September 22, 2020


Constructor: Kate Hawkins

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
HEAR ME OUT (18A: "Just listen...")
HEATHROW AIRPORT (38A: London hub)
HEAD START (59A: Racer's advantage)

Theme synopsis: The word HEART is BROKEN by each theme answer, with some letters appearing at the beginning of the answer and the remaining letters at the end.

And now a word from our constructor:
Kate: Plenty of well-known phrases contain the word HEART in its entirety, but only a handful include it broken into pieces at the start and end of the phrase without containing the word HEART at all. Luckily, I found three fun ones that worked! I love to talk to anyone who will listen about how we're living in the GOLDEN AGE of crosswords, but I also believe that the best is yet to come.

Things I learned:
  • AILEY (43A: "Revelations" choreographer) Alvin AILEY founded the Alvin AILEY American Dance Theater (AAADT) in New York City in 1958. Revelations is AILEY's best known work and the signature work of the AAADT. Using spirituals, gospel, and blues music, Revelations presents a historical view of the African American experience. Revelations was presented at the White House during the presidential inaugurations of both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Here's a piece of trivia for you: In 2012, a crater on Mercury was named AILEY in honor of Alvin AILEY.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • BOP IT (1A: Hasbro toy that yells its name at you) The interactive game BOP IT was first released in 1996. Since then, many versions of the game, which gives players spoken instructions, have been created, including Bratz Bop It and Bop It! Tetris. Since 2008, the voice of BOP IT has been Buddy Rubino.
  • TONAL (29A: Like Mandarin and Igbo, linguistically) TONAL languages use pitch to distinguish the meaning of words. Mandarin is a group of languages spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. Igbo is the principal native language of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria.
  • NOISY (44A: Like blustering storms) and WINDY (46A: Like blustering storms) This row of the puzzle is quite blustery, a word I always associate with Winnie the Pooh. At 44-Across, my first thought was WINDY, but the down answer of ONE TON clued me in that it must be NOISY. I then had an "Aha!" moment when I read 46-Across.
  • DREAM (68A: "I ___ of Jeannie") I DREAM of Jeannie aired in 1965 (making it the same age I am!) The premise of the show revolves around a U.S. Air Force captain (Tony) whose one-man space capsule lands on a deserted island where he discovers an old bottle. Upon uncorking the bottle, he releases Jeannie, a genie who had been trapped in the bottle for 2,000 years and falls in love with Tony at first sight. There are five seasons worth of stories about Tony and Jeannie. It's been a long time since I've seen an episode of I DREAM of Jeannie; I'm wondering how some of the themes of the show have aged. Trivia: Jeannie's bottle was not created for the show, but was a special Christmas 1964 Jim Beam liquor decanter.
  • PROMPOSAL (3D: Event that might involve a flash mob or a decorated locker) A PROMPOSAL is exactly what it sounds like, a way to ask someone to prom. I wonder how many elaborate PROMPOSALS are turned down?
  • MILK (19D: Harvey who was California's first openly gay elected official) Harvey MILK was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Eleven months into his term, MILK and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by a disgruntled city supervisor. Harvey MILK was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
  • TOES (29D: The T. rex had four per foot) A fun clue!
  • LOWRY (30D: Lois who wrote "The Giver") Lois LOWRY's 1993 dystopian novel, The Giver, is on many middle school reading lists. A 2014 film adaptation of the book starred Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites.
  • GREY (36D: Neutral colour) I missed the tip-off of the "u" in the word "colour" to indicate the spelling more popular in British English. This tripped me up for a bit since the word crossed AILEY with which I was unfamiliar.
Geography review:
  • OSLO (Norway's capital) When we last saw OSLO in the September 8 puzzle, we learned that this capital has previously been called Christiana and Ánslo.
  • UTAH (64A: Capital Reef's state) Capitol Reef National Park is located in south-central UTAH. The park was named for its Navajo Sandstone cliffs with dome formations, similar to the domes often placed on capitol buildings.
  • OAHU (2D: Diamond Head's island) Diamond Head is a volcanic cone on the Hawaiian island of OAHU.
HEAR ME OUT...there's no need to be HEARTBROKEN over this puzzle. A delightful start to my Tuesday. Some fun entries here, and enjoyable cluing. I agree with Kate that we are living in the GOLDEN AGE of crosswords, which is getting better all the time.