Tag Archives: wednesday crossword

NYT Crossword 1-20-21 Complete

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…

62A Kind of milk: ONEPERCENT.

Finished this one in 25:44.

WSJ Crossword 1-13-21 Complete

Happy Inauguration Day! Hooray for Biden.

This is the ides of January puzzle. Too many people don’t know that the ides of a month is more infrequently than not on the 15th. It’s on the 13th day of every month that isn’t one of March, May, July, and October. Also I’m writing this on Sunday, January 17, and the deeper into the week I get, the more I don’t know what has happened. If the tone of this blog post is incongruous with how the world looks, my bad. But hi from the past!

I pulled out 23A Plymouth Reliant, e.g.: KCAR because I had only heard of the K-Car in the Barenaked Ladies song If I Had $1,000,000:

If I had $1,000,000 I would buy you a K-Car (a nice reliant automobile).

It makes more sense now that I know that a Reliant is a K-Car, so it’s a good play on words as both a reliant automobile and a Reliant automobile. Nice job, BNL. Also in the news is that Chrysler has merged with PSA, the company that made Peugeot and Citröen. The joint company is called Stellantis. Is it a dumb name? Yes. But is it a good name? No.


The title of this puzzle is You’re All Wet.

17A Unofficial means of communication: BACKCHANNEL. We no longer have to worry about the current president advising that a foreign government “talk to Rudy.” Hooray!
25A Floor routine component: HANDSPRING. This is an interesting clue to me because 10D Bestselling PDAs: PALMPILOTS while Handspring did not and does not get that title.

It WAS palm-powered, but it was no Pilot.
This newer palm model is so much sleeker than the older Handspring above.

36A Penny Lane Locale: LIVERPOOL. Also in my ears and in my eyes.
50A Seneca, e.g.: FINGERLAKE. I hadn’t heard of the Finger Lakes until recently when one of the late-night hosts mentioned them, I think. I don’t remember which one it was, and it’s all a blur.

58A Geographic feature, and a hint to four answers in this puzzle: BODYOFWATER.

CHANNEL, SPRING, POOL, LAKE.

Finished this one in 13:50. Not bad for a Wednesday.

NYT Crossword 1-13-21 Complete

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.

I finished this on in 15:39.

WSJ Crossword 1-6-21 Complete

The joint session of congress is about to start to count the electoral college vote. I expect all kinds of madness to ensue. But I finished the WSJ puzzle, so here it is.

I pulled out 4D Pound parts: PENCE because even though it’s talking about money, it seems like Mike Pence is the most recent part of the Republican party Donald Trump wants to pound. Like in the pummel sense. It’s weird and sad and bad.

The title of this puzzle is Doing Without. It’s like what the GOP has to get used to as related to senatorial victory in Georgia, according to Jon Ossoff. But then again, Trump immediately said that he had won reelection, and we can never forget how Thomas Dewey triumphed over Harry S. Truman.

20A Unrivaled lighter?: MATCHELSSMATCH. I had initially filled out _ _ _ _ _ LESSZIPPO, but that didn’t make the final.
34A Cruel Babe?: RUTHLESSRUTH. The Curse of the Bambino has been broken too many times this century, but at least the Dodgers finally won the World Series again last year.
42A Energetic spare? TIRELESSTIRE. Not only do a lot of cars now come with runflat tires that continue to work like a spare would but are way more costly to replace, but on a slightly different subject, back when I was racing (i.e. in college) I had considered switching my mountain bike tire system from tubed to tubeless. Flats are easy to fix when you have inner tubes in the tires because you just pop the tire off, find what punctured the tire, and then either patch the tube or swap it out. Flats are easier to fix with a tubeless system, because sealant like Stan’s NoTubes repairs the tube from the inside, but the tires are glues to the wheels, so if something bad happens, it’s catastrophic.

I’d ride over beds of nails on purpose if I had these.

56A Quiet waterway?: SOUNDLESSSOUND. No rush here.

I finished this one in 15:42.

NYT Crossword 1-6-21 Complete

This was a fun one! I didn’t look at the puzzle until this morning but got the printed one prepared for my mom last night. I like to save toner and print out at 70% darkness for the blacked out squares, but this puzzle didn’t let me do that. It’s happened in the past, and I figured it was someone lazy early in 2021. But no! The version in today’s NYT is necessary if you’re going to do the puzzle by hand.

