May 14, 2021


Constructors: Brooke Husic & Erik Agard

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
THRILL SEEKERS (20A: Risk-taking types)
FILL IN THE BLANKS (37A: Provide some missing information)
SPILL THE BEANS (52A: Tell a secret)

Theme synopsis: Combining the first word of each theme answer results in a phrase used to describe an approach to making a CONTAINER GARDEN: THRILL, FILL, SPILL.
And now a word from one of our constructors:
Brooke: My favorite florist is Tabia of Bia Blooms - check out her amazing creations. For another Agard/Husic collab, you can find us on Amanda's blog later today.

Things I learned:
  • ESSAY (1A: Tiffany Midge piece) According to her website, Tiffany Midge is "allergic to horses and most outdoor recreation," and aspires "to be the first Distinguished Writer in Residence at Seattle's Space Needle." Tiffany Midge's writing has appeared in multiple publications, including Waxwing, McSweeney's, and World Literature Today. Her 2019 memoir is titled Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's. Tiffany Midge is a member of The Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
  • CASTE (28A: Isabel Wilkerson book) Isabel Wilkerson's 2020 book, CASTE: The Origins of Our Discontents, discusses racism as a CASTE system. The book won the Goodreads Choice Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. A film adaptation of CASTE is in the works and will be directed by Ava DuVernay.
  • ALLEN (40A: Basketball star Ray) In his 18-year NBA career, Ray ALLEN played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. Ray ALLEN spent some of his off-seasons acting, and appeared the 1998 movie, He Got Game, playing the role of Jesus Shuttleworth, a high school basketball player being recruited to play in college. 
  • HARP (54D: Instrument for Dorothy Ashby) Dorothy Ashby was a jazz HARPist and composer. She has been described as "one of the most unjustly underloved jazz greats of the 1950s." In the 1950s and 1960s, Dorothy Ashby released a number of albums showcasing her HARP playing. Prior to that time, HARP was not often heard as a solo instrument.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • DIANE (19A: Civil rights legend Nash) DIANE Nash was prominently involved in organizing sit-ins to integrate lunch counters. She was also active in the Freedom Riders who worked to desegregate interstate travel. She co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and worked for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  • FILL IN THE BLANKS (37A: Provide some missing information) This may be my favorite crossword answer ever! I laughed the entire time I FILLED IN THE BLANKS.
  • NASA (48A: Org. for which Sunita Williams has logged over 50 hours of spacewalks) Sunita Williams is a Captain in the U.S. Navy, and an astronaut. On April 16, 2007. Sunita Williams was the first person to run a marathon in space. She was entered in the Boston Marathon, and ran the race on a treadmill, completing the marathon in 4 hours and 24 minutes.
  • AVRIL (61A: "Complicated" singer Lavigne) "Complicated" is a song from AVRIL Lavigne's 2002 debut album, Let Go
  • TIANA (64A: Disney Princess who lives near a bayou) TIANA is the protagonist of the 2009 movie, The Princess and the Frog, which happens to be my daughter's favorite Disney movie. 
  • ALVIN AILEY (4D: American Dance Theater founder) It was in 1958 that ALVIN AILEY founded the American Dance Theater. I learned about ALVIN AILEY from the September 22, 2020 puzzle
  • MOSES (7D: Singer Sumney) MOSES Sumney's music video, "Quarrel," won a SXSW Film Festival special jury award in 2018. 
  • ADDERALL (9D: Psychiatrist's prescription, maybe) ADDERALL is sometimes used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
  • BEALE (39D: "If ___ Street Could Talk") If BEALE Street Could Talk is a 1974 novel by James Baldwin adapted into a 2018 movie of the same name. The title is a reference to a song, "BEALE Street Blues," named after a street in Memphis, Tennessee.
Geography review:
  • STL (25A: Mo. city near the Meramec River) The Meramec River empties into the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri. 
  • CONGO (62A: Central African River) The CONGO River is also known as the Zaire River. It is the second longest river in Africa, second only to the Nile.
  • SERB (35D: Skadarlija resident) Skadarlija is a neighborhood in Belgrade, Serbia.
  • ARAB (55D: United ___ Emirates) The United ARAB Emirates, or UAE, is a country in Western Asia. The capital of the United ARAB Emirates is Abu Dhabi.
Let's plant a CONTAINER GARDEN. First choose a plant to THRILL - to be the star of the display. Next FILL in the pot with other plants. Choose some plants to SPILL over the edges to create a flowing visual effect. This CONTAINER GARDENing motto was new to me, so it took me some time to catch on to the theme. Plenty of things to like in this puzzle. It was a nice touch to have a DAHLIA in our GARDEN, I mean puzzle. It was an enjoyable way to begin my Friday.