I decided to add a four-week average to the table at the bottom to see how my daily time compares not only to my overall as logged by the NYTXW site but also how I’ve been doing recently. Have I been doing better? Have I been doing worse? Am I right on? Since it’s not too difficult for me to track, I figure I might as well.
I pulled out 29A Almost unfathomably large number: GOOGOL because that’s a word whose spelling I know only from the NYT Spelling Bee.
Theme time! Wait, no theme? Just long answers?
19A Kind of headlight on older cars: SEALEDBEAM. 26A Observation deck feature not for the squeamish: GLASSFLOOR. 44A Stored deeply and securely: INTHEVAULT. 52A Chocolaty treats that you might “break me off a piece of”: KITKATBARS.
early 15c., “prompted by malice or ill-will, intending to mislead,” from Old French senestre, sinistre “contrary, false; unfavorable; to the left” (14c.), from Latin sinister “left, on the left side” (opposite of dexter), of uncertain origin. Perhaps meaning properly “the slower or weaker hand” [Tucker], but Klein and Buck suggest it’s a euphemism (see left (adj.)) connected with the root of Sanskrit saniyan “more useful, more advantageous.” With contrastive or comparative suffix -ter, as in dexter (see dexterity).
The Latin word was used in augury in the sense of “unlucky, unfavorable” (omens, especially bird flights, seen on the left hand were regarded as portending misfortune), and thus sinister acquired a sense of “harmful, unfavorable, adverse.” This was from Greek influence, reflecting the early Greek practice of facing north when observing omens. In genuine Roman auspices, the augurs faced south and left was favorable. Thus sinister also retained a secondary sense in Latin of “favorable, auspicious, fortunate, lucky.”
Meaning “evil” is from late 15c. Used in heraldry from 1560s to indicate “left, to the left.” Bend (not “bar”) sinister in heraldry indicates illegitimacy and preserves the literal sense of “on or from the left side” (though in heraldry this is from the view of the bearer of the shield, not the observer of it; see bend (n.2)).
“awkward, tactless,” 1751 (Chesterfield), from French gauche “left” (15c., replacing senestre in that sense), originally “awkward, awry,” from gauchir “turn aside, swerve,” from Proto-Germanic *wankjan (source also of Old High German wankon, Old Norse vakka “to stagger, totter”), from PIE *weng- “to bend, curve” (see wink (v.)).
1650s, “dexterous,” originally “rightly,” from French adroit, which by Old French had senses “upright (physically and morally); able, clever, skillful; well-formed, handsome; on the right-hand side; veritable,” from adverbial phrase à droit “according to right.”
This is from Old French à “to” (see ad-) + droit, dreit “right,” from Medieval Latin directum (contracted drictum) “right, justice, law,” neuter or accusative of Latin directus “straight,” past participle of dirigere “set straight,” from dis- “apart” (see dis-) + regere “to direct, to guide, keep straight” (from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,” with derivatives meaning “to direct in a straight line,” thus “to lead, rule”). It expresses prominently the idea of a trained hand. Related: Adroitly; adroitness.
Now that we’ve gotten rid of the southpaws, here’s today’s theme.
18A Address every aspect of something: COVERALLTHEBASES. 28A Immediately: RIGHTOFFTHEBAT. 44A Oddly and unexpectedly: OUTOFLEFTFIELD. 57A Situation that starts things completely over: WHOLENEWBALLGAME. 6D Kind of pitcher: RELIEF. 39D An umpire’s outstretched arms signifies this: SAFE. 48D Certain worker in a stadium: USHER.
A new PR for Tuesday! Now, Tuesdays are a mixed bag. But today I was just flying through. I’m also kinda drowning because my allergies are going crazy. I couldn’t help but solve this one Monday night, and I’m happy I did.
I pulled out 26A Relaxing soak before bed, maybe: HOTBATH because nothing sounds more attractive right now. Tired from those 20 miles walked in Santa Barbara and the allergies.
This puzzle has a music music theme.
69A Pop group with the hits 17-, 39- and 61-Across: ABBA.
17A All that a greedy businessperson thinks about?: MONEYMONEYMONEY.
38A Demand made with hands outstretched?: GIMMEGIMMEGIMME.
61A Particularly enthusiastic cry at the altar?: IDOIDOIDOIDOIDO.
Finished this one in 5:22.
Old Tuesday record was 5:52. I beat that by 30 seconds.
It took me a while to get the theme of this puzzle, but everything fell into place when I did. And now I’m up to a 23-day streak. I’m going back to play board games tonight after missing last week’s night because I had to work late unexpectedly. Tonight may be another night of having to watch as my friends solve the Saturday crossword, but that’s OK.
I pulled out 4A Small piano: SPINET because it’s wrong! A piano by definition is A large keyboard musical instrument with a wooden case enclosing a soundboard and metal strings, which are struck by hammers when the keys are depressed. The strings’ vibration is stopped by dampers when the keys are released and can be regulated for length and volume by two or three pedals.
A spinet plucks the strings when the keys are depressed.
It’s wrong and it’s bad and it’s wrong.
