A NEW PERSONAL RECORD!!!! It’s not even a February Fools’ Day joke. Also happy 2121. Although the twos have abounded, we haven’t yet seen the full-on silver squeeze. Two because silver medal is second place. I want the silver squeeze to happen because if silver goes to $1000/ozt, this half dollar in my hand is worth more than $350. But just try to get that kind of cash for it, right? I know from my time in rare coins and collectibles that if you go to a place that sells precious metals, they’ll tell you that they can’t sell it to you at spot because they’re a business and have to make a profit on it. If you try to sell them precious metals, they’ll tell you that they can’t buy it for spot because they’re a business and have to make a profit on it. They make a profit on both ends of the transaction. Unless the price falls dramatically after they buy it and before they sell it.
I pulled out 14D Dull photo finish: MATTE because my name is Matt, and I’m allowed to be vain. Also months and months ago Calah and I bought our wedding bands with the expectation that we’d be long married by now. I made sure to get one with a matte finish. Why? Because my name is Matt, and I’m allowed to be vain.
This puzzle was the bees’ knees! And not just in the sense that I have a new Monday PR.
19A One on the front lines during a crisis: ESSENTIALWORKER. 35A Crown wearer at a fall football game: HOMECOMINGQUEEN. 52A Unmanned Dept. of Defense aircraft: USMILITARYDRONE.
19A WORKER BEE. 35A QUEEN BEE. 52A DRONE BEE.
Finished this one in 3:49, ABSOLUTELY OBLITERATING my old Monday PR of 4:21.
It’s so cold today in LA! It rained and hailed yesterday. It’s sunny out now, but it’s 54 degrees outside. Bananas. But the rain has made me realize I can make progress on the chairs with the chisel set that my college roommate Darren got me as a gift recently. But more on that in the woodworking chair project series. Woodworking series posts every Tuesday at 10am PT.
I pulled out 37A Singer Watson, a.k.a. Tones and I, with the 2019 hit “Dance Monkey”: TONI because I think the clue is bad. The song itself is catchy. As much as I don’t care for it, it’s not the worst every so often. But the clue has the answer in it. There are down clues to get you there if you don’t know that her name is TONI (which I didn’t), but you might as well have clues like Musician Adams, a.k.a. will.i.am, with the 2009 instant classic “I Gotta Feeling,” or State of origin of Tramar Dillard, a.k.a. Flo Rida, with the 2007 breakout single “Low.”
I remembered to look at the title of the puzzle this time, and that helped me solve a lot of it.
Sugar, Sugar is even more helpful now that I look at it again. I got that it is candy from the Sugar, but I now I realize that the two Sugars is indicative of that already.
22A Bookworms call dad?: NERDSRINGPOP. This was one of the last ones I got in the entire puzzle. Some friends of mine proposed to their now-wives with ring pops and then went ring shopping later. I proposed to Calah with a costume jewelry ring. I’m not talking a ring that looks nice but isn’t expensive. This ring probably came in a big pack that had a choking hazard warning on it. I had gotten it for free years earlier in a creative wedding invitation. Despite earlier statements she’d made that the type of ring didn’t matter, Calah looked at it and said no repeatedly and emphatically. So there we were at the park at night near a lamppost. I was on one knee on the damp ground with a ring out, and I got denied. But I’m good at quick thinking. In an attempt to make the situation less awkward, I pulled out from my pocket a ring box and revealed an honest engagement ring with a stone that caught what little light there was. My second attempt got a more favorable result. Of course she’d tell the story a little differently. But now I get to look forward to her reading this and expressing horror at me telling the world a story with too little context and arguably major, relevant omissions. 31A A young Justice Ginsburg chuckles?: BABYRUTHSNICKERS. Aw, I miss RBG. Especially now that ACB is sitting in her chair. 47A Do core exercises all day, every day?: CRUNCHNOWANDLATER. This could not be a more applicable clue and answer. Whenever I’ve had Now and Later, it’s been hard, and I eat a little bit of the wax paper wrapper that I cannot separate from the petrified candy. Even though CRUNCH in this context refers to the Nestle chocolate-and-rice bar, I’ve yet to find a Now and Later that’s not made a loud sound when I chew it. 67A Burger King bingefest?: WHOPPERSSPREE. OK I had never heard of Spree until this morning.
But I can talk about Whoppers for eternity. My favorite one in the box or carton–wait a second, does it come in a carton because it’s malted milk? Whoa!–is the one that’s a little soft and chewy. It’s a wonderful surprise whenever it happens. Also Whoppers are better than Maltesers. Maltesers is reportedly the choice of terrorists. Whoppers is the choice of me. 84A Supernova in our galaxy?: MILKYWAYSTARBURST. Pretty good. 103A When E.M.T.s bring home the bacon?: LIFESAVERSPAYDAY. Pineapple is the best lifesaver.
