Kyle Dolan returns for another themeless puzzle and the solve went very nicely for me. Here are Kyle's comments on this puzzle:
We're doing well too, thanks.
Here are some thoughts on this puzzle:
I began constructing this grid in March 2019 and I sent it to Rich Norris a couple months later. In October 2019 Rich asked for some revisions in the short fill. Soon after I completed these, he accepted the puzzle.
DANCE LESSONS was the seed entry for this grid, inspired by the fact that at the time I wrote it, my wife and I were learning how to rumba for our wedding dance! REGINA KING was another early entry, as she had just won her Oscar for "If Beale Street Could Talk". My research indicates that, as of this writing, her full name has never appeared in a newspaper crossword grid before; if that's true I'm very happy to debut it and I hope solvers enjoy seeing her in the grid.
Overall I'm pleased with the way the long fill in this puzzle turned out, but I think now there are a few too many clunkers in the short fill for my liking: A DUB, A TEST, SPAKE, and the like. If I were constructing this puzzle today, I'd try to reduce the number of these kinds of entries if not eliminate them entirely.
By the way, this is my 10th LA Times puzzle, all of which have been Saturday themelesses--including my very firstnewspaper crossword back in 2009. My thanks to Rich Norris, Patti Varol, and the editorial team who have given me the chance to share my puzzles in this venue; to the bloggers at Crossword Corner and elsewhere, thanks for sharing your thoughts on my puzzles; and to the solvers reading this, I hope you enjoy it!
1. Gym supplies: MATS.
5. Affectionate-poke-on-the-nose word: BOOP.
9. Cut souvenirs: SCARS - Some SCARS don't show
14. Without instruments: A CAPPELLA - "In the manner of the chapel" Usually two words, two P's and two L's. The A CAPPELLA group, Pentatonix, provides some instrument-like voice accompaniment in this haunting piece.
16. "Haystacks" painter: MONET - This time it was MONET
17. "What?": COME AGAIN.
18. Soaked: SOGGY.
19. "The Twilight Zone" (2019) host Jordan: PEELE - Much more familiar with the guy on the right who created the series in 1959
|Jordan PEELE Rod Serling|
22. Ballet move: PLIE.
23. Two-step tutorials, say: DANCE LESSONS - Kyle's seed entry - Let's see a lesson
26. Take a bad turn: GO SOUTH - Some people have seen their businesses GO SOUTH this year
29. "Semper Fidelis" composer: SOUSA - Oorah!
30. "Concord Sonata" composer: IVES - Wow, Charles!
31. Race units: LAPS.
34. Talked like Moses or Abraham?: SPAKE - And thus God SPAKE unto Noah,"Uh, you're gonna need a bigger boat"
36. Tart finish?: LET - A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry.
37. In actuality: DE FACTO - I may be listed as "head of household" but...
39. The last pope named Clement: XIV (1760 - 1774) Obverse: Clement XIV. Reverse: Jesus, Peter and Paul expelling the Jesuits which Clement did in their name
40. Cleaner brand with a macron on its first vowel: DRANO which makes the drain 42. Circulate: FLOW better
44. Ones known for excellent service: ACERS - 163mph tennis serve is the record
46. Many people make them at work: LIVINGS.
48. Blizzard portmanteau: SNOWMAGEDDON - A news media image after a 6" snow was predicted
51. "Rub-__ ... ": A-DUB - Three men in a tub
52. Root that may be cubed: YAM - We math peeps appreciate the two red herrings
3. Big battery: D-CELL.
56. Realm of Tolkien's Dwarves: MORIA - Here 'ya go!
58. Are useful: FILL A NEED - For good or ill, I do that here on Saturday
61. Cleared in a diner: BUSED.
62. Proverbial nonexistent meal: FREE LUNCH.
63. Nuclear trial: A-TEST.
64. Pamplona pronoun: ESOS. ESOS pantalones están sucios (Those pants are dirty)
65. BFN alternative: TTYL - Bye For Now vs Talk To You Later
1. Buddy: MAC and 32. Buddy: PAL.
2. "Rent-__": 1988 film: A COP - This turkey had some big name stars
3. Unlikely to titillate: TAME.
4. Small trunks: SPEEDOS - Google if you must
5. "Go easy on me": BE GENTLE when correcting any 49. Faux pas: GAFFE I make here
6. Copacabana greeting: OLA and 48. Copacabana steps: SAMBA - OLA. ¿Te gustaría SAMBA? (Hello. Would you like to SAMBA?)
7. Tree sacred to Athena: OLIVE - What's that all about?
8. "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" group: PANEL - Here is Tom Hanks serving as a guest host
9. Texting format, briefly: SMS - I use Short Message Service for texting and love it when people respond quickly.
10. Confines: COOPS UP - We've all had months of this recently
11. Norman Conquest victim: ANGLO SAXON - When the last ANGLO SAXON king, Edward the Confessor, died childless in 1066, William of Normandy (later The Conqueror) invaded to take the British crown from two others 3-minute summary
12. 2019 Best Supporting Actress winner for "If Beale Street Could Talk": REGINA KING - Kyle is happy to have introduced her name into crosswords. Her IMDB
13. They may be treated with compresses: STYES - Saturday cluing for a staple
15. Country in the Caroline Islands: PALAU - Peleliu is a small island in the PALAU archipelago and saw bitter fighting in WWII
21. Strike symbols: XES - Here's the last two XES on Boomer's twentieth 300 game
24. Source of livestock feed: CHAFF - Dried chopped forage used to add bulk to animal feed
25. Okay: SO SO.
26. Deceptively adorn: GILD - There's no need to GILD the lily
27. Transmission conclusion: OVER AND OUT
28. Start of typical "Star Trek" navigation orders: SET A COURSE
33. Admonish: SCOLD.
35. Tense times, maybe: EVES - This dystopian song came to my mind
37. School house: DORM - My first DORM room was #237 in Morey Hall in 1964
38. Turns idly, as a pencil: TWIDDLES.
41. Green ones: NEWBIES.
43. Pesto ingredient: PINE NUT - among other ingredients
45. For example: SAY.
47. Inclined to opine: VOCAL.
50. Mideast dignitaries: EMIRS.
54. Advanced: LENT - I LENT/advanced a family member a lot of money to help adopt a child from China and in my heart I knew I would never get it all back. BTW, she was worth it!
55. Goranson of "The Conners": LECY - Then/now
57. Big name in home security: ADT - Is the sign enough to deter criminals?
59. Summer sign: LEO.
60. FedEx rival: DHL
Comments for Kyle?