Showing posts with label Husker Gary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Husker Gary. Show all posts

Aug 1, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020, Kevin Salat

Saturday Themeless by Kevin Salat

Today Kevin Salat enters the world of themeless Saturday puzzles at the LA Times. As you can see by the picture, he joins our list of constructors who are
Jeopardy alums. 

Here is his gracious note to us:

Hey everybody! Thanks to Gary for the invitation to introduce myself in this wonderful community. 

I'm originally from Winfield, IL where I started solving these puzzles in the Chicago Tribune with my grandma Natalie. Now I reside in Seattle, WA working in product marketing and spending leisure time on long bike rides or at the movies (when they're open). Some favorite first-time watches I've had during quarantine have been In a Lonely Place (1950), The Apartment (1960), Paper Moon (1973), Something Wild (1986), and in terms of new 2020 releases, First Cow (2020). All are highly recommended!

Delighted to have my first Saturday in the LAT, which along with my first Friday on 7/10 completes my "cycle" of having a puzzle run each day of the week! This is one of the first themeless puzzles I had ever created, and while I think my game has improved since this one I'm relatively pleased with how it turned out. I like entries with 3+ words, so I started with stair-stacking 34A and 37A and the puzzle came together from there. And while I didn't have "in England" in my clue for 38A I think it makes it more accurate. 

Not much else to say about the rest of the puzzle, but I just want to say thanks to Rich/Patti & the editorial team and also reinforce how wonderful this community is. It's such a joy knowing that so many are not only enjoying something you've created, but also using it as a springboard to connect with others and provide laughter and support in such trying times. And I've heard Alex Trebek say that he solves the LAT every day, so it's also nice to know icons like him are potentially enjoying my work too (FYI, he smells great). 

Have a good Saturday -- see you next time!


I navigated around Kevin's fun puzzle but hit a single roadblock at the bottom where this physics teacher had no idea on YLEM or on matador art called TAUROMACHY (Kevin explains below). See my "angry" red square in the grid 😤! Okay, Kevin seems to be a great guy, I had fun and am not really angry but still...


1. Cajun staple: OKRA.

5. Rhyme $yndicate Records founder: ICE-T Here 'ya go

9. Pooch living in 2062: ASTRO - George Jetson's pooch

14. Fast-food option: DRIVE THRU - Very popular these days

16. Fine fiddle: STRAD - As opposed to "fine fettle"

17. Asian cooking ingredient: SESAME OIL.

18. Sad: TEARY.

19. Red state verb: OWE and 26. Blue side: Abbr.: DEMS - The former represents being in debt and the latter refers to DEMOCRATS being referred to the blue side of politics

20. Boston song whose title lyric precedes "We're cookin' tonight": SMOKIN - The 1976 "B-side" of More Than A Feelin'. Here ya go

22. Preceding periods: EVES.

23. Goose that may nest on volcanic ash: NENE - Our fine-feathered Hawaiian crossword friend 

25. Donkey Kong or King Kong: APE.

27. Sound that gets an exam proctor's attention: PSST 

31. Jan. honoree: MLK.

33. Pop singer Brenda: LEE - She went on my turntable right after Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers! Here she shows that 59. Moody genre: EMO music is nothing new

34. "Nevertheless ... ": BE THAT AS IT MAY 

37. Dealer's question: ARE YOU IN OR OUT

38. Teaching where to go in England?: Puppy HOUSE TRAINING is preferred in England whereas HOUSE BREAKING is used more often on this side of the Atlantic. Fun clue, Kevin!

39. Wine label abbr.: ALC - The ALC(ohol) content of champagne is around 12.2% for example. SEC hung on a long time 

40. Airport near OAK: SFO - A half-hour drive 

41. "This comes __ surprise": AS NO.

42. De Matteo of "The Sopranos": DREA - Here, as Andrea La Cevera, she is being "taken for a ride" on The Sopranos 44. "!!!": OMG - They're going to kill me!