115A Some astronomy Ph.D.s?: MARSSMARTIES. Probably the weakest of all the theme ones.
Finished in 38:35. The blog post took me way longer to write.
What an inauguration this morning. I’m feeling hopeful. I expect good things from this administration. Things are looking less divisive.
I pulled out 65A Isle of ___ : SKYE because it reminds me of when I went to Islay. I enjoyed going to the Laphroiag distillery back in 2019. They were really nice there, and I am looking forward to going back. When I was sitting at the bar at the distillery, some dude said that he was going to other places in Scotland, including the Isle of Skye. I said, “Oh! Are you going to go to Talisker?” When he asked me if he should, I recommended he talk to the people who work at Laphroaig. So the guy told a bartender that he was going to Skye. The reply: “Oh! Are you going to Talisker?”
The theme of this puzzle was our country being together.
15A Sharing thoughts like a Vulcan [Detroit, Fargo]: MINDMELDING. There’s been too much of that. Let’s get back to honest debate. 22A Classic of daytime TV first aired in 1962 [Atlanta, Bangor]: MATCHGAME. Betty White was on Match Game for years. She’s now in her 100th year. How cool is that? 45A Arthritis symptom [Altoona, South Bend]: JOINTPAIN. 57A Sommelier’s suggestion [Oshkosh, Omaha]: WINEPAIRING. How else would we know not to have white wine with steak?
36A Red, white and blue land … or what 15-, 22-, 45- and 57-Across feature?: THEUNITEDSTATES. United.
15A Detroit, MI; Fargo, ND. MIND. 22A Atlanta, GA; Bangor, ME. GAME. 45A Altoona, PA; South Bend, IN. PAIN. 57A Oshkosh, WI; Omaha, NE. WINE.
And in what was a clear shoutout to Bernie Sanders…
The wind is supposed to pick up in the next couple hours. It’s going to be crazy, and I’ll have the police radio on in the background. I think it will be downed trees today. I hope there won’t be fires.
I pulled out 67A Actor Mickey of “The Wrestler”: ROURKE because for too much of the puzzle, I had ROONEY in there. It’s understandable, right?
I figured out the theme about 1/3 of the way through this puzzle.
18A *Bygone Crayola color: LEMONYELLOW. It took me a while to realize that this wasn’t LEMONY ELBOW–the thing that happens when you’re not careful around these:
41A *Sweet, healthful treat: FRUITCUP. Will Shortz is in Del Monte’s pocket. 62A *World’s largest terrestrial arthropod: COCONUTCRAB.
12D *Sign in a deli window, perhaps: HOTCOFFEE. Because HOTPASTRAMI was too long. 35D *Staple of Japanese cuisine: WHITERICE. Hard to argue when it’s the majority of the country’s flag.
60D Word that can follow either half of the answers to the starred clues: CAKE.
Today there was kind of muted craziness. The Trump administration said the travel ban from Europe is ending or something. That’s silly because COVID obvz. Then Biden was like, “Hang on, buddy!” Also Kayleigh McEnany reportedly has moved back home to Florida already. Does she not know that that’s where the Trumps are moving, too??????
I pulled out 3D “Here comes Poindexter!”: NERDALERT because of what this is. Might as well have been “Look! Someone doing the crossword!”
Today’s theme was something like why travel the world when you can travel the whole world in this country?
17A City where you won’t find the Eiffel Tower: PARISTEXAS. 24A City where you won’t find the Parthenon: ATHENSGEORGIA. Republic of Georgia should look into naming one of their towns after the city in Greece, too. 46A City where you won’t find Virgil’s Tomb: NAPLESFLORIDA. 56A City where you won’t find the El Greco Museum: TOLEDOOHIO.
On this day in 1994, LA woke up to a magnitude 6.7 earthquake. With an epicenter near Northridge, it’s one of the worst things to come out of the Valley, and that’s saying something. (I know I’m going to be paying for that statement later, but it’s totally worth it.) I don’t remember the shaking itself, but I remember my dad driving us around to look at the rubble. It was pretty bad. Freeway overpasses had collapsed. Lots of stuff was broken. Generally bad times.
I pulled out 14D Fading process for jeans: ACIDWASH because I joked(?) a couple months ago that anyone in LA who wanted acid wash jeans should leave them outside because it was going to rain that night/day. The next day was beautiful because all the smog was gone.
