Tag Archives: Will Shortz

NYT Crossword 12-8-20 Complete

Not bad for a Tuesday puzzle, but I did get stuck in a check spiral. I don’t remember this message. Has it always had “Horsefeathers.” in it?

I realized that 21D Method of successive improvement is not ITEMATION but ITERATION. Then the piano played.

I pulled out 45D Seasickness, e.g.: NAUSEA because I don’t like the clue. Seasickness for example? It’s seasickness. Check the etymology. We know other words that start the same way. Such as nautical. NAU- means boat.

I took a brief break to check the Online Etymology Dictionary (how do you like that for a reimagining of the OED initialism?), a source I hold in high regard. In the entry for nausea, it does state: “Despite its etymology, the word in English seems never to have been restricted to seasickness.”

I still don’t like the clue. I think they could have done better. I blame Will Shortz for bad editing.

Today’s theme

I figured out today’s theme pretty early on and solved the central clue before reading it.

37A One totally unlike another … or what each answer on the edge of this puzzle has?: POLAROPPOSITE.

1A 9-to-5 activity: WORK. I have never had such a job. In my life, an eight-hour work day is from 8 to 5 with an hour for lunch or 9 to 6 with an hour for lunch. Though when I worked at EY, such hours only existed during the REM stage of my few hours of slumber each night.
69A Off-hours activity: PLAY.

5A In heaven, say: ABOVE.
68A In hell, say: BELOW.

10A Like a Saturday crossword: HARD. I’ll say!
67A Like a Monday crossword: EASY. I’ll say!

1D Rainy: WET.
63D Not rainy: DRY.
Brilliant clues. Seems effortless.

23D Like the year you ring out on December 31: OLD.
43D Like the year you ring in on January 1: NEW.

44D Land, as a plane: ARRIVE.
13D Take off, as a plane: DEPART.

Finished this puzzle in 11 minutes flat.

NYT Spelling Bee 9-9-20

Special birthday edition of the puzzle today… in that it’s super lame. Thanks, NYT. I feel like Will Shortz was involved in this one.

There’s no Faith Hill, a fact that really stuck in my craw.

More later, but with a puzzle has a genius level stating at just 53 points, i can’t really be too much more. Other than wishing a shared happy birthday message for people and things whose birthday it is today.

Unusually high traffic from China

Fake Traffic from China

For dedicated readers of my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve written a bunch of posts recently about the election that’s coming up and about Trump and people close to Trump. On Friday I posted my live reaction and summarization of Louis DeJoy’s testimony in front of a US Senate committee. By the things he said, he seems to take perjury as seriously as the commitment to delivering the mail in a timely fashion.

While my dislike of Louis DeJoy has about reached the level of that of Will Shortz (yeah, I know), I believe these recent posts on my blog about the Trump Administration have yielded unusual traffic.

According to my WordPress stats, more than 20% of my traffic came from China on Saturday, and close to 20% of traffic to my blog has come from China so far today.

Today’s traffic so far

I’m not the only one who thinks this is fake traffic. I get pennies of ad revenue from my blog, and I’m at the mercy of WordPress’s decisions of how to place ads on my blog. I do not chose the content or the advertisers. Any ads shown on my blog are not indications that I support those things or even know they’re being shown.

But WordPress also decides what to count as eligible ads and what not to count as ads served. If they disallow traffic, it’s reflected as a low number in the ads served section of my stats. I prefer the eligible ad count to be high, but the ads served number has been low.

My conclusion is that China is getting involved and is wasting no time. I guess I’ve merited the attention of things coming from China, and that’s an accomplishment for sure, but I’m concerned because I cannot be the only one who is experiencing this. If they’re looking to interfere with our elections, that’s bad. It’s not unexpected, but it’s bad.

I’ll keep watching out to see if this trend continues.

NYT Crossword 8-19-20 Complete

OK someone tell me what’s going on here. I’ve never seen this in my LIFE.

1A. With 5-Across, means of survival
1D. With 41-Across, generational sequence

The answers to 5A is BOAT, and the answer to 41A is CYCLE. The answer to both 1A and 1D is LIFE.

I haven’t discussed Will Shortz in a while, but dude! Come on! If it’s not sloppiness, it’s totally WayLame.com. Real sad, bro.

Is he slipping? Did he forget to edit this one? I’m still at a loss for words on this one, and that’s a surprise because I had to come up with one fewer than I thought I’d have to.

NYT Crossword 7-28-20 Complete

Ask and ye shall receive, right? Yesterday I said that I was surprised there wasn’t a lot of baseball stuff yet, and here we go!

BASEBALL SEASON 2020:
38A So-called “twin killings” in baseball, for short: DPS (double plays)
41A One who brushes off a plate, informally: UMP (umpire)
44D Some building beams: IBARS (a stretch, but former Angels infielder Erick https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erick_Aybar and current Red Sox Minor Leaguer but included in the Major League 40-man roster Yoan http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=646243)
55D Meh Feeling: BLAH (attitude toward this baseball season and 2020 overall)

Of course Will Shortz decided to be racy with 63A Object of dirty looks? SMUT. Classic.

BTW so much sniping right now during the Bill Barr hearing. Aren’t these people adults? Whose decision was it to hire this group?

I wish I could reclaim my time.

