Archive for December, 2010

Hey, Mister! 12-27-10

Posted in Most Bitchy on December 27, 2010 by ericandabbie

This week’s blog entry, though a day late, is a pure example of our dedication to our well-honed craft: through the wonders of technology, Eric and Abbie were able to complete the crossword while in TWO different cities. It was magical.

That was the only magical part about this crossword experience. The puzzle was impossible – not because it was actually hard, but because they (let’s see…Mr. Darin McDaniel – calling you out, buddy) made words up.

Highlights
The one redeeming aspect of this puzzle was that we found out that clearly Mr. Shortz reads our blog. Way back in November, we suggested that BAAAAED would be a better answer than BLEATED for 23A “Sounded Sheepish?”. Today, Mr. Shortz OBVIOUSLY responded to our criticism by adding 119A “Pastoral Sounds” (BAAS). Thank you, Mr. Shortz.

Now, onto why you suck.

Will Shortz’s Mistakes:
27A: “Low Tip” (TOENAIL) Lowest tip of your body? Like…you’re a toenail if you tip a waiter badly? Like…no nothing. I have no more excuses for you, Will Shortz.

55A: “Modern Pentathalon Event” (EPEE) Ok, Abbie called in her brother, who has a state GOLD medal in the 800m, and her sister, who STILL (after 6 years) holds the Prince of Peace Middle School 100m hurdles record, (which we checked while back at PoP for Christmas Eve mass) and NEITHER could think of any track event with four letters. So then we found out the answer was a kind of sword…or the founder of public deaf education, Charles-Michel de l’Epee. Soooo clearly those make sense as Pentathalon events. Fuck you, Will Shortz.

56A: “Difference in days between the lunar and solar year” (EPACT): We guessed eight. Since eight is actually a number. You know, 1, 2, 3, epact, 4, 5…wait, what?

72A: “One ____ (ballgame)”(OCAT): Wikipedia tells us that this is an old form of baseball involving only one base. So….cricket (wait that’s two o cat)? Apparently that one base was called the “old cat,” thus the name “One O Cat.” And apparently this game was quite popular before the Civil War, but so was slavery, so, you know.

73A: “WW II Carrier Praised by Churchill for its ability to “sting twice” (USS WASP): We were unaware ships were named after bugs. Either that, or there’s some 51st state named Wasp that we never learned about in history. Which makes sense, we probably don’t want to associate ourselves with any state who chooses that for a name; I mean, really.

101A “Song on an Album” (CUT): A cut is not a song. Eric’s more mad about this one than Abbie.

14D: “Harshly Bright” (AGLARE): Apparently aglare is one single word, and not “a glare.” Lame. Fun fact – according to Merriam Webster, the following words rhyme with “aglare”: airfare, baudelaire, beachwear, antbear, and au pair. Thanks Merriam!

This is a "teasel"

15D: “Prickly Plants” (TEASELS): To be fair, they do look prickly.

43D: “Literally ‘guilty mind'” (MENS REA): No, not “literally” a guilty mind. It “literally” says “things of the mind.” I keep many other things in my mind besides guilt: birthdays, song lyrics, disdain for Will Shortz, etc.

48D: “Run ___ the mouth” (OFF AT): Ok, you can run your mouth off but you can’t run off at the mouth. Come on, Will. Eric says it looks like this puzzle was written by one of his ESOL students. Clearly Will’s having some issues with idioms.

52D: “Chorus of Approvals” (YEAHS): Yays – ok. Yeahs? No. Eric: “That’s a PMS medication!” Abbie: “That’s Yaz and it’s birth control…but YEAHS Will Shortz sucks.”

60D: “Stir” (THE POKY): Am I stirring a poky? Stirring with a poky? Who’s poky? WHAT IS A POKY??

102D: “Decree” (UKASE): Apparently, a ukase is a proclamation of a czar but it sounds more like something Abbie ate in Japan.

A poor way to end a year, NYT. We’ll be expecting better things and fewer made-up words from you in 2011.

