Tag Archives: Crossword

NYT Crossword 12-18-20 Complete

I started this one last night and hit a wall. I though that if I had any chance at all to finish it, it’d have to happen this morning. And it did!

I pulled out 44A Things typically found in dens: ARMCHAIRS. Boy, did I struggle with this one. My answers went from thinking of den like a mancave. So I had AREA_____. Then I changed my mind and thought of lions. So it was AR__LAIRS. Then I went back to the room concept, so the L was gone. Finally, I was left with AR__HAIRS, and then it all came together.

An honorable mention to 14A Line outside the entrance?: OPENSESAME. For those lucky enough to have gone to the Magic Castle, the way to get the bookshelf to slide back to get in past the lobby is to say that phrase to the owl on one of the shelves.

I had good luck and bad luck with the long answers.

17A Using any means necessary: CATCHASCATCHCAN. I’ve always understood this phrase to mean that the amount of business exceeds capacity, so something may not work despite best efforts. Did I misunderstand this my whole life?
37A Setting for forensic investigations: SCENEOFTHECRIME. This was an early answer. And it helped get a lot resolved.
60A Stereotypical cry from a sailor: SHIVERMETIMBERS! Now I’m thinking that a broadcaster with a quaver could say, “Shiver me timbres!”
3D “Let’s go!”: BETTERGETMOVING. It’s 11:43, and I gotta get this post out.
7D People who might tell you to stop, but probably shouldn’t: BACKSEATDRIVER. I know where I’m going, OK?!
11D George Mallory’s famous response to “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?”: BECAUSEITSTHERE. I’d been waiting almost the whole puzzle to know what he said. Pretty good.

Finished this one in 41:22.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

NYT Crossword 12-13-20 Complete

Not too bad for a Sunday puzzle, which is good because I have stuff to do today. Also I woke up late, so I have less time to do that stuff.

I pulled out 37D Something often underlined and blue: URL because I thought it was funny. The answer makes sense for the clue, but it took a moment to get. I appreciated it. I imagine it was the effort of Dan Margolis, and Will Shortz did not get in the way.

I had forgotten that Sunday puzzles have a title. You’d think that I would remember by now, but I associate puzzle titles to the daily Wall Street Journal crossword and not to NYT.

The title Cinéma Vérité means truth cinema. It’s applicable to the documentary nature of the answers to the long clues. And it’s amazing that the filmmakers for these were able to get such an unencumbered view of the subject matter. It speaks highly of our country’s commitment to freedom of the press for matters in both the private and public sectors.

26A Indy film? (1981): RAIDERSOFTHELOSTARK. In this Indiana “Indy” Jones documentary–one installment of the many harrowing expeditions by this thrill-seeking history professor–we get all the way to the National Archives, and that’s where access ends. But to stay with the exploration team from the start of the endeavor to that building in the nation’s capital is impressive.
36A Road movie? (1950): SUNSETBOULEVARD. Stardom doesn’t last forever, and a character study of someone who won’t give up hope for a return to prominence is not only an eye-opening biography of a tormented once-celebrity fallen into obscurity but a documentary that has staying power, as refusal to let go of what was and recognize what is is a concept that has major implications even today.
56A PG movie? (1992): PATRIOTGAMES. The Troubles are long from over, and British politicians are the target of the ire of the Irish Republican Army. I was lucky to miss out on the annual Orangemen’s Parade on July 12 by a week when I visited Derry/Londonderry in summer 2019. The parade is billed as a celebration of history and culture. It commemorates the victory by William of Orange over King James II. In practice, it a prominent display and reminder of the protestant victory over the Catholics in Ireland. While the swastika graffiti in the Free Derry area was counterproductive if Sinn Féin wanted me to feel for their cause, the Orangemen’s Parade by the Unionists is no extension of an olive branch. Patriot Game gives unprecedented access to a CIA agent who watches the IRA try to assassinate the head of the Northern Irish government then-seated in Northern Ireland. Acting as an American who promotes justice internationally, he does what he can to bring the would-be assassins to justice no matter the cost.
81A Family film? (1972): THEGODFATHER. It is impossible to get a understanding of the Italian Mafia in the United States without watching this in-depth look at the Corleone Family and what it has to face as competition heats up and inter- and intra-family dynamics threaten to make it irrelevant. The Family’s struggles are captured by the filmmakers who also are able to follow law enforcement. As in docuseries like Drugs, Inc., perspectives are shown from the sides of those who operate extrajudicially and from the sides of those who must operate within it. Truly eye-opening and the influence for other raw investigations such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Bosch, and Jersey Shore.
103A Dock-udrama? (1954): ONTHEWATERFRONT. Those who thought this would be about Dock Ellis will be disappointed. Rather, this is a story about a whistleblower complaint and subsequent retribution. There are supposed to be protections here for people who alert to abuses that are detrimental to the public. Of course not everyone who cries foul is considered a whistleblower because the claims must be substantiated. If nothing can confirm such a complaint–independent of the claim’s accuracy–what really can be done? What is really fair to do? A whistleblower complaint by itself is not all there is to an investigation but rather a starting point–an ENTER HERE arrow to a maze.
114A Short film? (1989): HONEYISHRUNKTHEKIDS. Scientific discoveries don’t always have the desired effects. This follows one of the most brilliant inventors of the 20th century, though one who incorrectly opted for shrunk over shrank. His creation of a machine that can reduce the size of normal items dramatically without compromising structural or mechanical integrity could change the world in areas ranging from less-invasive surgeries to beachwear. However, ease of misuse and clear lack of regulation brought about issues that rendered the machine unsafe for widespread use, which is unfortunate for some and beneficial for others.

