Tag Archives: Completed

NYT Crossword 11-22-20 Complete

I had early success with today’s puzzle, but that slowed down considerably as I struggled with the theme. After some thought, I figured the theme out, and the rest of the puzzle got a lot easier.

The clue I decided to pull out was 100A Emotive brass sound: WAHWAH. It’s sad trombone.

I’ve used this before, and it seems to come in handy a lot these days. I look forward to that changing.

It All Adds Up is the theme because the way to solve it is through addition. It probably would have helped to read the title of the puzzle earlier than as I was scanning this completed post for any glaring errors before clicking the publish button.

The circled clues add up to make useful and appropriate words.

23A Bygone office group: S(ONE)OPOOL
3D Made the rounds?: (NINE)DEDBAR
NINE+ONE=TEN
so
23A Bygone office group: STENO POOL
3D Made the rounds?: TENDED BAR

25A Final remark in an argument: THELAS(ONE)RD
15D Doctor’s reassurance before a shot: I(ONE)NTHURT
ONE+ONE=TWO
so
25A Final remark in an argument: THE LAST WORD
15D Doctor’s reassurance before a shot: IT WON’T HURT

66A Long-running show whose iconic hourglass is in the Smithsonian collection: DAYSO(TWO)LIVES
35D 1943 Pulitzer-winning Thornton Wilder play, with “The”: SKINO(TWO)TEETH
TWO+TWO=FOUR

TWO PLUS TWO IS FOUR. MINUS ONE, THAT’S THREE. QUICK MATHS.

so
66A Long-running show whose iconic hourglass is in the Smithsonian collection: DAYS OF OUR LIVES
35D 1943 Pulitzer-winning Thornton Wilder play, with “The”: SKIN OF OUR TEETH

113A Union Pacific vehicle: FR(FOUR)TRAIN
72D Qualifies to fight in a certain class: MAKESW(FOUR)
FOUR+FOUR=EIGHT
so
113A Union Pacific vehicle: FREIGHT TRAIN
72D Qualifies to fight in a certain class: MAKES WEIGHT

116A Neither gains nor loses: BREAK(ZERO)
77D Journalists might be invited to it: PRES(SEVENT)
SEVEN+ZERO=SEVEN
so
116A Neither gains nor loses: BREAKS EVEN
77D Journalists might be invited to it: PRESS EVENT

Definitely a lot to get through today. It’s my first completed Sunday in a long while. It took me less than an hour, which I think isn’t so bad.

NYT Crossword 11-20-20 Complete

First Friday I’ve finished in a long time. That brings the streak to five days in a row. It’s almost too bad that I solve the Saturday crossword with friends on Tuesday nights so the streak ends tomorrow. But I don’t really mind. It’s fun to solve it with them. And often well under 10 minutes.

I’ve stated in the past that I cut it off at half an hour. Clearly this took more than half an hour. I had the grid filled out completed in the 29th minute. Of course it has to be filled out and be completely right. That meant going through the entire puzzle clue by clue, changing AYCARAMBA to AYCARUMBA followed by NETTLES to NESTLES and finally AYCARUMBA back to AYCARAMBA.

I opted for 19A Place name in Manhattan: ASTOR to be my highlighted clue of the day because it reminds me of the first time I went to New York City. It was pre-9/11. I was 12 years old. Somehow we got upgraded to business class for the flight there. It’s still the only time I’ve flown business class.

My dad came across times for Blue Man Group. I recognized them from the Pentium III commercials.

My dad waited for I don’t know how many hours to buy house seats as the show had long been sold out.

The show then was at the Astor Place Theatre. And now the Astor Place Theatre is owned by Blue Man Group.

I think I know this puzzle’s theme: HARD.

The NYT Crossword stats section is kinda screwy. The only puzzles tracked are those that were completed. So today’s completion time of 37:50 is well above my average Friday solve time of 31:03. My PR is 16:59 back in October of 2018. What was going on then? I have so many personal records attributable to October 2018.

NYT Crossword 11-19-20 Complete

An easy Thursday? Could it be? This just shows the unpredictability of Tuesdays and Thursdays. And credit to Geoffrey Bishop for giving me confidence to approach this one with optimism rather than with regular Thursday dread.

