February 5, 2021


Constructor: Olivia Mitra Framke

Editors: Erik Agard & Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
ESPRESSO SHOT (20A: Latte ingredient)
WIDE SARGASSO SEA (40A: Feminist response to "Jane Eyre")
THAT'S SO SWEET (54A: "Aww, how nice!")

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is signaling for HELP by containing the letters SOS.

Things I learned:
  • RAIDER (28D: Las Vegas athlete) The Las Vegas RAIDERs are an NFL team. They play their home games in Paradise, Nevada at Allegiant Stadium. I'm sure I've heard of the Las Vegas RAIDERS before, but when I read this clue I knew I wouldn't be able to come up with the team name without the help of some crossing answers. 
  • LOGIC (32D: Subject for Christine Ladd-Franklin) Christine Ladd-Franklin was the first woman to complete all the requirements for a Ph.D. at John Hopkins University. However, when she completed her studies in 1883, she was refused a Ph.D. in Mathematics and LOGIC, because women were not allowed to graduate at Hopkins University. She had applied to graduate school as C. Ladd, and Hopkins offered her a fellowship without realizing she was a woman. Christine Ladd-Franklin was officially granted a Ph.D. in 1927, at the age of 78.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • RAT (34A: Rizzo in "The Muppet Show," e.g.) References to The Muppet Show will always make me happy. Rizzo the RAT often appears in skits with Gonzo the Great. According to Muppet media, Rizzo has 1,274 brothers and sisters, and comes from a family that traditionally cooked pizzas. The name of Rizzo the RAT is derived from Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Midnight Cowboy, whose name was Enrico Salvatore "Ratso" Rizzo.
  • WIDE SARGASSO SEA (40A: Feminist response to "Jane Eyre") When I read this clue I thought, "I know this! I've written about this. What is the title of this book?" It took filling in WID- from crossing answers to jog my memory and come up with WIDE SARGASSO SEA, the novel by Jean Rhys which was published in 1966 as a feminist response to Jane Eyre. I wrote about WIDE SARGASSO SEA when it was referenced in the September 4, 2020 puzzle
  • ESCAPE (47A: "___ (The Pina Colada Song)") "ESCAPE (The Piña Colada Song)" was the lead single from the 1979 album Partners in Crime by Rupert Holmes. The song reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and has been featured in many movies and TV shows, including Shrek and Captain Marvel. I knew it had another name, but I've always called it "The Piña Colada Song." Interestingly, although Rupert Holmes likes singing about piña coladas, he doesn't drink them.
  • ASMR (68A: Strangely satisfying YouTube genre (Abbr.)) Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is a tingling sensation beginning at the scalp and moving down the back of the neck and the spine. ASMR may be triggered by auditory or visual stimuli, and some people are more susceptible to the experience. There are millions of YouTube videos designed to induce ASMR. 
  • ALEXA (19A: Demie of "Euphoria") ALEXA Demie plays the role of Maddy Perez on the TV series Euphoria. Loosely based on an Israeli miniseries of the same name, Euphoria is centered on a group of high school students and their various experiences. Funny story about this clue. I originally marked this answer as something I'd learned today. However, when I began to read about ALEXA Demie, it sounded familiar. Turns out, I actually learned about ALEXA Demie from the October 11, 2020 puzzle. Perhaps this time the knowledge will stick and I will remember her name!
  • WARP (3D: Time ___ ("Rocky Horror" dance)) The Time WARP dance is performed during the chorus of the song of the same name from the 1973 rock musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Leading up to the 2020 election, Tenacious D used the song and dance to promote voting.
  • GHOSTS (5D: Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde in Pac-Man) Ah, the Pac-Man ghosts. Did you know these names are their nicknames? And do you remember their colors? Blinky, the red ghost, is considered the leader. His real name is listed as Shadow. Pinky, or Speedy, is appropriately Pink. Inky, aka Bashful, is cyan. Clyde, whose real name is listed as Pokey, is orange.
  • SEX (12D: "The Second ___" (Simone de Beauvoir text)) The 1949 book, The Second SEX, discusses the treatment of women throughout history. Simone de Beauvoir published the book in two volumes - Facts and Myths, and Lived Experience.
  • AS WE (27D: "It's the End of the World ___ Know It" (R.E.M. song)) Did you know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, songs about the end of world and surviving have experienced a surge in sales and streams? I guess this makes sense, though I hadn't considered it. R.E.M.'s song, "It's the End of the World AS WE Know It (And I Feel Fine)" is one of the songs that has been in demand.
  • MOANA (33D: Disney film starring Auli'i Cravalho) Auli'i Cravalho plays the title role in the 2016 movie, MOANA.
  • AREPA (41D: Doughy Venezuelan treat) I learned about this Venezuelan treat from the December 7, 2020 puzzle.
  • PEOPLE (48D: "Funny Girl" hit) "PEOPLE" was written for the 1964 Broadway musical, Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand. Her version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Even though this puzzle is sending out multiple signals for HELP, it is doing just fine. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with solid theme answers. I especially liked THAT'S SO SWEET. I enjoyed learning about Christine Ladd-Franklin today. HALTER TOP and DETECTIVE were great long bonuses. This puzzle was a delightful way to start my Friday.


  1. I know nobody cares, but this was the first puzzle ever where I managed to complete it without my phone showing me any errors ! I'm getting slightly better at this

    1. That' great - congratulations! All such milestones deserve to be celebrated!

  2. Oakland RAIDERS may sound more familiar- the team moved from Oakland to Las Vegas about a year ago! (This is one of the ~5 sports things I know)

    1. Oh, yes - thank you for that! The Oakland Raiders I've heard of. I guess I should have dug deeper with my research. I was simply unsurprised at not knowing a sports thing - ha!

  3. Having never heard of "Jane Eyre", I had no hint for "WIDE SARGASSO SEA" - and filling in partially didn't help :(. Guess I need to brush up on my reading


Post a Comment