On another note, I’m disappointed in 115DWhen repeated, a “Seinfeld” expression: YADA. This furthers the battle over spelling between the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. On December 10, both newspapers had clues for this word. However, WSJ used two D’s in YADDA while NYT uses only one D. Assuming nothing happened in Saturday’s puzzles, this is the NYT tacitly sticking it to its neighbor over spelling of a word that has either gone well out of vogue or is just not used by the people I talk to during Covid.

I finished this puzzle in 35:39. That’s less time than it took me to write this post.

WSJ Crossword 12-9-20 Complete

The Wall Street Journal puzzle has been consistent in taking me substantially longer to complete. I don’t know exactly why that is. I think I’ve made this comment before, and it remains true.

I pulled out 57D Conical wind: OBOE for more than one reason. First off, I had originally read it as Comical wind. My thoughts ranged from NOSE because of the gag to twist someone’s nose and wind with the long i sound to FART because breaking wind is funny.

A real Bronx cheer!

But when I realized that is was Conical wind, it couldn’t have been those. Ultimately, it became apparent that it was OBOE.

This coincided with the answer to today’s NYTXW clue 26A O, in the W.W. II Army/Navy alphabet. Neither was an easy clue.

Today’s puzzle has the title Spy vs. Spy. I don’t understand that yet, but I should be able to figure it out.

20A *South Sudan became the 193rd in 2011: UNMEMBER.
31A *Scam artists: CONMEN.
53A *Not fully achieved: UNMET.
4D *Bluish-gray color: GUNMETAL.
10D *They may include Gardenburgers and Tofurky: VEGANMENUS.
28D *TV dinner, perhaps: FROZENMEAL.

They all have ME in them, but I don’t understand what that has to do anything.





NYT Crossword 12-8-20 Complete

Not bad for a Tuesday puzzle, but I did get stuck in a check spiral. I don’t remember this message. Has it always had “Horsefeathers.” in it?

I realized that 21D Method of successive improvement is not ITEMATION but ITERATION. Then the piano played.

I pulled out 45D Seasickness, e.g.: NAUSEA because I don’t like the clue. Seasickness for example? It’s seasickness. Check the etymology. We know other words that start the same way. Such as nautical. NAU- means boat.

I took a brief break to check the Online Etymology Dictionary (how do you like that for a reimagining of the OED initialism?), a source I hold in high regard. In the entry for nausea, it does state: “Despite its etymology, the word in English seems never to have been restricted to seasickness.”

I still don’t like the clue. I think they could have done better. I blame Will Shortz for bad editing.

Today’s theme

I figured out today’s theme pretty early on and solved the central clue before reading it.

37A One totally unlike another … or what each answer on the edge of this puzzle has?: POLAROPPOSITE.

1A 9-to-5 activity: WORK. I have never had such a job. In my life, an eight-hour work day is from 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch or 9 to 6 with an hour for lunch. Though when I worked at EY, such hours only existed during the REM stage of my few hours of slumber each night.
69A Off-hours activity: PLAY.

5A In heaven, say: ABOVE.
68A In hell, say: BELOW.

10A Like a Saturday crossword: HARD. I’ll say!
67A Like a Monday crossword: EASY. I’ll say!

1D Rainy: WET.
63D Not rainy: DRY.
Brilliant clues. Seems effortless.

23D Like the year you ring out on December 31: OLD.
43D Like the year you ring in on January 1: NEW.

44D Land, as a plane: ARRIVE.
13D Take off, as a plane: DEPART.

Finished this puzzle in 11 minutes flat.

NYT Crossword 12-7-20 Complete

Make that 34 Mondays in a row. That’s the better part of a year. It all started Monday, April 13. I remember April 13. I had been engaged for almost a month, and it was the first Passover I’d spent away from my parents since college. What more is there to say about that date?

I pulled out 51D Hot après-ski beverage: COCOA for numerous reasons.

