March 13, 2021


Constructor: Erik Agard

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
DRIVERS LICENSE (18A: Olivia Rodrigo hit)
SOCIAL JUSTICE (37A: What some movements pursue)
MNEMONIC DEVICE (57A: System for remembering something)

Theme synopsis: The ENDINGS of the theme answers can be placed after the word POETIC to form new phrases. We have POETIC LICENSE, POETIC JUSTICE, and a POETIC DEVICE.

Things I learned:
  • LEE (17A: "The Try Guys" star Eugene ___ Yang) The Try Guys is an online comedy series featuring Eugene LEE Yang, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, and Zach Kornfeld. As the name suggests, the videos feature challenge-based content. Episodes range from trying Korean cooking to crashing cars to changing dirty diapers. I had forgotten about The Try Guys, but I did in fact watch their first video when it was released in 2014: "Guys Try On Ladies' Underwear for the First Time."
  • DRIVERS LICENSE (18A: Olivia Rodrigo hit) Olivia Rodrigo is an actress and singer. She played the role of Nina Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. "DRIVERS LICENSE" is her debut single, and was released in January of this year. Rodrigo co-wrote the song with Dan Nigro. The song reached the top of Billboard's Hot 100 and Global 200 charts.
  • CAGE (44A: "Luke ___, Hero for Hire") Luke CAGE, also known as Power Man, is a Marvel Comics character. He made his first appearance in Luke CAGE, Hero for Hire #1 which was released in June of 1972. Luke CAGE was the first Black superhero to be the title character of a comic book. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • IDS (36A: DMVs issue them) A DMV might issue you a DRIVER'S LICENSE, for example.
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE (37A: What some movements pursue) Today I am going to invite you to leave a comment (or two) responding to two questions. Here's the first: What organizations that pursue SOCIAL JUSTICE do you support that you would like others to know about? I know this blog doesn't usually elicit a lot of comments, but I'd love to get a list going of some recommended movements to support. I invite you to make suggestions! (I don't think you can link to sites in the comment section, so you'll need to put the web address to people can copy and paste.) One organization I like to support is Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors, a branch of the National Justice for Our Neighbors organization. 
  • LISA (42A: Hoops great Leslie) LISA Leslie played for WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks from 1997-2009. She is currently the head coach for the Triplets in the BIG3 basketball league. I learned about LISA Leslie from the January 25, 2021 puzzle. (Everything I know about sports I learned from crossword puzzles!)
  • MAC (53A: Partner of cheese) For some reason, my mind went completely blank when I read this clue. Sausage clearly didn't fit. How could I forget about MAC and cheese?!
  • MNEMONIC DEVICE (57A: System for remembering something) A MNEMONIC DEVICE is any technique that helps you remember information. Often we think of initialisms or acronyms when we consider MNEMONIC DEVICES, but using your knuckles to remember which months have 31 days is also a great example. (I use this one a lot.) Here's your second invitation to leave a comment today: What's a MNEMONIC DEVICE that you find helpful? I frequently use HOMES to remember the names of the Great Lakes - Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. I would like to be able to remember the names of the planets in order, but while many MNEMONIC DEVICES exist for this, I haven't been able to find one I can remember! (It's not helpful if you can't remember the thing that's supposed to help you remember.)
  • GAI (62A: Moo goo ___ pan) Moo goo GAI pan is a stir-fried dish of chicken, mushrooms, and other vegetables. The dish is of Cantonese origin, and its name comes from the Cantonese name of the ingredients: "moo goo" = "button mushrooms," "gai" = "chicken," and "pan" = slices.
  • ROSIE (66A: Floral nickname) and IRIS (60A: Floral name) A nice pair of floral clues, made even more enjoyable by the fact that the answers cross each other.
  • RELISH (3D: Oreos are often eaten with this) Ha! I laughed with RELISH when I discovered this answer. Indeed, people often eat Oreos with RELISH in the sense that they RELISH the experience of eating them. It is also true that sometimes people eat Oreos with pickle RELISH. This is a viral challenge that was apparently initiated by Virgo Queen-Tee. There are many videos of people doing this challenge - if you google "Oreos and RELISH," you'll find them. 
  • HIJAB (28D: "Under My ___" (children's book by Hena Khan and Aaliya Jaleel)) In Under My Hijab, a young girl observes the unique way several women in her life wear their HIJAB. It's a lovely book.
Geography review:
  • NOLA (15A: Nickname for the Pelican State's biggest city) Louisiana is nicknamed The Pelican State because of the abundance of brown pelicans found along its coast. New Orleans is Louisiana's largest city. 
  • SLAV (4D: Many a European) SLAVs are a group of people who speak any of the SLAVic languages: Russian, Belarusian, Ukranian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, and Slovene. The SLAVic people are the largest ethnographic-linguistic group in Europe.
  • LSU (39D: College in the Pelican State) Louisiana State University (LSU) is located in Louisiana's capital, Baton Rouge.
ENDING the week with a POETIC puzzle by Erik Agard? NICE! I enjoyed this puzzle with its three great theme answers. Plenty of other fun entries, too - BALSAMIC, FREE RIDE, ORGANISM, and CLIMAX to name a few. I learned a few things, chuckled at some of the clues, and had a delightful time starting my Saturday with this puzzle. I invite you to leave some comments about SOCIAL JUSTICE organizations and MNEMONIC DEVICES.


  1. A very old mnemonic from college: carbochrome phosalars is a way of remembering certain salts for inorganic chemistry.

    1. That's a new one for me. It's a good MNEMONIC if you remember it years later, though!

  2. The classic mnemonic that comes to mind is SOH CAH TOA in Trig. Sine - Opposite/Hypotenuse, Cosine- Adjacent/Hypotenuse and Tan - Opposite/Adjacent.

    I've learned the order of the planets by memorizing them in school - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn , Uranus, Neptune. The fun thing about mnemonics is that you can make your own. This is one I made on the fly for the planets - My Very Energetic Mother Jogs Swiftly Until Noon. Making your own mnemonic devices also helps you memorize them better.

    1. On Twitter, Bruce Ryan mentioned that he used to teach the SOH CAH TOA mnemonic to his students, and one of his students came up with "Some Old Hag Came Around Here Taking Our Apples!" :-)
      I like your planet mnemonic. The one I try to remember for the planets is My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles.


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