March 4, 2021

Title: HU, YOU KNOW!

Constructor: Erik Agard

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
HALF-UNCLE (18A: Extended family member)
HEATING UNIT (36A: Source of warmth)
HOOKING UP (55A: Entangled, in a way)

Theme synopsis: The first word in each theme answer begins with an H, and the second word begins with a U, YOU KNOW.

Things I learned:
  • EATS (51A: Has some tibs, say) Tibs is a dish in Ethiopian cuisine that consists of sautéed meat and vegetables (though sometimes the vegetables are left out). The dish can utilize a variety of cuts of meat, and range from mild to very spicy.
  • PINHOLE (38D: ___ camera) A PINHOLE camera is a simple camera without a lens. The camera is essentially a light-proof box with a PINHOLE in one side. Light passes through the opening and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box. This entry started out in "Random thoughts and interesting things," but I moved it up to this section, because today I learned there is a Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day celebrated on the last Sunday of April every year. On Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, which will be April 25 this year, photographers from around the world are invited to take pictures using a PINHOLE camera, and submit them to be included in a virtual gallery. Last year's event resulted in a gallery of 1,339 images, each taken by a different photographer, and all taken on the last Sunday of April. The photographers represented 57 countries. Isn't this cool?
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • RAE (49A: Issa who played a queen on "Sesame Street") I am a big fan of Sesame Street (which is almost as old as I am)! I recommend adding some joy to your life by watching Issa RAE's Sesame Street appearance. In addition to playing the role of a queen, Issa RAE also voiced the role of her muppet daughter, the princess. 
  • TONI (26D: "___ Morrison: The Pieces I Am") TONI Morrison: The Pieces I Am is a documentary about the novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. The film was released in January, 2019. Morrison died in August of that year, at the age of 89. Appropriately for today's puzzle, TONI Morrison is an alumnus of Howard University. (HU, YOU KNOW!)
  • DUNBAR (34A: Poet Paul Laurence ___) Paul Laurence DUNBAR was a poet, novelist, and playwright in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His first poems were published in a Dayton, Ohio newspaper, when he was 16 years old. Also, DUNBAR is an alumnus of Howard University. (HU, YOU KNOW!) You may also remember from Matthew Stock's constructor notes on February 1, that Paul Laurence Dunbar is the namesake of an elementary school in East St. Louis District 189.
  • PURI (54D: Bread that might accompany kheer) PURI is a fried bread made from unleavened whole wheat flour. Kheer is a type of pudding made with milk, sugar, and rice or other grains.
Geography review:
  • MECCA (1A: Hajj destination) MECCA is a city in Saudi Arabia. It is the birthplace of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and is considered to be the holiest city in Islam. Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to MECCA. 
  • LSU (24A: Baton Rouge sch.) Louisiana State University, or LSU, is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school is a land-grant university founded in 1853.
  • DHABI (41A: Abu ___, UAE) Abu DHABI, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is located on an island in the Persian Gulf. The urban area extends onto the mainland. Abu DHABI means "Father of Gazelle." (Note: Somehow I forgot to include Abu DHABI in the geography review when I originally made this post. This note was added when I realized my mistake.)
  • ATL (42A: Ga. city) ATLanta is the capital of Georgia, and the state's most populous city. Originally founded as the terminus of a state-sponsored railroad, the city's name is derived from Western and Atlantic Railroad.
  • SANTO (47D: ___ Domingo, Dominican Republic) SANTO Domingo is the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic. It is also the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean.
Sometimes in life, who you know makes a difference. But today, it's not who you know, but HU, YOU KNOW! The title phrase of today's puzzle is a chant used to refer to Howard University (HU). Howard University is a historically black college and university (HBCU) in Washington, D.C. Howard University's alumni include TONI Morrison and Paul Laurence DUNBAR, as mentioned above, and also Vice President Kamala Harris. HU can also refer to Hampton University, an HBCU in Hampton, Virginia. Hampton University's alumni include Booker T. Washington and Rashida Jones. There is a football rivalry between Howard University and Hampton University called "The Real HU." I enjoyed today's puzzle, and learning more about HU. I also enjoyed learning about Worldwide Pinhole Camera Day. Other things of note: I enjoyed the paired cluing of OVERS (14A: Opposites of unders) and SOLE (15A: Underside of a shoe), and the related answers RENEW and DUE. I liked AS WE SPEAK and INSIDE JOB. It was also fun to see the word ANSWER as an ANSWER. This puzzle was a delightful way to start my Thursday.


  1. Hi, Sally.
    I felt some dissatisfaction with today's puzzle. I had to look up "HU, YOU KNOW"--entirely new to me-- but am glad to learn of the Howard University connection. "HALF UNCLE" seems a bit of a desperate answer. "HEATING UNIT" feels like a green paint answer. I don't understand the tense difference between "ENTANGLED, IN A WAY" (a past tense verb) and "HOOKING UP" (a noun or gerund). "DOTGOV" seems bad fill whenever I encounter it. "OVERS" and "UNDERS" in the plural seem strange, too. Perhaps I'm just in a grouchy mood. Any enlightenment you can shed would be appreciated.


    1. Hi, David! First of all, I would say it's okay if this puzzle wasn't your thing. By definition, not every puzzle can be one's favorite, and sometimes, we just don't connect with a puzzle - perhaps for some of the reasons you noted with this puzzle, or because some of the answers are outside of our knowledge base, or because we are in a grumpy mood while solving. ;-) I did look up HALF-UNCLE this morning while writing the blog. It's not a term I use (probably because I don't have any HALF-UNCLEs), but it is a term. I found that Wikipedia mentioned it specifically in the entry for UNCLE. I agree that HEATING UNIT seems a bit of a "green paint" answer (though a little "green paint" doesn't bother me as it does some people...) Again, it's not a term I use personally, however, some people apparently do use the term, as I found Google searches for "How much are HEATING UNITS?" etc. I admit I didn't notice the tense difference with HOOKING UP and its clue while I was solving, though I did need a lot of letters from crossing answers to uncover that answer. As someone who is not up on modern slang (and who does not do any HOOKING UP - Ha!), I'm not sure if I can correctly explain why this clue/answer works, but I'll try! HOOKING UP is a term used to refer to a sexual encounter between two people not in a relationship. If you are having sex, you might be "entangled, in a way." (Okay, now I'm blushing!) I agree that DOTGOV isn't the greatest fill. Constructors sometimes have to make trade-offs, and that might have been one. As for OVERS and unders in the plural - I didn't hesitate to fill in OVERS after reading the clue, but I think you're probably right that the plurals are not often used. I hope these attempted explanations shed some light. (You're still entitled to dislike the entries!) HU, YOU KNOW was also completely new to me. I was happy to learn about it.

    2. Thanks SO MUCH, Sally, for the time you took for a detailed response. Your explanation of HOOKING UP was brave! I just thought it meant "dating" or simply "meeting". No idea there was a sexual connotation which links it to "entangled."

    3. Oh, the many things one learns from crossword puzzles! :-D


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