First reason is that I like hot cocoa better than I like hot chocolate. There is a huge difference. I make hot cocoa with cocoa powder (I like Scharffen Berger), sugar, and milk. Pretty simple. Either marshmallows or whipped cream are good toppers. Both is overkill. Irish cream can be a good addition.

Hot chocolate can have ingredients like condensed milk, chocolate chips, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and more along those lines. Hot chocolate can glisten. It’s good news-bad news. You know it’s going to taste amazing. It also might kill you.

Hot chocolate is not heated chocolate milk.

I have gone to Starbucks and asked for iced hot chocolate. I have done this in more than one state and in more than one country. When my drink is ready, I have often gotten iced chocolate milk.

In London, I asked for iced hot chocolate. The French barista was not having it. He asked me why I didn’t just get chocolate milk. He makes drinks and doesn’t know that they’re entirely different beverages? I told him that I was certain of my order and that I enjoy the combination. He told me, “Uwhen yu don’t like eet, I will not mek anozer!” He seemed even more unhappy when I said that the drink he made for me was perfect.

A friend of mine told me a way around this drink-ordering game: Just order a hot chocolate and a cup of ice. Doing it that way means more beverage and guaranteed success.

Now to today’s theme!

17A Traveled by subway?: WENTDOWNTHETUBE
27A “Would you call the elevator for me?”: CANIGETALIFT
48A “Hand me a flashlight”?: PASSTHETORCH
63A Use French fries as legal tender?: CASHINONESCHIPS

Pretty solid idiom answers.

Finished this one in 8:29.

NYT Crossword 12-6-20 Complete

Three Sundays in a row! I used to stay away from Sunday puzzles because they were just too long. But how about this one? The long puzzle for today is the Spelling Bee, but that’s a post for later.

The title of this puzzle is Get Out of Here! In the past I’d forgotten to look at the Sunday title until after completing the puzzle, but it’s a new month and a new approach.

I pulled out 115A No-parking-zone fixture: HYDRANT because I was talking to Calah the other day about fire hydrants, and I couldn’t remember the word hydrant. It had been pushed out of my mind by the word plug because at least some part of the other side of the country refer to fire hydrants as fire plugs. I guess that serves me right for watching Parking Wars. I had filled out the answer as REDCURB, but that didn’t work with anything other than 85D Boxed a bit: SPARRED. So like a brazen parking-space-less driver, I tore the RED CURB out.

As for the theme, it was Get OF Out of Here, but the OF was removed(?)

23A Archaeologist’s assertion about a finding?: BONECONTENTION->BONE(of)CONTENTION, an idiom I just learned as the main point of disagreement.
33A Swim team guru?: STROKEGENIUS->STROKE(of)GENIUS
40A Hire Phil Collins’s longtime band for a gig?: BOOKGENESIS->BOOK(of)GENESIS. This one was no land of confusion.
51A The Serengeti, e.g.?: PRIDEPLACE (where lions are)->PRIDE(of)PLACE, an idiom I just learned that I think means pole position or atop the field? Help me if I’m wrong here.
63A Knowing everything that’s available to view on Netflix?: STREAMCONSCIOUSNESS->STREAM(of)CONSCIOUSNESS
77A Amenity offered at an internet cafe?: FREECHARGE->FREE(of)CHARGE
84A Bit of reading at a bar mitzvah?: RITEPASSAGE (Torah pun!)->RITE(of)PASSAGE
90A Stand-up’s bombs?: COMEDYERRORS->COMEDY(of)ERRORS. Like Rudy getting COVID?
106A Art shop worker’s manual?: FRAMEREFERENCE->FRAME(of)REFERENCE

Finished this one in 41:19. It’s below my Sunday average of 58:29 but above my PR of 15:11(?????) in August 2018. I still don’t know how that happened. I feel like it’s an error. But it’s something to strive for.

NYT Crossword 12-4-20 Complete

It took two people to write this puzzle, and it took two people to complete it. Man, this one was really rough. But I didn’t give up!

I pulled out 37A 6-9 months?: SUMMER because that answer fit, and I didn’t understand. If it were the LA Times crossword puzzle, it would make sense. We have almost exclusively summer here. But New York?

I realized that it wasn’t talking about the duration of the season but that it will be summer during the three-month period that starts in six months.

I would not have been able to finish today’s puzzle if Calah had not filled in some of 17A Tending (to): MINISTERING. She said the answer without hesitation, and I asked her why that would be the answer. “Because that’s what it means. You minister to someone. You tend to them.” Can’t argue with that.

For 19A Makes a splash, I had written FLOPS. Because belly flops make the loudest splashes, especially when you include the “OOH!” from everyone and the “AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!!!” from the newly red would-be diver. But it turned out to be PLOPS.

