Category Archives: NYT Crossword

NYT Crossword 1-5-21 Complete

Opened my eyes this morning but really started moving when I decided to play Sugar Ray on YouTube Music. The resulting automatically generated playlist contains 311, Third Eye Blind, Vertical Horizon, Smash Mouth, and Incubus. I could scroll down more, but I won’t right now.

I pulled out 9D One who didn’t make it to the office: ALSORAN because huuuuge election in Georgia going on right now. And then tomorrow is the counting of the Electoral College votes. It’s almost like they put this in today’s puzzle intentionally. I see you, Will Shortz.

I figured out the key to this puzzle early on.

16A Singer Benatar feels blue: PATSDOWN. Pat Benatar but also something I went through plenty before I got TSA Precheck. Later I got Global Entry. I don’t recommend getting either because I like the line to be as short as possible. I am selfish.
20A Author Grafton has arrived for dinner: SUESOVER. Sue Grafton but also litigiousness. There’s never enough litigation in this country.
26A Actress Wells has just entered the scene: DAWNSON. Dawn Wells but also I just got why this answer makes sense. OK, I got it a long time ago, but the prior sentence fit better in context.
37A Actor Nicholson will bat next: JACKSUP. Jack Nicholson and what I did to 59A before finally figuring that one out.
48A Baseball’s Boggs has agreed to join us: WADESIN. Wade Boggs but also venturing into consecutive clues referencing America’s pastime? I like baseball as much as the next guy, but this seems a little sloppy. How about Actor Nicholson has the lead for 37A?
53A Actor Norris got tagged: CHUCKSIT. Chuck Norris, but I wouldn’t want to try to tag him for fear of getting a roundhouse kick to the face.
59A TV father Cleaver has just left the starting line: WARDSOFF. I actually had a little trouble with this one. I had put WALLSOFF, but that was wrong because 49D Cool cat: DADDYO is clearly that and not DADLYO. Though, now that I think about it, it could be a combination of dad and dealio. What’s the dadlyo? could be an inquiry about someone’s father. We should start that.

Finished this one in 14:10.

My woodworking blog drops in a little more than an hour. It’s the first in the chair series.

NYT Crossword 1-4-21 Complete

Another freezing morning in Los Angeles! My hands are kind of locked in place, so I keep blowing on them so they thaw. It’s supposed to climb from the current 48 to the low 60s. So much for global warming.

I pulled out 48D Trucker who relays “bear traps”: CBER because it reminds me of a road trip Calah and I took last year. It was going to be a long enough road trip that I thought it would be beneficial to be able to listen to truck drivers as we went in case we could learn something. I have a Yaesu VX-5R handheld transceiver. I can pick up all kinds of analog bands on it. I hadn’t thought about the citizens band radio capabilities. Turns out that it has none. So rather than listening to truckers while driving through the night, it was Infected Mushroom. It’s great music for driving, but there was no advice about bear traps — police with radar.

Today’s theme was likely in reference to the new and unfortunately panned Wonder Woman 1984 film. But that was released last year. Is this just a delayed post?

61A Co-founder of the Justice League: WONDERWOMAN.
17A Identity of 61-Across: DIANAPRINCE. This is the clue that got me the theme. And I hadn’t even solved any other on-theme clue yet.
30A Originator of 61-Across: DCCOMICS. The name is like ATM Machine or The La Brea Tar Pits. DC originally stood for Detective Comics. So it’s Detective Comics Comics.
36A Television portrayer of 61-Across: LYNDACARTER.
44A Film portrayer of 61-Across: GALGADOT.

I finished this one in 12:25 due to errors like 1A Has a long shelf life: LASTS had to replace KEEPS. and 64A Humdingers: LULUS had to replace LUAUS.

NYT Crossword 1-3-21 Complete

I woke up late this morning and clearly took a while to get with it. Or this was just super tough for me, especially because I started last night and got a bunch wrong. But it alllllll worked out.

I pulled out 26D Liquid in a first-aid kit: IODINE because I do not think of iodine in relation to first aid. I know that’s my own shortcoming, but I think more of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. The skull and crossbones on the label is objectively scary.

GoodSense… to stay away from this deadly liquid

Once again I had forgotten to look at the title of the Sunday crossword because I’m used to it for the WSJ daily and not the NYT. Same as every week.

The title is Busting Moves. From that title, it’s about dancing obviously.

23A Title for Iran’s Ali Khamenei: SUP(R)(E)M(E)(L)EADER. The reel is a dance. I had thought it was the one where you pretend to go fishing and catch your partner. I had put in AYATOLLAH in the grid at the beginning and tried to find another word to complement it. Both thought were incorrect. The reel is like Riverdance stuff.