46. Judicial order: WRIT.

50. Bubble Up sister brand: DADS.

51. Wyndham-owned chain: RAMADA.

55. Kerfuffle: ADO.

56. "Don't get any __": IDEAS.

58. Spam-revealing aid?: CAN OPENER - Here you can see the key that served as the can opener for the metal strip around the can of Spam for K-Rations in WWII

60. Hitchcock menace: BIRDS - One reviewer said it shows that nature can dominate man despite all his technology. Sound familiar?

61. Erratic: HIT OR MISS.

62. Toothed whale's technique: SONAR - Echolocation also used by dolphins

63. Proto-matter of the universe: YLEM - New to me. Definition, pronunciation and etymology

64. Wary of: ONTO.


1. Indulges in to an extreme degree: OD'S ON - OverDoseS ON

2. Mardi Gras parade-organizing group: KREWE - The invitation to form the first KREWE - The Mystick KREWE of Comus in New Orleans 163 yrs ago

3. Up and at 'em: RISEN.

4. "Selma" director DuVernay: AVA - Has the crossword torch been passed from AVA Gardner?

5. Thing: ITEM.

6. End of an allergic reaction: CHOO - AH, I get it!

7. Alexander of "Living Single": ERIKA - ERIKA maintained that Living Single supplied the template for Friends which first aired a year later

8. 17th-century craze involving bulbs: TULIP MANIA - Often called the first investment "bubble". Prices for Dutch bulbs soared and then collapsed in 1637

9. Puerto Rico hrs.: AST - Atlantic Standard Time. They welcome in the new year two hours before I do

10. Medieval Times ride: STEED.

11. Commuter's convenience: TRAVEL MUG.

12. What's just not done, to some diners?: RARE MEAT - RARE MEAT would mean "not done" to me. You? Loved the clue, uh, eventually.

13. Quite a journey: ODYSSEY.

15. Mushroom ends?: EMS MushrooM. Last week Joe Deeney gave us 53. Neon tips?: ENS NeoN

21. '50s-'60s TV family: NELSON'S - My daughter's former mother-in-law calls us Ozzie and Harriet because her family was/is so dysfunctional 

24. Pentathlon equipment: EPEES - I leave it to you to ascertain the five events where athletes have 29. Strove to achieve: SHOT FOR the gold medal

28. Lid problems: STYES.

30. Matador's art: TAUROMACHY - Kevin told me, "Hah, it happened to be in my word list because it was once used back in 1996. Definitely a unique word but glad that it's somewhat inferable with the Greek roots."

32. Beer order at a sushi bar: KIRIN Here ya go!

34. "Nebraska" Best Actor nominee: BRUCE DERN - A bittersweet movie where I saw a lot of characters I recognized.

35. Padre's hermana: TIA - Dad's sister: Aunt in Spanish (correction)

36. Thus far: TO NOW.

37. Music service pioneer that merged with Slacker in 2017: AOL RADIO Here 'ya go

38. Staked a claim (on): HAD DIBS - These words left my lips often in my yute!

43. Adjective on taco truck menus: ASADA - Carne ASADA (meat grilled)

45. Outlook alternative: GMAIL - Write to me at if you want to add to/subtract from our map

47. Arrested: RAN IN 48. Latin clarifier: ID EST - i.e. got put in jail

49. Where the heart is: TORSO.

52. Penultimate prefix: ANTE - The ANTEchamber before you enter Tut's tomb

53. Dire prophecy: DOOM - If you disturb Tut's tomb...

54. National Poetry Mo.: APR.

57. Ukr. or Est., once: SSR.

Kevin emailed me this great link to the Chicago Tribune review of Alex Trebek's new book The Answer Is... 

I found the article to be a fascinating story about a man whose show is mentioned often here. The book includes info on his health issues and repeats the fact that he attempts the LA Times Crossword everyday.

I'll take Comments For Kevin for $800 Alex!

Jul 27, 2020

2020 L. A. Times Crossword Corner Map

Here is the current map as of today. I'll take additions or other  editing at at any time.

