February 10, 2021


Constructor: Amanda Rafkin

Editors: Erik Agard & Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
KEEP AT A DISTANCE (6D: Don't allow too close)
SPA TREATMENTS (9D: Massages and seaweed wraps, for two)
RUNNING UP A TAB (17D: Accumulating charges, say)

Theme synopsis: Each of the DOWN theme answers contains the word PAT, spanning multiple words in the answer.

Things I learned:
  • UPS (22A: Ability to jump high, slangily) UPS may be used to describe an athlete's ability, particularly a basketball or volleyball player. For example, "She has some crazy UPS." This was a new usage to me, probably because I don't listen to enough basketball commentary. 
  • ELLE (36D: Activist Hearns) ELLE Hearns is a community organizer and activist who has worked with the Black Lives Matter Global Network and GetEQUAL. She is the executive director of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which she founded in 2015. The organization's focus is on protecting and defending the rights of Black transgender people.
  • LEONA (51D: Songwriter Lewis) In 2006, LEONA Lewis won The X Factor, a British reality TV series to identify singing talent. Since that time, the singer-songwriter has released five studio albums and sixteen singles. Her latest album, released in 2015, is titled I Am
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • PEELE (14A: "Us" director Jordan) In addition to directing the 2019 horror movie, Us, Jordan PEELE also wrote the screenplay.
  • POEMS (18A: Andrea Gibson works) Many of Andrea Gibson's POEMS focus on politics, gender norms, and social reform. I recommend spending five minutes of your time today listening to Andrea Gibson read Homesick: A Plea for Our Planet, and watching the accompanying video. (This link takes you to Andrea Gibson's website. Scroll down to find the video.)
  • AMANDA (27A: Actress Seyfried) AMANDA Seyfried's numerous movie and TV credits include playing the role of Sophie Sheridan in the movies Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
  • BRAIN GAMES (33A: Crosswords and sudoku, for two) I enjoy when a crossword puzzle gives itself a shoutout. 
  • ICONS (38A: Beyonce and Lady Gaga, e.g.) I agree that BeyoncĂ© and Lady Gaga are ICONS. This clue got me thinking about what classifies someone as an ICON. What's the defining moment when someone moves into ICON status? Who else do you consider an ICON?
  • THE GOONIES (42A: Movie featuring the truffle shuffle) In the 1985 movie, THE GOONIES, a group of kids who live in the "Goon Docks" neighborhood attempt to save their homes from foreclosure, and find a treasure map that leads them into an adventure. At one point in the movie, one of the characters, Chunk, is told he must do the truffle shuffle before being admitted to a house. 
  • THORN (52A: "Every Rose Has Its ___") "Every Rose Has Its THORN" is a 1988 song by the glam metal band Poison. 
  • FOOT (60A: Shoe insert) This clue was so straightforward that it tripped me up! 
  • NCAA (3D: Org. with the Walter Byers Scholarship) The Walter Byers Scholarship is awarded annually to the top female and male student-athletes in NCAA sports. The 2020 recipients of the scholarship were Kayla Leland, who participates in cross country, basketball, and track and field at Whitworth University, and Xavier Gonzalez, who plays tennis at Harvard University.
  • DID (21D: "Oops!...I ___ It Again") This Britney Spears song has been my earworm since filling in this answer.
  • BIN (26D: The Container Store purchase) Have you ever been to The Container Store? (Not recently, of course, but pre-pandemic...) The store is an organizer's dream, with a BIN to hold practically anything in your house. I am only allowed to go to The Container Store while supervised.
  • DEE (62D: Aisha of "The Bold Type") The Bold Type is a TV series inspired by the life of Joanna Coles, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. Aisha DEE plays the role of Kat Edison. I first learned about this show from the September 25, 2020 puzzle
Geography review:
  • BALI (32A: Indonesian island) BALI is a province of Indonesia, and is also a part of the Coral Triangle, an area with a high marine biodiversity. 
  • SEOUL (5D: City that's home to Gyeongbokgung) Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung was the main palace of the Joseon dynasty. Today the palace houses the National Palace Museum and the National Folk Museum.
I enjoyed today's theme. It amused me that RUNNING UP A TAB is a theme answer in a puzzle titled DOWN PAT. In addition to the theme, I enjoyed the answers BRAIN GAMES, THE GOONIES, and GAL PAL. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Wednesday.