Back to the trend of short puzzles! Calah beat me in total score today, so that was pretty cool.
I missed some annoying ones yesterday.
ALLAY: I’m afraid I missed this. ARRAY: And I use Excel! AWRY: Like how some of this puzzle went for me. DRAY: I missed this beer cart again! DRYAD: I missed this tree nymph again! DRYWALL: It turns into steam when fire hits it. Who knew? DYAD: Part of the misses in this area. KAYAK: I miss kayaking. I went with my cousins a while ago. WARY: 😐 YAWL: A two-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailing boat with the mizzenmast stepped far aft so that the mizzen boom overhangs the stern.
Final score: 24 words for 84 points. Genius minimum: 79 points First word: HITCH Pangram: TOOTHPICK Missed opportunities: TIKTOK (doesn’t have an H), THOT, THICC, CHOOCHOO, HIPHOP
No crosswords today because I was busy working on the thing for Tuesday’s series about woodworking.
And we’re right back to the short puzzles that are make you feel like you’re someone Trump owes money to: Go for it, but you’re probably not going to get much for your work.
Yesterday I missed a bunch!
Good news is that I got all the pangrams.
COCCI: I know I’ve missed these spherical bacteria before. CODDLE: I don’t even like this word. CODDLED: So of course I don’t like this one. CODICIL: It’s like an amendment to a will. COLLIE: I left the dogs out. Now we know. COMEDIC: Others would say I usually leave this out, too. COOED: This one’s for the birds. DECO: And I like art deco 😦 DEICE: I didn’t know even what I was looking at. It’s to remove ice from. DE-ICE. Typical SoCal guy over here. DEICED: The past tense of what I still have never done in my life. DEICIDE: There’s no killing what can’t be killed! ECOCIDE: According to Purple Hands McConnell, this doesn’t exist. OLEIC: Fat chance I miss this one again!
In the roughness of today, I eked out a genius result.
Final score: 18 words for 98 points Genius minimum: 91 points First word: AWAY Pangram: AWKWARDLY
If that had been the only one I missed yesterday, I would be livid. It wasn’t the only one I missed yesterday, but it was pretty close.
Today’s puzzle was super long! And with at least three pangrams. I guess for all those who are new to the puzzle, it was a bait-and-switch. As if to say: “Here are a bunch of short, boring ones. Now try one where the minimum genius level is 200.
I didn’t spend all day on it. I think total time was may be 45 minutes. I had work to do that includes removing a bunch of stripped screws from that end table I’m working on. More on that will be in a blog post on the new woodworking miniseries on my blog with entries coming out on Tuesdays.
Here’s what I missed yesterday.
EPEE: I really gotta stop missing this word. PAYEE: This is Trump’s America. What does this term even mean? PFFT: Unbelievable. TEPEE: The same thing as a TEEPEE but with one fewer letter. Hooray alternate spellings.
Today’s score will mean tons of words in tomorrow’s list.
Final score: 43 words for 207 points Genius minimum: 200 points Pangrams found: DOMICILE, DOMICILED, MELODIC First word: DOMICILE Absent word: CELLIE, COOLIO
Today’s was fun mostly because I got to compete with Calah. She has her own subscription now, so that lets me compete with her. You know, friendly competition. I eked out a win today, but she reached genius for the first time. It’s only going to get tougher for me from here.
Other than that, it was a weird short puzzle along the lines of what I’ve been grousing about the last few days.
But I missed some yesterday, and some of those I really thought I had gotten. So I don’t know what happened.
DUNNO: I didn’t realize this was a word that was acceptable in this way. ODOR: It really stinks that I missed this one. ROAR: I really thought I’d gotten this, but nope! RONDO: My initial thought is 2020 NBA Finals Champion Rajon Rondo, but it’s a musical term whose definition is: A musical form with a recurring leading theme, often found in the final movement of a sonata or concerto.
Final score: 23 words for 89 points Genius minimum: 71 points First word: PAPAYA Omitted words: PEEPEE, TAPPET
Another brief puzzle! I think there was a series of short ones toward the end of August(?) that kinda bothered me, but this I think it’s weird that right after there’s an article about the Spelling Bee that they publish a series of lame ones. Is it because they think the short ones are attractive to newer audiences? Because I do not agree. I think there’s a happy medium between impossible and interminable. Lull people into a false sense of fun and then get them with the long one that I personally like and the short ones that I detest.
