Tag Archives: crossword puzzle

WSJ Crossword 1-7-21 Complete

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.

I pulled out 39A Cinematic scorer Morricone: ENNIO because I am a big fan of his work. Calah and I have watched My Name is Nobody; Duck, You Sucker!; Once Upon a Time in the West; and maybe another one. Calah prefers John Williams, but I prefer Ennio Morricone.


The title of this puzzle is Upper Bounds.

20A Skillful…: SMOOTH [
22A …manipulative people: ]PERATORS

29A Noted squire…: SANCH[
32A …of fiction: ]PANZA

Sancho Panza (right) is no Don Quixote (left).

42A Wide-legged…: GAUCHO[
43A …fashion: ]PANTS

Those just look cumbersome!

53A Beyond…: TOTALLYH[
55A …repair: ]PELESS

So there is no O in team?

NYT Crossword 1-7-21 Complete

OK so I’m still reeling from yesterday’s storming of the US Capitol, and I hope today starts our recovery as a country. There still were contests to counting the electoral votes last night AFTER all this went down. Absolutely absurd.

I pulled out 9A Outfit rarely worn out, for short: PJS for two reasons. The first reason is that it makes me miss college. I know I wasn’t the only one in the world to wake up right in time to bike to 8am Accounting Information Systems as long as I didn’t have to shower or change clothes. The challenge was, of course, staying awake for that hour and wondering why they decided every quarter to schedule the class about databases and flowcharts for that early in the morning. Ultimately it proved useful, and I’m happy I took it, but come on. The second reason is that in the COVID world, we’re not going out, so who even knew there were clothes other than pajamas?


The theme of this puzzle is crossing stuff out. It feels so topical.

16A Cocktail specification: WIXXXXWIST.
20A “Get your negative energy outta here”: DONXXXXE.
36A 2007 black comedy directed by Frank Oz: DEAXXXXAFUNERAL.
54A Fedoras, e.g.: FELXXXXS.

59A Words of correction … or a hint to 16-, 20-, 36- and 54-Across: STRIKETHAT.

16A WI[THAT]WIST. Some people find drinks to be more apeeling that way.
20A DON[THAT]E. Appreciate. Congratulate.
36A DEA[THAT]AFUNERAL. Never saw it. Probably should?
54A FEL[THAT]S: Hats are good for when you’re losing your hair. I’ve gotten really good at that in the last few years. Thanks, Obama!

Finished this one in 21:50 because it took me long to find that 28A Rare blood type, for short: BNEG was not ONEG, as a 23D Animal also called a steinbock: IBEX is not called an IOEX. Good to know.

WSJ Crossword 1-6-21 Complete

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.

The title of this puzzle is Doing Without. It’s like what the GOP has to get used to as related to senatorial victory in Georgia, according to Jon Ossoff. But then again, Trump immediately said that he had won reelection, and we can never forget how Thomas Dewey triumphed over Harry S. Truman.

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.

I’d ride over beds of nails on purpose if I had these.

56A Quiet waterway?: SOUNDLESSSOUND. No rush here.

I finished this one in 15:42.

NYT Crossword 1-6-21 Complete

This was a fun one! I didn’t look at the puzzle until this morning but got the printed one prepared for my mom last night. I like to save toner and print out at 70% darkness for the blacked out squares, but this puzzle didn’t let me do that. It’s happened in the past, and I figured it was someone lazy early in 2021. But no! The version in today’s NYT is necessary if you’re going to do the puzzle by hand.

I pulled out 27A City near Leeds with historic walls: YORK because I originally had CORK in there, which I knew didn’t make sense. Cork is a city in Ireland, but I knew that Leeds is on the west coast of England, except for the actual being-on-the-west-coast-of-England part, and Cork is like this 🤏 close to Leeds on a map whose scale is small enough. CORK not only bothered me as an answer but also prevented me from successfully completing the puzzle. York is like a 40-minute drive from Leeds. And parts of the York Walls date back about two millennia.


The theme of this puzzle is initially Clued[AND]Confused.

1 Rubberneck: STOP[AND]STARE.
5 Stiffly formal: PRIM[AND]PROPER.
9 Old Glory: STARS[AND]STRIPES.
33 Kind of sauce in Chinese cuisine: SWEET[AND]SOUR. Sweet and sour chicken is at the top of the Chinese food list for me. It’s followed by broccoli beef, and then broccoli chicken is a distant third.
41 Fully from, as a place: BORN[AND]BRED.
43 Footwear fashion faux pas: SOCKS[AND]SANDALS. But who hasn’t gone outside in socks and sliders to grab the mail during this pandemic?
45 Risk losing one’s license, say: DRINK[AND]DRIVE. I remember the days of walking home from the bar. Also walking to the bar. Good place to watch sports. I haven’t been to a bar in almost a year. Wow.
56 Proven to be reliable: TRIED[AND]TRUE.

I hadn’t seen a puzzle with this type of cluing, and I really don’t mind it. I thought I’d be stuck awhile, but I wasn’t.

Good job, Eric Bornstein.

Finished this one in 15:43.

WSJ Crossword 1-5-21 Complete

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.

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.

WSJ Crossword 1-4-21 Complete

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.

I had so much more hair back in 2014. Also those shoes were later stolen from my car, and they don’t make them anymore!

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.

Big bite taken out of the green, which I repaired before sinking the birdie putt.

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.

Finished this one in 9:20.

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.

WSJ Crossword 12-31-20 Complete

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.

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. FiveMinuteHistory.com

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.