I pulled out 27A City near Leeds with historic walls: YORK because I originally had CORK in there, which I knew didn’t make sense. Cork is a city in Ireland, but I knew that Leeds is on the west coast of England, except for the actual being-on-the-west-coast-of-England part, and Cork is like this 🤏 close to Leeds on a map whose scale is small enough. CORK not only bothered me as an answer but also prevented me from successfully completing the puzzle. York is like a 40-minute drive from Leeds. And parts of the York Walls date back about two millennia.


The theme of this puzzle is initially Clued[AND]Confused.

1 Rubberneck: STOP[AND]STARE.
5 Stiffly formal: PRIM[AND]PROPER.
9 Old Glory: STARS[AND]STRIPES.
33 Kind of sauce in Chinese cuisine: SWEET[AND]SOUR. Sweet and sour chicken is at the top of the Chinese food list for me. It’s followed by broccoli beef, and then broccoli chicken is a distant third.
41 Fully from, as a place: BORN[AND]BRED.
43 Footwear fashion faux pas: SOCKS[AND]SANDALS. But who hasn’t gone outside in socks and sliders to grab the mail during this pandemic?
45 Risk losing one’s license, say: DRINK[AND]DRIVE. I remember the days of walking home from the bar. Also walking to the bar. Good place to watch sports. I haven’t been to a bar in almost a year. Wow.
56 Proven to be reliable: TRIED[AND]TRUE.

I hadn’t seen a puzzle with this type of cluing, and I really don’t mind it. I thought I’d be stuck awhile, but I wasn’t.

Good job, Eric Bornstein.

Finished this one in 15:43.

WSJ Crossword 12-30-20 Complete

It the last Wednesday of the year, and the sky sure looks to be threatening rain. Not exactly what I’d hoped for to close out 2020, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere.

I pulled out 8D BLT alternatives: PBJS because I don’t think I agree that they are on equal footing. Now, I don’t eat bacon, but I don’t remember any kids at school getting BLTs packed in their lunchboxes. I don’t know of any hiker who routinely takes along BLTs to eat along the way. I don’ t know of sports teams requesting BLTs for energy before the game. I realize my argument is that the PB&J is for the less adventurous (i.e. children) and for the incredibly sophisticated (i.e. NBA teams):

“No matter how you slice it, it’s hard to swallow: The NBA is covered in experts, obsessed with peak performance — and still this pillar of grade-school cafeteria lunches is the staple snack of the league. An exorbitantly wealthy microclique, backed by an army of personal chefs, swears by a sandwich whose standard ingredients boast a street value of roughly 69 cents.”

So where does the BLT fit in? I’m no expert, but maybe corporate training lunches?

Feel free to set me straight on this.

The title of this puzzle is In at the Finish. I figured it out partway through, and the puzzle fell into place.

18A Appreciative observation at the Renaissance Faire?: WHATAJERKIN. So it’s what a jerk! and a jerkin.

This is a jerkin. https://www.pendragoncostumes.com/doublets/jerkin

23A Breakfast treat with an auriform shape?: EARMUFFIN. So it’s earmuff and muffin. Initially I had put OATMUFFIN, but who wears oats to keep them warm?
38A Prestidigitator’s publication?: MAGICBULLETIN. So it’s magic bullet and bulletin. If you are unfamiliar with prestidigitation, it’s the same as legerdemain. The Magic Bulletin is just OK. It’s not Genii or Linking Ring.
51A Expensive material for a crib blanket?: BABYSATIN. So it’s babysat and satin. Baby satin isn’t nearly as good as the #raabidfun onesies, but what are you going to do.
58A Coach’s intellectual equipment?: SPORTSBRAIN. So it’s sports bra and brain.

You have to have a real brain for sports to kick a World Cup-winning penalty kick. You can’t not get emotional at this video.

Finished this one in 27:38.

NYT Crossword 12-30-20 Complete

It’s another chilly day in Los Angeles. At 9am it’s 56 degrees outside, and even indoors, my fingers are being uncooperative as I type this. No fun. But this puzzle was pretty good for a Wednesday.

I pulled out 2D Mythological figure who’s a symbol of hubris: ICARUS because the Netflix documentary about Russian doping is insane. Calah and I watched it a couple weeks ago. It was new to her, but I’d seen it before. It starts out with filmmaker Bryan Fogel trying to understand the competitive cycling world and the role of performance-enhancing drugs within it. Then it takes a hard turn away from bikes. If you haven’t seen it yet, the only reason not to right now is if you haven’t seen Senna because Senna goes away tomorrow.