The theme of this puzzle is out of order!
17A Toy with a spring, literally: THEJACKBOX. Quiplash is the best of the those and then Drawful and Fibbage are second? Maybe with Fibbage second-minus. Anyway, it’s THE(JACK)BOX or JACK literally in THE+BOX. Jack in the box. 24A Put an early stop to, literally: THENIPBUD. THE(NIP)BUD->NIP literally in THE+BUD. Nip in the bud. 31A Interfere, literally: THEBEWAY. THE(BE)WAY->BE literally in THE+WAY. Be in the way. 40A Undecided, literally: THEUPAIR. THE(UP)AIR->UP literally in THE+AIR. Up in the air. 48A Unrealistic, as wishes, literally: THEPIESKY. THE(PIE)SKY->PIE literally in THE+SKY. Pie in the sky. 55A “Years ago …,” literally: THEBACKDAY. THE(BACK)DAY->BACK literally in THE+DAY. Back in the day.
After many tries by me and much delay by them, Williams-Sonoma finally reached out to ask about us setting up a time to go in for registry stuff. Clearly they don’t have their act together. Their olivewood bowls split apart, they reach out in a timely manner, and they closed the giant Beverly Hills store that was actually good. Sad that Williams-Sonoma has gone that way.
I pulled out 16A Instrument that an orchestra tunes to: OBOE because I didn’t know that. I always think of the violin, but that would be a terrible thing to tune to. Woodwinds should have fixed notes. Strings have, well, strings. And strings stretch. Now I wonder if calypso bands tune to panpipes. Now that would be something to see. But not really to hear because they’re pretty quiet.
The theme of this one is kinda like the fishhook one. I’m not exactly sure how to do this one, since it goes across so many, but I guess I’ll do it the short way.
23A Classic Led Zeppelin song represented by the ascending circled letters and this answer: HEAVEN.
Because STAIRWAY and
61A Classic AC/DC song represented by the falling circled letters and this answer: HELL.
Because HIGHWAY and
29D With 36-Down, intersection … as suggested by the circled letters in the middle of this puzzle?: CROSS ROADS. Because a highway is a road, and a stairway is also wait a second, a stairway isn’t a road!
It’s too bad it’s more than two months after 4/20 because could you imagine this joke: Ever notice that you stare on a highway but get high on a stairway? Crazy.
Today is supposed to be very, very hot. I still have extra water bottles in the freezer in preparation for a loss of power. I hope it doesn’t come. Instead, Spectrum has decided to be unreliable since last night, so that’s been a blast.
With the wind and dryness, it will be like living in a convection oven. We’ll live with fans as long as makes sense, but then the air conditioner is going on for absolute certain.
I pulled out 9D Tex-Mex offering that lacks a crunch: SOFTTACO because Calah makes these amazing soft tacos. Sometimes she uses ground beef. Sometimes she uses brisket. Slow cooked with onions and other stuff. Then fresh, homemade guac. I’m salivating right now thinking of them.
The theme of this puzzle is something near and dear to many millennials.
20A Unchangeable: WRITTENINSTONE. 34A Dressy floor-length garment: OPERACLOAK. 41A Something a kid might blow right through: BUBBLEWAND.
51A Set of legendary objects from the Harry Potter series found at the ends of 20-, 34- and 41-Across: DEATHLYHALLOWS.
STONE, CLOAK, WAND.
Now, I have read through the fourth book in the series, but I got through the Goblet of Fire right after it was released. I haven’t read past it, I haven’t seen the movies, and I didn’t get past the first few pages of The Sorcerer’s Stone in the early days of COVID.
I finished this one in 7:36 while watching The Amazing Race with Calah Monday night.
Hey! Crossword puzzle posts on consecutive days? Whatttttt. Crazy. I guess it helps when you start the puzzle on a Monday night. I had thought this one would be easier than it was. It wasn’t. It was exactly as hard as it is.
I pulled out 23A Ixnay: VETO because I have always hoped that there’s an “I VETOED” sticker for when POTUS decides to say no to a bill.
I don’t know if the clue that links them is 56D Greek H’s: ETAS, but I don’t think it is.
20A Checkout devices at Dublin supermarkets?: IRISHSCANNERS. 34A Urban area around a church district?: PARISHMETRO. 40A Claim that a language in “The Lord of the Rings” is not extinct?: ELVISHLIVES. 52A Suggestion to friends on when to meet for lunch?: TENNISHANYONE.
So they all have an H in the middle of known things. 20A IRIS SCANNERS. 34A PARIS METRO. 40A ELVIS LIVES. 52A TENNIS ANYONE?
The one that bothers me is 52A. Tennis anyone? But also: WHO HAS LUNCH AROUND 10? I can’t eat lunch before noon. I can et before noon, but it’s not lunch. Then again, I guess if the service is slow enough or friends are always delayed, 10 sounds like a way ultimately to have lunch at a reasonable time.
And on the topic of unreasonable times, I finished this one in 16:15.
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:
HOWEVER, then there’s this:
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.
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.
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.
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!