Informative and educational!

25A Tailored blouse style: SHIR(T)(W)A(I)(S)(T). Everyone knows The Twist. But a shirtwaist blouse? New to me.

Strange fashion of the past.

43A Subject of some teen gossip sessions: (B)(O)Y(P)ROBLEMS. The Bop! I had proudly filled this out early as KISSANDTELL. Not a single letter of this was correct.
47A Sure-footed alpine climber: MOUN(T)(A)I(N)(G)(O)AT. It takes two to tango. I’ve never tried, so when it comes to the dancing application of this expression, those two always have been other people. I kept going back and forth between LION and GOAT. Ultimately, GOAT was correct.
68A Bakery item that’s often messy: C(R)(U)(M)(B)C(A)KE. The Rumba! Calah will confirm that every cake for me is a crumb cake.
88A Caribbean capital: POR(T)(A)U(P)RINCE. Tap! With most letters missing, I had guessed GROSSEPOINTE. But no matter how Michigan tries, how much can we reasonably Haiti on it?
91A Kind of test question: S(H)(O)(R)T(A)NSWER. The Hora! Who’s looking to dance the hora with me at my wedding that is still yet unscheduled? Psych! COVID is making dancing exceedingly unlikely until the big party in the distant future.
114A Proceeds breezily: (S)(A)I(L)(S)(A)LONG. Salsa! Still waters lift all boats?
117A What a spike goes over: VOLLEY(B)(A)(L)(L)N(E)(T). Ballet! This is the one that helped me understand that the theme is dancing.

The gray boxes make up MAY I CUT IN? It appropriate because those letters split up the dances. Also you may not.

Finished this one in 74:09.

NYT Crossword 1-1-21 Complete

Happy new year, everyone! A surprising and unsurprising puzzle at the same time. Either way, not such a bad start to the 2021 crossword season. But I definitely don’t mind that the weekend is here.

I pulled out 54A Work on software: DEBUG because the origins of that word are pretty cool. Whether or not apocryphal, the story goes that there was a problem with the Harvard Mark II calculator. It turned out that the issue was a moth that was stuck in Relay 70 that Admiral Grace Hopper recorded as “First actual case of bug being found.” Now, the word “actual” may mean that the term was used metaphorically and then a literal case was found. Either way, go Admiral Hopper!

Admiral Grace Hopper in front of the Harvard Mark II Calculator

The theme of this puzzle was the new year.

11D 12/31: NYE. Not an inappropriate change from referencing Bill.
51A Passé: SOLASTYEAR. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is so last-last year, and we’re still fighting it.

And then the the answers with the numbers.

37A A fifth: 20PERCENT.
39A Fast-fashion retailer: FOREVER21. I didn’t know this store still existed, but the internet says that they have a new owner as of almost a year ago that has kept the stores open.
19D Inescapable bind: CATCH22. An oft-referenced book that few have read. I’m in the majority.
38D First graduates of the new millennium, informally: 01ALUMS. The new millennium started in 2001, just like how this decade started today.

The center of the puzzle is 2021.

Finished this one in 41:23.

NYT Crossword 12-31-20 Complete

The last NYTXW of the decade. How crazy. Sure, there’s debate as to whether the decade starts on the 1-year or on the 0-year, and while those who say the 0-year very obviously are wrong, it’s still America, and the incorrect 0-argument (with equal quantity of merit) is protected as free speech. I’m not an attorney, but I think that’s how that works.

Also now there’s enough writing so as not to reveal any answers in the text capture in the preview when this posts on twitter.

I pulled out 22A Product with the slogan “Trust the power within”: DURACELL because everyone knows the Duracell Bunny. Wait, no, everyone knows the Energizer bunny. But the Duracell Bunny came first. They had commercials and everything. Like this one:

But when the stodgy, British fools at Duracell let the trademark lapse, the sprightly, American Energizer jumped at the opportunity to take that over and throw it in the faces of their across-the-pond rivals.

Like in the late 18th century, a booming defeat of the British by the Americans.


I decided to use the rebus feature of the puzzle to put many letters into single squares. I’ve avoided that in the past, but why not try this time? In this screenshot, you can see how I started out strong but not without incorrect answers.

The theme was about what’s both hurting during this pandemic.

7D Local economy makeup … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme: SMALLBUSINESSES.

19A Broker’s request for funds: MARGincALL.
4D Diner or sleeper: TRAincAR.
It’s incorporated but smaller!
26A Digital currency: BITcoIN.
8D Faces of the digital age?: EMOTIcoNS.
It’s company but smaller!
38A Epic collapse: MEltdOWN.
31D Winner of a record 26 Oscars: WAltdISNEY.
It’s limited but smaller!
46A Highlighter of tihs clue?: SPEllcHECK.
40D Violently temperamental sorts: HEllcATS.
It’s limited liability company but smaller! Also it is limited liability COMPANY, not limited liability CORPORATION.

