February 4, 2021

Title: ODDLY ENOUGH

Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editors: Erik Agard & Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
FIRST LANGUAGE (19A: Native tongue)
THIRD PERSON (26A: Zie or she, in grammar)
FIFTH AVENUE (45A: Noted NYC shopping area)
SEVENTH HEAVEN (55A: Extreme bliss)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer begins with an ordinal number that relates to an ODD number. 

Things I learned:
  • EGGOS (44A: Waffles enjoyed by Eleven in "Stranger Things") I have not seen the TV series, Stranger Things, so I was not familiar with the character Eleven, a young girl with psychokinetic abilities, or her enjoyment of EGGOS. However, there aren't too many waffles which appear in crosswords on a regular basis, so it was easy to figure out the answer, and I appreciated this fun way to clue EGGOS.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • AMELIE (13A: Title girl in a 2001 French comedy) Audrey Tautou played the title role in AM√ČLIE. I learned of this movie, and that it is the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, from the November 16, 2020 puzzle
  • EWE (15A: Maa, in "Babe") and HIPPO (30A: Gloria, in "Madagascar") Using movie roles to clue these two animals was a delightful choice.
  • FEAR (24A: Purple "Inside Out" emotion) I gushed about the movie Inside Out in my write up of the January 30, 2021 puzzle. That puzzle referred to the movie to clue the word ANGER. Can we collect an entire set of Inside Out emotions? Keep an eye out for appearances of Joy, Sadness, and Disgust.
  • THIRD PERSON (26A: Zie or she, in grammar) Has it been a while since you've studied grammar? A quick review: first person is used when a speaker is talking about the speaker; second person is used when the speaker is talking about the person being addressed; THIRD PERSON is used when the speaker is talking about others. Zie is a gender neutral, or gender inclusive, THIRD PERSON pronoun.
  • YOU (34A: "Cuz I Love ___" (2019 Lizzo album)) Lizzo's album, CUZ I Love YOU, won a 2019 Soul Train Music Award for Album/Mixtape of the Year, and a 2020 Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Shoutout to my daughter who introduced me to Lizzo's music!
  • KARA (51A: Duke basketball coach Lawson) I learned about KARA Lawson from the November 28, 2020 puzzle
  • EVIL (61A: "Maleficent: Mistress of ___") Maleficent: Mistress of EVIL is a 2019 sequel to the 2014 movie, Maleficent. Angelina Jolie plays the title role in both movies.
  • PINT (4D: Quantity of Cherry Garcia) This clue made me so happy! Cherry Garcia is a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor. It is cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes. Yum! My current favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor is Oat of This Swirled - buttery brown sugar ice cream with fudge flakes and oatmeal cinnamon cookie swirls.
  • GERWIG (21D: Greta who directed "Lady Bird") In addition to directing the movie Lady Bird, Greta GERWIG also wrote it. She also wrote the screenplay for and directed the 2019 movie, Little Women.
  • PUN (28D: I'm not scared of insects, but they really bug me, e.g.) I enjoy a good pun in the morning (or anytime, really)! This was a fun clue.
  • NESS (29D: "Queer Eye" star Jonathan Van ___) Jonathan Van NESS is the grooming expert on the TV series, Queer Eye.
  • GEE (40D: "___, Officer Krupke") "GEE, Officer Krupke" is a song from the musical West Side Story. The song was composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
  • ANTS (54D: What raisins represent on a certain "log" snack) The practice of stuffing celery with peanut butter or cream cheese appears to have begun sometime in the early twentieth century. No one is quite sure when ANTS on a log originated, though some have credited the Girl Scouts. And here's an interesting thing, before it was associated with the snack, the term "ANTS on a log" was used as a political metaphor for a group of people undergoing change. 
Geography review:
  • LOS (59A: ___ Estados Unidos) LOS Estados Unidos is Spanish for the United States.
  • URDU (8D: Hindi relative) URDU is the official national language of Pakistan.
  • NILE (57D: Thebes' river) Thebes was an ancient Egyptian city, and was, at times, the capital of Egypt. The ruins of ancient Thebes are classified by UNESCO as a World Cultural Site.
  • ERIE (58D: Native people after whom a Great Lake is named) The ERIE people lived in what is now New York, northwestern Pennsylvania, and Ohio. This is the first February appearance of our crossword friend, ERIE.
I enjoy order, so it's no surprise that I liked the nice orderly theme progression from FIRST LANGUAGE to THIRD PERSON to FIFTH AVENUE to SEVENTH HEAVEN. Quite nice. I really enjoyed the cluing today. In addition to those I've highlighted above, I liked the clues for ENGINES [Car parts that roar and purr], FOOT [Body part with an arch], and HUFF [Word in the Big, Bad Wolf's threat]. With clues referencing Cherry Garcia and York Peppermint PATTIEs, I may have to go find myself a sweet treat when I'm done writing this! Solving this puzzle was a delightful way to start my Thursday.


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