Tag Archives: Jeff Chen

NYT Crossword Puzzle 12-5-21 Come Again? Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 20A With 116-Down, artificial intelligence system that mimics the human brain: NEURAL NET because If you are unfamiliar with Janelle Shane‘s AI Weirdness blog, you are missing out.

She trains her neural net on data and then lets it go. She then changes some parameters and sees what it kicks out. She posts some amazing content like AI-Generated Food Trucks, which includes:

Pasta by the 5th Tree

How Porsche’s waswolf dog shifted to earth. A literal bed of pasta (turned inside out) is served at this pizza truck booth.

They You

Turbo treat and funnel cake awaited anyone accepting the sign. A collection of assorted cardboard tiles.

Bubble Doodle Babies

For the whole family, have your meal of bubble-dumplings in Cinnamon’s Tower.

Dumplings Rope

Anyone who has ever broken the chain should clear their room. Buy enough spare chains so that you need the bag of unbroken chains at least 45 times again.

AI Weirdness AI-Generated Food Trucks

Come Again? is the name of this puzzle.

72A … COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL COMMERCIAL …: ADINIFINITUM. For sure my favorite of all the theme clues.

Annoyed note: Two days in a row KATANA is an answer.

Finished this one in 38:19.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 11-20-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 12D Fountain fare: MALTS because Calah and I got an ice cream maker for our wedding, and although we haven’t yet used it, malts will be something we will be able to create once we do. I men malteds are way better than regular mikshakes. The malty flavor elevates milkshakes to a level far beyond.

I don’t think there was a theme to this Saturday puzzle.

Finished this one in 16:33.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 10-17-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I spent much of this day on my newest project that I’ll document in my weekly woodworking blog that drops every Tuesday at 10am PT. When the time changes after Halloween, it still will be at 10am PT, but t will be PST rather than PDT. I don’t know why we don’t have PDT for forever like we’d told the California legislature that we approve them to do.

I pulled out 76D Abacus piece: BEAD because I thoroughly enjoy the Arrested Development gag.

The title of this puzzle is Common Core. Because teaching to a test is always the way to make sure students learn, but if there are no standards, how do we make sure things don’t go off the rails? I’m just glad that I don’t have to make education policy. I’m sure that Joy Resmovits has more to say on this topic.

23A Meaningful work?: ROGETSTHESAURUS. Until I was in my early 20s, I thought that Roget was pronounced as written. Like Rodget’s. During a discussion with my dad, I said something about Roget’s (pronounced Rodget’s) Thesaurus, and he started to ridicule me. As this is an infrequent activity of his, I was confused as to why. “I’ts pronounced ro-ZHAY.” I didn’t believe him because why would that be? These are English words. But it was ro-ZHAY all along.
36A Ballet supporter, e.g.: PATRONOFTHEARTS. I know ballet is hard to do, but I know that I want to go to the ballet. I’d rather support the magical arts.
63A Present without being present: THEREINSPIRIT. Good name for a Halloween-themed band.
87A Ritzy transports: CHARTEREDPLANES. I want to take a private jet one day. I don’t want to pay for it, but maybe I’ll get to go on a trip with someone?
106A You wouldn’t want them to have a crush on you: BOACONSTRICTORS. This reminds me of a thing that was brought to my attention by William Goldman’s book Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade:

Okay. This is from a supposed U.S. Government Peace Corps manual. It is given to volunteers who work in the Amazon jungle. It tells what to do if an anaconda attacks you. In case you don’t know much about them, maybe this will help: they are the largest snakes in the world, they can grow to thirty-five feet, can weigh four hundred pounds.

This is what the manual said:

1. If you are attacked by an anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are.

2. Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides, your legs tight against one another.

3. Tuck your chin in.

4. The snake will come and begin to nudge and climb over your body.

5. Do not panic.

6. After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic!

7. The snake will now begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.

8. When the snake has reached your knees, slowly and with as little movement as possible, reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the snake’s mouth between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake’s head.

9. Be sure you have your knife.

10. Be sure your knife is sharp.

Email hoax reprinted in William Goldman’s book Which Lie Did I tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade

There was a metapuzzle in there with four clues.