Happy new year, everyone! Let’s make 2021 way better than 2020 has been.

NYT Crossword 12-30-20 Complete

It’s another chilly day in Los Angeles. At 9am it’s 56 degrees outside, and even indoors, my fingers are being uncooperative as I type this. No fun. But this puzzle was pretty good for a Wednesday.

I pulled out 2D Mythological figure who’s a symbol of hubris: ICARUS because the Netflix documentary about Russian doping is insane. Calah and I watched it a couple weeks ago. It was new to her, but I’d seen it before. It starts out with filmmaker Bryan Fogel trying to understand the competitive cycling world and the role of performance-enhancing drugs within it. Then it takes a hard turn away from bikes. If you haven’t seen it yet, the only reason not to right now is if you haven’t seen Senna because Senna goes away tomorrow.

Racing bikes is something close to my heart, as I was on the mountain biking team in college. Was I the best on the team? Was I a standout on the team? Did I have fun on the team. The answer to all those is yes… except for the first two. An assessment UCSB Cycling teammate Geoffrey Bishop would agree with if he’s reading this post, and there’s a good chance of that because he reads my blog sometimes. What’s up, Geoff?

There I am! You know, not in the front.

The theme of this crossword is willpower.

14A It might cost extra at a beach resort: OCEANVIEW.
20A Clairvoyant’s accessory: CRYSTALBALL.
37A Key lime pie crust ingredient: GRAHAMCRACKER.
58A Cut above the rest?: PORTERHOUSE.

66A Nightstick … or what might form if the beginnings of 14-, 20-, 37- and 58-Across started paying dues?: BILLYCLUB.

14A BILLY OCEAN(view).
20A BILLY CRYSTAL(ball). It sounds like the 700 Sundays entire cast married all of the title characters of I Love Lucy. Also Billy Crystal and Bill Kristol put out a pro-Biden video targeted at the elderly in Florida back in October.

Oh, the banter!

37A BILLY GRAHAM(cracker).
58A BILLY PORTER(house).

Finished this one across three devices in 14:17.

NYT Crossword 12-29-20 Complete

A Tuesday with errors that slowed my time down. And my hands are freezing. It’s 44 degrees in LA right now. Heater? Nah. But that may change as I continue to type.

In other news, I’m now on Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 14 entitled Ozymandias. That’s the one on IMDb that’s rated 10/10. I’ve continued not to find this season compelling (other than to turn it off), and I’m wondering if the episode is a 10/10 in the context of this season or if it’s 10/10 in the context of the show. I can’t imagine it’s the latter.

I pulled out 5D Garment that may be “dropped”: TROU because I don’t think it’s appropriate use of quotation marks. Trou is short for trousers. Pants. Dropping pants and dropping trousers is the same thing. Why it “dropped” and not dropped? I don’t like it. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.

I got the answers to the theme clues before I got the answer to the theme clue.

17A Xena, notably: WARRIORPRINCESS. While watching the second season of Are You the One?, Jessica has black hair and blue eyes. I’m convinced that her hair is dyed black, but Calah either isn’t convinced or is messing with me. They dyed Lucy Lawless’s hair for Xena. This argument got me nowhere.
27A Largest lizard on earth (up to 10 feet long): KOMODODRAGON. It’s huge and eats big animals!

47A Who sang the 1973 #1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia”: GLADYSKNIGHT.

63A “Happily ever after” … or what 17-, 27-, 39- or 47-Across has?: FAIRYTALEENDINGS! PRINCESS, DRAGON, TOWER, KNIGHT.

Finished this one in 13:27 after correcting errors.

NYT Crossword 12-28-20 Complete

It’s a wet one today in Los Angeles. There was lightning last night and this morning! More in the forecast. I saw a truck loaded up with mattresses a couple days ago and mentioned to Calah that it’s good that randos are removing mattresses so they don’t get stuck in the storm drains when the big rain comes. It was funny because it doesn’t rain heavily here. Except when it does. I expect to hear stories of mudslides.

I pulled out 33D The devout do it on Yom Kippur: ATONE because I disagree so, so much with it. Now, I know that they wanted a break from the regular clue to the effect of “When lunch often ends,” but Yom Kippur is a holiday when the synagogues usually are filled to capacity at minimum. The Day of Atonement is absolutely not just a holiday that is observed by the devout, a word which means “Having or showing deep religious feeling or commitment.”