Hope for Clear Skies (12-19-2010)

Posted in Most Bitchy on December 20, 2010 by ericandabbie
Let’s start with the title: it sucked (check-out the use of a colon!).  Then we did the puzzle, and it also sucked.  Some background… Abbie spent another weekend in Big-D (Eric cannot bring himself to mention the game yesterday at Jerry’s World… fortunately, Abbie can.  WHAT UP ‘BOYS!?)  The puzzle is a stupid architectural masterpiece involving both pictures and words and letters and dark squares and (in our version) some squares that were left blank—on purpose, we presume.
Yuck.

(When the clue is 47A: “Clone of an optical medium’s contents”, we’re pretty sure that you’re not even supposed to answer.)  We missed a shit-ton of letters and we came home dejected from Starbucks (where, by the way, we ate a pizza).  At Eric’s apartment we had some Astronaut Ice Cream which Eric was really excited about because Mom used to buy it for the boys at the Air and Space Museum.  Turns out, once you get past the age of seven, it blows.  That was sad.

The puzzle was describing the lunar eclipse which is happening tonight at 2:17 AM CST (give or take a few seconds).  The puzzle includes the words MOON, EARTH, and SUN in a line (JUST LIKE THE ECLIPSE‼ OMG‼).  Further, we see the light effects from the eclipse with the words BRIGHT, DIM, and DARK going towards the moon (as will be seen from the refraction of the sun’s rays around the Earth’s atmosphere—WHAT UP SCIENCE!?).  What this means for us is that there were a lot of words crammed into boxes which we would never have known except that Abbie fought for 69A: First Female US Secretary of State (ALBRIGHT).  Abbie kept insisting that the answer was ALB long after Eric had given up on Maddy.  Turned-out, nobody was right!  (And lesson learned, Eric will never give up on Maddy again.  Go RAZORBACKS!)

HIGHLIGHTS

–    124A: Novelty Glasses (X-RAY SPEX).  Abbie got it.  She was pleased with herself.

–    153A: Pardner, say (COWPOKE).  Again, only Abbie likes this one.  And she got it.  Again…

–    34A: __ Kippur (YOM).  Too easy.  Very insulting.  Are Christian’s that dumb that we need to spell it out.?  It’s like if the clue was (The Jewish day of rest.  HINT: Not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Sunday).  But, it’s a highlight because we’re big on Jew-themed answers!  Yay… sort of…

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

–    124A: Novelty Glasses (X-RAY SPEX).  Seriously, Shmabbs!?  What the hell!  The clue blows.

–    10A: Shop dresser (ADZE).  What?  Wikipedia informs us that it’s like an axe.  Oooh.  Now we… still don’t get it… A better clue would have been Folkloric Being of the Ewe People from Ghana (thanks Wikipedia).  Ohhhhh – ADZE!

–    40A: One way to stop (ON A DIME).  No.  That’s how you turn.  And Eric knows that because it’s what makes the new Jewish Cadillac so special (it can turn on a dime and pick it up).  Also, why did the Jews wander for 40 years?  Moses dropped a quarter.

–    107D: One of the Brontës (ANNE).  Charlotte and Emily.  And, apparently, Anne.  The problem was that we had a J in the middle of the word which led us to believe her name was IKJE.  Presumably, she was the adopted Indian sister of the Brontë clan .  (Abbie notes: “That makes sense.  Cuz, you know, British…India… you know…)  Oh, Ikje.

–    122A: Deep-dish dishes (LASAGNES).  We had ARSE PIES.  We don’t want to talk about it.

–    114A: Proust’s “___ Way” (SWANNS).  Swan has one N, you dumbas!  SWANKY also fits (and provides the K in Ikje, for those of you keeping score at home.)

–    126D: Need for KenKen (LOGIC).  Hey there, Mr. I-also-edit-the-KenKen-for-the-NY-Times.  Also, he has some KenKen books out.  That is self-pimpery and we won’t stand for any of it!

–    64D: Prepare to fight (ENARM).  Is that a word?  Google thinks it is the Spanish MCAT.  So, maybe, it’s like in order to be a Spanish doctor you have to bullfight… Yup.

We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas (including the Jews… enjoy your Chinese food).  We’ll see y’all next week.  Signing off, Eric and Abbie.

