It’s Thursday and the first full day of the Biden presidency. A reminder that I’m writing this on Sunday, January 17. It’s the end of my first week of doing last week’s puzzles on Sunday and timing them to post throughout the week.
I pulled out 57A Is for two: ARE because I got a chuckle out of it. Is is for one. Are is for two. What a world!
The title of this puzzle is Victory Parade. Biden won, the inauguration was yesterday, and even Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal has long turned to dunking on Trump.
17A Like an active surfer?: INMANYWAVES. 24A Message left for each of Henry VIII’s spouses?: AWORDTOTHEWIVES. 36A Suffers from a fear of icicles? FEELSILLATEAVES. 49A Motivations for midnight snacking?: THELATESTCRAVES. 58A Cat’s nine-pat allotment?: PACKOFLIVES.
It was all gratuitous these:
17A INMANYWAVES – V = IN MANY WAYS. 24A AWORDTOTHEWIVES – V = A WORD TO THE WISE. 36A FEELSTILLATEAVES – V = FEEL STILL AT EASE. 49A THELATESTCRAVES – V = THE LATEST CRAZE. 58A PACKOFLIVES – V = PACK OF LIES.
This is the ides of January puzzle. Too many people don’t know that the ides of a month is more infrequently than not on the 15th. It’s on the 13th day of every month that isn’t one of March, May, July, and October. Also I’m writing this on Sunday, January 17, and the deeper into the week I get, the more I don’t know what has happened. If the tone of this blog post is incongruous with how the world looks, my bad. But hi from the past!
I pulled out 23A Plymouth Reliant, e.g.: KCAR because I had only heard of the K-Car in the Barenaked Ladies song If I Had $1,000,000:
If I had $1,000,000 I would buy you a K-Car (a nice reliant automobile).
It makes more sense now that I know that a Reliant is a K-Car, so it’s a good play on words as both a reliant automobile and a Reliant automobile. Nice job, BNL. Also in the news is that Chrysler has merged with PSA, the company that made Peugeot and Citröen. The joint company is called Stellantis. Is it a dumb name? Yes. But is it a good name? No.
The title of this puzzle is You’re All Wet.
17A Unofficial means of communication: BACKCHANNEL. We no longer have to worry about the current president advising that a foreign government “talk to Rudy.” Hooray! 25A Floor routine component: HANDSPRING. This is an interesting clue to me because 10D Bestselling PDAs: PALMPILOTS while Handspring did not and does not get that title.
36A Penny Lane Locale: LIVERPOOL. Also in my ears and in my eyes. 50A Seneca, e.g.: FINGERLAKE. I hadn’t heard of the Finger Lakes until recently when one of the late-night hosts mentioned them, I think. I don’t remember which one it was, and it’s all a blur.
58A Geographic feature, and a hint to four answers in this puzzle: BODYOFWATER.
CHANNEL, SPRING, POOL, LAKE.
Finished this one in 13:50. Not bad for a Wednesday.
This blog post ended up mostly being about the clue and answer I pulled out, so it may be more entertaining to read than most of the WSJXW blog posts are. I did struggle with this one a little, but I made my way through. This doing-them-all-on-Sunday thing is fine so far. We’ll see how it continues.
I pulled out 8A Ballpark official: SCORER because it reminds me of when I was a baseball broadcaster in college. I read the entire NCAA rulebook for baseball and always brought the book with me to games because I had no one around me to let me know what had just happened when there was a crazy event in the game. There was one game I called with my often-broadcast partner Mitchell Clements where this rulebook came in handy. A guy got to first base, and the next batter was power hitter. I saw that the third baseman was playing almost on the outfield grass, and although this batter had the speed to turn a close triple into a long single, he decided to drop down a bunt down the third baseline. To the casual baseball fan, it seems like a standard sacrifice bunt play: He was thrown out easily, and the runner moved over from first to second. However, it didn’t look to me like that’s what he had wanted to do. I saw that the third baseman was playing deep. I figured he saw the same thing. Rather than give himself up, it sure seemed like he had gone rogue and decided to drop down a bunt into no-man’s land in an attempt to make it to first safely.
