Saturday, August 8, 2020, Peter A. Collins

Themeless Saturday by Peter A. Collins

Today's constructor has 113 NYT puzzles published and many in other venues. He has been a math teacher in the Ann Arbor, Michigan school system since 1980 and  is now the department head at Huron Public High School in that city.

Peter was kind enough to offer these thoughts about himself and this puzzle:

Hi Gary,

I moved this over to my non-public school email.  Someday I might retire and when that happens, the other address will go up in a puff of smoke.

Thanks for reaching out.  I'd be happy to share my thoughts on my 8/8 LA Times puzzle, and a bit about myself.    

As you may or may not know, I submitted answers to an interview on the Crossword Corner site back in 2011.  Here's the link:

I'm still a high school math teacher in Ann Arbor, about to start my 41st year (albeit virtually).  I also still teach at the University of Michigan in the summer.  I'm still married with four daughters, but now we have two grandsons as well.  We're fortunate that everyone is still local, so we get to see the family a lot.

The seeds of this themeless puzzle were the two grid-spanning Across entries -- MOVING THE NEEDLE  and GOING OFF THE GRID.  From there it was just a matter of trying to keep the fill lively and the crosswordese to a minimum.  Looking back on it, I like most of the longer entries -- GOT MARRIED, MILLER LITE, MR ROGERS, MINIMART, I DIDN'T DO IT, LAID IT ON, SEVEN HILLS, and RON SANTO.  I think entries like ROKU can help keep a puzzle feeling a little more current -- for those who have no idea who RON SANTO was.

I always enjoy working with Rich and Patti, and I hope you found this puzzle a fun diversion in these strange times.

- Pete Collins.

Now let's see what this former Michigan Wolverine, now a Huron High River Rat,  has for us today:


1. Snatch, with "onto": GLOM - A few months ago many people tried to GLOM on to as much TP as they could

5. Low dams: WEIRS - A WEIR on the Russian River in Alaska used for a fish census

10. Party lineup: DIPS - Hopefully not the people you invited but sauces to enhance the flavor of your chips

14. Renaissance painter Guido: RENI and 2. "Blade Runner 2049" actor Jared: LETO - The E for 
R_NI crossing L_TO was my last fill

15. Terse denial: AM NOT - Ah, echoes of the playground 

16. Classic concert halls: ODEA - Plural for an ODEUM like this

17. Letters followed by a colon: ATTN.

18. Joined a union: GOT MARRIED - Fun cluing, Pete!

20. Making a noticeable difference: MOVING THE NEEDLE - like casting 
36. 2019 Tom Hanks role: MR ROGERS.

22. Scrap: MELEE.

23. Hoot?: DAMN - As in Give a ___

24. Borgia who was the son of Pope Alexander VI: CESARE - Is said to be the inspiration for Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince

Machiavelli                          Borgia
27. Was effusive with flattery: LAID IT ON and 47. Full of smarm: OILY.- Nobody did it better than Eddie Haskell
31. Last Olds made: ALERO.

32. Harry's love: GINNY - Last Sunday we had his owl 

33. Translate, perhaps: DUB - I remember watching Who's The Boss DUBBED into Italian in Venice late one night

34. G.I. component: Abbr.: GOVT - Government Issue

35. 39-Across numbers: CENTS and 39. It's often on a tag: PRICE.

36. Homer Simpson's mom: MONA - Either you knew this or you're like me

37. "... __ the set of sun": "Macbeth": ERE - If Wyatt Earp had lived in 17th century England, "Receiveth out of town ERE sundown, you poisonous bunch-backed toad!"

38. "Treasure Island" pirate Billy: BONES - "A habitual drunkard, Billy BONES terrorizes the customers of the Benbow with his swearing, singing and general bullying"

40. Hall of Fame third baseman who spent 14 seasons with the Cubs: RON SANTO - His rookie card can fetch over $100 or perhaps you could 
42. Trade: BARTER like C.C. and Boomer would

43. Sting, say: HURT.

44. En __: on a streak, in slang: FUEGO - Dan Patrick's catch phrase

46. Not staying connected, in a way: GOING OFF THE GRID.

52. Bud competitor: MILLER LITE.

53. Frankfurt article: EINE - How 'bout six minutes of EINE Kleine Nachtmusik (Little Night Music)

54. For-care connector: ALL I

55. Trucking allowances: TARES - (5) below 

56. Big name in streaming players: ROKU Here ya go!

57. Skin malady: CYST.

58. Hägar's hound: SNERT.

59. Indirect contributor to Achilles' vulnerable spot: STYX - Achilles' mother Thetis dipped her son in the river STYX to protect him but...


1. What "g" might mean: GRAM - Mass to this physics guy

3. Airing: ON TV.

4. Quick-stop shop: MINI MART.

5. Many a golfer's pre-swing move: WAGGLE - If you're a golfer, you probably know this movie and waggling actor (*if not, the answer is below)

6. Avoid being flat?: EMOTE.

7. At great risk: IN THE LINE OF FIRE - She was a good sport about getting caught IN THE LINE OF FIRE

8. 26-Down's city: ROME and 
26. 8-Down feature: SEVEN HILLS Here they are

9. Subs: STAND INS - Reese Witherspoon's

10. Musical start: DO RE MI.

11. Innocent response: I DIDN'T DO IT - The Alcatraz theme song

12. Take (off): PEEL.

13. "The Sweetest Taboo" singer: SADE - A very nice song by an artist whose name (shaw DAY) comes from her mother's home country of Nigeria 

19. Good to go: READY.

21. "Quo Vadis" role: NERO - A 1951 role for Peter Ustinov set in the Seven Hills of Rome

24. Blazer or Cav: CAGER and 
30. Blazer or Cav: NBAER.Portland or Cleveland pro basketball CAGER (basketball player). A twofer for Pete!

25. Ecuadoran province once famous for its gold: EL ORO - Now famous for exporting bananas

28. Word with red or army: ANTS.

29. Beverage unit: OUNCE.

32. Refined chap: GENT.

35. Twists: CONTORTS.

38. Canal craft: BARGE - A BARGE on cwd favorite Erie canal in 1919 ("Low bridge, everybody down!")

39. Document part: PAGE.

41. Bright, as a patio: SUNLIT.

42. Urgent request: BEHEST - Godfather - Senator to Willi Cici, "You kill people at the BEHEST of your superiors?"

45. Say: UTTER 

46. Ally Financial Inc., once: GMAC - Okay

48. Eggy dessert: FLAN.

49. Cut-up: RIOT.

50. Black: INKY - We had INK SACS Wednesday

51. First French prime: DEUX 
DEUX est le premier nombre premier en français (Two is the first prime number in French)

Explanation of this Schrödinger puzzle below made by Pete. He said he started it when he saw  FRANK SINATRA and ELVIS PRESELY had the same number of letters and he worked for it over the years until it fell into place.

Comment at will or at Pete!

*That golfing waggler is Ted Knight as Judge Smails in Caddyshack