with an exclamation mark in its name: MAMM(AM/FM)IA. MAMMAMIA!
43D Certain flag position: HAL(AM/FM)AST. HALFMAST?????? NO. NONONONONONNO. A sail can be at half-mast. A flag can be a half-staff. Idiot Will Shortz. I was gonna let the exclamation mark thing go, but now I can’t.

62A Something to meditate on: YOG(AM/FM)AT. YOGAMAT.
49D Figure in a horror film: WOL(AM/FM)AN. WOLFMAN!

39A It can be two-way … with a hint to four squares in this puzzle: RADIO.

Finished this one in 33:31.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:003:499:30
Tuesday5:225:2213:43
Wednesday10:407:3817:31
Thursday33:3113:0930:00
Friday16:2335:42
Saturday27:4336:06
Sunday15:1158:57

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

Happy two years together, Calah! Two years ago today was our first date. Pretty soon we’ll be married, so that’s pretty cool.

I pulled out 51A Oaf: PALOOKA because I happened upon that word rather than solving it.

palooka (n.)

by 1926, “mediocre prizefighter,” of unknown origin, credited to U.S. sportswriter and Variety magazine staffer Jack “Con” Conway (1898-1928), who might at least have popularized it. Non-boxing sense of “average person” is from Joe Palooka, hero of Ham Fisher’s boxing-themed comic strip, which debuted in 1930.

Theme time!

22A Snoozes (like participant #2 in one classic fable): TAKESANAP.
38A With 71-/72-/73-Across, participant #1’s strategy (or the moral of the story): SLOWANDSTEADY. WINS. THE. RACE.
57A Wagers unwisely (as participant #2 did): LOSESABET.

And the circled letters are TORTOISE and HARE.

But I have an issue with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise got lucky. The tortoise had no hope to win the race. The hare got cocky. Slow and steady doesn’t win the race otherwise.

But what are you going to do?

Finished this one in 10:40.

DayThis WkBestAverage
Monday6:003:499:30
Tuesday5:225:2213:43
Wednesday10:407:3817:31
Thursday13:0929:54
Friday16:2335:42
Saturday27:4336:06
Sunday15:1158:57