October 24, 2020

Title: OH, HELLO...

Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
KITTY CORNER (17A: Diagonally)
WORLD OF WARCRAFT (34A: Online role-playing game set in Azeroth)
DOLLY PARTON (54A: "Jolene" singer)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer can follow the word HELLO to form a new phrase. We have HELLO KITTY, "HELLO, WORLD!" and HELLO, DOLLY!

Things I learned:
  • ALANA (13A: Surfer Blanchard) A professional surfer, ALANA Blanchard has also designed and modeled a line of wetsuits for Rip Curl swimwear. ALANA was portrayed by actress Lorraine Nicholson in the 2011 movie Soul Surfer, which tells the story of her friend, Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm in a shark attack when she was 13 years old.
  • ROW (39A: Compete like Anita DeFrantz) Anita DeFrantz is a member of the U.S. Olympic rowing team. She is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.
  • BARD (12D: College where Achebe taught) In 2005, BARD College, a private liberal arts college in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, established the Chinua Achebe Center. The Center continues the legacy of Achebe, who taught at BARD from 1990 to 2011. Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian author whose first book, Things Fall Apart, is the most widely read book in modern African literature.
  • ORA (28D: Kia ___ (Maori greeting)) Used as an informal greeting, kia ORA translates as "have life" or "be healthy." 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • HELLO, WORLD! (Theme phrase) A "HELLO, WORLD!" program is a simple computer program which is often the first program written by people learning to code.
  • CAB (10A: Jazz star Calloway) CAB Calloway's most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, and added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2019. In a tie-in to today's theme, in 1967 CAB Calloway played the role of Horace Vandergelder in an all-Black cast of HELLO, DOLLY! on Broadway.
  • SONIA (21A: Poet Sanchez) SONIA Sanchez was a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement during the 1960s and 1970s. Her published collections of poetry include Shake Loose My Skin, and Homegirls and Handgrenades.
  • ERA (32A: The "E" in BCE) BCE = Before the Common ERA, and is used as a designation in the Gregorian Calendar. BCE is equivalent to the notation BC, meaning "before Christ," used in Dionysian notation.
  • WORLD OF WARCRAFT (34A: Online role-playing game set in Azeroth) WORLD OF WARCRAFT is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Although I am not a gamer (as noted in the write-up for one of Paolo's previous puzzles), I did know this! Shoutout to my son, who is a gamer, for imparting this knowledge to me. My son paints amazingly detailed WORLD OF WARCRAFT miniatures.
  • OATES (40A: Garfunkel and ___) Garfunkel and OATES is the comedic-folk duo of Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates). The duo's name is derived from "two famous rock-and-roll second bananas," Art Garfunkel and John OATES.
  • BEYONCE (41A: "Homecoming" artist) Homecoming is a concert film about BEYONCÉ's 2018 Coachella performance. Shoutout to my favorite BEYONCÉ fan, my daughter.
  • BEE (9D: Insect associated with 41A) This clue reminded me of a coloring page of BEYONCÉ my daughter sent to us a few months ago on which she had written, "to the rents: I love you more than Queen B." High praise, indeed! This coloring page is from The Woman Cards Coloring Book. The Woman Cards are playing cards featuring artwork of notable women. (BEYONCÉ is, of course, the queen!) There's also a Girl Power and Tech Deck edition. The cards started as a Kickstarter project in response to Hillary Clinton being accused of playing the "woman card." The cards are beautiful, educational, and have Iowa City roots! This was definitely a digression, but I highly recommend these cards!
  • ABE (53A: Name hidden in "wannabe") I had ANN at first. ANNA is also hidden in "wannabe." So many names in one word!
  • DOLLY PARTON (54A: "Jolene" singer) Just a couple of days ago I watched a clip of DOLLY PARTON being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. I was struck (once again) by DOLLY's humility as she talked about writing songs for other people, and described her reaction to Whitney Houston's version of her song, "I Will Always Love You." 
  • ANT (4D: Insect that might spray formic acid) ANTS are in the Formicidae family. Formicine ANTs (a subfamily) attack and defend themselves by spraying formic acid. Well, that's fascinating...and frightening. 
  • ANNA (8D: Palindromic character in "When Marnie Was There") When Marnie Was There is a Studio Ghibli anime film based on Joan G. Robinson's novel of the same name.
  • CORD (18D: Landline phone feature) I feel like this is my generation's version of "When I was your age..." "When I was your age, our telephone had a CORD!"
  • CATS (47D: Musical centered around the Jellicle Choice) The Jellicle Choice refers to deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Some people love CATS; other people do not. Regardless of which group you fall into, can we all agree that it's an odd premise around which to base a musical?
  • OWL (55D: "The ___ House" (Disney series)) The OWL House is a TV series that premiered in January of this year. It tells the story of a teenage girl who stumbles upon a portal to another world, where she befriends Eda the OWL Lady.

    WORLD OF WARCRAFT, BEYONCÉ, and DOLLY PARTON in the same puzzle? Toss in an opportunity to learn about Chinua Achebe, and the phrase, "kia ORA." Add delightful answers such as CAN'T RELATE, CONGRATS, and SCORE (clued as "Booyah!") OH, HELLO...this was a lovely way to start my Saturday morning. 
    (Apologies to the few of you who may have been looking for this post at 9:00. As you can see, I got a bit carried away highlighting things today. I was having so much fun exploring these topics, the time got away from me!)