And now for yesterday’s missed words.
ANDIRON: I guess it’s also known as a fireplace log grate. ANDIRON is a way less descriptive name. Don’t worry, the etymology is even weirder: “fire-dog, one of the pair of metallic stands used to support wood burned on an open hearth,” c. 1300, from Old French andier “andiron,” which is of unknown origin, perhaps from Gaulish *andero- “a young bull” (source also of Welsh anner “heifer”), which would make sense if they once had bull’s heads cast onto them. Altered by influence of Middle English iren (see iron (n.)). ANON: I keep missing this one. I don’t know why. It’s so easy. APIARIAN: I’ll let GOB handle this one.
INROAD: Meh. NAAN: My bad. Still, what happened to HORCHATA? NAIAD: A Greek mythology water nymph. I think I’ve missed this one before, too. NONPAID: Like a quarter of America right now, AMIRITE?! PARADOR: I can’t even with this one. It’s a hotel in Spain and owned and administered by the Spanish government. But, again, no HORCHATA, no TORTA. PARADROP: I don’t fault myself for missing this one. RAPINI: A Mediterranean turnip. RIPARIAN: Relating to or on the banks of a river. Cool.
Final score: 24 words for 81 points. Genius minimum: 71 First word: JUROR
This puzzle was… fine. I barely got to genius, but I got there. I feel like there’s a third pangram, but also I don’t. How’s that for being conclusive?
Here’s what went wrong yesterday:
HALE: strong and healthy… if you’re an old person. HEMAL: relating to blood. You know, like hematoma. HEME: More blood stuff! LECH: lust LEECH: I thought I’d gotten this one. I know I got LEACH, but I thought I got LEECH, too. NOPE! MAYHEM: That reminds me! I should watch Sons of Anarchy all the way through, right? YECCH: On a scale of logical to go-away-and-never-come-back, this rates six Will Shortzes. YECH: The above word but spelled the way a normal human being would spell it.
Today I found two pangrams. Is there a third? I don’t know. We may never know. I took a break partway through the day and found the second pangram immediately upon returning.
Final score: 43 words for 183 points First word: PARANOID, and I don’t know what it means for me that I found that word well before I found RAINDROP. Omitted words: PANDORA, PAPI, DARPA, NARD, NORAD
Absolutely frustrating when genius level is at 57 points. Like, seriously? The article about the Spelling Bee was published yesterday, and the first one out is this one?
Anyway, as accurately predicted, there were a lot of answers I missed yesterday.
IMAM: Sorry LAMA: That’s two spiritual leaders in a row. LAMINA: Oh! This is a layer. You know, like how you laminate. OK. I see you, NYT Spelling Bee. LAMINAL: I don’t know nearly as much about phonetics as some in my Tuesday night board games group do, but now I know one more thing than I did before! This is where you put your tongue to the roof of your mouth to make consonant sounds in words like LamiNaL. LIMA: The type of beans kidneys look like. LIMINAL: Relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. LIMN: First reaction is that this is not a word. Second reaction is that HORCHATA absolutely should have been a word and that I’m insulted that a word that means to depict or describe in painting or words is more important than something tangible such as a delicious beverage. MAIM: fine. MAMMALIAN: Seriously? They wouldn’t take MAMMALIA, they wouldn’t take ANAMALIA, but they take MAMMALIAN. Unconscionable. MANIA: Yeah! MILITIAMAN: But no TILLMAN, PITMAN, MILLMAN MINI: oh. TAILLAMP: all right. TATAMI: wow. I missed this yesterday. Clearly didn’t stick with me.
Today I started out with the pangram. I think there is only one. I finished with the minimum necessary for genius level.
Final score: 17 words (!) for 57 points (!) Genius minimum: 57 points (!) First word: ALCHEMY Omitted words: CALAH, CHYEAH, CHACHA, ALEYCHEM, MALACHEY, ELYAN, MELECH, HAMLACHYM
First off, a real congratulations to the Not a Spelling Bee Word (appropriately for October renamed to Not a Spelling “Boo” Word) twitter account for making it into the New York Times today. Rarely do I get to know about something fun before it becomes a well-known and loved thing (The Room, etc.), but this is something I’ve gotten to enjoy awhile, which is along the lines of all three seasons of Arrested Development. I’m glad the readers of the NYT will know to share in the enjoyment!
