October 26, 2020


Constructor: Hannah Slovut

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
CARGO PANTS (17A: Garment with extra pockets)
BATTLE OF WILLS (26A: Result of a mutual refusal to compromise)
CRUISE CONTROL (44A: Driver's aid on long trips)
LONG JUMPER (57A: Leaping athlete)

Theme synopsis: The first (or LEAD) word of each theme answer can precede (or be a LEADER for) the word SHIP. We have a CARGO SHIP, A BATTLESHIP, a CRUISE SHIP, and a LONGSHIP.

Things I learned:
  • J.LO (58D: Nuyorican Productions founder's nickname) Jennifer Lopez, also known as J.LO, is the co-founder of Nuyorican Productions. The company's productions include the movie Hustlers, and the TV shows World of Dance and Good Trouble.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • TIM (1A: "___ McGraw" (Taylor Swift song)) Released in 2006, "TIM McGraw" was Taylor Swift's debut single. Taylor Swift wrote this song when she was a freshman in high school. I was wondering how TIM McGraw felt about being a song title, but I'm guessing he was fine with it, as I see that his 2013 album, Two Lanes of Freedom, included a duet with Taylor Swift called "Highway Don't Care." That song won a British Country Music Award for International Song of the Year. 
  • FADS (10A: Tamagotchis and Webkinz, for example) Do you remember Tamagotchis from 1996-1997, the handheld digital pets from Japan? How about Webkinz from 2005, the stuffed animals with an online counterpart that its owner can play in the "Webkinz World?" Perhaps you have a Tamagotchi or Webkinz in a box somewhere? FADS are interesting things, aren't they?
  • TACO (1D: Food that's an anagram of a winter garment) It took me much longer than it should have to figure out the answer to this clever clue. Especially since I woke up to snow this morning, and had to put my "TACO anagram" (coat) on to walk the dog. 
  • OCASIO (6D: Congresswoman Alexandria ___-Cortez) Alexandria OCASIO-Cortez is a U.S. Representative for New York. OCASIO-Cortez was 29 years old when she took office, and is the youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  • SLEDS (13D: Toboggans, for example) Did I mention that I woke up to snow this morning?! Amazingly, although it is only October 26, here in my part of Iowa this is already our second snow of the season. Unfortunately, we haven't received enough snow to break out the SLEDS yet.
  • SIR (35D: "Dude," more formally) This clue made me chuckle. I imagined addressing a letter, "Dear Dude..."
  • BUGLE (46D: Instrument in the name of a "Spider-Man" tabloid) The Daily BUGLE is a tabloid newspaper that appears in Marvel Comics' Spider-Man stories and movies. Although mostly associated with Spider-Man comics, the Daily BUGLE's first appearance was in a Fantastic Four comic in 1962. 

    Geography review:
    • LAO (50A: Southeast Asian language) LAO is the official language in Laos, and is also spoken in northeast Thailand. Laos is the only landlocked country in southeast Asia.
    • IRAN (2D: Neighbor of Turkey and Turkmenistan) The other neighbors of IRAN are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
    It took me a little while to get on this puzzle's wavelength, but I am 100% sure that had to do with my foggy, Monday-morning brain, and is no reflection on this puzzle! BATTLE OF WILLS was my favorite theme answer. Speaking of the theme, I had to look up LONGSHIP to remind myself this was the name of the Vikings' boats. FINAGLE and FRISBEE are lovely long down answers. To be FRANK, this was a good way to wake my brain up, and an enjoyable start to my Monday morning.
    If you are in the mood to solve another crossword puzzle, might I suggest today's Universal puzzle, "But Is It Art?" It's constructed by yours truly. I hope you enjoy.


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