The title of this puzzle is Double-Crossed, and the grid looks slightly different in the print edition.
23A Way into a garage, typically: OVERHEA(DD/OO)R. That’s true about half the time for me. If I go in through the overhead door, I go out through the pedestrian door. If I go in through the pedestrian door, I go out through the overhead door. 7D Subject of a Sleeves Up campaign: BL(OO/DD)RIVE. There are lots of reports of blood shortages in more places than just Transylvania. COVID has made it almost impossible to get people to donate blood. There’s less coverage of how the chocolate chip cookie industry is affected. Maybe Nutter Butter can shed some light on this type of blow. 34A Nickelodeon competitor: CART(OO/NN)ETWORK. 13D Classic dorm room meal: RAME(NN/OO)DLES. I still have not yet had ramen. And I see a lot of it in the K-Dramas. 61A Prominent women’s rights lawyer: GLORI(AA/LL)RED. And she’s not letting Harvey Weinstein get away with it. 45D Beer in a green bottle: STE(LL/AA)RTOIS. Green bottle made me think Heineken then Beck’s. I think of Stella Artois as being in a brown bottle. It’s not.
76A Visual phenomenon created by short flashes of light: STROB(EE/FF)ECT. Long exposure with a strobe makes for amazing photos. 66D Nestlé creamer: CO(FF/EE)MATE. The perfect amount of coffeemate is just get better coffee and use milk and sugar. 104A Some entertainers at children’s birthday parties: BA(LL/OO)NARTISTS.
85D Sallie Mae products: SCH(OO/LL)OANS. What will happen when there’s free college for everyone? 119A Awards show that airs at night, ironically: DAYTIM(EE/MM)YS. It seems like everyone in the industry has at least one Emmy. I don’t, but I’m also not in the industry. 101D Pool competitions: SWI(MM/EE)TS. Can anyone forget Ryan Lochte’s American Flag grill? Does anybody even want to?
None too bad for a Friday puzzle. The timer went on kinda long because I got up from the computer partway through and didn’t realize the timer was still going. Not that it matters, of course. I mean the WSJ Friday puzzle didn’t work on the website at all, so I had to print that one out to do it. You’ll see that post on Sunday because I also figured out the meta puzzle answer super fast.
I pulled out 41A Game that can be played on bicycles or elephants: POLO because it’s crazy to think about all the different types of unusual polo. Harvey Mudd notoriously has a unicycle hockey, which is kinda like polo.
The theme of this puzzle seems to be GET TRUMP OUTTA THERE.
29A Eclipsed everyone else: STOLETHESHOW. Trump has talked about having a rally at the same time as Biden’s inauguration. What a crazy guy. 32A One getting fired up for competition?: STARTERPISTOL. This one is kind of on the nose. 48A Complete loss of self-identity: EGODEATH. Reports are that Trump is all mopey after the second impeachment. I would be, too, but also I wouldn’t have done all those harrible harrible things like you wouldn’t believe. 51A Where one might hear a call for action: MOVIESET. If only Trump had stuck to that instead of using his office as bully pulpit to bring the worst out of people. 52A Metaphorical incentive: CARROT. Completely ineffective against Trump. 12D Honcho: LEADER + 33D Captured, in a way: ONCAMERA. Trump is a leader on camera, but he’s garbage in reality. 36D: Employs as a backup plan, with “to”: RESORTS. Reports are that Jared and Ivanka aren’t allowed to join the country club near their new $30M Indian Creek Island home. Whoops! 37D Blanked on: FORGOT. Person, man, woman, camera, TV.
7D Topic in property law, colloquially: SQUATTERSRIGHTS. That’s what these past few months have been about. Now scram!
What a day today may be! People are calling for Liz Cheney’s head, and that’s a real shame. We need unity now, and the way to do it is to excise the things that continue to tear us apart. My take is that if Trump has won reelection and done this, they wouldn’t have minded getting him out right now, installing Pence, and then have an easy Pence inauguration on January 20. But that’s not the world right now.
I pulled out 53A “90 Day Fiancé” network: TLC because Calah and I binge watched that show together around the time we got engaged. There are so many things wrong with that show, and that’s, of course, why we had to watch all of it. Then we watched the spinoff, The Family Chantel. More trainwreck. So good.
I didn’t realize what the circles were until the end. It had seemed like they were all T’s, but that turned out to be incorrect. In this case, it was good that NYT automatically filled in the circles with the letter choices.
