Tag Archives: tuesday crossword

WSJ Crossword 1-12-21 Complete and a story about baseball!

This blog post ended up mostly being about the clue and answer I pulled out, so it may be more entertaining to read than most of the WSJXW blog posts are. I did struggle with this one a little, but I made my way through. This doing-them-all-on-Sunday thing is fine so far. We’ll see how it continues.

I pulled out 8A Ballpark official: SCORER because it reminds me of when I was a baseball broadcaster in college. I read the entire NCAA rulebook for baseball and always brought the book with me to games because I had no one around me to let me know what had just happened when there was a crazy event in the game. There was one game I called with my often-broadcast partner Mitchell Clements where this rulebook came in handy. A guy got to first base, and the next batter was power hitter. I saw that the third baseman was playing almost on the outfield grass, and although this batter had the speed to turn a close triple into a long single, he decided to drop down a bunt down the third baseline. To the casual baseball fan, it seems like a standard sacrifice bunt play: He was thrown out easily, and the runner moved over from first to second. However, it didn’t look to me like that’s what he had wanted to do. I saw that the third baseman was playing deep. I figured he saw the same thing. Rather than give himself up, it sure seemed like he had gone rogue and decided to drop down a bunt into no-man’s land in an attempt to make it to first safely.

Per the rules:

SECTION 8. A sacrifice bunt is credited to the batter when, with fewer than
two outs, his bunt enables a runner to advance, provided no other runner is put
out attempting to advance. A sacrifice fly is credited when, with fewer than two
outs, his fly, fair or foul, enables a runner to score. In either case, the sacrifice
ruling applies when the batter is put out before he reaches first base or would
have been put out if the ball had been fielded without error.
This is is what everyone knows.

HOWEVER, then there’s this:

Exception—If, in the judgment of the official scorer, the batter is bunting primarily for a base hit, do not score a sacrifice. Instead, charge the batter with a time at bat.

I knew it had to be the latter. I knew there was no chance he had been instructed to play smallball in that situation.

Announcement from the official scorer: “Sacrifice.”

After that game, the head coach was unfazed by my question about that play. He shrugged it off and said that sometimes they ask this batter to drop down a bunt to move a guy over and that the plan had worked. I was unconvinced and asked the guy later what had really happened. He seemed kind of excited to tell me that my analysis in real time had been entirely correct.

Since I wasn’t the official scorer, it went down as a sacrifice. But I knew the rule.

That was true a decade ago, and it remains in the most recently published rulebook.

Major League Baseball unsurprisingly has a similar rule:


But there’s an interpretation that the NCAA rulebook does not have:


So there you go.

The title of this puzzle is A Few Brief Words.

20A Secret compartments in some desks: HIDDENDRAWERS. Also what is often found under a pair of pants on the bedroom only after the rest of the laundry is done.
33A Some Pixar works: ANIMATEDSHORTS.
40A Long proboscises: ELEPHANTTRUNKS.
57A Golden Gloves competitors: AMATEURBOXERS.


Finished this one in 18:15.

NYT Crossword 1-19-21 Complete

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?

Mickey Rooney in Killer McCoy (1947).
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008).

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:

Reminds me of going to the ballpark.

41A *Sweet, healthful treat: FRUITCUP. Will Shortz is in Del Monte’s pocket.
62A *World’s largest terrestrial arthropod: COCONUTCRAB.

Giant crab or tiny human?

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.


Finished this one in 17:10 because IGUANODON is spelled two O’s and one A.

NYT Crossword 1-12-21 Complete

Wow! The hearing this mor

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.

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!

Finished this one in 11:30.

Gotta start paying attention to Avalon again.

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:




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.

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 12-29-20 Complete

Pretty fast for me for a Tuesday WSJ puzzle. In other news, while it’s not pouring in LA today and the temperature has cranked up to 59, we’ve got sustained 14MPH winds and 20+MPH gusts. I don’t care much for this, but I do look forward to going for a walk later to see the city clear of smog thanks to yesterday’s rain and with wind-swept skies.