Final time: 1:14:19. Better than a DNF.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

NYT Crossword 12-3-20 Complete

Not so bad for a Thursday puzzle! The theme threw me a little, but in times like these, I try to think what Mitch Hedberg would say, and things can work out.

I pulled out 34A Modern lead-in to scrolling: DOOM because I am unfamiliar with doom scrolling. Before I look it up, I imagine that the scrolling is through the comments section. It could be the comment section on your post and find that people are being mean, or it’s the comments in general, and it’s fine until you see that someone you know is saying all kinds of conspiracy theories.

Now I get to look it up.

Turns out that reality is overall better than what I’d thought. It’s just looking through bad news and going down the depressing shit rabbit hole. For those more familiar with doom scrolling, is it also applicable to continuing to read someone’s terrible twitter argument and getting sadder at each tweet?

Now back to Mitch Hedberg’s inspiration for my solving of this puzzle’s theme.

19A This occurs at least once – and never more than three times – in a year: FRIDAYTHEBTH is what I put in, but it changed B it to 13 when I completed the puzzle.

I got very excited when I saw this clue because I wrote a whole post about this topic just last month!

21D Marked by opposite extremes: BIPOLAR is what I put in, but it changed B to 13 to make it 13IPOLAR.

30A Memorable launch of April 11, 1970: APOLLOB (APOLLO13)
26D Runs interference for the offense?: ABETS (A13ETS)

47A 2007 heist film sequel: OCEANSB (OCEANS13)
48A Big joints: BLUNTS (13UNTS)

Completed this one in 24:46. If I had realized that 14A Modest skirt was MIDI and not MAXI, it would have been like 17 minutes.

But if grandmother had wheels, she’d be a streetcar.

NYT Crossword 12-2-20 Complete

A Wednesday with a few errors but completed before going to bed. I oil my butcher block cutting boards on the first of each month, so I took the time to complete this after playing board games remotely with friends and the block oil was soaking in.

I pulled out 62A Vegas casino beside the Bellagio: ARIA because it’s about time they gave another clue for ARIA. I know they do that from time to time, but it’s a chance for me to voice that thoughts of Vegas are a nice change of pace, and anyone who knows me knows how infrequently I feel that.

17A Classic 1960 platinum-selling Miles Davis album: SKETCHESOFPAIN
This one was holding me back awhile. I had it in as SKETCHEROFPAIN, which would have been fine for the clue Uncomfortable platform for a Miles Davis album?
29A Small stones used for driveways: PEAGRAVEL
43A Spirit of the age: ZEITGEIST
55A “Like … now!”: RIGHTTHISSECOND

60A Type of food whose outsides are suggested by the outsides of 17-, 29-, 43- and 55-Across: FRUIT
17A SKETCHESOFPAIN->SKIN
29A PEAGRAVEL->PEEL
43A ZEITGEIST->ZEST
55A RIGHTTHISSECOND->RIND

Not so bad.

Took me 16:10 to get this one right, and my butcher block cutting boards are looking great.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 11-29-20 Complete

Well this puzzle was crazy for me. Slow and tough.

For a lot of it, I didn’t even think I’d finish. But there was one clue that I couldn’t figure out, but when Calah looked at it, she got it immediately.

1A Its logo has a blue, red, orange, yellow and green “M”: GMAIL.

I had thought that it was a logo that had many M’s. When Calah right away figured out what it is, I looked at the favicon of another tab in Chrome and saw the multicolored M they were talking about. If not for Calah, no chance I finish this puzzle.

The title of the puzzle is Six-Pack, and I still am not certain why that title is applicable to this one.

I figured out the formula of the theme about halfway through the grid’s completion. Not halfway through the time because I was stuck awhile.

23A Very short-lived gemstones: EPHEMERALDS.
EPHEMERAL: Short-lived
EMERALDS: Gemstones
34A TV quiz program about an epic poem: GILGAMESHOW
GILGAMESH: Epic poem
GAME SHOW: TV quiz program
93A Magnificent plan of action: FIRSTRATEGY
FIRST RATE: Magnificent
STRATEGY: Plan of action
107A Dance celebrating 2010 legislation: OBAMACARENA
OBAMACARE: 2010 legislation
MACARENA: Dance at many celebrations I’ve been to
3D Emergency situation caused by a terrier: AIREDALERT

AIREDALE TERRIER

RED ALERT: Emergency situation
11D Salon job named after a comic book hero: SUPERMANENT
SUPERMAN: Comic book hero
PERMANENT: Curly hair!
63D Pounding on a pie topping: HAMMERINGUE
HAMMER: Pounding!
MERINGUE: Pie topping and a dessert unto itself!
74D Entertainment host Ryan, that smart aleck!: WISEACREST
WISEACRE: Smart aleck
SEACREST: Ryan

This one took me an absurd amount of time and brought my average up big. But I finished. Works for me!