Per the rules:
HOWEVER, then there’s this:
I knew it had to be the latter. I knew there was no chance he had been instructed to play smallball in that situation.
Announcement from the official scorer: “Sacrifice.”
After that game, the head coach was unfazed by my question about that play. He shrugged it off and said that sometimes they ask this batter to drop down a bunt to move a guy over and that the plan had worked. I was unconvinced and asked the guy later what had really happened. He seemed kind of excited to tell me that my analysis in real time had been entirely correct.
Since I wasn’t the official scorer, it went down as a sacrifice. But I knew the rule.
Major League Baseball unsurprisingly has a similar rule:
But there’s an interpretation that the NCAA rulebook does not have:
So there you go.
The title of this puzzle is A Few Brief Words.
20A Secret compartments in some desks: HIDDENDRAWERS. Also what is often found under a pair of pants on the bedroom only after the rest of the laundry is done. 33A Some Pixar works: ANIMATEDSHORTS. 40A Long proboscises: ELEPHANTTRUNKS. 57A Golden Gloves competitors: AMATEURBOXERS.
I’m trying something new here, and I’m hoping you’ll bear with me. Since the WSJ crossword takes up time during the week, I figured I’d try to do all of them each Sunday and time their posting to go out each day but a week late. EXCEPT for the Friday puzzle. That one will be posted on time on Sundays.
I pulled out 66A Lease signer: TENANT because I’ve been watching Because This is my First life, and it’s pretty good! It’s the fourth K-Drama I’ve started and the third I think I’ll make it through. Start-Up and Crash Landing on You were easy to watch. Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol wasn’t for me. Because This is My Frist Life has a lot of promise.
The title of this puzzle is Going to Pot.
17A Something with negligible value: HILLOFBEANS. 25A Scouting activity, quaintly: WEENIEROAST. Does KROQ still have the Weenie Roast concert? 39A Is motivated by self-interest: HASANAXETOGRIND. When did ax become axe? I remember ax growing up, but now it’s axe? It’s like how Australia is a continent but now Oceania is a continent? 48A “Double, double toil and trouble” concoction: WITCHESBREW.
61A Unremarkable sort, or what you’re left with after 17-, 25-, 39- and 48-Across: ORDINARYJOE.
Of course a Monday puzzle is the one about coffee. Though I guess that could also be a Friday puzzle. Or a Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.
So much confusion today. Trump has been MIA and blocked on Twitter for most of the day and on Facebook, and Instagram for the two weeks. Information is coming out at a trickle, and I’d rather they just get rid of him so we can move on. He released a video on Twitter a little bit ago, and it sounds good if you’re optimistic and like a call to action if you’re not. It’s way too vague to be anything that brings me comfort.
The joint session of congress is about to start to count the electoral college vote. I expect all kinds of madness to ensue. But I finished the WSJ puzzle, so here it is.
I pulled out 4D Pound parts: PENCE because even though it’s talking about money, it seems like Mike Pence is the most recent part of the Republican party Donald Trump wants to pound. Like in the pummel sense. It’s weird and sad and bad.
20A Unrivaled lighter?: MATCHELSSMATCH. I had initially filled out _ _ _ _ _ LESSZIPPO, but that didn’t make the final. 34A Cruel Babe?: RUTHLESSRUTH. The Curse of the Bambino has been broken too many times this century, but at least the Dodgers finally won the World Series again last year. 42A Energetic spare? TIRELESSTIRE. Not only do a lot of cars now come with runflat tires that continue to work like a spare would but are way more costly to replace, but on a slightly different subject, back when I was racing (i.e. in college) I had considered switching my mountain bike tire system from tubed to tubeless. Flats are easy to fix when you have inner tubes in the tires because you just pop the tire off, find what punctured the tire, and then either patch the tube or swap it out. Flats are easier to fix with a tubeless system, because sealant like Stan’s NoTubes repairs the tube from the inside, but the tires are glues to the wheels, so if something bad happens, it’s catastrophic.
