Saturday, June 5, 2021, Jeff Chen

 Saturday Themeless by Jeff Chen

Today's puzzle comes from prolific constructor, Jeff Chen. Jeff lives in Seattle with his wife and two children, went to Stanford for his B.A. and thenU DUB for business school. In previous careers, he was a mechanical engineer listed on eight US patents, and then co-founded a pharmaceutical company, Acucela Inc, which went public in 2014. Does it occur to you that really smart people construct these puzzles?

Jeff says he’s an avid rock climber, inconceivably terrible bridge player, and likes ideas, people, and things with nerd cred. He’s about two-thirds of the way toward his lifetime goal of donating 20 gallons of blood (not all at once).

Here is what he had to say about today's puzzle: 

I like to experiment with different themeless styles, and I was curious if I could fill out a wide-open middle. This is roughly my 150th attempt, one that finally seemed to work. Apologies for SBE, that's a tough one to swallow!

 I posted a screen shot above of my embarrassing two cell errors on Jeff's grid. The two tell-tale red triangles show that I never gave up CANE in place of CAIN. I was willing to accept SNA as a singer I did not know and ESFWPICS as a internet abbr. I didn't know. Turns out I did know NSFWPICS even though it is a group of internet initials I knew followed by a slang word. I'm blaming part of this on my favorite fast food chicken place:


1. "Heck, yeah": SO TRUE - It means someone 15. Says "I'll say," say: AGREES with you along with

7. Area above an eave: FASCIA.

13. Orange-colored snack puff: CHEETO.

14. Game with blanks to fill: MAD LIBS - This was a _______ (adjective) puzzle that took me ____ (number) ______ (unit of time) to complete, after which I exclaimed ____ (cry of triumph) . Make your own

16. What might make some people single-minded?: BAD DATES - Fun cluing Jeff!

17. A baseball era was named for them, briefly: ROIDS - The whole baseball world followed the prolific, pharmaceutically-aided HR race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during that STEROID era

18. Trig. calculation: COS Cosine Problem

19. Top seen by churchgoers: SPIRE - St. Francis' in Humphrey, NE is visible for miles

20. Provocative: EDGY.

21. Punch list items: TASKS - When my science lab was renovated, many TASKS on the punch list were left undone

23. Sulk: SNIT - I usually think of Sulk as a verb and SNIT as a noun but they can be used interchangeably 

24. Strands inside a cell?: DNA.

25. Kind of shot or gift: PARTING - "Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn" is a great PARTING shot. Maybe Jeff will have a lovely PARTING gift for me since I had two bad cells.

27. Lincoln's need: GAS 

28. Lifesavers, often: ORGAN DONORS.

31. Creating a disturbance: RAISING CAIN - My downfall (see my chicken place above 😙)! To raise Cain (Cain is always capitalized because it is a person) is to conjure up the murderous spirit of Cain. 

33. Be responsible for: BRING TO PASS - C.C. did BRING this wonderful site TO PASS and we are all grateful

35. Card game for two, usually: WAR.

38. Route for shipping vessels: SEA LANE - Some still use the SEA LANE around the southern tip of Africa to avoid pirates and the $450,000 fee to use the Suez Canal.

39. See 26-Down: FOX 
26. Fruit associated with a fabled 39-Across: GRAPE - Critics who pan crosswords they can't solve?

41. Incessantly: EVER.

43. Incline: SLOPE - Math peeps know it's ∆y/∆x

44. Done some freestyle, say: SWUM - I cannot swim, I have never swam and, for the rest of time, I will never have SWUM in my neighbor's pool 

45. Become less green, maybe: RIPEN.

47. Mariner's hdg.: SBE - Jeff already said he was sorry for South By East for a mariner's heading

48. Academy Award-winning director who became an army major during World War II: CAPRA - Here Frank is receiving the Distinguished Service Medal. Frank's movies were instrumental in the conduct of the war and his The Negro Soldier was a "watershed event in promoting racial tolerance."

49. Fruit brandy that translates to "water of life": EAU DE VIE - Even I can translate these French words 

51. Rages: MANIAS.

52. Place to put one's dogs?: OTTOMAN The history of this footrest for your feet/dogs

53. Software provider sharing a name with a Greek prophet: ORACLE.

54. Liam of "Batman Begins": NEESON Ra's al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows and commander of a legion of evil ninjas.

55. Kids: TEASES.


1. More than a little nervous: SCARED.

2. "Why would you even consider that?!": OH GOD NO!

3. She played Phoebe's mom on "Friends": TERI GARR.

4. Like oboe music: REEDY - An oboe has two REEDs, so...

5. Western natives: UTES.

6. Camera named for a Greek goddess: EOS - EOS is clued as either a camera or a Greek goddess. Here, both options are in the clue.

7. It doesn't last: FAD - Ah, the 70's

8. Sums: ADDS - ∑ is an Excel spreadsheet symbol to SUM a group of numbers

9. Puts (on) hastily: SLAPS - If you speed through Wahoo, NE they will SLAP a fine on you in a heartbeat

10. Using as an example: CITING.

11. Porto's peninsula: IBERIA - The capital of Portugal can also be spelled Oporto

12. They may be fixed: ASSETS - At our age they all are

14. Protection against bleeding: MASKING TAPE.

16. Northeast paper with 26 Pulitzers: BOSTON GLOBE.

18. Serious lapse: CARDINAL SIN.

21. Flowers known as golden buttons: TANSIES - New to me

22. Shaved-ice treat: SNO CONE.

25. Hold 'em holdings: PAIRS - You have about a 6% chance of being dealt pairs for your first two cards in Texas Hold 'em Poker

29. Natter: GAB - He resurrected the word natter

30. "Cheap Thrills" singer with Sean Paul: SIA - Many performers need a gimmick to stand out. I wonder what SIA uses? BTW, I did this puzzle before Jeffrey Wechsler had her name in his Wednesday puzzle.

32. Warning on some forwarded emails, briefly: NSFWPICS - Not Safe For Work PICtureS as previously discussed.

34. Mouth-puckering brew: SOUR ALE.

35. "It's go time!": WE'RE ON - or...

36. Move up in the world?: AVIATE.

37. Public stature: REPUTE - In the world of crosswords, C.C. is held in high REPUTE

40. Present times, briefly: XMASES - Oh,  present as a noun and not an adjective 

42. Second tries: REDOS - My oldest daughter's second marriage has been a great success!

44. Capital near the Red Sea: SANAA - Yemen's capital and a Disney restaurant. Jeffrey also had YEMEN LEMON on Wednesday.

46. Verne captain: NEMO - The owner of this "attic find" which is an 1873 version (translated from Jules Verne's French) of Captain NEMO's travels aboard The Nautilus. He will let it go for $1,800.

48. Au pair's concern: CARE - Au Pair is French for "at par" or "equal to" and is someone who is brought in to be a member of the family and usually CARE for children.

50. Wheels for a move: VAN - Moonlighters

51. Zinger: MOT - A good one is a Bon MOT!