Nothing really standout about this one. No new words learned. I still haven’t gotten that pangram from today’s NYT Spelling Bee. I don’t know how I’m missing it, but I am. I got one more word, but it wasn’t the pangram. Update on Spelling Bee later.
As easy as the NYT puzzle was today, the WSJ one was not only much harder but just as unsatisfying.
The answer to the clue for 60A Backwards, and a hint to four of this puzzle’s answers was INREVERSE. Now, that made me think that the entire first word of those answers was in reverse, but no. Take a look: 16A Performance in a Bollywood film? RANIDANCE First off, Rani Dance? Like rain dance? The Wall Street Journal decides during a time of good choices to make an Indian-Native American joke clue? This goes beyond the 3D Full-groan wordplay PUN. But we’ll keep going. 19A Huddles on a San Francisco football field? NINERCIRCLES I had been thinking it would be something to do with Levi’s, but nope! 36A A visit to the nail salon? MANIVENT Remember nail salons? You know, the places that more frequently than not almost have all-caps signs? Somehow they seem to come out NAiLS. 56A Recesses in a Bauhaus-inspired cathedral? SQUARENICHES I didn’t know what Bauhaus is. It’s square modern stuff. From Germany. Nazis kicked them out, so they probably were pretty good. I’m intrigued. https://art.art/blog/10-bauhaus-principles-that-still-apply-today
So you see that it’s just a couple letters reversed, and they’re not even all in the first word of the pair.
The week’s almost over. July is almost over. My birthday is coming up. Hooray?
I’m doing the crosswords while listening to Bill Barr’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, so I’m not counting times today. The audio keeps getting lower and lower in the transmission, and I don’t know what’s going on. It could be the Washington Post feed on YouTube, but I don’t want to go elsewhere because they’re really good at showing the raw footage without any overlays.
I got the theme of this puzzle kinda late. The clue: 59A Feature of Manhattan, and of this puzzle’s answers that contain circles. The answer: CENTRALPARK. Another NY-specific clue. I think of Central Park so little that it’s always a surprise to me when people on TV walk in front of skyscraper after skyscraper and then happen upon a endless greenery.
Now, the theme is related to the following clues: 16A Pelt by a fireplace: BEAR(SKI)NRUG [SKI PARK] 24A Public projects of questionable merit: BOON(DOG)GLES [DOG PARK] 35A Award show rollout: RED(CAR)PET [CAR PARK] 51A Bought some time, in a way: FEED(THEME)TER [THEME PARK]
THEY REALLY HAVE TO FIX THIS AUDIO SITUATION. Come on, Congress. Get it together.
Usually I cut off the puzzle at half an hour because I can’t spend forever on this stuff, but every time I was about to call it, I thought of one more thing that opened up answers to whole sections. I made guesses in some areas, too, and that helped me out. The theme of the puzzle was driving me crazy, too, but I got that.
For the 20A Part 1 of an instruction for solving this puzzle, I kept thinking REPLACETHE, but REPLACE didn’t fit. It was around minute 22 that I realized it was REMOVETHE. I had long figured out that 40A Part 2 of the instruction was LETTER_, but I wasn’t sure which letter it was until maybe minute 21 when I realized there were no answers with the letter W. But 61A End of the instruction was FROMCLUES, so I went back and reread the clues to remove the extraneous W’s and rolled my eyes each time. I remember a puzzle from a long time ago that had answers that were spelled backwards. That was maddening until we figured that one out.
Finishing in 34:25 I went almost twice as long as I did for last week’s NYT Thursday puzzle which I finished in under 18 minutes. But I figured out the theme way earlier, so that’s that, I guess. I’m happy to have finished this one at all.
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.
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.
Well I now realize that the Wall Street Journal does not have a crossword on Fridays, so I’m going to start doing past puzzles for Friday entries. Today I did the Tuesday puzzle from this week. Clearly the WSJ puzzles and the NYT puzzles use a different logic, and that makes the WSJ puzzles kind of annoying. But it’s an eyeroll kind of annoying, not an ongoing bitterness like I have toward Will Shortz whose injustice toward me personally was unconscionable.
I finished in 22:05.
I thought it was a cool theme to have trees spelled upward. When I caught on to that, I filled out most of the puzzle no problem. Because I know about trees. And Will Shortz knows I know about trees. He took my trees. So mad.
As someone who is doing New York puzzles in LA, there are some clues I struggle with because they’re not part of my daily life. In this case, TRAIN RIDE was an answer I didn’t get until the end because I had it filled out as TRAIN LINE. I knew it must have something to do with trains, and it did.
I’ll probably get faster at the WSJ ones as I get used to how they’re written.
The Wall Street Journal crossword for today was way easier than the New York Times crossword that I failed (see prior post). The logic was different, but it wasn’t so bad. I got a couple things wrong that I had to correct, it told me at the end. I had put SAL for French seasoning, but it was SEL. I had put FIST for MITT. But it all worked out eventually. The theme of Passing the Bar meant answers of SLOPPY JOES, BLONDE ALE, HIGH CHAIRS, STIFF COLLARS, POTTED PLANTS. It feels nice to be free of Will Shortz. Everyone who knows me for a while is familiar with my Will Shortz beef. I finished this one in 17:17 while partially distracted.
One day of blogging in the books. Looking forward to tomorrow.