Saturday, August 15, 2020

Today’s Saturday Stumper

I think I get at least partial credit for doing today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper, by Andrew Bell Lewis. It started so well, with 4-D, five letters, “Name on the first side-by-side fridge.” Hail, appliance manufacturer familiar to all crossword solvers! And then 5-D, three letters, “Napa nickname” and 1-A, eight letters, “Twisty underground passageway.” Followed by 6-D, four letters, “Tiramisu treat just for 2020.” Hail, treat familiar to all crossword solvers! Though the idea of a treat made just for this hellish year seems pretty cruel right now. And 7-D, seven letters, “Spheroid sweet.” Hail, more quietly, to a more obscure treat, one I enjoyed greatly in my sugar-rich childhood.

Later in the puzzle: 35-D, eight letters, “Single-serving desserts” and 59-A, nine letters, “Yuletide fruitcake.” This puzzle will be receiving a visit from the ADA.

The clue that had me stumped: 43-D, six letters, “Misspend one's time.” I was so baffled that I never saw the obvious answer for 43-A, three letters, “Fostered.” At least not until I began typing through the alphabet to figure out what fit. A little like answering a multiple-choice question by circling and erasing each answer until a bell rings and you get some sort of treat. Of which there are many in this puzzle.

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

Friday, August 14, 2020

A classroom?

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Here is one example of one university’s idea of a socially distanced classroom. No desks. Lousy sightlines. Notice that the chairs go all the way to the far corner.

I am no fan of online classes, as many OCA readers already know. But right now they’re the only choice to protect the well-being of faculty and students. It’s online teaching and learning that should be the experiment this fall, not an in-person semester that will almost certainly end badly.

Related posts
Choose your own nightmare : College, anyone? : Reluctant professors : Something is rotten in Iowa : Students, stay home : What if

“Nothing stops the mail.”

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When I saw our postal carrier across the street yesterday, I called out, “Thank you, USPS.” He understood what I meant.

Elaine found this image, uncredited. I want to believe what it says. See also this mailbox.

Eugene Levy, honored

In these terrible times, I liked seeing this video with fellow actors paying tribute to Eugene Levy, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Newport Beach Film Festival.

And so I went down a Eugene Levy rabbithole. More specifically, an SCTV rabbithole. For instance. For instance. For instance. And for instance. Okay, I’ll stop.

Nancy puzzle

Today’s Nancy, which takes shape as a jigsaw puzzle, is especially clever. Olivia Jaimes continues to breathe new life into the Nancy world.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The new Blogger interface again

Google is now posting what it calls “weekly updates” on the development of the new Blogger interface. Thus far there has been one update, for “the week of August 1.” The weeks appear to begin on Saturday at Google, and they are very long weeks.

Important for Blogger users: comments posted to the Blogger Help Community (sic) do not reach Google. The way to make a comment that someone at Google will read is to leave feedback, via the question mark that appears top right in the new Blogger interface. You type in the box that pops up — a box that’s already filled with text about leaving feedback. Delete that text and type away.

I just left some feedback about the prolix code that now surrounds every image in the new interface’s HTML window. It makes changing the height and width of images rather tedious. And I object to Google’s assumption that a user will want to add a caption to every image.

W.G. Sebald would not be happy with the new Blogger.

Related posts
The legacy Blogger interface : Is the new Blogger a New Coke? : The disappearing Blogger Preview

Mystery actor

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Recognize him? Think you do? Leave your best guess in the comments.


This one must be tough. Two hints: The mystery actor is best known for a television role. He’s making his second mystery appearance in these pages.


I guess this was a tough one. I’ve revealed the answer in the comments.

More mystery actors (Collect them all!)
? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ? : ?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

She’s all that

Radical socialist, or tool of Wall Street? For Donald Trump*’s supporters, Kamala Harris is both.

In truth though, Senator Harris is an excellent choice for vice president. She is much better known than her Senate colleague Tammy Duckworth. Her tough, persistent questioning of William Barr and Brett Kavanaugh is well within recent memory, offering a powerful demonstration of what it means to speak truth to power — even if the speaking is a matter of asking questions. And she will (almost certainly) make a great nominee for president in 2024. I especially like the note of reconciliation in her presence on the ticket: she criticized Biden sharply at the first Democratic debate; Biden asked her to run with him; she said yes. As the song says, Let’s work together.

Related reading
“Harris’s Approval Rating Soars After Trump Reminds Nation How ‘Nasty’ She Was to Kavanaugh” (The New Yorker)

Chicken and cheese

A recipe for sardine pizza prompted Fresca to wonder in a comment about dishes inspired by books and movies.

I have no dish, but I now remember a childhood habit born of reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. From Jonathan Harker’s Journal:

The Count himself came forward and took off the cover of a dish, and I fell to at once on an excellent roast chicken. This, with some cheese and salad and a bottle of old Tokay, of which I had two glasses, was my supper.
As a boy, with Dracula as my inspiration, I would add a slice of American cheese to my plate whenever we had chicken for dinner. Cheese, right?

Cousin Brucie returns

Cousin Brucie returns to WABC-AM, as in “Seventy-seven, WABC!”

This man was on the radio when I was barely sentient. As they say these days, Wut ?