NYT Crossword 7-22-20 Complete

Longest puzzle of the week so far, but I finished! Total time was 20:37, partially because I couldn’t figure out what B+ was. Every answer I thought of (NOTGOODENOUGH, JUSTMISSED, NEVERGETTINGINTOCOLLEGE) didn’t fit. Which brings up a weird dream I had last night that I was taking Spanish class in college and aced the first exam and then got the second exam back and got like 45%. I was confused because I did the same processes of studying and prep as I had done for the first exam, and I thought I’d nailed the second one, but I was deficient. I can take that dream in several ways: (1) I’m still having nightmares about taking tests in college; (2) my proficiency in Spanish is severely lacking, and that isn’t great for someone who lives in Los Angeles; (3) it’s a dream, so whatever; (4) I need to remember that even when I think I’ve nailed it, there’s more to do.

So pretty much this.

Remember the WSJ puzzle where they agreed it was hard to keep up with THE TIMES? Well NYT took the high road in 25D WSJ Competitor (NYTIMES). But I’m not a fan of putting NYTIMES as the answer to a clue in a puzzle published in the NY Times. It’s possible that nobody tells Will Shortz when an idea is bad or isn’t even his because he lives in the world of 57A People are protected when they’re in it: SAFEENVIRONMENT.

I did like the theme of the symbol and element name. I don’t think that should have tipped me off that B+ was a Boron ion, but that wasn’t the worst answer for B+. Also for 61A Man of the cloth? I was thinking DYER, but evidently it was DIOR. Even though it was Christian, it wasn’t religious.

NYT Crossword 7-21-20 Complete

For the third day in a row, we’ve got Will “Drop” Shortz editing this puzzle. I don’t need to explain further than what’s highlighted in the image for this post.

I think it’s weird to have a 2020 puzzle more than halfway through the year. Why not earlier? We all know that Will Shortz is willing to sit on submissions for years and the use them without crediting the people who submitted them and they only find out by realizing their work is being used without any attribution, right? That can’t only have happened to me. If it really did only happen to me, should I feel more special or more targeted? I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m sore either way.

Overall this puzzle was easy. I got done in 6:28.

My Beef with Will Shortz

I didn’t always hate Will Shortz. I used to look forward to Weekend Edition on NPR to hear the Sunday Puzzle. I’d submit answers regularly to the weekly puzzles but never got picked to play on the air. I was fine with that.

But shortly after I turned 18, I thought of my own puzzle and eagerly submitted it on September 29, 2006. I got a reply within a week that stated that they’d received it, and therefore it was property of Will Shortz.

My email with my puzzle submission dated 9/29/06 with the reply on 10/3/06

I felt that was fine because he credits people on the air. If they use it, my name will be attached to it.

After a little more than four years of silence about it, I heard my submission on the radio–altered negligibly. The good thing was that he didn’t mispronounce my last name. The bad thing was that he didn’t say my name at all.

I was hurt by that. For years I had felt that there still was a chance–no matter how remote–that my submission would be used. I was elated when I heard it used. I was so proud.

This is my puzzle! Mine! On the air on 12/6/10!

And I kept waiting for my name to be mentioned. Almost a decade later, I’m still waiting.

It’s not that I absolutely need the recognition. I’ve mentioned things I’ve thought up to friends of mine that they’ve happily used in performance. It was reward enough to have made something worth using. But there was precedent here. I’d heard him give credit every week. It wasn’t for anything other than for the puzzle of the week, but I never thought that he wouldn’t credit me for using what I’d submitted on my own.

Here’s the link to the episode: https://www.npr.org/transcripts/131999636

———————————————-

Update on 12/18/20: It’s now a decade later. Still nothing. I’m not surprised, but this is slow to heal.

And when that link stops working, it’s archived forever here.

NYT Crossword 7-20-20 Complete

So this is the first NYT Monday of this blog. I raced through it with almost no skips as I was going through. I was excited by the time I was going to finish, but it turned out I had to finish it properly. I found the error semi-quickly. I had put EDIE when the answer was EVIE. IT was clear that HANDDAC is not a dustbuster while HANDVAC is.

I haven’t yet done today’s Wall Street Journal puzzle, but NYT Monday solved in 6:26 against the average of like 9:20 for my WSJ Mondays has me wondering if the NYT Monday is just substantially easier than the WSJ Monday.

Another thing: Yesterday’s puzzle had STRIPTT (STRIPTEASE because strip+T’s), and today’s had UNDRESS. It’s sounding like the editor’s middle name should be Drop. You know, because then he’d be Will Drop Shortz. Ugh. He makes me so mad. I still have the unused ticket from when he showed up at UCSB. Was it a waste of money to have purchased the ticket? I didn’t know when I bought it that he was about to use my submission without crediting me.

NYT Crossword 7-19-20 Complete

I think this is the first time ever that I’ve taken the time to complete a Sunday crossword. These usually are just too big for me to want to take on, but today I tried it. And I won! Yes, it took me about an hour, but I got through it.

I struggled a little at the beginning because the double letters seemed like they couldn’t be right. I must have goofed up somewhere. But when I realized what they were, I knocked out a huge chunk of the puzzle:
TRAPPARTISTS=TRAPEZE ARTISTS
CCTHEDAY=SEIZE THE DAY
DIZZCONTROL=DISEASE CONTROL
STRIPTT=STRIPTEASE (You dog, Will Shortz! Letting that one through!)
AMUUMENTPARKS=AMUSEMENT PARKS
CLOCKYY=CLOCKWISE
OLDDSTATION=OLDIES STATION
GGLOUISE=JEEZ LOUISE (or what you’d say when playing Louise in Rocket League)
SURPRIIPARTY=SURPRISE PARTY

Overall, pretty good. Glad I got it done. And I won one 1:01:10!