Longest puzzle of the week so far, but I finished! Total time was 20:37, partially because I couldn’t figure out what B+ was. Every answer I thought of (NOTGOODENOUGH, JUSTMISSED, NEVERGETTINGINTOCOLLEGE) didn’t fit. Which brings up a weird dream I had last night that I was taking Spanish class in college and aced the first exam and then got the second exam back and got like 45%. I was confused because I did the same processes of studying and prep as I had done for the first exam, and I thought I’d nailed the second one, but I was deficient. I can take that dream in several ways: (1) I’m still having nightmares about taking tests in college; (2) my proficiency in Spanish is severely lacking, and that isn’t great for someone who lives in Los Angeles; (3) it’s a dream, so whatever; (4) I need to remember that even when I think I’ve nailed it, there’s more to do.
Remember the WSJ puzzle where they agreed it was hard to keep up with THE TIMES? Well NYT took the high road in 25D WSJ Competitor (NYTIMES). But I’m not a fan of putting NYTIMES as the answer to a clue in a puzzle published in the NY Times. It’s possible that nobody tells Will Shortz when an idea is bad or isn’t even his because he lives in the world of 57A People are protected when they’re in it: SAFEENVIRONMENT.
I did like the theme of the symbol and element name. I don’t think that should have tipped me off that B+ was a Boron ion, but that wasn’t the worst answer for B+. Also for 61A Man of the cloth? I was thinking DYER, but evidently it was DIOR. Even though it was Christian, it wasn’t religious.
I wish that at at the start of every Wall Street Journal crossword that I wouldn’t have to change the settings to skip the filled-in squares. It’s not even like I’m not logged in. I am logged in. Why won’t it save the settings?
OK now for today’s puzzle. The theme became obvious early, so that helped me clear out a bunch of the clues. But 33D They may be hard to keep up with: THETIMES. The WSJ puzzles fall far behind those of The [New York] Times. Also 32A Exam for H.S. students: APTEST. I didn’t have AP Tests, I had AP Exams. I think the clue was bad and the answer was worse. Maybe have a clue like Way to determine the relative success of a campaign (ABTEST) and then have 33D Common crypto (BTC) and then I guess I’m stopping there because I’d have to unwind a lot of other things, and I’m not willing to do that for this blog post.
But I guess I’m getting faster: A Wednesday crossword took me 8:00 (including the skip filled-in squares setup step. That’s more than a minute faster than the Mondays were when I started.
Manic Monday to the max! NYT Crossword 6:26, but WSJ Crossword in just 5:57. That’s way faster than my earlier normal of a little more than 9 minutes for a Wall Street Journal Monday. Did it take telling my finacee that I was on a roll and would be with her shortly? The better question is: Was it worth it?
Now, the downside of finishing the crossword so quickly is that now I’m done with my two crosswords a day. It’s like being good at golf or bowling. If you are good at golf, you hit the ball fewer times and walk a much shorter distance. If you are good at bowling, you get fewer rolls in during a game. Of course, I took bowling and golf (twice!) as classes in college, so it’s very easy to conclude that I have shoes for each sport. Unfortunately, the shoes I got for bowling are resting in the dark because covid’s not over. Even less fortunately, my first pair of golf shoes–the Adidas Samba Golf shoes in royal blue–were stolen from my car a couple years ago.
The weirder thing for me in this puzzle is the number of places that I can find RAAB, including my sister’s name LAUREN RAAB (twitter.com/raablauren).
So this is the first NYT Monday of this blog. I raced through it with almost no skips as I was going through. I was excited by the time I was going to finish, but it turned out I had to finish it properly. I found the error semi-quickly. I had put EDIE when the answer was EVIE. IT was clear that HANDDAC is not a dustbuster while HANDVAC is.
I haven’t yet done today’s Wall Street Journal puzzle, but NYT Monday solved in 6:26 against the average of like 9:20 for my WSJ Mondays has me wondering if the NYT Monday is just substantially easier than the WSJ Monday.
Another thing: Yesterday’s puzzle had STRIPTT (STRIPTEASE because strip+T’s), and today’s had UNDRESS. It’s sounding like the editor’s middle name should be Drop. You know, because then he’d be Will Drop Shortz. Ugh. He makes me so mad. I still have the unused ticket from when he showed up at UCSB. Was it a waste of money to have purchased the ticket? I didn’t know when I bought it that he was about to use my submission without crediting me.
I have now learned that there is no Wall Street Journal Sunday crossword. So it’s back to getting the hang of WSJ setup by doing old Mondays. This one seemed more in line with how the New York Times does stuff. Still, it took me 9:20 to finish it. I guess I’ve been pretty consistent there for WSJ Monday puzzles.
I learned from this puzzle that a split level house is a real thing. I had filled in those squares as a joke for myself because the only time I had heard that used is in The Game of Life: The deed for the house broken up by an earthquake. But I guess it’s a real thing!
Tomorrow I’ll get to do a Wall Street Journal Monday on a real Monday.
I think this is the first time ever that I’ve taken the time to complete a Sunday crossword. These usually are just too big for me to want to take on, but today I tried it. And I won! Yes, it took me about an hour, but I got through it.
I struggled a little at the beginning because the double letters seemed like they couldn’t be right. I must have goofed up somewhere. But when I realized what they were, I knocked out a huge chunk of the puzzle: TRAPPARTISTS=TRAPEZE ARTISTS CCTHEDAY=SEIZE THE DAY DIZZCONTROL=DISEASE CONTROL STRIPTT=STRIPTEASE (You dog, Will Shortz! Letting that one through!) AMUUMENTPARKS=AMUSEMENT PARKS CLOCKYY=CLOCKWISE OLDDSTATION=OLDIES STATION GGLOUISE=JEEZ LOUISE (or what you’d say when playing Louise in Rocket League) SURPRIIPARTY=SURPRISE PARTY
Overall, pretty good. Glad I got it done. And I won one 1:01:10!
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.