Title: HEAD START
Constructors: Brooke Husic & Amanda Rafkin
Editor: Erik Agard
LINE OF REASONING (17A: Logical path)
SPACE INVADERS (38A: 1978 alien-fighting game)
LIGHT AS A FEATHER (59A: Phrase before "stiff as a board" in a levitation game)
Theme synopsis: The START of each theme answer is a word that can follow the word HEAD. We have HEADLINE, HEAD SPACE, AND HEADLIGHT.
And now a word from our constructors:
Brooke and Amanda: The two of us have had such a blast making puzzles together (and, like, just being friends in general) and we're beyond hype for the first one to be out in the world. Actually, this is the beginning of a saga. Keep an eye out for our shared byline to follow the thread...
Things I learned:
- DUBSTEP (29A: Moore Kismet genre) DUBSTEP is an electronic dance music genre characterized by syncopated rhythmic patterns and prominent bass. It originated in South London in the late 1990s. Moore Kismet is the professional name of Omar Davis, a 16 year-old producer, visual artist, and musician. Their 2020 EP, Revenge of the Unicorns, is a six-track chronological story of the last few years of their life.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- ORAL (13A: Mouth-related) and MOLAR (1D: Back tooth) I liked the crossing of these two related answers.
- ANI (25A: Righteous Babe Records owner DeFranco) ANI DeFranco created Righteous Babe Records in 1990 in order to be able to release her own records without being beholden to a record company.
- SPACE INVADERS (38A: 1978 alien-fighting game) In the classic arcade game, SPACE INVADERS, a player must move and shoot a laser to defeat waves of descending aliens.
- ACES (41A: Best poker pair) and ANTE (42A: Poker payment) Another nice pair of related answers.
- RATHER (44A: Would You ___ (icebreaker game)) Would you RATHER play the icebreaker, "Would You RATHER", or solve a crossword puzzle constructed by Brooke and Amanda? Actually, as icebreakers go, "Would You RATHER" is a pretty fun one, but I would still choose a Brooke and Amanda puzzle every time.
- ON THE DL (46A: Under wraps) My biggest challenge in getting this answer was parsing it correctly. ON THE DL (on the down low) makes much more sense than ONT HEDL!
- ASHES (55A: Phoenix's debris) We're not talking about the city of Phoenix here, but the mythical bird of ancient Greek folklore which combusts into flames when it dies, and then regenerates from the ASHES.
- ARIEL (63A: "Sofia the First" actress Winter) Sofia the First was an animated Disney TV series that followed the adventures of the title character who became a princess when her mother married a king. ARIEL Winter voiced the character of Sofia.
- YETI (67A: Creature like Migo in "Smallfoot") The animated movie Smallfoot is the story of a group of YETI who discover a human. The YETI named Migo is voiced by Channing Tatum. It's only been three days since the last YETI puzzle sighting.
- HAND PUPPETS (3D: Lamb Chop and Kermit, e.g.) I'm a fan of any clue that gives a shoutout to Kermit the Frog, the HAND PUPPET created by Jim Henson and first introduced in 1955. Sheri Lewis created the HAND PUPPET Lamb Chop, who first appeared in 1956 on Captain Kangaroo.
- TRES (6D: ___ leches cake) The appropriately-named TRES leches ("three milks") cake is a sponge cake soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.
- ORG (12D: URL ending for NPR) My admiration for NPR was recently reaffirmed when I heard of their response to an 8-year-old named Leo, who called them out for not spending enough time talking about dinosaurs.
- ARM (41D: One of eight for Inky the Octopus) Inky the Octopus is an octopus who escaped from the National Aquarium of New Zealand in 2016. This is a good clue, because it's attainable even if you aren't familiar with the story of this particular octopus.
- EAST LA (45D: Chicano Moratorium march site) The Chicano Moratorium was a movement that organized opposition to the Vietnam War. The Chicano Moratorium March took place in EAST LA on August 29, 1970.
- TOMETI (47D: Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal) Opal TOMETI, Patrisse Cullors, and Alicia Garza founded Black Lives Matter in 2013.
- OMAHA (7D: Nebraska City) If you ever find yourself in OMAHA, Nebraska, I recommend a visit to the artisan chocolate shop, Chocolat Abeille ("Chocolate Honey Bee"). My daughter discovered this charming place when she spent a few months doing an internship in OMAHA.
- STL (58D: Delmar Loop city, for short) The Delmar Loop is an entertainment and restaurant area in St. Louis, Missouri. The area gets its name from a streetcar turnaround, or "loop," that used to be located in the area.
Did you MISS ME? I'm happy to be back to blogging today, and I am extremely grateful to Brooke and Matthew for filling in for me the last couple of days. I'm sure you enjoyed their write-ups, so don't worry, they'll be back again soon! I enjoyed this collaboration of Brooke and Amanda's a lot. I am a fan of logical thinking, so my favorite theme answer was LINE OF REASONING. The scientist in me enjoyed seeing PETRI DISHES in the grid. This was a delightful puzzle to blog after a short break, and a great way to begin my Tuesday. I look forward to the continuing saga of Brooke and Amanda collaborations!