Click on the map to enlarge it.

Jul 25, 2020

Saturday, July 25, 2020, Joe Deeney

Saturday Themeless by Joe Deeney

Joe Deeney returns with a puzzle that was a real tester for me. As far as times are concerned, I won't show you mine if you don't show me yours.

Joe's reply to my note:

Hi Gary,

Thanks for reaching out. Always good to hear from you, glad you enjoyed the puzzle. I actually hadn't yet heard from Patti and Rich that this was slotted, so good to know it’s coming up.
In early 2019, I started playing around with themeless grids with a high number of 10 letter answers. I don't have stats for the LA Times, but on xwordinfo there is a page showing that the max published in the NY Times in a 15x is 14 answers of length 10. This grid is relatively unconstrained and has 16. I have another puzzle in Rich's queue with this same grid layout, and another one with 18 answers of length 10 from the same period of experimentation. The tradeoff with these grids is more answers of length 4 than 5 or 6, but as long as the long fill shines that doesn't bother me so much, though I know for some solvers it's not ideal.

The seed for this puzzle was EXCUSEZ MOI which I had hoped to clue [Pardon my French?] but I guess that required a bit too much of a grammatical stretch for Rich's taste – or maybe it narrowly missed passing the breakfast test. I'm glad the gist of my clue for SHOWER GIFT and ORDER A LIMO remained the same. I've been trying to work ORDER A LIMO into a themeless puzzle for a few years now with essentially that clue - very friendly combination of letters, especially starting and ending with a vowel.

Everyone is healthy and safe here, hope the same for you.



1. "Touché": POINT TAKEN.

11. Small complication?: PROB - See above

15. Agree to take the long way there?: ORDER A LIMO - Getting there is half the fun in a long car on a long route

16. Condominio, por ejemplo: CASA - Hmmm... A type of house and in Spanish

17. Dancer's driver: SANTA CLAUS and 18. First word in a classic poem about 17-Across: TWAS.

19. "Telephone Line" rock gp.: ELO Here ya go!

20. Prepares (for): GETS SET - A man GETS SET for his 100th birthday jump

22. Stretch (out): EKE.

23. "Dark side" sci-fi group: SITH - Jedi enemies in Star Wars franchise

24. Stuffed grape leaves: DOLMAS - From Trader Joe's

26. Rodeo ride: BRONC - Bronc 1 Cowboy 0

29. Either Bush, in school: ELI - George H.W. and George W. were both Yale grads

32. Spanish wine region: RIOJA - A marks the spot

33. "The Mammoth Hunters" author: AUEL.

34. Like some agreements: PREMARITAL - Also called a pre-nup(tial) 

36. I-9 ID: SSN.

37. Caddies and cozies: TEAWARE.

Antique tea caddy                        A cute little tea cozy

38. Pub pick: IPA - A brew often seen here at the Crossword Pub

39. Towels, e.g., aptly: SHOWER GIFT - Now that's just a fun clue!

41. Katy Perry hit that starts "I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath": ROAR - Her feminist anthem

42. Youngest French Open champ: SELES - Monica now, Monica after being stabbed on court and Monica as a 16-yr-old French Open champ

43. Pueblo pronoun: ESA.

44. Like undercooked eggs: RUNNY.

45. Oscar-winning foreign language film based on a Fugard novel: TSOTSI (South African slang for thug) 

47. Sarcastic retort: I BET.

49. Fix: RIG.

50. TV revenue source: AD SALES.

53. Neon tips?: ENS NeoN

56. Actor Kapoor of "Slumdog Millionaire": ANIL - This story is of a boy from the slums of Mumbai not Johannesburg 

58. Pierre's polite lead-in: EXCUSEZ MOI - I prefer Joe's "Pardon my French" cluing! 

60. Wee: ITSY.

61. Galileo, notably: ASTRONOMER - One of my heroes but was not a big hit with the Pope!

62. NPR giveaway: TOTE.

63. Great bargains: SWEET DEALS.

A classy way to divide the Across and Down clues!