I chose 45D as the highlighted clue/answer today because I don’t like it.
45D Little waves, in Spain: TILDES.

Tildes aren’t water waves and aren’t hand waves. That’s not the Spanish word for wave. Rather, the answer is the little wavy line above n in ñ. Dumb.

It was clear to me from very, very early on that this puzzle’s theme answers contained no vowels and was for a specific gameshow.

18A *Creator of 55-Across: MRVGRFFN->MERV GRIFFIN, creator of all kind of gameshows who lent his name to a street in Beverly Hills that goes into the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
20A *Co-host of 55-Across: VNNWHT->VANNA WHITE who never seems to age.
30A *Group of six given for free on 55-Across: RSTLN->RSTLNE, but there are no vowels, so no E.
41A *Co-host of 55-Across: PTSJK->PAT SAJAK who seems to age slowly.
52A *Bad place to land on 55-Across: BNKRPT->BANKRUPT. Always painful to see someone who has the trip and the $5000 and other prizes and who has just one consonant missing decide to spin instead of solve the puzzle, land on bankrupt, and the contestant who has $300 solves the puzzle for the win.
55A *It debuted on 1/6/1975: WHLFFRTN: WHEEL! OF! FORTUNE!
13D What you might cry when trying to answer the six starred clues? CANIBUYAVOWEL.

I’m disappointed that there was no clue Encouraging words repeated by contestants: BGMNY.

Time: 17:47. Not close to my Thursday PR of 13:09 back in October of 2018 but better than my Thursday average of 29:55.


NYT Crossword 11-17-20 Complete

Kind of a slow puzzle today. I don’t know if I was distracted or tired or if it just was a weird Tuesday, but answers weren’t coming to me as quickly as I had expected them to.

Why would I be tired today more than usual? I thought you’d never ask!

Over the last few days, six of the eight planets were visible with the naked eye. After sunset, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were visible. But at about 5:15am, Mars and Venus were visible. For those keeping score at home, that only makes five. I just had to look past my shoes to see the sixth.

I chose the highlighted clue 26A “Man, just my luck!”: OHGREAT as appropriate clue and answer for all of 2020.

I didn’t understand the theme until writing this blog post.

16A Cousin of Simon Says: MOTHERMAYI
Which brings up that Mike Pence calls his wife Mother. It doesn’t matter what the National Review says. Calling her Mother is weird.
24A 2012 Ang Lee film set largely at sea: LIFEOFPI
38A Support for an updo: HAIRPIN
49A What a chop shot imparts: BACKSPIN
61A “Show some courage!” … as this puzzle’s theme can do?: GROWASPINE

Because each answer has one more letter of the word spine. I think that it’s kind of lame that you have both BACK and SPINE-E in the same answer and then spine. I don’t know that it’s bad, but I just don’t like it.

Finished this Tuesday in 17:07.

NYT Crossword 9-29-20 complete

I can’t sleep, so I’m writing this post from bed. I know I haven’t done a crossword post in a while, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been doing the puzzles. I’ve been doing the Monday puzzle for two dozen weeks in a row, and the Tuesday streak for half that. I ran out of time a few months ago because I’d forgotten about it until well into remote board games with my friends and couldn’t break away.

This puzzle had a typography theme:

18A No later than + 19A Tightly packed: UN(TIL|DE)NSE ~

24A Gray in the face + 25A Prodigies, informally: AS(HY|PHEN)OMS –

51A Homes with wheels + 53A “Toy Story” boy: C(AMPERS|AND)Y &

61A Something to make in an emergency? + 62A having low odds of success: H(ASTE|RISK)Y *

Two things I find interesting to point out in this puzzle.

The first is the history of ampersand. While this is a good detailed history from the OED, the summary is that the symbol is a combined et, the name ampersand is a screwed-up version of and [referring to &] per se and. So & is itself and. It also used to be the 27th letter, so there’s that, too.

To go one step further along these lines, I went to the Getty Villa with my family back in February, and I saw “&c.” in some old writings. That turned out to be an even shorter version of et cetera. It makes sense: etc.=et+c, and et=&, so et cetera=etc.=&c.

