March 2, 2021


Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
DO NOT BEND (17A: Warning on an envelope)
URBAN LEGEND (29A: Modern folklore)
PLAY PRETEND (48A: Make believe)
ON THE MEND (65A: Healing up)

Theme synopsis: The REAR of each theme answer is the word END.

Things I learned:
  • ERICA (16A: "Smallville" actress Durance) Smallville is a TV series that takes place in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, and follows the story of Clark Kent before he becomes Superman. Much of the filming was done in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. ERICA Durance plays the role of Lois Lane.
  • SWAM (72A: Competed like Simone Manuel) Simone Manuel SWAM for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and won two gold medals and two silver medals. Her specialty is sprint freestyle. She is the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual swimming event. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • FUND (5A: Go ___ Me (money-raising platform)) GoFUNDMe was launched in May 2010 by Brad Damphousse and Andrew Ballester as a platform for people to raise funds for personal causes and life events. Since its founding, over $9 billion has been raised through the site.
  • DO NOT BEND (17A: Warning on an envelope) Amusingly, my first thought was "Do not open," which doesn't make much sense!
  • URBAN LEGEND (29A: Modern folklore) The term "URBAN LEGEND" first appeared in print in 1968. These tales, told as if they are true, and often as "something that happened to a friend," have been passed on for years by word of mouth. More recently, social media has aided the spread of URBAN LEGENDs. Sometimes an URBAN LEGEND will disappear for a time, and then begin to spread again, such as the recurring story of people being kidnapped for the purpose of harvesting organs. If you ever hear or read a story and are unsure of its validity, is a good place to fact-check. 
  • ZERO (46A: Absolute ___ (coldest possible temperature)) Absolute ZERO, or ZERO degrees Kelvin, is a theoretical temperature determined by extrapolation. It is equivalent to -273.15 degrees Celsius, or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrr. This science clue made me happy!
  • ARI (52A: NPR journalist Shapiro) ARI Shapiro has been one of the hosts of NPR's All Things Considered since 2015.
  • SIR (53A: Peppermint Patty, to Marcie) I previously wrote about this habit of Marcie's.
  • NINA (7D: "Baltimore" singer Simone) The song "Baltimore" was the title track of NINA Simone's fourteenth studio album, released in 1978.
  • ORAL (24D: ___ thermometer) It occurred to me that an ORAL thermometer is not the type needed for today's theme. (It's okay to groan at this joke. It certainly deserves it.)
  • ANITA (28D: "I Apologize" singer Baker) In 1996, ANITA Baker won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the song, "I Apologize." It was her eighth Grammy Award.
Geography review:
  • UTAH (14A: Colorado neighbor) UTAH is one of the 11 states my husband and I drove through on
    our recent road trip to visit our son in Seattle, Washington. While driving through UTAH, we stopped and hiked in three National Parks: Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef. I have now visited all five of UTAH's National Parks - the other two are Bryce Canyon and Zion. Each of these five parks is spectacular and worth visiting if you get a chance. This photo is of Double Arch in Arches National Park near Moab, UTAH.
  • ASIA (15A: Home to the biggest city and the highest mountain) Can you name the biggest city and the highest mountain? You'll find the answer at the end of this post.
  • PISA (11D: Leaning tower city) PISA, Italy is known for its leaning tower, the bell tower of the city's cathedral. 
  • NOTRE (32D: ___ Dame) French for "Our Lady," NOTRE Dame can refer to the cathedral in Paris, the University in Indiana, a number of churches and cathedrals around the world, or a number or other colleges. 
  • EDEN (63D: ___ Park (New Zealand sports stadium)) EDEN Park is located in Auckland, New Zealand. The park has been a cricket ground since 1903, and has been used for rugby since 1913. 
A straightforward, but fun theme today. I liked that each END in the puzzle was at the REAR of a different letter. I chuckled at the wishy-washiness of the puzzle - is it AS ALWAYS, or NEVER? ARE WE GOOD? and SEE YA SOON! are lovely long downs. I also like the word SPRAWLS, with its fun bed-hog clue. This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Tuesday.

Answer to Geography Review: The biggest city in the world is Tokyo, Japan, with a population (in 2018) of 37,400,068 people. The highest mountain is Mt. Everest, on the China-Nepal border, with a height of 29,031.7 feet.