The Wish (12-12-2010)

Posted in Most Bitchy on December 12, 2010 by ericandabbie

Let’s start simple: this puzzle blows.  Pretend that the title is “The W is H”, meaning all the Ws are turned into Hs.  Rex pointed out that there are no Ws in the entire puzzle, which is pretty sweet, but everything else about the puzzle sucks.  Despite the suckiness of the puzzle, or maybe because of it, we kind of rocked it.  We filled in the entire grid, but made five mistakes.  It took us under an hour and a half, but only 35 minutes to determine it sucked.

HIGHLIGHTS

122A: “Fictitious Plaza resident” (ELOISE) Abbie was stoked she made the puzzle.  And why not!?  Look at her.  She’s so cute.  Speaking of cute, this week, Eric had the cutest thing happen.  This sixth grader missed his bus because he rides with his big brother, and without his brother he was clueless.  So I drove him home, and then I helped him get ready for his first date at the middle school dance.  And he was nervous.  And it was precious.  Here’s Eloise:

9D: “Manischewitz products” (MATZOHS).  Thanks for finally not being super-insensitive, Will Shortz.

That is all.  Again, this puzzle blew.  And now the bitching begins:

WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES

1A: “Lady Bird Johnson’s middle name” (ALTA) is Bird.  End of story.

9A: “Wolf” (MASHER).  Eric checked with his Dad who vaguely knows the term (PS – We’re talking about a wolf as a playa… the fourth definition of the word).  Our guess is that the term goes back to the ‘30s.  “We’re going to head to the speakeasy to mash some ladies”…I guess…

25A: “Nine Muses after dieting?” (THIN SISTERS).  So going with the theme, this should be TWIN SISTERS, but the W is changed to an H.  Get it?  You shouldn’t, cuz it’s stupid.  How the hell are there nine twin sisters, when twin, by definition, means two.  Also, we googled it, and Eric’s computer nearly got a virus, so it’s obviously not true.  On a related note, this clue is so terrible that when we got it Abbie loudly dropped an F-bomb in the middle of Starbucks.  Very embarrassing.

THEME ANSWERS: Get ready for this because they all suck.  Remember that these are phrases that have a W which has been changed to an H:

22A: “Tempo for a stringed instrument” (HARP SPEED) sucks

25A: “Nine Muses after dieting?” (THIN SISTERS) worst one

34A: “Alien attackers goal” (GLOBAL HARMING) warming and harming don’t rhyme…

68A: “Rush hour control” (HASTE MANAGEMENT) Abbie’s fave

99A: “Choice of the right door on “Let’s Make a Deal” (HINGED VICTORY) winged vs. hinged.  Does the creator even speak English? Let’s see…it’s Karen Young Bonin.  Is that a joke name?  Worst pen name ever.

116A: “Like tuned in listeners” (READY TO HEAR) hear vs. wear.  WTF!?  It’s like that song that Eric’s Dad sings for Hanukkah… “and thy WORD, broke their SWORD [pronounced “surd”]”…

118A: “Orlando team water boy, eg.” (MAGIC HAND) see below

16D: “Flock after a rainstorm” (CLEAN SHEEP) that was kind of cute

73D: “Tortoise’s opponent after finishing second” (SILVER HARE) Eric’s fav

Eric: Okay.  What’s next -what else sucked?
Abbie: No.  Can we just talk about MAGIC HAND and how that’s the stupidest?
Eric: Okay…
Abbie: It’s just stupid.  Like…is the…I guess he’s like a handy boy or like a stage hand perhaps except that it’s magic wand but it’s magic hand because he helps out… I don’t know, it just makes me mad… [unintelligible mumbling]

38D: “Robert Louis Stevenson title character” (MR HYDE).  No.  The options are Mr. Treasure, Mr. Island, Mr. Robinson, or Mr. Crusoe.  Hyde can fuck himself.  (Abbie: Oh.  Cuz he’s like two people, so that’s kind of sexy.)  (Abbie again: Dammit, Eric.  My parents read this.)