This puzzle has five Diagonal clues, in addition to Across and Down.

Diagonals (in mixed order):
1) Breakfast side dish: BACONSTRIPS.
2) Compassionate: SOFTHEARTED.
3) Nickname for Mars: THEREDPLANET.
4) Starts drinking: HITSTHESAUCE.
5) Truly magnificent: AWEINSPIRING.

Finished this one in 26:11.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 10-1-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 39A Good name for a wrestler?: MATT because it took me longer than it probably should have for me to realize it is my name. I got there, though. I liked that there are M’s in the grid itself!

There was a Friday theme!

17A Fictional home with a secret basement: WAYNEMANOR.
21A Super group: AVENGERS. Avengers is Marvel, so this is a sloppy clue.
35A Range of consideration, metaphorically: RADARSCREEN. Beep beep beep!
53A Environmentally friendly way to travel: SOLARCAR. Eco-Batmobile.
57A Locale below 17-Across, as suggested by three images in this puzzle’s grid: THEBATCAVE. See, the M’s aren’t M’s, they’re bats!

Finished this one in 23:29.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 8-8-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 97D Apps made with jalapeños and cheese: POPPERS because I like them. Calah doesn’t, but maybe she’ll change. She says she won’t because they’re too spicy, but she also made some lentils or something a while ago that used like a cup and a half of chili powder.

I am salivating over these things that I made.

Today’s puzzle was a puzzle!

27A “First, you’re going to want to dump out the box and _“: PICKUPTHEPIECES.
40A “What’s most useful next is to _“: GOOVERTHEEDGE.
57A “To connect things up you’ll have to _“: PLAYWITHMATCHES.
83A “As you go, make sure you exercise your _“: FREEDOMOFASSEMBLY.
93A “With patience and perseverance you’re sure to _“: GETITTOGETHER.

These are all puzzle-related clues for the puzzle whose gray squares come together to make the phrase PICTURE PERFECT MOMENT.

Finished this one in 36:12.

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NYT Crossword 12-22-20 Complete

After a Monday in the mid-80s, today’s high is supposed to be in the upper 60s. And with a fire weather watch, it’s good that there’s a nonzero possibility of precipitation later this week.

I pulled out 33D Hawaii’s state bird: NENE because I wish they had a clue one day that wrapped around the grid that was Hawaii’s state fish: HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUA‘A. There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet. Of course, it’s more complicated than that because they use the macron and the open single quote for lengths of words and stops within a word, respectively.

In a surprise to no one, the University of Hawaii has a whole writeup about this, that includes:

Why is correct Hawaiian orthography important?
Because these sounds are significant in Hawaiian, they can determine the meaning of words. A commonly cited example is a set of short words:
pau: finished
pa‘u: soot
pa‘ū: damp
pā‘ū: skirt
Without the ‘okina and kahakō, the distinction between meanings would be unclear.

Since the open single quote is not an apostrophe, smart quotes– the curly quotes which are annoying to me always because I’ve seen documents with a mix of smart quotes and straight quotes as well as books that have smart quotes in the wrong direction–really screw things up here because it’s hard to do an open single quote in the middle of a word. However, straight quotes should be fine to use in all situations, right?

This puzzle’s theme was a dream. And the funky puzzle shape was an interesting way to show nine days left of the year.

18A Rapture: SHEERBLISS.
59A Comforting mental state: HAPPYPLACE.
31D Realm of marvels: WONDERLAND.
24A With this puzzle’s central black squares, ecstasy: CLOUD and then the nine from the black squares.

Finished this one in 9:10.

NYT Crossword 12-9-20 Complete

Not bad for a Wednesday puzzle. But looking at the date, it’s crazy that we’re almost 1/3 of the way done with December.

I pulled out 14D Source of the line “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”: MATTHEW because that’s my name. Nothing beyond that. Just vanity.

I didn’t use the theme of this puzzle to get me any answers. The theme makes sense in retrospect.