I pulled out 16A Diet that goes against the grain?: PALEO because that word just means old, from the Greek palaios, which means ancient. Now that I think about it, it’s cool to think of the ancient Greeks thinking about what was ancient to them. It’s like how an elderly person will call a 50-year-old a kid. But since paleo just means old, do you have any chunky milk in your fridge right now? Any open bottles of wine that have turned to vinegar? Any blue cheese that wasn’t intended to be that color? Shouldn’t those count as part of the paleo diet?

This puzzle’s title is Idle Hands, and the clue are about a thing I have on the wall that I finally bought after much delay because I finally found the time to do so.

18A Karate chop target, sometimes: CINDERBLOCK. Though breaking them this way isn’t always as hard as it seems.

28A Radio format for Fleetwood Mac and Heart: CLASSICROCK.
51A Where Oxford types might hang out?: CLOTHESRACK. Oxford style billowy shirts.

62A It’s right twice a day, and it can be found at 12-, 28-, and 51-Across: BROKENCLOCK.

But the problem is that the saying is inaccurate. It’s not just that a broken digital clock shows nothing at all and therefore neither shows the wrong time nor the right time. It’s not always right with analog clocks. The pendulum of a grandfather clock may swing fast or slow compared to accurate and be in need of repair. Depending on the speed, it may be off by an additional second each day and therefore be right once every approximately 118 years, as it would have to make up 12 hours of drift at the rate of 1 second a day. There are 43,200 seconds in 12 hours, 43,200 days is a little more than 118 years. If it’s running too fast, it may be right more than twice a day, but that would make at least twice a day and therefore would qualify.

Finished this one in 8:00.

NYT Crossword 12-29-20 Complete

A Tuesday with errors that slowed my time down. And my hands are freezing. It’s 44 degrees in LA right now. Heater? Nah. But that may change as I continue to type.

In other news, I’m now on Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 14 entitled Ozymandias. That’s the one on IMDb that’s rated 10/10. I’ve continued not to find this season compelling (other than to turn it off), and I’m wondering if the episode is a 10/10 in the context of this season or if it’s 10/10 in the context of the show. I can’t imagine it’s the latter.

I pulled out 5D Garment that may be “dropped”: TROU because I don’t think it’s appropriate use of quotation marks. Trou is short for trousers. Pants. Dropping pants and dropping trousers is the same thing. Why it “dropped” and not dropped? I don’t like it. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.

I got the answers to the theme clues before I got the answer to the theme clue.

17A Xena, notably: WARRIORPRINCESS. While watching the second season of Are You the One?, Jessica has black hair and blue eyes. I’m convinced that her hair is dyed black, but Calah either isn’t convinced or is messing with me. They dyed Lucy Lawless’s hair for Xena. This argument got me nowhere.
27A Largest lizard on earth (up to 10 feet long): KOMODODRAGON. It’s huge and eats big animals!


47A Who sang the 1973 #1 hit “Midnight Train to Georgia”: GLADYSKNIGHT.

63A “Happily ever after” … or what 17-, 27-, 39- or 47-Across has?: FAIRYTALEENDINGS! PRINCESS, DRAGON, TOWER, KNIGHT.

Finished this one in 13:27 after correcting errors.

WSJ Crossword 12-22-20 Complete

A strange slog of a puzzle today. Could be the Tuesday blues. One day closer to the end of the short week. But it feels a lot like Monday night. Hooray for scheduled posts!

I pulled out 49A Cheering loudly: AROAR because this word’s absence from the NYT Spelling Bee word list is the subject of repeated complaints of mine.

It won’t be long till I find this in an NYTXW.

The title of this puzzle is Family Holiday, and when I solved the first themed clue, I figured it was about different members of a family. Turns out that it was about a single member of the family. It’s like what I imagine would happen if Denny Doherty, John Phillips, Peter Yarrow, and Paul Stookey got together to form a quartet.