56A Quiet waterway?: SOUNDLESSSOUND. No rush here.
Is this the fastest Tuesday ever for me for a Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle? I don’t know because there are no stats, and I haven’t kept track because they’re pretty much meaningless, but this was a quick one for me.
I pulled out 31D Chain with a Funny Face combo for kids: IHOP because it reminds me of when I proposed to Calah on March 16 of last year, which was the day before the first California COVID shutdown. The ring I got had to be sized because that’s how that works, and the place where we got the ring sized is near an IHOP. We dropped off the ring on March 17, we went for a short walk before picking it up like half an hour later. IHOP advertises that it is open 24 hours a day, but we knew it would be closed. I had never seen a closed IHOP. Did they even have a Sorry! We’re closed! sign? Unlikely, right?
The sign on the locked door read:
TO OUR GUESTS, IHOP IS TAKING EXTRA PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES AND THEREFORE WILL ONLY BE TAKING TO-GO ORDRES AT THIS TIME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
WE ARE DEEPLY SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE AND WILL BE READY TO SERVE YOU AS SOON AS WE CAN
WE WILL BE TAKING WALKUP TO-GOS AND ALSO VISIT US ON IHOP.COM, GRUBHUB, DOORDASH, UBER EATS AND POSTMATES. THANK YOU.
The title of this puzzle is All The Right Angles.
18A Site whose mission is “to help bring creative projects to life”: KICKSTARTER. Not a bad mission. 24A Place to buy staples that isn’t Staples: OFFICEMAX. I think this is a dumb clue. Staples are important parts of things, right? Like how pizza was a staple of my diet before COVID. (My wallet and figure are thankful that I’m cooking food at home instead of getting takeout, but my mouth is sad whenever I see people eating pizza on TV, which is always.) For them to call out Staples specifically is a little on the nose when it comes to the OFFICEMAX answer. Side note: There’s an Office Depot not far away from me that from time to time has no ICE illuminated. So the sign reads “Off De pot,” which can be welcome words in a 1br/1ba. 39A Stereotypically nerdy accessory: POCKETPROTECTOR. Nobody needs one of these in the COVID era. Pens in easy reach wherever you want them to be. T-shirts in the summer. Hoodies in the winter. 51A Utterly: STONECOLD. Could this have been a Steve Austin clue instead? Yes. Was it? Only the biggest missed opportunity.
62A Landmark in the Southwest, and collective description of the beginnings of 18-, 24-, 39- and 51-Across: FOURCORNERS. CORNER KICK, CORNER OFFICE, CORNER POCKET, CORNERSTONE.
Completed in possibly my personal best for a WSJ Tuesday of 7:08.
What a Monday so far! The press conferences in Georgia before tomorrow’s runoffs, people lining up for tonight’s Trump rally tonight for I don’t know what, and the deployment of the National Guard to Washington, DC, in preparation for the certification of the Electoral College vote that’s a couple days away. What’s not to love about 2021!
I pulled out 44A Rolling golf stroke: PUTT because I had initially written BUMP, and that only turned out to be 25% correct. Although I haven’t played golf in like a year, I remember some strategy. There are two main types of golf course types. The first type is what we normally think of golf. It’s called parkland. Trees line the fairways, and the grass is planted on dirt that can get muddy quickly in wet conditions. The other type is links. It’s like playing on an open field with grass planted on sand that helps the playing surface dry even after heavy downpours. This is the kind of surface in St Andrews, Scotland, where it rains all the time. Check out those threatening clouds on the Jubilee Course.
Since the grass is planted on sand, the ground is a lot harder. The grass also is cut shorter. While on a parkland course, the approach I usually take from 90 yards out is with a wedge and a lot of backspin for the ball to land on the green and not roll very far, as demonstrated in picture below from a time at Penmar in Los Angeles.
While this approach allows for clearing things like bunkers, patches of grass, and ground under repair, this is not the way to go about things in links golf. The shorter grass and harder surface not only make it more difficult to get a clean shot with a high loft iron, they make it easy to get the ball to go hundreds of feet with a lower loft club and chip that lets the ball just rollllll along with little encumbrance. In parkland golf, this usually is reserved for bumping the ball that’s just off the green onto the green, and since greens can be very, very big, you can use the swing you’d use with a putter and use the weight of a long iron to get the ball close to the cup.