The other thing worth mentioning is 52D Sewing machine inventor Howe: ELIAS.

Our government explains Elias Howe’s invention in an adorable, dated site likely geared toward children. I know it’s not intended to educate Trump because his name doesn’t appear every so often.

Essentially, Elias Howe made a sewing machine, but it kinda sucked. Isaac Singer and Allen Wilson made it good. Nobody’s heard of Elias Howe, but everyone knows Singer sewing machines

NYT Crossword 7-21-20 Complete

For the third day in a row, we’ve got Will “Drop” Shortz editing this puzzle. I don’t need to explain further than what’s highlighted in the image for this post.

I think it’s weird to have a 2020 puzzle more than halfway through the year. Why not earlier? We all know that Will Shortz is willing to sit on submissions for years and the use them without crediting the people who submitted them and they only find out by realizing their work is being used without any attribution, right? That can’t only have happened to me. If it really did only happen to me, should I feel more special or more targeted? I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m sore either way.

Overall this puzzle was easy. I got done in 6:28.

WSJ Crossword 7-13-20 (7-18-20) Complete

Well, I started today’s real crossword and found that it was HUGE. I’m not going to do a Saturday puzzle the size of a Sunday puzzle from the New York Times. But I can do an old Monday puzzle from WSJ. So that’s what I did.

This one was even easier than the last one, so that’s kinda comforting. I finished in 7:52.

I’m getting the hang of WSJ Monday puzzles. But these really leave something to be desired.

I liked the Back Breaking theme with answers DOLPHIN SAFE and BRASS KNUCKLES, and the thing to do to both is to GET CRACKING. Good times. But the Austin Powers reference made me cringe. I remember seeing that movie with my parents and only understanding jokes in it later, without my folks giving me direct answers to my questions. How must they have felt when I asked? The film probably did not age well, but I’m in no hurry to relive the experience of watching it. I mean when I watched Singin’ in the Rain not too long ago with my fiancee, I said stuff like: “Dude, she doesn’t want to talk to you, so leave her alone!” Hot take: Gene Kelly’s character is kind of a creep.

It’s not ALL old movies that are bad and don’t hold up. Sure, there’s a gross underrepresentation of Black actors in the majority of films, but movies such as The Thin Man, Shall We Dance, and Duck Soup avoid being creepy accidentally–that is to say that Groucho Marx frequently plays a character you’d want to avoid in real life, and he plays that role wonderfully.

WSJ Crossword 7-14-20 (7-17-20)

Well I now realize that the Wall Street Journal does not have a crossword on Fridays, so I’m going to start doing past puzzles for Friday entries. Today I did the Tuesday puzzle from this week. Clearly the WSJ puzzles and the NYT puzzles use a different logic, and that makes the WSJ puzzles kind of annoying. But it’s an eyeroll kind of annoying, not an ongoing bitterness like I have toward Will Shortz whose injustice toward me personally was unconscionable.

I finished in 22:05.

I thought it was a cool theme to have trees spelled upward. When I caught on to that, I filled out most of the puzzle no problem. Because I know about trees. And Will Shortz knows I know about trees. He took my trees. So mad.

As someone who is doing New York puzzles in LA, there are some clues I struggle with because they’re not part of my daily life. In this case, TRAIN RIDE was an answer I didn’t get until the end because I had it filled out as TRAIN LINE. I knew it must have something to do with trains, and it did.

I’ll probably get faster at the WSJ ones as I get used to how they’re written.

Have a great weekend!

WSJ Crossword 7-15-20 Complete

The Wall Street Journal crossword for today was way easier than the New York Times crossword that I failed (see prior post). The logic was different, but it wasn’t so bad. I got a couple things wrong that I had to correct, it told me at the end. I had put SAL for French seasoning, but it was SEL. I had put FIST for MITT. But it all worked out eventually. The theme of Passing the Bar meant answers of SLOPPY JOES, BLONDE ALE, HIGH CHAIRS, STIFF COLLARS, POTTED PLANTS. It feels nice to be free of Will Shortz. Everyone who knows me for a while is familiar with my Will Shortz beef. I finished this one in 17:17 while partially distracted.

One day of blogging in the books. Looking forward to tomorrow.