February 9, 2021


Constructor: Rachel Fabi

Editors: Erik Agard & Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
POKER TABLE (3D: Texas Hold 'em surface)
MRS. POTATO HEAD (15D: Toy with removable eyes, ears and purse)
SPRAY PAINT (32D: Banksy medium)

Theme synopsis: The first word of the first theme answer, the middle word of the second theme answer, and the last word of the third theme answer can precede the word CHIPS. We have POKER CHIPS, POTATO CHIPS, and PAINT CHIPS.

And now a word from our constructor:
Rachel: This is a weird one! I thought of a whole bunch of theme entries that had types of chips somewhere in them, and I landed on a set where the chips fell in a different position in each phrase (beginning, middle, end). Hence the revealer— let those chips fall where they may!

Things I learned:
  • ADAM (2D: San Francisco Renaissance poet Helen) Helen ADAM's first book of poetry, The Elfin Peddlar, was published in 1923 when she was 14 years old. Born in Scotland, Helen ADAM later moved to San Francisco, where she was an active participant in The San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. I highly recommend watching Helen ADAM read/sing her poem "Cheerless Junkie's Song." 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LAKOTA (16A: One of three Sioux dialects) Sioux is spoken by over 30,000 people in the United States and Canada. It is comprised of three dialects: LAKOTA, Eastern Dakota, and Western Dakota (sometimes referred to as Nakota). In 2019, Sioux became the official indigenous language of South Dakota.
  • ODDS (21A: "May the ___ be ever in your favor") This catchphrase from The Hunger Games was said by the character Effie Trinket, portrayed in the movies by Elizabeth Banks.
  • REP (22A: Title for Cori Bush) Cori Bush is a U.S. REPresentative for Missouri. The district she represents (Missouri's 1st congressional district) includes all of the city of St. Louis, and most of northern St. Louis county. Cori Bush if the first Black woman from Missouri to serve in the House of Representatives. The 2019 documentary, Knock Down the House, tells the story of the primary campaigns of Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, and Paula Jean Swearengin.
  • COCO (28A: Disney film featuring Son Mexicano) Son Mexicano is a category of Mexican folk music. The 2017 animated movie, COCO, is inspired by the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a time to pray for and remember family and friends who have died.
  • ENBY (39A: Gender identity often associated with they/them pronouns, for short) ENBY, or non-binary, refers to gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine.
  • DRANK (41A: Enjoyed some lassi) Lassi is a yogurt-based drink that originated in Punjab, India. Varieties of lassi include traditional lassi (with added salt), sweet lassi (flavored with sugar or fruit juice), mango lassi (with added mango pulp), and bhang lassi (infused with cannabis).
  • STAIR (46A: One of 294 in the Bunker Hill Monument) and ACRE (57D: One of 330 in Tyler Perry Studios) I liked this pair of clues. The Bunker Hill Monument, with its 294 STAIRs to reach the top, is in Charlestown, Massachusetts. It commemorates one of the first major battles of the American Revolutionary War. Tyler Perry Studios, all 330 ACREs of it, is in Atlanta, Georgia. 
  • EXISTED (72A: "I Forgot That You ___" (Taylor Swift song)) "I Forgot That You EXISTED," is from Taylor Swift's 2019 album, Lover. It's also a great insult, isn't it? 
  • HALO (1D: Beyonce song with the lyric "I got my angel now") "HALO" is from BeyoncĂ©'s 2008 album, I Am...Sasha Fierce. BeyoncĂ© has sung this song, with adapted lyrics, as memorials for Michael Jackson, the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
  • BONO (9D: Chaz of "Dancing with the Stars") Chaz BONO was a competitor on the 13th season of Dancing with the Stars
  • OSCARS (20D: #___SoWhite (movement to diversify film awards)) The hashtag movement #OSCARSSoWhite began in January 2015 as a response to the announcement of the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards. Media strategist April Reign is credited with originating the hashtag. The hashtag began trending again following the nominations for this year's Academy Awards. There's still work to do. Black Lives Matter. 
  • SPRAY PAINT (32D: Banksy medium) Banksy is a pseudonym used by an artist whose identity remains unknown. Banksy's art has appeared on streets, walls, and bridges throughout the world.
  • CAROLE (50D: "Beautiful: The ___ King Musical") Ah, a clue/answer to make me long for the day when we can once again safely attend live theater performances! As you might imagine from the title, Beautiful: The CAROLE King Musical, is a jukebox musical using CAROLE King's songs to tell the story of her life and career. 
  • FLEX (58D: "Weird ___, but OK") This snarky response is generally used to respond to someone boasting about something unusual or bizarre.
A fun theme today - I liked the movement of the relevant words, and the choice to make the theme answers vertical so that the CHIPS are FALLING. MRS. POTATO HEAD is a great central themer. There's nothing MEDIOCRE about this puzzle, but MEDIOCRE is a great entry. I also liked the entry CLUB SODA, which I've never used as a stain remover. (There appears to be no clear evidence whether it works better than plain water.) I appreciated learning about Helen ADAM today, and watching her sing her poetry was lovely. This puzzle was a delightful way to start my Tuesday.