January 29, 2021

Title: FR

Constructor: Kate Hawkins

Editors: Erik Agard & Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
FAR FROM IT (18A: "Not at all, actually")
FIR TREE (27A: It may be wrapped with Christmas lights)
FOR GOOD (52A: Permanently)
FUR BABIES (63A: Pets, cutely)

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer is a variation of F_R, with a different vowel filling the blank each time. The vowels progress in alphabetical order, giving us FAR - FIR - FOR - FUR.

Things I learned:
  • RIOT (24A: ___ grrrl (feminist punk movement)) The RIOT grrrl movement began in the 1990s in Olympia, Washington, and has since expanded to at least 26 countries. Combining feminism, punk music, and politics, RIOT grrrl bands often address issues such as rape, domestic abuse, racism, patriarchy, and female empowerment. Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, and Huggy Bear are examples of RIOT grrrl bands.
  • ASH (1D: Pikachu's trainer) ASH Ketchum is the protagonist of the Pokémon anime series. Pikachu is his Pokémon. This is one of those bits of knowledge I've heard before, but was not able to remember in order to fill in the answer without the help of crossing answers. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SOUND (14A: "The ___ of Music") Did you know the working title for The SOUND of Music was The Singing Heart? While we were growing up, my sister and I often sang along to the soundtrack of The SOUND of Music. Good memories!
  • NORI (22A: Onigiri wrapper, often) Popular in Japanese cuisine, onigiri is white rice formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes and wrapped with NORI (edible seaweed).
  • GEENA (25A: Thelma & Louise" star Davis) Okay, which role did GEENA Davis play in the 1991 movie, Thelma & Louise? And who played the other title role? If you said GEENA Davis portrayed Thelma and Susan Sarandon played Louise, you are correct!
  • SEAL (35A: Sea creature with an "elephant: variety) Here are a few elephant SEAL facts to add to your knowledge bank: An elephant SEAL spends 90% of its life underwater. An elephant SEAL pup can weigh up to 79 pounds at birth. An adult male elephant SEAL can weigh up to 7,000 pounds and reach a length of 16 feet.
  • OREO (43A: Cookie with a 2020 Supreme collab) Supreme is a brand producing clothes, accessories, and skateboards. In March 2020, Supreme and OREO collaborated to sell red OREOs with the word Supreme on them. The cookies sold out quickly, and some packs of the specialty OREOs sold on eBay for thousands of dollars. We live an in interesting world, don't we?
  • FOR GOOD (52A: Permanently) This phrase reminds me of the song, "FOR GOOD," from the musical, Wicked. One of the theme answers from yesterday's puzzle also reminded me of a song from Wicked!
  • LAKE (69A: "Hairspray" actress Ricki) Ricki LAKE played the role of Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 movie, Hairspray
  • DADDY (73A: ___ Lessons" (Beyonce hit)) "DADDY Lessons" appeared on Beyoncé's 2016 album, Lemonade. A remix of the song was released featuring The Chicks.
  • OFF (6D: "The Great British Bake ___") The Great British Bake Off is a TV baking competition. It features amateur bakers competing against each other in a series of rounds. The series takes place in a large tent. This clue made me so happy! The Great British Bake Off is tremendous fun. British accents greatly improve reality television. 
  • IRENE (28D: "Goodnight, ___" (Lead Belly song)) "Goodnight, IRENE" was recorded by Lead Belly in 1933. The Weavers covered the song in 1950.
  • SNOOD (33D: Tubular scarf) The word SNOOD can also be used to refer to an ornamental hairnet. 
  • LES (36D: "___ Poissons" ("The Little Mermaid" song) "LES Poissons" is French for "the fishes." In The Little Mermaid, the song is sung by the character Chef Louis.
  • SERIAL (51D: Sarah Koenig podcast) SERIAL is an investigative journalism podcast which narrates a nonfiction story over several episodes. 
  • GODIVA (53D: Lindt competitor) I prefer Lindt, but would never turn down GODIVA. A sad piece of news: GODIVA announced this month it will be closing all 128 of their North American stores. 
Geography review:
  • HINDI (17A: Official language of Rajasthan) Rajasthan is a state in northern India, and it is the largest Indian state by area. Its name means "Land of Kings." 
FAR-FIR-FOR-FUR - try saying that quickly five times in a row! A fun progression of F_R words today, and a theme type we haven't seen for awhile. A word about the title - the abbreviation FR is used to mean "for real." (It's also an abbreviation for France.) A nice set of theme answers today. I particularly enjoyed FAR FROM IT and FUR BABIES. RUN ERRANDS and CARBONATED were nice long non-theme answers. This puzzle was a lovely way to start my Friday.