July 31, 2020

Constructor: Gail Grabowski
Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
FELT AT HOME (17A: Was totally comfortable)
JERSEY BOYS (55A: Jukebox musical divided into four seasons)
CHIFFON CAKE (10D: Very light dessert)
COTTON CANDY (24D: Carnival confection)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer is a type of MATERIAL - FELT, JERSEY, CHIFFON, COTTON.

Things I learned:
  • MAGIC (41A: "Akata Witch" study) Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor tells the story of 12-year-old Sunny who was born in New York City, but lives in Nigeria. Sunny is Black and albino and struggles to fit in. Things get even more interesting when Sunny discovers she has the ability to do MAGIC. In Nigeria and the United Kingdom the book was retitled What Sunny Saw in the Flames.
  • LORI (51D: "Shark Tank" investor Greiner) 1n 1996, LORI Greiner invented and patented a plastic earring organizer which was picked up by J.C. Penney. She has been referred to as the "Queen of QVC" where she launched Clever & Unique Creations, one of the home-shopping network's longest running shows. Shark Tank is a reality TV series that shows entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to investors. Some of LORI Greiner's investments during her time on Shark Tank include Scrub Daddy, Bantam Bagels, and Squatty Potty.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • RISE (40A: React to yeast) This is a perfectly accurate clue and I knew the answer immediately. It also made me laugh as I imagined people (rather than dough) reacting to yeast. 
  • GARR (50A: "Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood" memoirist Teri) Teri GARR describes landing a role in the Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth" as her "big break" in obtaining acting roles. GARR went on to star in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and was a regular on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman. In her autobiography, GARR talks about her career and her health struggles after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
  • JERSEY BOYS (55A: Jukebox musical divided into four seasons) Great clue! After I filled in the answer, I paused for a moment just to marvel at and appreciate this clue. The musical JERSEY BOYS is structured as four seasons because it tells the story of the 1960's rock group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Once theater is a thing we can do again (my husband and I were just lamenting yesterday that we missed theater!) I recommend you see JERSEY BOYS if you get the opportunity. 
  • CHIFFON CAKE (10D: Very light dessert) CHIFFON CAKE achieves its light texture from egg whites that are beaten before being folded into the batter. The recipe for CHIFFON CAKE is credited to an insurance salesman turned caterer named (appropriately) Harry Baker. After keeping the recipe secret for 20 years, Baker sold it to General Mills which spread the recipe through marketing materials.
  • GOOSE (25D: Animal in a gaggle) Isn't gaggle a great name for a group of animals? 
  • AARP (49D: Group you're almost eligible for if your age is this clue number) Ouch! Also funny! It's been a few years since I've resembled this clue. It's true - AARP sends you enrollment information as soon as you turn 50. 
Geography review:
  • IRAN (54A: Neighbor of Pakistan) IRAN's other neighbors are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iraq. IRAN also borders the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman.
  • TAHOE (6D: Sierra Nevada lake) Lake TAHOE is a freshwater lake that straddles the state line between California and Nevada.
I discovered the puzzle's theme as soon as I figured out FELT AT HOME. It was fun to go on to discover the other types of MATERIAL in the puzzle. The theme answers are all fun entries. An enjoyable puzzle for a Friday morning.
If you would like another crossword puzzle to solve today, or you want to compare my puzzle constructing skills to my blogging skills, I constructed today's puzzle on the Spyscape website. Happy solving!