The title of this puzzle is The Jocular Vein.
17A *Craft by which quotations are put on pillows: NEEDLEPOINT. Home sweet home. 26A *Nick Jonas, to Joe Jonas: KIDBROTHER. 39A *Weather a period of chaos: RIDEOUTTHESTORM. Feels like what we’re doing right now. Can’t the storm just end, please? 50A *He plays Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame”: JOSHBROLIN. I don’t feel so good. 62A *Marbled cut of beef: RIBEYESTEAK. I have some steaks in the freezer. I really should make them. At 60 degrees right now, it’s just too cold to start up the charcoals.
55D Verb for which synonyms can be found at the beginnings of the starred answers: TEASE. Playful NEEDLING, KIDDING, RIDING, JOSHING, RIBBING.
An hour ago I published my answer to the Crossword Contest. This is the blog about the puzzle.
I pulled out 40D Prime minister before Rabin: MEIR because the other night when I was playing board games with friends, and some dude with that as a username slid into our game as a spectator and started chatting with us. I don’t know if we’ll ever see him or hear from him again, but now we know he exists.
The title of this puzzle is The Party Starts at 10.
3D Google co-founder: SERGEYBRIN. 18D A candidate might win by it: WIDEMARGIN. You know, as long as people abide by that result. 22D Machinist’s tool: METALLATHE. Based on the cost of turned legs, I looked to see how much a wood lathe costs. It’s too much and takes too much space. Something I’ll look at for the future, though. 30D Governor of Maryland in 1968: SPIROAGNEW. Dude didn’t last even a full term as VP. And he’d have been president when Nixon resigned if he hadn’t been silly and done all that corruption nonsense. But I guess we wouldn’t want to have one of those in the Oval office.
The really fast completion time is because WSJ cleared out my grid for an unknown reason. Luckily I had my grid where I was trying to figure out the crossword contest answer.
It the last Wednesday of the year, and the sky sure looks to be threatening rain. Not exactly what I’d hoped for to close out 2020, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere.
I pulled out 8D BLT alternatives: PBJS because I don’t think I agree that they are on equal footing. Now, I don’t eat bacon, but I don’t remember any kids at school getting BLTs packed in their lunchboxes. I don’t know of any hiker who routinely takes along BLTs to eat along the way. I don’ t know of sports teams requesting BLTs for energy before the game. I realize my argument is that the PB&J is for the less adventurous (i.e. children) and for the incredibly sophisticated (i.e. NBA teams):
“No matter how you slice it, it’s hard to swallow: The NBA is covered in experts, obsessed with peak performance — and still this pillar of grade-school cafeteria lunches is the staple snack of the league. An exorbitantly wealthy microclique, backed by an army of personal chefs, swears by a sandwich whose standard ingredients boast a street value of roughly 69 cents.”
So where does the BLT fit in? I’m no expert, but maybe corporate training lunches?
Feel free to set me straight on this.
The title of this puzzle is In at the Finish. I figured it out partway through, and the puzzle fell into place.
18A Appreciative observation at the Renaissance Faire?: WHATAJERKIN. So it’s what a jerk! and a jerkin.
23A Breakfast treat with an auriform shape?: EARMUFFIN. So it’s earmuff and muffin. Initially I had put OATMUFFIN, but who wears oats to keep them warm? 38A Prestidigitator’s publication?: MAGICBULLETIN. So it’s magic bullet and bulletin. If you are unfamiliar with prestidigitation, it’s the same as legerdemain. The Magic Bulletin is just OK. It’s not Genii or Linking Ring. 51A Expensive material for a crib blanket?: BABYSATIN. So it’s babysat and satin. Baby satin isn’t nearly as good as the #raabidfun onesies, but what are you going to do. 58A Coach’s intellectual equipment?: SPORTSBRAIN. So it’s sports bra and brain.