Saturday, September 10, 2022, Christina Iverson and Taylor Johnson

 Saturday Themeless by Christina Iverson and Taylor Johnson

My last Christina puzzle was a collaboration with Matthew Stock in August and Taylor has had a solo Tuesday and Sunday LA Times offering this year. It was a nice solve and this baby boomer enjoyed references to Marvin Gaye, Lou Reed, Lara (Zhivago theme) and Andie McDowell.

Iowan Christina had this to tell me when I wrote her to get some info on Taylor: I will no longer be Patti's assistant editor by the time the puzzle comes out, but you could say I worked as Patti's assistant editor, and am currently working on some other crossword projects.

Taylor had this tell us: I’m a 32-year old crossword constructor living in Minneapolis, MN. By day I work for a food co-op, and by night, (and really all the time), I hang out with a couple of small humans that call me dad.

I first got into solving crossword puzzles around five years ago. I began constructing around the time my daughter was born, in the spring of 2021. I strive to make puzzles that everyone can enjoy solving, from the seasoned vets, t0new sovlers just starting out. I want my puzzles to be approachable, fresh, full of life and zest, a healthy dose of pop culture, and a focus on representation and inclusivity. I want my puzzles to be for everyone, and reflect the world we live in. Most of all, I just want people to have fun, that’s cool, right?


1. Cohen persona: ALI G.

Sasha Baron Cohen and
his persona ALI G

5. Within: AMID - I so love the Desiderata that starts - Go placidly AMID the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. 

9. Insects that may reproduce without males: ANTS It's called Parthenogenesis. This hilarious scene jumped to my mind immediately.

13. City on the Mississippi, for short: NOLA.

14. Terminal point: GATE - I got very interesting looks when I showed up at the GATE with 110 kids in tow for the flight. The kids always gots lots of compliments afterwards.

15. Pond noise: CROAK.

16. Entry-level perk?: DOOR PRIZE - Clever cluing - A PRIZE for merely walking through the DOOR

18. Angiogram image: AORTA.

19. NPR podcast hosted by Sam Sanders until 2022: IT'S BEEN A MINUTE.

21. A lot to manage?: ESTATE - Like the Biltmore ESTATE in Asheville, N.C.

22. Foolhardy: RASH - Don't say or do anything RASH when you are emotional. Wait until IT'S BEEN A MINUTE.

23. Understand: GET.

24. Keys left for a housesitter: SPARE SET.

28. Revolutionary group?: THE SOLAR SYSTEM.

31. "Elementary" star: LIU - She plays Dr. Joan Watson to Johnny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes in these takes on Sherlock Holmes cases set in modern times in NYC. 

32. Before: AGO.

33. Righteous Babe Records founder DiFranco: ANI.

34. 24-hour post: INSTAGRAM STORY - you can share photos and videos that disappear from your profile, Feed and messages after 24 hours, unless you add them to your profile as story highlights. Uh, they don't always disappear!

41. Otherworldly: ETHEREAL.

42. Musical Reed: LOU - I best remember his Walk On The Wild Side that raised transgender issues in 1972.

43. "Llama Llama Misses __": rhyming book by Anna Dewdney: MAMA.

44. Some spooky stories: ATTICS - They are usually the top story of a house and can seem spooky

48. "But I can probably manage on my own": NO WORRIES IF NOT.

52. Sub standard?: SONAR - Obviously this about a submarine but the standard for substitute teachers these days is, "Do you have a pulse?"

53. Make things interesting, so to speak: UP THE ANTE - I'll see your $2 and raise you $100.

54. Label giant: AVERY - We used these back when we actually mailed out Christmas cards

55. Single serving, say: DOSE - Fun clue

56. Lo-cal: LITE.

57. "Let's Get It On" singer: GAYE - His 1973 hit is so smooth

58. Nestlé brand: EDY'S and 
12. Calypso-influenced genre: SKA - A popular crossword ice cream brand and music 

59. Bound: LEAP - Considering their age, I wonder if Christina and Taylor know the phrase "Able to leap tall buildings in a single BOUND"? 🤔


1. MacDowell of "Groundhog Day": ANDIE.

2. Pilfers: LOOTS.

3. Rather brief concession speech: I LOST - This Russian master in The Quenn's Gambit would say "Я проиграл"

4. "Only Happy When It Rains" rock band: GARBAGE A catchy tune with "not so cheery" lyrics.

5. Accept: AGREE TO - Star NFL quarterbacks can AGREE TO contracts for $50M+/yr

6. Word with drag or sail: MAIN 

7. Native people of Guatemala: ITZA 
The name Chichen Itza is a Mayan language term for “at the mouth of the well of the Itza.” The Itza were an ethnic group of Mayans who had risen to power in the northern part of the Yucatan peninsula, where the city is located.

8. Judge: DEEM.

9. Piques: AROUSES - Curiosity and cats...

10. Travel guide?: NORTH STAR - The one point in the sky north of the equator that is in the same place every night. It was very helpful for the night travels of the underground railroad.

11. Big name in British art: TATE Art Gallery in London

15. Yellow hue: CANARY - To switch things up, I'd put my exams on CANARY yellow paper

17. Adventurous brothers of 1990s Nickelodeon: PETES

20. Good ways to save, initially: IRAS.

24. Katey of "Sons of Anarchy": SAGAL - Some of Katey's many roles

25. Gym ball?: PROM.

26. Minuscule: EENY.

27. "Sorry, did I just gross you out?": TMI - "No, I'd love to see that scar again!"

28. Window shade: TINT.

29. Opposite of a speaking fee?: HUSH MONEY - Sometimes it accompanies an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)

30. "Doctor Zhivago" heroine: LARA Oscar winning Lara's Theme

31. "It's not you, it's me," maybe: LIE.

35. Service provider?: TEAWARE - synonymous with TEASET

36. Well-protected storehouse: ARMORY - This famous one at Harper's Ferry, WV (then VA) was the site of John Brown's ill-fated raid in 1859. His raid was put down by U.S. Marines led by none other than Robert E. Lee.

37. Part with teeth: GEAR.

38. Date components: SLASHES - I like it when a program enters the SLASHES for me.

39. Fields of comedy: TOTIE.

40. Waste stream's discharge point: OUTFALL.

45. Umbilical variety: INNIE.

46. Terra __: COTTA  - A clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic where the fired body is porous

47. Soak, in a way: STEEP Steps 4 & 5 below

48. Starburst?: NOVAa transient astronomical event that causes the sudden appearance of a bright, apparently "new" star (hence the name "nova", which is Latin for "new") that slowly fades over weeks or months. You're welcome.

49. "How __!": RUDE - Right?

50. Shuffle gadget: IPOD - My old red one is full of music and I get it out occasionally 
51. Artisan's platform: ETSY 

52. Short list of stars?: SAG - SAG is short for Screen Actors Guild who do have a list of member stars.