August 24, 2020


Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
PUTS IN REVERSE (20A: Gets ready to back up)
PAR FOR THE COURSE (37A: Nothing new)
PURSUIT OF FAME (57A: Clout chaser's dream)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer contains the letter string P-U-R-S-E, with some of the letters at the beginning of the answer and some at the end. Therefore, the word PURSE is "opened" by each theme phrase.

Things I learned:
  • GIGI (24A: Director ___ Saul Guerrero) GIGI Saul Guerrero is one of the top, emerging directors in the horror film genre. She directed the movie La QuinceaƱera, and has directed episodes of the TV series Into the Dark.
  • ENEMY (68A: Rita Repulsa, to the Power Rangers) An evil humanoid alien witch, Rita Repulsa was the first major ENEMY of the Power Rangers. After many years and several defeats, Rita was turned from evil, adopted the new title of Mystic Mother, and began to practice good magic.
  • EDM (40D: Musical genre with bass drops) EDM, or electronic dance music, is a broad label for percussive electronic music that includes the genres dance-pop, house, techno, trance, drum and bass, dubstep, and trap. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • CUTE (15A: Meet-___ (rom-com trope)) As a rom-com fan, I enjoyed seeing this clue. The meet-CUTE is the film or TV scene where a future romantic couple meets for the first time. The circumstances of the meeting are often humorous or unusual.
  • THONG (19A Flip-flop, in Australia) When I first read this clue, I wasn't thinking of flip-flop as a shoe, but as a sudden change of outlook. I laughed when I realized the answer. It may not be only Australians that refer to a flip-flop as a THONG, but also those of us above a certain age. When I was a child, we definitely used the term THONGs to refer to our shoes. I'm not sure at what point that changed, perhaps when THONGs (underwear) became more popular. At any rate, the dual meaning can provide for amusing conversations.
  • CAPTCHA (26A: Web test that might have accessibility issues) CAPTCHA is a loose acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. 
  • SODA (28A: Some call it "pop") I grew up in Missouri where the term for a carbonated beverage is SODA. When I moved to Iowa to attend college I thought the term "pop" for SODA was a ridiculous thing. I vowed never to call it that. Well, I've lived in Iowa for 37 years now, and guess what? I do; I call SODA "pop."
  • J LO (2D: Constance Wu's "Hustlers" co-star, for short) J LO plays the role of Ramona Vega, a veteran stripper in the movie Hustlers, and she was amazing. I saw Hustlers with my husband and daughter. It led to an in-depth conversation about economic systems and realities and what people will do to survive and get ahead. I recommend watching the movie and reading the article, "The Hustlers at Scores," by Jessica Pressler upon which the story was based. 
  • M.C. ESCHER (4D: Artist who drew impossible objects) I enjoy a good optical illusion and am a fan of M.C. ESCHER's drawings of stairways that appear to go both up and down. It was fun to see him in the puzzle.
  • CAT VIDEO (8D: Many an adorable upload) I also enjoy a good CAT VIDEO. This was a delightful entry, and here's an adorable CAT VIDEO I uploaded.

Geography review:
  • ABU (29D: ___ Dhabi) The city of ABU Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, is located on an island in the Persian Gulf.
When I saw Paolo Pasco's name as constructor, I had high hopes for this puzzle, and it did not disappoint. A fun theme; I especially enjoyed the theme answer PAR FOR THE COURSE. Plenty of delightful, interesting fill here, such as SOAP OPERA, BREEZED BY, COLD FEET, and OLD BUDDY. This puzzle was a DOOZY in the best sense of the word. An enjoyable start to my Monday morning.

Thanks to Matthew Stock for filling in yesterday! There will be a couple of more guest bloggers making appearances in September, so stay tuned.