18A Relative of a croc: GA(T/B)OR. I took the clue to mean crocodile, so it was GATOR for alligator. But it can be taken like the shoe. Now I know that GABOR is a shoe brand. 7D Garage jobs: LU(T/B)ES. I took the clue to refer to cars, so it was LUBES. As for LUTES, I have zero idea how this applies. 24A Desires: WAN(T/E)S. I figured it was WANTS. That makes sense. I guess desires can wane. Like the desire to understand this puzzle because now I’m feeling that there’s a chance that the first letter is for the across and the second letter is for the down, and each word exists with the other letter. 4D What a letter needs: LEAS(T/E). I just don’t get this one. Oh, wait, letter like tenant. Contract to live or work somewhere. Now I understand. 27A Awesome time: B(L/O)AST. Having a blast is a good thing. You can later boast about it. 10D Brief appearance: CAME(L/O). A brief appearance is a cameo. As the Australians know, camels tend to stick around. 51A Have a Pavlovian response: DRO(O/L). Ring the bell = getting fed. Can’t wait. Droll means “Curious or unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.” Could work! Feeling like it’s more and more likely that it’s just across/down. 55A Moves like molasses: S(E/T)EPS. Molasses seeps. Oozes might be better. I don’t think of molasses as stepping. 56D Spud: (E/T)ATER. This can only be the TATER for potato. 62A Ancient unit of length: CU(B/T)IT. Cubit is a thing. I don’t think that there was any CUTIT measurement. 54D Petrol unit: LI(B/T)RE. Only can be LITRE.
38A Classic party game … or a hint to solving the answers that intersect circles: SPINTHEBOTTLE. Oh, now I get it! Clockwise, it’s T/B L/O E/T B/T O/L T/E
I’m behind on this morning’s rules hearings in the House of Representatives now by about 45 minutes. I’m watching it on 1.25x right now so I can get as much in before starting work this morning. The resolve against Trump is way more bipartisan than it has been. Of course that’s not hard because it’s been along party lines, but this really should be unanimous. The concept that this is just a hoax and a conspiracy is madness. Jim Jordan got the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he’s not making Trump question his decision. I just got to the point where they’re voting on the rules. I guess I’m caught up? OK cool.
I pulled out 18D Make an effort to get swole: HITTHEWEIGHTS because I used to go to the gym with Calah weekly before COVID hit. I mainly rode a stationary bike and listened to books on Audible while Calah went to a workout class. Finally I agreed to go to one of those crazy classes with her, but I was prevented from following through because COVID hit, and even my dad advised that the gym seems like a bad place to spend any time. The gyms closed a couple weeks later.
The theme of this puzzle is basketball movies? The commissioner of baseball told all teams to show up for spring training next month and to expect a 162-game season. That seems laughable in the COVID era.
20A Address by a Sacramento N.B.A. player?: THEKINGSSPEECH. Like the 2010 film and the team. 35A Game notes for a New Orleans N.B.A. player?: THEPELICANBRIEF. Like the 1993 film and the team. So there were the Charlotte Hornets that moved to New Orleans and became the New Orleans Hornets. Then Charlotte got another team, the Bobcats, reportedly named by and after founder Robert Johnson. The New Orleans Hornets temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City as New Orleans was recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Then in 2013, the New Orleans Hornets renamed itself the New Orleans Pelicans, as Louisiana is the Pelican State. The following year, the Charlotte Bobcats were renamed the Charlotte Hornets. 46A Charlotte N.B.A. player in charge of recycling?: THEGREENHORNET. Like the 2011 film and the team.
ning was ridiculous. Jim Jordan is how he’s been for a while. He just focuses on the irrelevant parts of events, and he won’t say that the election wasn’t rigged.
I pulled out 47D Expeditions by knights: QUESTS because I play Avalon with friends most Tuesday nights, and I’m writing this as we’re playing right now. If they read this post, they’ll know why I’ve been a little distracted.
Today’s long clues are clearly in reference to getting Trump out of the Oval.
18A Hard deposit in a bladder: KIDNEYSTONE. 29A Legislation often resulting from compromise: BIPARTISANBILL. Come on, Mitch McConnell, let’s get an early trial going after impeachment breezes through the House. 46A N.F.L. signal caller: PROQUARTERBACK. 61A Jiffy: BRIEFMOMENT.
37A Adage on the impermanence of suffering … or a hint to 18-, 29-, 46- and 61-Across: THISTOOSHALLPASS.
They all pass stuff, but we need these articles of impeachment to go through and for us to make Mike Pence. Also NYT just reported that the Trump administration executed Lisa Montgomery while Trump happily pardoned all kinds of criminals. What a time to be alive!