Saturday, January 22, 2022, Billy Bratton

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 Saturday Themeless by Billy Bratton

Billy is a new constructor here at the LA Times. He makes me feel very OLDE, but I had a good time with his devilish clues and got this nice note from him:

Hi Gary,

I'm happy to have my first (and hopefully not last) puzzle in the LA Times! I constructed this one a long time ago so hopefully I can still dredge up some interesting things about it. 

I am a first year student at Carleton College (h.g. It's 45 min. from Minneapolis and Billy said he is very aware that C.C. is a big name in crosswords!), and I've had puzzles in the NYT, Atlantic, Universal, Crucinova, SPYSCAPE, and now the LAT. 

I didn't start with a seed per se, but rather worked through a lot of possibilities for the center 

stack, trying to get 3/3 hits. Then, I would make sure that the 5D/21D and 18D/24D slots would have a variety of good options. Most of the construction time was spent on this part of the grid. The other corners weren't too bad to deal with. I remember trying to get NAOMI OSAKA to work cleanly at 17A, but to no avail. The bottom left also went through a decent number of revisions before I settled on TORY PARTY.

Not much to report on the clue front. I found the fact in 30A interesting and felt the world absolutely needed to know. Props for the clue change on 34A (I'm pretty sure I wasn't clever enough to write that one).

Also, I just noticed that like half of the long answers start with T. Any solvers out there who particularly enjoy that letter of the alphabet are in luck.



1. Jiggly edible: ASPIC - Hey it's great to get 1A right off the bat with JELLO. What...?

6. One swimming in a pod: ORCA - That boat might want to think about vacating the pod area

10. It's dangerous to trip on it: ACID - Oh, that kind of trip and that kind of ACID

14. Put away: STASH - What kids do to things in their school lockers

15. Sound from a boxer: WOOF - Last Saturday, C.C. had 47. Watched a boxer, say: PET SAT

16. Words of dismay: OH NO.

 17. Allocate: PORTION OUT.

19. Endure: LAST.

20. Former MLB outfielder whose name sounds very similar to a Kellogg's cereal: COCO CRISP

21. APB subject: PERP - An All Points Bulletin might be put out for a suspected  PERPetrator

22. Spots on a screen: ADS - Ah, yes, ADvertisement spotS can be on your TV or computer screen

23. Half a candy bar?: KAT 

WWII Version 

24. Ring setting: CIRCUS 

26. Stock room: PEN - Uh, that would be a livestock PEN

27. "Downton Abbey" countess: CORA - Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes based the fictional CORA Crawley on the real Countess Almina Herbert who was one of many wealthy Americans who married into the financially strapped British aristocracy 

Countess Almina                             Countess CORA

29. Lure for some conquistadors: ORO 

30. They hold less than 10% as much as their name suggests: TEN GALLON HATS - Billy thought this fun fact should be known by all. 😊

33. Ones battling demons: TORTURED SOULS.

34. They need to be blown up: AIR MATTRESSES - Fun cluing for which Billy does not take credit

35. Dorm room metaphor, maybe: STY - Mine was

36. Amontillado holder: CASK - "A complex and interesting sherry" and a Poe story
37. Fidget (with): TOY.

38. Maker of 49-Down: LIPTON and 49. 38-Across product: TEA - There is no chance you would find this TEA in C.C.'s house

40. Pride, for one: SIN.

41. Research bldg.: LIB - I first did my research in a science LAB but 42. "You're going down!": IT'S ON forced me into the LIBrary.

44. "Drive" band, with "The": CARS - Ah, the '80's

45. Conversation privée: TETE-A-TETE.

48. Cook Islands export: TARO - Makes sense

49. South side: TEXAS TOAST - My favorite! TEXAS TOAST filled in quickly but seeing "side" as a side dish took a little longer.

50. Start of a play: ACT I.

51. Norse name that means "eternal ruler": ERIK 

52. Jackson 5 features: AFROS - On Ed Sullivan. They soon saw who the lead singer should be.

53. Suffers the consequences: PAYS.

54. Get in the game: ANTE.

55. Cheerful: SUNNY.


1. Humane gp. for 150+ years: ASPCA.

2. Stopped lying: STOOD - Fun clue

..and the bed is still made!

3. Paris play areas: PARCS - PARC Morceau in Paris

4. :: IS TO - Sometimes :: means "AS" in the analogy

5. Some antojitos: CHICKEN TACOS - Antojitos is another name for Mexican street food

6. Answer for something: OWN IT.

7. Joeys, e.g.: ROOS.

8. Something to pull off: COUP.

9. At the stern: AFT Titanic's AFT sank last

10. Many a surfer: AOLER - I surf on Safari

11. Some sketches: CHARCOALS.

12. Not all at once: IN SPURTS

13. Make a point: DOT.

18. Rainforest denizen: ORANGUTAN - It does NOT end in the letter "G"

21. Chopin trio: PIANO SONATAS - He composed three of them but Billy had me thinking of three instruments. You?

24. Features on a track: CROSS TIES.

25. Coast Guard pickup: SOS - There was no Coast Guard in 1912 but an SOS did go out

26. Waves overhead?: PERM.

27. Stocking employee: CLERK - Some CLERKS doing the stocking have much less to stock these days

28. Pleasingly dated retail adjective: OLDE.

30. BoJo's political affiliation, informally: TORY PARTY - The leader of the TORY PARTY, BOris JOhnson, might need a PERM

31. Theater __: ARTS.

32. Black Panthers co-founder Newton: HUEY.

33. View from Bolivia's Isla del Sol: TITICACA - The red symbol is the Isla del Sol in Lake TITICACA on the boundary between Peru and Bolivia

34. Digital communication syst.: ASL Type in your name and see it in American Sign Language

This is GARY
39. Cinq moins deux: TROIS - 5 - 2 = 3 in Français 

40. Share: STAKE.

41. Teach improperly?: LEARN - "I'm gonna LEARN you how to putt"

43. First name in flags: BETSY Did she really do the first one?

45. Cousin of a gull: TERN.

46. Bail: EXIT - We did bail early on a bad college play last year

47. Vegan staple: TOFU - Not my choice but...

48. Designate: TAP - Quite a few NFL teams will TAP a new head coach for next year.