52. Entr'__: ACTE 
Actually intermission
for My Fair Lady

And now back to our regularly scheduled review:


1. Prepare for cheese?: POSE - Gotta love this clue too!

Sat CHEESE (fromage?)
2. Spoken: ORAL - There are so many questions I never thought to ask my grandmothers

3. Lic. figure: ID NO.

4. Barclays Center NBAer: NET.

5. Like some flaws: TRAGIC  Hamlet's "To be or not to be" reveals his TRAGIC FLAW of indecisiveness  

6. "Don't play," in music: TACET.

7. Hot, hot, hot: ALL THE RAGE - Name the song with this lyric (*answer at bottom of write-up)

8. Sorento and Sedona: KIAS - Car models 

9. Big birds: EMUS.

10. Barely bested, with "out": NOSED - You may have to look for a while to see that Horse #2 not only didn't win but got third. (*
*reason at bottom of write-up)

11. Dietary info abbr.: PCT.

12. What an actor may bring to an audition: RAW EMOTION - Stella!

13. Honshu city: OSAKA JAPAN - OSAKA and Hiroshima are both on the island of Honshu and it's a 4-hr drive between them

14. Factor in bonus size, perhaps: BASE SALARY - I had a BASE SALARY every year I taught and my bonus was 0% of that

21. Hall of Famer who was an MVP and Manager of the Year: TORRE - 1971 MVP for the St. Louis Cardinals and A.L. Manager of the Year in 1996 and 1998 for the Yankees

23. Longtime NBC hit: SNL.

25. Only Super Bowl the Eagles won: LII - The NFL is doing their bit to keep Roman numerals alive

26. Victoria-Tasmania divider: BASS STRAIT - The diary of Andrew MacCauley's 35 hr crossing of the Bass Strait in a sea kayak

27. Doesn't stop to think about: RUSHES INTO.

28. Expert on ports?: OENOLOGIST - We see OENO associated with wine here quite often and LOGIST indicates an expert so...

30. Martin's partner: LEWIS - Two reasonable choices

Dean Martin and Jerry LEWIS            Dan ROWAN and Dick Martin
31. Angsty lament: I'M A FAILURE - The sun'll come out tomorrow!

34. Each: PER.

35. "The one way possible of speaking truth": Browning: ART 

37. "Creed" actress Thompson: TESSA Her IMDB

40. Like spring snow: WET - This beautiful Johnny Mathis song has a lyric of "melt my heart like April snow" @~1:12

41. Sticking point?: RUT.

44. Forward, say: RESEND - What I do when I get a cool video from someone

46. Noodle nuggets: IDEAS - Even my noodle/bean/noggin has good IDEAS sometimes

48. Ply with drink: BESOT - George knew he could get the truth from Elaine with peach schnapps

51. Austin festival, briefly: SXSW - South by Southwest conference and festival. Cancelled this year

53. Austen classic: EMMA - Also my granddaughter 

54. Coward with a knighthood: NOEL - He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1970 twenty-eight years after Winston Churchill vetoed her dad's desire to do so.

55. Knight titles: SIRS - Sir Noel had to wait

57. Caustic chemical: LYE.

59. Muppet friend of Elmo: ZOE - Rhymes with snow. With the diaeresis mark
 ZOË rhymes with snowy 

* The song about THE RAGE is The Beat Goes On by Sonny and Cher

** If you look closely the winning horse is between horse #2 and the horse at the top of the picture. The winner's nose is sticking out in front of horse #2. Horse #2 was declared the winner but someone spotted that the winning nose didn't belong to #2

Crossword Map Update

After four years,I decided to update my map of our LA Times bloggers. I went through the old map and deleted some names that didn't seem to be active any more. My memory is very suspect and I may have eliminated some people who are still contributing but I know we have some new members who are not included. I have also received requests from others who do not usually post but want to be on the map.

Please email me at if you want to add your name and location or edit what is already there. I am truly sorry if I have omitted anyone and am anxious to get the map up to date.


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