June 20, 2020

Constructor: Erik Agard
Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
THERMOSTAT (17A: Temperature device)
THREEPEAT (26A: Win back-to-back-to-back titles)
THICK COAT (39A: Warm garment)
THUNDERCAT (49A: Cheetara or Lion-O)

Theme Synopsis: The theme answers all begin with TH- and end with -AT. Therefore, TH-AT'S A WRAP around the theme answers.  

Things I learned:
  • THUNDERCAT (49A: Cheetara or Lion-O) THUNDERCATs is an animated TV series about cal-like humanoid aliens on a planet called Third Earth. The series ran from 1985-1989 with a one-series reboot in 2011. There was also a movie and comic books about the THUNDERCATs. This is one of those things in my peripheral knowledge bank; I couldn't have told you more about it if you asked me directly, but it made sense to me when I filled it in after getting several of the crosses.
  • JOY HARJO (35D: "An American Sunrise" poet) JOY HARJO is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and is the first Native American United States Poet Laureate. Poet laureates are selected by the Librarian of Congress. An American Sunshine is the name of one of her books of poetry. I encourage you to seek out JOY HARJO's work. Here are a few lines from "Break My Heart": 
Someone is always leaving
By exile, death, or heartbreak,
Police with their guns
Cannot enter here to move us off our lands
Or kill our babies.
  • OLDER (43D: "___ Than America") OLDER Than America is a 2008 movie that explores the effects of Native American boarding schools. The movie stars Adam Beach, Georgina Lightning, Bradley Cooper, and Tantoo Cardinal. Remember Tantoo Cardinal from the June 16 puzzle?
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LINES (15A: They might be read between) Fun clue.
  • THOR (22A: God who wields Mjolnir) Mj√∂lnir is THOR's hammer, depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most powerful weapons in existence.
  • TULSA (46A: Oklahoma birthplace of 35-Down) TULSA has been in the news a lot recently. If you did not learn about the Black Wall Street Massacre in school, take some time to educate yourself about it.
  • TENOR (58A: Range that's an anagram of 55-Across) Nice misdirect here. I was definitely thinking of a mountain range instead of a singing range. (Teton? Did I misspell NORTE?) 
  • HORCHATA (4D: Rice drink) There are various kinds of HORCHATA. These plant milk beverages can be made from rice, but also from barley, tiger nuts, or sesame seeds.
  • ME A (8D: "Just Give ___ Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie") Just Give ME A Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie is a collection of poems by Maya Angelou. Although Maya Angelou was best known for her seven autobiographies, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she considered herself a poet and playwright.
  • CHEESE CURDS (11D: Poutine ingredient) Poutine - french fries and CHEESE CURDS topped with brown gravy - is a dish associated with Quebec cuisine. 
  • THE NOD (26D: Subtle act of recognition) This made me laugh. I live in the Midwest where use of THE NOD and its cousin "the wave" (particularly the one-handed partial wave while driving) are an art form.
  • WHOSE ("___ Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?") "WHOSE Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" is a 1995 song by Shania Twain. Even if you've never heard the song, the answer is inferable.
Geography Review:
  • JAVA (56A: Island of Indonesia) JAVA is the world's most populous island and is home to more than half of the population of Indonesia. It is bordered by the JAVA Sea on the north and the Indian Ocean on the south.
  • WELSH (25D: Language in Cardiff) Cardiff is the capital of Wales.
I enjoyed the cleverness of the title and theme of this puzzle. Also, THREEPEAT is a fun word to say! When I see Erik's name as constructor as well as editor, I know I can expect cultural diversity in the clues and answers. This puzzle did not disappoint. I appreciate the way a common answer such as 8D: ME A is used to highlight Maya Angelou.