Saturday, January 1, 2022, Adrian Johnson

 Saturday Themeless by Adrian Johnson

After collaborating with Jeff Chen in Feb. 2021 this is AJ's third solo Saturday Themeless.

Hi Gary,
Thanks for reaching out. Thrilled to have the first LAT of 2022! I knew I had a few puzzles due to come out around this time, and I'm super excited one of them landed on New Year's Day. Hope you and family are enjoying the holiday season, and that you have a merry Christmas and a happy 2022. I'm now an Americorps fellow in southern Tennessee for the next year, working at BetterFi, a startup that aims to free impoverished families from payday lenders, help them develop credit and provide financial counseling and assistance. It's been great so far. 

Here are some notes: 

Happy New Year everyone! I'm thrilled to be back in the LA Times, and to have the first LAT puzzle of 2022! I hope this puzzle of stacked 12s in a 16x15 grid, a layout I'd never seen or solved before, provides a welcome diversion as we begin 2022. This puzzle was a blast to construct, starting with the "Permanent marker?" clue for TATTOO ARTIST, one of my favorite clue/answer pairings to date. I'm also really pleased with the animal pairing of HAPPY AS A CLAM and ORIGAMI CRANE to open the puzzle. It was surprisingly straightforward to drum up stacks of lively 12s and connect them with fun, engaging fill, though I'm convinced this puzzle is largely a fluke since my other attempts at 12 stacks have flamed out into heaping piles of nothingness. I hope to continue pushing out high-quality, enjoyable and innovative crosswords throughout the year, and can't wait to be back at Crossword Corner again soon! 



1. Over the moon: HAPPY AS A CLAM "at high tide" finishes the real phrase because clams can only be dug at low tide.

13. Figurehead?: Abbr.: CPA - Their busy time is coming up

16. Japanese art piece that symbolizes good fortune and longevity: ORIGAMI CRANE How do you do make one?

17. Inlet, to the sea: ARM.

18. Much-photographed event: TOTAL ECLIPSE - Here's me taking a picture of me watching this event as it began in 2017

19. Fairy-tale disruption: PEA - On Broadway it was Once Upon A Mattress

20. Son of Akhenaten: TUT.

21. "To recap ... ": IN SUM.

22. Law school course: ETHICS.

24. Tangents: ASIDES.

26. Throbs: PULSATES - Your head today? Not mine.

28. Drawing game: KENO.

29. Sound of alarm: GASP.

31. Connection point: NODE.

32. Aid in fixing rough borders: EDGE TRIM - They can hide a lot of roughness

35. Dickered: HAGGLED - What MSRP?

38. Program resource: HELP MENU.

40. Last part: BACK END - Tom Hanks made $65M on Forest Gump when he negotiated a BACK END deal to get a percent of the profits from this mega hit.

44. Offer not seen by competitors: BLIND BID 

49. DOL watchdog: OSHA 

50. "My stars!": EGAD.

52. Hill assistant: AIDE - Both in the House and the Senate 

56. Papyrus plants, e.g.: SEDGES - Egyptians made paper from the stems of this SEDGE starting in 3,000 BCE

58. Vet: SCREEN - Many candidates do not get sufficiently vetted. Surprise!

59. Island in a popular board game: CATAN - The 3-D version of this board game I have never heard of

62. Dance step: PAS - Hopefully not faux

63. Crew implement: OAR.

64. Iran, for one: ISLAMIC STATE.

67. It may be plucked on a beach: UKE - Yes he could play it too

68. Vader underling: STORM TROOPER.

69. Talking stuffed bear in a 2012 film: TED.

70. Permanent marker?: TATTOO ARTIST - Fun clue, AJ!


1. Provocative opinion: HOT TAKE - The lifeblood of Twitter

2. Galvanized: AROUSED - His speech galvanized millions

3. Placing in direct competition: PITTING - When the NFL was PITTING its games against the NBA on Christmas Day the NBA got routed

4. __ Tour: PGA - Speaking of which, ratings for the PGA Tour got a big boost two weeks ago when Tiger teamed with his son Charlie in a Father/Relative event.

5. Amy Klobuchar, for one: YALIE.

6. Chorus of approval: AMENS.

7. Unleashes: SICS.

8. Women's Rights Project org.: ACLU.

9. Pinches together: CRIMPS.

10. 2.5 miles, at Indy: LAP - Can you find the four golf holes inside the track that are part of the course outside?

11. Elgort of "The Fault in Our Stars": ANSEL - Two teens with cancer meet in a support group and fall  in love

12. Some contests: MEETS - At the school where I sub, two girls alone will win many MEETS this spring

13. Building partly burned by Britain in 1814: CAPITOL - Admiral G
eorge Cockburn (COH burn),  planned and executed the burning of public buildings in Washington. His portrait shows D.C. afire in the background.

14. Antedate: PRECEDE.

15. Brought together: AMASSED.

23. Get hooked?: HANG.

25. John in court, maybe: DOE.

27. Maintained: UPHELD.

29. __ Age: post-Civil War period: GILDED - After his triumphant Downton Abbey series, this year Julian Fellows is presenting another period piece set in NYC in the 1880's.

30. Gig gear: AMP - "Roadies" have the job of moving and setting up AMPliferS for the gigs

33. It accounts for about 7% of all printed English words: THE.

34. "The Villain in Black" rapper MC __: REN - Google him if you must 

36. "The Phantom Menace" boy: ANI.

37. Cause to race: GUN - A GUN can start a race or if you GUN your engine, you can make the motor race 

39. Wall St. asset: MBA.

40. Gracefully exits: BOWS  OUT - Some athletes "stay too long at the fair"

41. Bread named for how it's baked: ASH CAKE How do you do that?

42. Blackened: CHARRED - What your ASH CAKE might get

43. "Sexual Politics" author Millett: KATE Here ya go

45. Witness to a delivery, often: DAD.

46. 2000s Red Sox hero, familiarly: BIG PAPI.

47. Conceives: IDEATES - One of those vowel-laden words I only see here

48. Madeleine or Napoleon: DESSERT.

51. Soap Box Derby entrant: GO CART - (GO KART is an alternate spelling) These are "gravity powered" GO CARTS. My friend had a motorized one in my ute.

54. Dmitri Mendeleev, religiously: DEIST A list of some famous ones

55. Photo-sharing app, for short: INSTA - Instagram 

56. Triangular pelvic bones: SACRA.
57. Former CNN journalist David: ENSOR.

60. Snowball pile, say: AMMO - Finally, cute cluing for this ominous word

61. Jazz great Puente: TITO - Fred Armisen did a hilarious sendup of Tito on SNL

65. Parking __: LOT 

66. Little one: TOT.