October 17, 2020


Constructor: Mark McClain

Editor: Erik Agard & Paolo Pasco

Theme Answers:
FASTER THAN LIGHT (17A: Like some super-speedy sci-fi travel)
ANTARCTIC CIRCLE (36A: Region containing the South Pole)
QUARTERLY REPORT (53A: Financial statement issued four times annually)

Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer can be placed after the word TRAFFIC to form a new phrase. We have TRAFFIC LIGHT, TRAFFIC CIRCLE, and TRAFFIC REPORT.

Things I learned:
  • POLK (29A: Olympic rower Amanda) Amanda POLK was a member of the U.S. Rowing Team that won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She also helped Team USA win World Championships in rowing six times. While in college, POLK was on the rowing team at Notre Dame. She is now an assistant rowing coach at Clemson University.
  • DOYLE (47D: Comic book artist Ming) Ming DOYLE is a freelance comic book artist and illustrator. She has done work for multiple companies including Marvel, Vertigo/DC, and Candlewick Press. You can check out her work on her website.
  • POE (56D: Filipino actress Lovi) Lovi POE played Kristal in the Filipino TV series, Bakekang, a role for which she won a PMPC (Philippine Movie Press Club) Star Award for Best New Female TV Personality. Lovi POE is also a singer, and recorded the theme song for Bakekang, "Tayong Dalawa."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • TRAP (10A: Latin ___ (hip-hop offshoot)) Also known as Trapetón, Latin TRAP is influenced by southern rap and reggaetón (a style of music that originated in Puerto Rico in the 1990s).
  • TEEN (21A: "___ Beach Movie" (Disney movie)) TEEN Beach Movie was filmed in Puerto Rico.
  • PACERS (24A: Indiana NBAers) The Indiana PACERS are so named in a nod to Indiana's history with racing. The Indianapolis 500 has used a pace car since 1911. The pace car leads the field during warm up rounds, and enters the track during yellow flag caution periods.
  • SEEN (39A "Have you ___ Her" (Chi-Lites hit)) and HAS (50A: "Look, a new day ___ begun" ("Memory" lyric)) In Friday's post, I mentioned that I like the practice of using song lyrics to clue common words. (Friday's lyrical clue was for the word IT'S.) Here are two fine examples of this practice, one using a song title, and the other using lyrics from a song from the musical CATS. The clues are interesting, yet the words are inferable even if you aren't familiar with the lyrics or song title.
  • JOHN (7D: Actor Cho) JOHN Cho played the role of Hikaru Sulu in the 2009 movie version of Star Trek. He also voiced the character of Sulu in the 2013 Star Trek video game.
  • TRIBE (10D: A ___ Called Quest) I just learned about A TRIBE Called Quest from the October 10 puzzle, and managed to remember it to easily fill in the answer today.
  • CONE (27D: Eye cell) and ROD (55D: Eye cell) A nice science-related pair of clues. That makes me happy.
  • PARSE (46D: Break down grammatically) The word PARSE is derived from the first part of the Latin term for "part of speech" - "pars orationis."

    Geography review:
    • ANTARCTIC CIRCLE (36A: Region containing the South Pole) The ANTARCTIC CIRCLE is the CIRCLE of latitude that denotes the southern pole of Earth. In the ANTARCTIC CIRCLE, the sun is visible for 24 continuous hours at least once per year, and is also hidden from view for 24 continuous hours at least once per year. I did not realize (until researching this) that the position of the ANTARCTIC CIRCLE is not fixed, and is drifting southwards approximately 49 feet (15 meters) per year.
    • ALA (8D: Mia Hamm's birth state (Abbr.)) Mia Hamm, a former soccer player on the U.S. national team, was born in Selma, Alabama.
    Some nice theme answers in this group; I particularly enjoyed FASTER THAN LIGHT and ANTARCTIC CIRCLE. I always enjoy seeing ICE CREAM, one of my favorite foods! I liked the cluing here and this puzzle was a delightful way to start my Saturday morning.