4A With 13-Across, holiday greeting in Havana: FELIZ + NAVI(DAD). I couldn’t think of a cleaner way to merge this into a single clue. Something to note is that José Feliciano, singer known for that song, is Puerto Rican. This clue made me wonder if he’s Cuban. He’s not. Now I know.
28A Seasonal decoration for (54D Target of seasonal decorations: TREE): (POP)CORNSTRING. I had thought that 13D Racist or sexist, say: NOTPC was NOTOK, so this originally was (POP)KORNSTRING. Unfortunately, the WSJ editorial board seems to limit their classification of racism and sexism to political correctness, so shrug emoji. OK, kiddo?
44A Gift packaging need: WRAPPING(PA)PER. To have just two letters from this seems sloppy.
28D Oblong yellow fruit: [(P)APA]W. Talked about a missed opportunity. It was right there. But this is a fruit that normal people call the papaya. I guess others just give up early.
59A Britain’s equivalent of Santa, and a hint to the circled letters: FATHERCHRISTMAS. This is from a country whose Mother’s Day is called Mothering Sunday and is a religious holiday.

If those four guys had gotten together, they would have been Papa and Papa and Peter and Paul, and maybe they’d just agree to The Papas.

Finished this one in 16:46.

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.

WSJ Crossword 12-15-20 Complete

This puzzle was OK. This took me less time to complete than the NYTXW did. Not by much, but still. And writing this post far eclipses the completion time.

I pulled out 29A Uncommon banknotes: TWOS because it doesn’t have to be that way. I went to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing a few years ago, and they mentioned how the $2 bill is seen by the public as having more value than two $1 bills or 40% of a $5 bill. (Of course it has more value than 40% of a $5 bill because that’s worth nothing; however, 60% of a $5 bill is worth $5.) The BEP claimed during that tour that if more people spent $2 bills, they’d start making more.

Before the Covid shutdown, I was doing my part either to help get put more into circulation or to exacerbate the problem. I would tip valets at the Magic Castle with $2 bills. I asked a magician-bartender friend of mine what he thought of this approach. He gave it a mixed review. Getting a tip is a good thing, he said. Getting a $2 bill as a tip is frustrating because “it looks like money, but it’s something I can’t spend.” I protested that it absolutely can be spent–and I’d know! But that we’re conditioned to think that they shouldn’t be spent is too hard a barrier to overcome. “Where do you get them, anyway? Do you just go to a bank?” he asked. “Yup!”

Today’s title is A Reflection.

17A Demographic shorthand for a middle-aged, working-class man: N(A)SC(A)RD(A)D. I had never heard this as a classification before.
24A “I had such a great time!”: TH(A)TW(A)S(A)BL(A)ST. Even more than typing that out, I’d bet!
38A State capital that began as a railway terminus: (A)TL(A)NT(A). Ever since I found out how far from the ocean Atlanta is, I’d wondered why anyone would make such a big city there. Of course, I did no investigation over the past couple decades to actually find out. Until tonight. Atlanta was chosen as the right spot topographically as a terminus to link the west (i.e. Tennessee) to the ocean (i.e. the port at Savannah). That was in the late 1830s. The decision to make Atlanta–which itself had been renamed from–Marthasville (how lame would rooting for the Marthasville Likely-Soon-To-Be-Renameds sound?) turned out to be a popular one. The town quickly expanded around the accepted invaluableness of its existence for rail purposes. It became a major hub from that.
51A Product with OdorShield and LeakGuard protection: GL(A)DTR(A)SHB(A)GS. I thought this had to do with diapers. My trash bags are Kirkland brand. Good to know that WSJ is buzz marketing these.

62A Imbalance, or, parsed differently, kind of balance shown by the circles: ASYMMETRY. The A’s in the theme answers are symmetrically distributed in the grid.

Finished this one in 11:01.