75A: “Chicken for dinner” (BROILER).  No.  Broiled, maybe – you cook it in a broiler.  Apparently, Will Shortz is a chauvinist who has never cooked a chicken.  To Mrs. Shortz, we apologize.  Also, Abbie adds “Man up.  Or Woman up.”

LOOK AT IT!

117D: “Suffix with pay” (OLA).  There are some definitions for “payola”, but, whatever, it’s a sucky word.

83D: “Ring tailed animal” (COATI).  What the hell is a … awww… look at it

On that adorable note, we bid adieu.  Next week Abbie will be watching the REDSKINS ROCK THE COWGIRLS, so we may not blog until Monday.  But you know it will be worth the wait.  Maybe.

On a Roll (12-05-2010)

Posted in Least Bitchy on December 6, 2010 by ericandabbie
Sorry we’re so late in blogging.  Abbie was in BigD (again) so we postponed our puzzle-solving escapades until just now.  To start with, Abbie picked up some latkes from Katz’s (which never Kloses) and we sang the bruchot to celebrate Hanukah.  We then used God’s divine presence to (Abbie just hissed, “G-Dash-D, Eric!”) to race through the puzzle in record time… ONE HOUR AND SEVEN MINUTES… MOTHER. FUCKER.  Clearly, G-d was on our side tonight.

We had one mistake (one…fucking… mistake), which marks the second time in the last month we have come this close.  Next week, we swear, we will finish the entire puzzle.  At first, Eric thought we had everything and he ran upstairs to dry-hump his roommate in ecstacy.  (Side note, I’d like to apologize to John’s girlfriend at this time.)  When he found out that we had one wrong, Eric was mighty sad.

This week’s puzzle was a nifty little die: if you filled in the O’s in each of the blocks, it created the dot patterns on a six-sided die.  However, it looks like a cross, which for the second week in a row is super-insensitive (especially considering our latke and matzo-ball soup supper).  War on Christmas, my ass.  Anywho, we added some rays to symbolize Jesus’s love to the puzzle, but Abbie thinks the rays suck because Eric has not yet been enveloped in His love.  (PS – The cross outline is actually where you are supposed to cut out the die, and the smaller red lines are where you fold to create the box.  We will note that this is perfectly reasonable… unless you are us.)  Anyway, here’s a picture:

Jesus Loves Dice Apparently

Highlights:

– Basically nothing.  As Abbie put it: “We don’t finish a crossword in an hour and seven minutes because there were some good clues.”  This, while sad, is probably true.

– 83A: Part of every month (IDES).  Did you know that the Ides of March is just the 15 of March and is no more special than the Ides of April (Tax Day), the Ides of January (MLK’s BDay…ish…), and the day before the Ides of June (Flag Day).  Ides means the fifteenth (correction… it means the middle of the month-ish according to Abbie).  Anyhow, she did know this and she’s pretty stoked CUZ ROME ROCKS… WHAT UUUP!?

– 92A: It’s between green and black (OOLONG).  This is particularly good because Eric’s Hanukah gift tonight was a tea mug (Thanks, Mom!).

Will Shortz’s Mistakes

– 5D: Edsel (FLOP).  What the hell does that mean?  We are googling… brb… Googling

Or 1958… nice try John

“Edsel Flop” returned, as a first hit, “Why was the Edsel such a flop?”  Apparently, this is common knowledge.  We had no clue, but it turns that the Edsel was a sucky car, and its name is now synonymous with suckiness.  (John informs us from the couch that it was the best selling car in nineteen-oh-twelve.)

– 118D: Greek goddess whose name is one letter off from
69-Down

-69D: Greek god whose name is one letter off from 118-Down.

Really!?  The answers were EOS and EROS, only one of whom is a real God.  Eos is a god with a lowercase ‘g’ at best.  A Google search for Eos returns as its first hit, “Welcome to the Evolution of Smooth.”  Take that supposed-goddess-of-dawn.

Otherwise, no mistakes, nothing to bitch about, just pretty easy and pretty boring minus the arts and crafts project that came with the puzzle.  Abbie tore apart the puzzle to make the following die:  Enjoy!

Abbie cutting out the die with a filet knife. Eric does not own scissors.

The Die. Eric doesn't have tape either.