Racing bikes is something close to my heart, as I was on the mountain biking team in college. Was I the best on the team? Was I a standout on the team? Did I have fun on the team. The answer to all those is yes… except for the first two. An assessment UCSB Cycling teammate Geoffrey Bishop would agree with if he’s reading this post, and there’s a good chance of that because he reads my blog sometimes. What’s up, Geoff?

There I am! You know, not in the front.

The theme of this crossword is willpower.

14A It might cost extra at a beach resort: OCEANVIEW.
20A Clairvoyant’s accessory: CRYSTALBALL.
37A Key lime pie crust ingredient: GRAHAMCRACKER.
58A Cut above the rest?: PORTERHOUSE.

66A Nightstick … or what might form if the beginnings of 14-, 20-, 37- and 58-Across started paying dues?: BILLYCLUB.


14A BILLY OCEAN(view).
20A BILLY CRYSTAL(ball). It sounds like the 700 Sundays entire cast married all of the title characters of I Love Lucy. Also Billy Crystal and Bill Kristol put out a pro-Biden video targeted at the elderly in Florida back in October.

Oh, the banter!

37A BILLY GRAHAM(cracker).
58A BILLY PORTER(house).

Finished this one across three devices in 14:17.

WSJ Crossword 12-23-20 Complete

This was a shockingly tough puzzle for a Wednesday, but maybe I’m just a little off my game today? I did find yet another WSJ/NYT duplicate, and there has to be collusion in some way. How can it be so frequent that the same day has some shared answers?

That’s what 19A Goes ballistic: RANTS is. And it’s an apt answer for what I’m writing right now. I don’t know that I particularly care for the clue, but we’re set on the rant part. In the today’s NYTXW, there was 70A Speeches that go off the rails: RANTS. Now, the WSJXW comes out at 1pm, and the NYTXW comes out at 7pm. From personal experience, I do not think it’s beneath Will Shortz to throw in others’ work uncredited. Doesn’t make me very happy to come to that conclusion, but what am I supposed to do?

The title of today’s puzzle is Flow Profile. It wasn’t exactly what I’d expected it to be, but I caught on partway through: just get rid of the F’s.

20A The chicken dance as a touchdown celebration?: VICTORYFLAPS – F = VICTORYLAPS. I had interpreted the Flow part of the puzzle title as the puzzle having to do with flows. I filled out VECTORY because vector flow pun. But no.
34A Pairs-driving practice?: FLIPSYNCING – F = LYPSINCING.
41A Plane trip whose carbon emissions are offset?: GREENFLIGHT – F = GREENLIGHT.
51A Evolution gone wrong?: FLAWOFNATURE – F = LAWOFNATURE.

I wish it had been a real flow thing rather than the removal of an F.

I finished this long Wednesday in 58:52.

NYT Crossword 12-23-20 Complete

Wowza! This puzzle was tough for me. I had to reverse-engineer all kinds of stuff, and I never would have solved it without figuring out the theme first.

I pulled out 34D Ingredient in some medicinal teas: SENNA because I would have preferred a clue about the late Brazilian race car driver. If you haven’t watched the documentary on Netflix, please do so before it goes away on December 31. Even if you don’t inherently like motorsport, this is a compelling story, as my mom can attest. If you have surround sound, watch it in that environment. This is the first film I watched to take advantage of my Vizio 5.1.2 system with Dolby Atmos back when I could have Ari over to watch it with me because I had to share. Here I am being nostalgic about how good we had it a year ago. There are scenes from Ayrton Senna’s camera cockpit, and you hear the engine noise behind you and cars to the left and right. Newer shows like Formula 1 Drive to Survive also benefit greatly from surround sound, but watch Senna first because it’s going away.

The solution of this puzzle is one that yielded a grid that wasn’t exactly what I’d filled out. I had put in the first letter of each word that was contained in the circles.

