Saturday, May 14, 2022, Beth Rubin

 Saturday Themeless by Beth Rubin 

Last December I blogged a Saturday themeless that Beth constructed with Brad Wilber. Today our librarian from Los Angeles has her first solo entry. Here are her comments on this puzzle: 


Hi Gary, 

Of course I remember you! So glad to hear that you liked the puzzle. I rewrote/updated what I had written last time with additional comments about the puzzle. See below: 


Thanks for inviting me back to the L.A. Times Crossword Corner! Originally from New York, I am a librarian, crossword constructor, writer, and artist living in Los Angeles. My puzzles have been published by the New York Times, L.A. Times, Universal, Crosswords Club, Spyscape, and Daily POP Crosswords. 


I was fortunate to connect to Erik Agard and the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory just a few weeks into learning how to construct a puzzle. The guidance and mentorship have been stellar. The crossword community’s generosity, humor, and creativity continue to inspire me. 


I’m a big fan of V Spehar’s TikTok UNDER THE DESK NEWS segment and built a 16x15 themeless puzzle around this seed entry. During their Thursday Night Good News Only Update, V wears a banana-printed shirt. I was happy to include the entry BANANA SEAT as a nod to good news. This puzzle also has a nod to my dad, who taught me my first CHESS OPENING moves, and my wife, who thank goodness, did not find me UNDATEABLE! 

A special thanks to Patti Varol for her superb editing, encouragement and support. 


Hope that you enjoy the puzzle! 



1. Improve one's class?: SKIP A GRADE - Funny start!

11. Quick: RAPID.

16. Alcopop kin: WINE COOLER.

17. Bring out: EDUCE - The clue did bring out EVOKE first

18. Single, but way too flawed: UNDATEABLE - Also a TV series it seems

19. Giant: TITAN.

20. Polish site: NAIL - PAW lish not POH lish

21. "Git!": SCAT.

22. Nucleotide triplet: CODON All you'd like to know

23. Test for some srs.: GRE 
56. "Can I have a bit more time?": TEN MINUTES? - I doubt the proctor would allow it.

24. Cena of "Peacemaker": JOHN.

25. Mariah Carey holiday hit: OH SANTA Listen if you like

27. Resort town named for a native tree: ASPEN.

29. Mixed __: BLESSING - Living to a ripe old age can be a mixed BLESSING

30. Full of nervous energy: RESTLESS.

33. "The Rotters' Club" novelist Jonathan: COE - "Three teenage friends grow up in 1970s Britain watching their lives change as their world gets involved with IRA bombs, progressive and punk rock, girls and political strikes."

34. Current events TikTok segment that V Spehar broadcasts from their office floor: UNDER THE DESK NEWS.

39. Milne hopper: ROO - A cwd visitor from the 100-Acre-Wood

40. Famished: RAVENOUS - Check out 44 Across below!

41. Holiness: SANCTITY.

44. Étouffée option: PRAWN.

47. Arctic wear: ANORAKS.

48. 1856 Stowe novel: DRED - This was her second anti-slavery book whose title by coincidence presaged the DRED Scott decision of the next year.

50. Umbrella spoke: RIB.

52. Word in British placenames: SHIRE - Yes, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins created what became known as WorcesterSHIRE (WUUS-tər-shər) sauce in WorcesteSHIRE, England in the early 18th century. It's said to be a good example of umami flavor.

53. Natural satellite: MOON.

54. "Have it your way": FINE.

55. Dong-hyuk who created "Squid Game": HWANG 

58. Make one: MERGE - Make one lane

59. Wheelie bike feature: BANANA SEAT.

60. Mascot whose weight is listed as "Top Heavy": MR. MET 

61. Challenges for a translator, perhaps: SLANG TERMS 24 more


1. Chased a pitch: SWUNG - Baseball people know why hie did this 

2. Kwanzaa candelabra: KINARA.

3. West __: INDIES.

4. Toll: PEAL - After his historic ride, Paul Revere made many bells that tolled/PEALED throughout New England

5. Do one's part?: ACT - Nice cluing for either meaning

6. Walks out, say: GOES ON STRIKE 

7. Laurel and Hardy producer: ROACH - Hal made big money on this fabulous team but paid them very little

8. First British martyr: ALBAN When Rome ruled Britain

9. Scapula neighbor, for short: DELT - Ella Dershowitz had DELTS and 22. Queen's gambit, for one: CHESS OPENING in last Saturday's puzzle

10. Long start, once: ERE - A famous George M. Cohan lyric, "Give my regards to Old Broadway
And say that I'll be there, 'ERE long!" and 28. Tense beginning?: PRE - PRETENSE

11. Throw again: RETOSS - There should have been one here

12. Brand whose website has a "3 Stripe Life" section: ADIDAS - Yup!

13. Table: PUT ON ICE.

14. "Maybe later": I CAN'T NOW.

15. Cozy spot: DEN.

24. Raspberry: JEER.

25. Elizabeth who plays Scarlet Witch in the MCU: OLSEN No chance for me to get this Marvel Comic Universe character

26. Improves, maybe: AGES - I seem to be doing a lot more AGING than improving

29. Eliot title hero: BEDE - The four English teachers I asked about this clue 
 in lunch gave me a collective shrug about this Mary Ann Evans novel written under her pseudonym.

31. "__ how I roll": THAT'S - Blog Saturday puzzles? THAT'S how I roll!

32. Tax: LEVY.

34. Bear up?: URSA.

35. "It went straight to voice mail": NO ANSWER.

36. 2014 memoir subtitled "Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery": DO NO HARM - Another interesting book our librarian/constructor has for us today

37. Western Asia native: KURD -  My first west Asian native for _ U R _ was a TURK not a KURD

38. Govt. cybersecurity monitor: NSA.

42. [I'm so uncomfortable right now]: CRINGE.

43. Retailer with a RedCard credit card: TARGET - Headquartered in C.C.'s Minneapolis

45. Bell hooks, for one: WRITER Why Gloria Jean Watkins changed her name to uncapitalized bell hooks

46. Time slot with talk shows: NINE A.M.

48. Part of DKNY: DONNA - DONNA Karan of New York

49. "Succession" sibling: ROMAN - A character in this series

51. Tops: BESTS - These two girls 
from the small school where I sub hope to TOP/BEST much bigger schools to win a state track championship next week.

53. Happy __: MEAL.

54. Make one: FUSE - This shows glass FUSE art before and after being put in a kiln

55. "Let me think ... ": HMM.

56. "Full Frontal" network: TBS - Political satire.

57. D.C. player: NAT - The Washington NATionalS were 2019 World Series Championships