19A Establish a standard that’s easy to reach: SETTHEBARLOW.
30A With 41-Across, make every effort to be accommodating: BENDOVER.
41A See 30-Across: BACKWARD.
51A Not meet expectations: UNDERACHIEVE.

64A Contest described by 19-, 30-/41- and 51-Across: LIMBO.

You set the bar low in limbo. You approach the bar as you bend over backward to comply with the rules. If you are successful, you achieve by going under.

Not bad.

Finished this one in 13:01.

NYT Crossword 11-25-20 Complete

A moment ago I was excited to have done a Thursday puzzle so quickly. Then I realized that today is only Wednesday. And I can be fine at Wednesdays, so it turns out that this was no real surprise.

I pulled out 32D Signed, sealed or delivered: PASTTENSE because of how sad the song would have been. I mean could you imagine?

There I was / Signed, sealed, delivered / I was yours back then.


I don’t know how I feel about today’s theme other than that it exists.

16A Prince, e.g.: MALEHEIR
25A Stamp on an envelope [and 16-Across flipped]: AIRMAIL
31A It takes a glider up to launch altitude: TOWPLANE
44A It takes a glider up to launch altitude: PLAINTOE
50A Golf reservation: TEETIME
63A Herbal drink full of antioxidants [and 50-Across flipped]: THYMETEA

Thyme tea? This is the first I’ve ever heard of thyme tea. So I looked it up and came across these questions:

That second one really got my mind going. What does happen to your body when you drink thyme tea?

A little more searching got me to the unassailable medical publication Stylecraze’s 3 Side Effects That Tell You Why Thyme May Not Always Be Good. Those side effects are headaches, asthma, and skin allergies.

It even offered that it could lead to “hypotension: Allergic response to thyme may cause hypotension, as observed in a 45-year old man. Some sources even hint cardiac arrest upon the intake of thyme oil.”

When you talk about a single uncited case and then offer the vague “some sources,” it’s just gotta be true.

I finished this one in 12:19. We’ll see tomorrow what a real Thursday puzzle will do to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

NYT Crossword Puzzle 10-20-20 Complete

I did this puzzle on my phone (while watching Love Is Blind–I really like Kenny-Kelly and Cameron-Lauren), but I’m writing this post on my computer.

First off, either I’ve been out of the game for too long or SPLIFF is a new addition to the crossword. I’m just imagining a generation of people who are introduced to the term through the crossword.

The theme of this puzzle is the answer to
38A Like goods that are temporarily out of stock … or a hint, alphabetically, to the answers to the starred clues: BACKORDERED. Took me a moment, but I realized that the answers to the starred clues are in reverse-alphabetical order. And why isn’t that omegapsiacal order?
17A *Followed warnings: TOOKHEED (DEHKOT)
18A *Materialistic sort, stereotypically: YUPPIE (EIPUY) Also the etymology of yuppie is from the acronym of Young Urban Professional and dates back to the Reagan era.
23A *Marijuana cigarette, informally: SPLIFF (FILPS)
24A *Posted inflammatory blog comments, e.g.: TROLLED (DELORT)
50A *Chewbacca, e.g.: WOOKIEE (EIKOW)
52A *Autonomous cleaner: ROOMBA (ABMOR)
59A *”L’chaim!”: TOLIFE (EFILOT)
62A *Like toddlers in high chairs, often: SPOONFED (DEFNOPS)

I did this one on my phone, so it was a little slower than if I’d done it on the computer. The time was 12:49. Average for Tuesday is 14:02, so go figure.

NYT Crossword 7-15-20 DNF

First day doing this blog, and I did not finish the crossword. I finally called it quits at 23:24 because I shouldn’t be spending all day on a Wednesday puzzle. What’s more American than public failure to start out? I guess we’ll see how I do as I continue. I had been doing a lot of Monday and Tuesday puzzles in the past. Sometimes Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, but those were way rarer. I don’t yet know the solution to this one, so I may continue to work on it so it shows it as complete in the app, but for today, I’m done with it. On to the Wall Street Journal puzzle. I don’t think that one uses the same logic as the New York Times one, but we’ll see.