20A 10th and 11th, e.g.: EXT(R)NINGS -> EXT(RAIN)NINGS. You know, free baseball.
4D High rollers?: ELT(R)S -> ELT(RAIN)S. I had had this as ELITES and then ELT_K because I mistakenly had thought that 23A Westernmost country in continental Afr.: SEN[EGAL] was KEN[YA].
18A Interval for a scheduled blastoff: LAUNCH(W)OW -> LAUNCH(WIND)OW. I had attempted to attend a launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) at Vandenberg AFB on July 1, 2014. It had a 30-second launch window, and as the slated time drew near, we heard, “HOLD HOLD HOLD,” and half a minute later, everyone dejectedly started walking back to the buses. I then went home because there was a real chance it would not go up the next night. It did, so I missed it. It would have been a real launch wow, though.
11D Puts back in its original state, as a videotape: RE(W)S -> RE(WIND)S. I think REWS works, too, but it didn’t indicate an abbreviation, so it doesn’t.
57A Rend: TEARA(S)DER -> TEARA(SUN)DER. TEARSDER doesn’t mean anything.
53D Scary cry on a beach: T(S)NAMI -> T(SUN)AMI. Prior to figuring out what the circles meant, I figured it was SHARK! Then I knew that the circles contained some word, so I thought it might be ITSASHARK!
63A Wonder-ful product?: SL(I)DBREAD -> SL(ICE)DBREAD. I had expected this to be WHITEBREAD early on.
56D Enemy of Antony, in ancient Rome: CIRO -> C(ICE)RO. I didn’t know if 66A ___ Honor: was HIS or HER. I had _(I)_O, and I went through the letters and realized quickly that it was CICE_O, so CICERO and there fore HER.

40A Carriers of meteorological instruments … as suggested by this puzzle’s theme?: WEATHERBALLOONS because WIND, RAIN, SUN, ICE. Early on I figured that the circles, in order, were W, I, N, D. That was proved incorrect.

Finished this Wednesday puzzle in 30:51.



WSJ Crossword 12-16-20 Complete

In contrast with the fast NYTXW today, the WSJ puzzle was a slow one for me. I tried to use the title from the beginning to help me solve the long answers, but my guess was wrong, so that ate up some time.

I pulled out 64A Treat for chickadees: SUET because my dad showed me a small, flat cage he’d hung up in one of the citrus trees that was clearly meant for use in feeding birds. Not with birdseed but exactly with suet. That it appears in today’s puzzle when that conversation happened a few days ago is pretty cool.

My interpretation of the Offenders title was partially right. My guess was that the long clues ended in OFF (correct) but that those three letters were omitted from the grid (incorrect).

The actual answers leave a lot to be desired, and me saying that about puns is meaningful.

17A Make a big deal out of a political tiebreaker?: MILKRUNOFF. Milk runoff like it’s going all over the place. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Runoff election when no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote at an earlier stage. I think that’s how runoff elections work. There are a lot of steps here.
25A Come to grips with idleness?: FACETIMEOFF. I’m struggling with extra steps in this one. Not doing work is time off, and you gotta face that. But I can’t stand to be idle, so I’ve got different things I like to do. Like write these blogs and make stuff happen worth blog posts. The other step is faceoff? But a better clue would be Confronting otherwise idleness? Alternatively, this is for the facetime app or the need to be in front of something. I can’t get it to work more than the straightforward answer. I’d appreciate help.
36 Disparage a counterfeit product?: KNOCKKNOCKOFF. Is this a knock knock joke? Is this rapping at a door, and if someone is wearing a CHANNEL T-shirt, do you insult them? Or is it just that you knock a knockoff like a straightforward reading of the answer suggests?

Crash Landing on You is a great show.

50A Finance a pilot derived from a popular TV series? BACKSPINOFF. I guess we’re going with unrelated words. Bankroll the pilot of a spinoff series. Why am I not getting more out of this answer?
59A Broadcast clips of a grandstanding exhibitionist?: AIRSHOWOFF. You’re broadcasting (airing) a showoff, and an airshow is a thing? I like airshows as much as the next guy, but it seems like there could be a better clue to merge airshow and showoff. On the topic of airshows, my dad took me to Edwards AFB in 1997 for a public celebration of the 50th anniversary of the only recently deceased Chuck Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier. As part of the events, Chuck Yeager was supposed to break the sound barrier again. For whatever reason, we were running a little late. As we neared the air force base, we heard a loud BOOM. Forlornly, my dad said, “That was probably it.” It was. We were close to being able to expect it but were taken by surprise and the initial uncertainty of if we’d heard what we thought we’d heard.

Finished this one in 26:26.