Now to what I missed yesterday:
First off, WOW! I didn’t get the pangram? Worse! I didn’t know I didn’t get the pangram. Holy smokes.
TRAUMATIC: Nothing could be more appropriate at this moment as I find this out. CITRIC: The one above burns more. RAITA: OK so HORCHATA is no good, but this Indian side dish I only just now learned exists is? TACT: No surprise I missed this. TATAMI: Straw matting used as like a rug on the floor of a Japanese home. TRACT: Didn’t stick the LAND-ing here. TRAMCAR: Yeah, OK. TUTTI: Missing this makes me almost as bummed as missing the pangram. I’ve written in the past specifically about TUTTI.
But I guess it wasn’t so bad that I got to genius level without getting a nine-letter pangram.
Today I had a bunch of stuff to do and spent not so long on the spelling bee. I made it to genius level with the minimum amount and then got one more for good measure.
I made sure to get the pangram today, assuming there only was one.
Final score: 35 words for 153 points. Genius minimum was 152. First word: IMPALA.
Look out for an off-topic post on Saturday that’s a follow-up to yesterday’s Spelling Bee post. It drops at 10am PT, but you can read it later, too.
TUCUMCARI was an unfortunate omission in today’s Spelling Bee. That’s not to say that its absence from the list was in error. Rather, it would have violated the rules as a place, but it hurts because it’s an ineligible pangram.
Why do I even know that Tucumcari exists? Great question! It’s because I own Rail Baron, an out-of-print board game that is Ticket To Ride crossed with Monopoly and then you throw in complex payout charts and three dice. It was a great birthday present for me when I turned 11. Now you’re lucky if you can buy it on eBay for $100.
Tucumcari factors in because it is a destination in the game. That means that its railroad history is storied.
Other things I learned in Rail Baron led me to the Cascade Rail Foundation in South Cle Elum, Washington back in December 2014. I got pictures with old cabooses.
So back to the Spelling Bee, and that means yesterday’s misses. Same range as always. But the good news is that I got both pangrams. I got CUTTHROAT right after I got back from mailing my ballot last night.
ACTUATOR: This one is annoying for me because I did an inventory audit at an actuator manufacturer when I worked in public accounting. But when do I think about actuators? I still feel like I should have gotten this one. ARCO: Apparently this is a technique for using the bow on a violin. The gas station usage would be invalid. ARHAT: A saint of one of the highest ranks in Buddhism and Jainism. ATTAR: Argh! I have missed this fragrant essential oil word before. ATTRACT: Ugh. ATTRACTOR: Dang. CARAT: Oops. COACTOR: One who acts with another. CURACAO: The liqueur named after the Dutch territory Curaçao. Silly. HOAR: gray-haired with age? Interesting etymology. OCCUR: I missed this? How did that happen? ORCA: Yikes. OUTRO: Shrug. TARO: I could have sworn I got this. TAROT: Same with this one.
OK so I learned something new from yesterday’s puzzle.
There will be some misses from today discovered tomorrow.
Final score: 30 words for 128 points. Genius minimum was 125. First word: CIRCUIT.
A Hydra has no brain, no circulatory or respiratory system, nor even any musculature, yet it poses a real danger to small freshwater aquarium fish. –The Spruce Pets
Also: AARGH! Like, really? That spelling?
Yeah, we’re already going with yesterday’s misses.
ALAGAL: I got ALGA but not ALGAL. That one’s on me. DRAY: That cart the Budweiser Clydesdales pull. DRYAD: Well, I just learned that this is a tree nymph from Greek Mythology. DYAD: A thing composed of two parts. Got it. HALAL: I won’t miss this one again, I think. HALYARD: You don’t have to be a seaman to know what this thing is, but it probably helps. HYDRA: More Greek mythology, but I’d heard of this one. What I didn’t know earlier was that it’s also the name of some freshwater polyps. That’s what that opening quote is about. LALLYGAG: I’ve certainly missed this one before. YARD: No excuse.
Today’s puzzle was incredibly long. I was at 190 points when I took a walk to mail my ballot. When I got back, I found a second pangram immediately and then got to genius and kept going. If I hadn’t, I would have missed TORAH. That would have been crazy embarrassing.
Final score: 56 words for 255 points. First word: Couch