I abhor the conflation of the terms religious and observant because you can follow the letter of the law (observance) but miss the point, and you can follow the spirit of the law (religiousness) and not even be informed of the particular rules.

There’s a story in the Talmud (Shabbat 31a) where someone goes to one heralded scholar, Shammai, and asks him to explain the Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai, a scholar who is learned but with comparatively little real-world experience, finds the request to be ridiculous and tells the guy to scram. Then the guy goes to another heralded scholar, Hillel, and asks him for the same thing. Hillel is also learned but has much real-world experience. Hillel tells the guy that the whole Torah is that you shouldn’t do to your neighbor what you don’t want done to you and that the rest of it is details about how to do this. He then advises study of the Torah to learn those details.

Throughout the Talmud, Hillel and Shammai go head-to-head more than 300 times, and Hillel–the one with real-world experience–wins these arguments more than 90% of the time.

This is not to say that the Talmud creates a precedent for anti-intellectual, anti-academic bias. Rather, this is an inclusive approach and a rebuke to those who limit acceptance to the so-called devout.

There is an altitudinal theme to this puzzle.

3D Wile E. Coyote’s supplier: ACMECORPORATION.
5D Athlete’s goal in competition: PEAKPERFORMANCE.
9D Absolute chicness: HEIGHTOFFASHION.
11D Quaint greeting: TOPOFTHEMORNING.

In addition to the on-theme ACME, PEAK, HEIGHT, and TOP, the theme answers are vertical in the grid. Nice touch.

Finished this one in 7:07 last night, but I didn’t refresh the tab with the puzzle before grabbing the screenshot just now, so it shows almost 12 hours. I don’t feel like doing a new screen grab, so I won’t.

Be safe out there, and enjoy your Monday!

NYT Crossword 12-27-20 Complete

This one was a doozie. But I finally finished. I have a fun one to pull out because it was hard for me to be convinced away from it.

7D Snapchatter’s request: ADDME. I was certain–CERTAIN–it was NUDIE. Of course, it wasn’t. The answer does not make sense. My answer does. That’s been what people have said about the company since its inception, and Random wrote about it in TechJunkie this summer.

The title of this puzzle is Partnerships, and this was a source of credibility for the conclusion that NUDIE was the correct answer.

23A Law partners: JUDGEANDJURY. No executioner, though.
39A Silent partners: PEACEANDQUIET. The dream.
45A Writing partners: PENANDPAPER. I interviewed at a place once that wanted to get an understanding of my accounting acumen and gave me a test that was pencil and paper. It’s so slow compared to using computers, and the pace of the office seemed to match. Employment there was not to be.
64A Partners in crime: BREAKINGANDENTERING. My dad got me a book called A Burglar’s Guide to the City, and in it, there is discussion of what breaking actually is. That leads to a point that if it’s crossing a doorway, what happens if the doorway doesn’t have a top? Crossing through a garden gate is breaking, sure, but how tall does the fence have to be? Three feet? A foot and a half? An inch? Less? It continues down that path. Interesting food for thought.
82A Business partners: BOOMANDBUST.
89A Romantic partners: HUGSANDKISSES.
110A Domestic partners: ROOMANDBOARD. Reminds of the Mitch Hedberg segment about the Chair Lunch Dinner

Finished this one in 53:30.

NYT Crossword 12-25-20 Complete

This wasn’t bad for a Friday at all! I was surprised at how I made it through. That’s not to say that I didn’t screw up in places, but I’m happy with how this went.

I pulled out 23A _ Bay (place mentioned in “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”): FRISCO because people I know who are from San Francisco and those who live there do not accept that word as an abbreviation for their city. It’s like how USC hates being called Southern Cal–a lot. I remember reading in the media fliers before broadcasting UCSB-USC in baseball games that we were not to refer to the school that way. But back to FRISCO! SFGate wrote about the FRISCO origins and how out-of-towners call it that.

I have my own experience with the FRISCO name and why Bay Area friends of mine have said, “Frisco is a city in Texas.”

I’ve mentioned the game Rail Baron before. I’ll dig up where I wrote about it so you can click through if you’d like to. OK here it is. It’s a Spelling Bee post.

In Rail Baron, there’s a railroad abbreviated SLSF on the board. It’s the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. It was known as the Frisco Line, and the town of Emerson, TX renamed itself Frisco, TX after the railroad, since Emerson was built around the railway station there. Now more than 100 years old, Frisco is now a city of about 200,000.

The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway never extended west of Texas and was absorbed into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980. The Burlington Northern Railroad merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1995 to make the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. That’s the BNSF we see on railcars.

As for the theme of this puzzle, I didn’t see any, so I’ll end this here.

Finished this puzzle in 25:54.

Have a great weekend!