Saturday, April 9, 2022, John Hawksley

 Saturday Themeless by John Hawksley 

Today we welcome a new LA Times constructor, John Hawksley. His striking grid 
immediately caught my eye but staying with HOBO CHIC and not knowing COREA were two speed bumps in this enjoyable puzzle. 

Here are John's notes for us: 

Intro for me: I'm an engineer at Yelp and one of my focus areas is machine learning. I now live in Florida, after gradually migrating across the country (from San Francisco) during the pandemic.

This puzzle didn't have a seed entry, but just arose out of a search for fills to the central diamond. I picked this one to develop over about 10 other competitive options, because I really liked the 3 11-letter entries in the middle. (Although, I didn't actually realize DIET SEVEN UP had been rebranded until I got to cluing!) I first took an interest in these "diamond of 11-letter entries" puzzles after solving a 2020 Ryan McCarty puzzle in the New York Times, and hope to create more along these lines. There's actually a bit of specialization involved, in that one step of this work was an initiative to improve the quality of specifically the 11-letter entries in my dictionary. 

16-A has a new clue, and I actually had to look up what hobo bags are! I recently furnished a house for Airbnb, and leaned heavily on boho chic decor. My original clue for 28-A was [Privacy or piracy concern], and 31-A was [Adventurous first date idea], both of which I hoped would go through but didn't make it. I also had an easier clue for COREA that used his first name "Chick". In my high school jazz band, one of the harder songs we learned was Chick Corea's "Spain", so he has always been more than crosswordese to me! I also wasn't able to sneak in a math-y reference to the "DIRAC delta function", unsurprisingly -- my undergraduate degree was in math.

The NE corner in my original submission was different, and it had a dupe I hadn't noticed. Many thanks to Rich for offering the chance to revise it to remove the dupe, as the replacement fill turned out to be a lot better anyway! It's now probably my favorite corner -- CANNOLI and GUAVA? Making me hungry.




1. Destroy: RAVAGE 

7. Editor of "The Hugo Winners" anthology series: ASIMOV - Anthologies compiled by Isaac Asimov from 1955 - 1982 and named for this Hugo

13. Bee sting treatment, perhaps: EPIPEN - A peanut allergy sent a boy into 
anaphylactic shock in my my room and it took an EPIPEN to get him breathing normally again 

14. Ricotta-stuffed pastry: CANNOLI - A memorable movie line

15. Big game places: ARENAS.

16. Decor style associated with hobo bags: BOHO CHIC - "Third boxcar, midnight train...". Yeah, right! 

17. Soft drink size: LITER.

18. Cousin of org: COM - .COM, .org, .edu, .net....

19. Tropical fruit tree: GUAVA.

20. Home of Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans," briefly: MOMA -That's art because the Museum Of Modern Art says so

21. "Hot House" Grammy-winning pianist: COREA Here ya go

23. Driver of a converted bus, maybe: RVER - 
The windows show that this used to be school bus. It could be said this RVER owns a "skoolie".

24. Eastern honorific: SRI.

25. Mercury's had wings: SANDALS.

27. Floundering sounds: ERS - Fourscore and, ER, seven, ER, years ago...

28. Code of concern to users: INTERNET LAW.

31. Gothic fiction outgrowth: HORROR MOVIE and 29. "Dracula" (1931) director Browning: TOD
Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler and TOD Browning

33. Beverage rebranded to include "Zero Sugar" in its name in 2020: DIET SEVEN-UP - Research showed the company that the word DIET was not appealing to a younger demographic. (FWIW, the Sugar Crisps of my yute are now Golden Crisps)

35. President whose nickname originated in childhood: IKE - Dwight and his older brothers all got the nickname IKE in Abilene, KS. Dwight carried IKE on into adulthood.

38. Open-bodied truck: FLATBED.

39. Barbecue flavoring: RUB.

41. Beer flavoring: MALT The role of MALTED barley in beer making

43. Whitewater principal: STARR.

44. Catnap: DOZE.

45. En este momento: AHORA - E
spañol - "Right now" and "Now"

47. "Who am __ judge?": I TO. Judge ITO was in our Monday puzzle.

48. Pie not served for dessert: PIZZA - Maybe not

49. Java serving: CUP OF JOE.

51. Winter airs: CAROLS and 
21. Library array: CARRELS.

52. Obsolescent club usually replaced by a fairway wood: ONE IRON.

53. Member of a noted octet: PLANET - It used to be a nonet.

54. Serviceman?: PARSON and 12. Parish priests: VICARS - They both conduct services

55. Break: RECESS - There is a real aroma/odor after kids come back to class after RECESS


1. Kingdoms: REALMS.

2. Valid independent of experience: A PRIORI - Debates can become very contentious when opposing sides come in with different ideas as being A PRIORI 

3. Former Asian communist coalition: VIET MINH The Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pác Bó by Hồ Chí Minh on 19 May 1941 to free Vietnam from French occupation. More

4. Sleep woe: APNEA - This is my solution. I was amazed to learn how many others use CPAP machines.

5. Paraphernalia: GEAR.

6. Northern frontiers?: ENS - Yup, there's an EN on each end of NortherN

7. "Finally I can relax!": AAH.

8. Neck, in Newcastle: SNOG - Cwd fill from the UK

9. Provoke: INCUR.

10. Northwestern Arizona county: MOHAVE - It's county seat is Kingman.

11. "Last Week Tonight" host John: OLIVER 

14. "Bring it on, dude!": COME AT ME BRO - Okay...

16. Locale with special regard for customs?: BORDER STATE - Bristol, TN is right across the street from Bristol, VA. In the early 1900's you could buy liquor on one side of the street but not the other.

18. Implicit meaning: CONNOTATION

22. Done: ALL OVER.

25. Character-building aid?: SERIF - Those little flourishes on these letter characters are called SERIFS as opposed to

26. Bookmarked, in effect: SAVED - These are my bookmarks under Cwd.

30. Carry the day: WIN.

32. Multicountry union using the same currency: EUROZONE.

34. Daily newspaper entertainment: PUZZLES.

35. Friday revelation?: I'M A COP - When Dragnet first aired, the last line of the intro was Joe Friday saying, "I'M A COP". After complaints from police officers, the line was changed to this:

36. Islands bigwig: KAHUNA.

37. Romeo or Juliet, marriage-wise: ELOPER - Bad news for her father's choice of Paris!

40. Rhinos and hippos: BEASTS.

42. Nice crowd: TROIS - In Nice, France, "Two's company and three's a crowd" becomes "La compagnie de deux et la foule de TROIS"

44. 1933 physics Nobelist Paul: DIRAC - Albert Einstein: "I have trouble with Dirac. This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful."

46. Curly hairdo: AFRO - Wonderful Monds was a very good Husker football player in the 70's and recently returned to Lincoln for a reunion

48. Lose color: PALE.

50. Hamm of "Mad Men": JON.
51. EMT proficiency: CPR.