May 28, 2021


Constructor: Patrick Jordan

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
BLACK FRIDAY (20A: Stressful time for many retail workers)
PRIVATE ROOM (48A: Living space you don't share)
EAGLE SCOUT (3D: Rank that requires at least 21 merit badges)
NAKED TRUTH (28D: Pure fact)

Theme synopsis: The FRONT word of each theme answer can precede (i.e. go in FRONT of) the word EYE, giving us BLACK EYE, PRIVATE EYE, EAGLE EYE, and NAKED EYE.

Things I learned:
  • CLINTON (45A: Katie Got Bandz aka Drillary ___) Katie Got Bandz is the professional name of rapper Kiara Johnson, also known as Drillary CLINTON. She has been referred to as the Queen of drill music, a style of trap music that originated in South Side, Chicago in the early 2010s. Drill music is known for its gritty and often violent lyrics. After the release of her 2015 mixtape, Drillary CLINTON 3, Katie Got Bandz stated her intention to transition her music to a more global sound. Her 2019 mixtape was titled Rebirth.
  • NOEL (57A: "Craig of the Creek" voice actress Wells) Craig of the Creek is a Cartoon Network TV series about the adventures of a boy named Craig and his friends, Kelsey and J.P. Many of the adventures take place in the titular creek. NO√čL Wells voices the role of Kelsey, an eight-year-old girl with a pet budgerigar named Mortimor, who is often perched on her head.
  • SHE'S (62A: "___ All Fat: A Fat Positive Podcast") She's All Fat: A Fat Positive Podcast was created by Sophia Carter-Kahn and April K. Quioh, who co-hosted the first three seasons. Since season four, Sophia Carter-Kahn has been the solo host. Self-described as "the podcast for body positivity, radical self-love and chill vibes only," the show covers current events, popular culture, and personal stories.
  • RAMS (21D: "Lambs, ___, hogs, dogs...") These lyrics are originally from a performance of "Hold My Mule" by gospel singer Shirley Caesar. However, you may be more familiar with a 2016 remix titled "You Name It!" by DJ Suede the Remix God, which went viral just before Thanksgiving 2016 as the #UNAMEITCHALLENGE. (I must have been asleep during this time, or wiped this from my memory, because I don't remember it.) 
  • GIRL (29D: "Just Another ___ on the I.R.T.") Just Another GIRL on the I.R.T. is a 1992 movie about Chantel Mitchell, a 17-year-old GIRL living in Brooklyn, New York, and her dream of leaving her poor neighborhood and becoming a doctor. I.R.T. stands for Interborough Rapid Transit Company, a private company that originally operated, and was incorporated into, the New York City Subway. Ariyan A. Johnson played the role of Chantel Mitchell.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • MEWS (5A: Calls from kitties) It's been over 10 years since I've heard cute kitten MEWS from my cat; her meows now tend to be loud and demanding. Nonetheless, Willow was happy to see this cat-related content.
  • TACOS (31A: Al pastor servings) TACOS al pastor is a TACO made with spit-grilled pork.
  • OKRA (37A: Veggie aka bhindi) When you see the word bhindi in the name of a dish, chances are good that it contains OKRA. The word bhindi is borrowed from Hindi, and refers to OKRA when it is used in Indian cooking. 
  • WHEAT (1D: Bread option) This clue/answer reminds me of yesterday's puzzle.
    I was so inspired (and hungry) after solving that puzzle, that I baked oatmeal DINNER ROLLS.
  • GEMINI (9D: Zodiac sign that's Latin for "twins") GEMINI are people whose birthdays fall between May 21 to June 21. Yesterday we discussed celebrities who have the zodiac sign of Aries. For comparison, GEMINI celebrities include Angelina Jolie, Naomi Campbell, and Laverne Cox.
  • FANS (33D: Avid supporter) and BOOSTERS (36D: Avid supporters) This puzzle comes with its own cheering section.
  • OUTIE (46D: Less common bellybutton type) According to Mental Floss, people with OUTIE bellybuttons comprise only 10% of the population. The shape of your bellybutton has nothing to do with how your umbilical cord was cut or clamped after you were born. Rather, it reflects the amount of space between the skin and the abdominal wall, and how much skin is on the umbilical cord. Less skin results in an innie; more skin leads to an OUTIE.
  • RIOT (49D: Compton's Cafeteria ___ (1966 uprising)) Occurring in August 1966, Compton's Cafeteria RIOT was one of the first LGBT-related RIOTs in U.S. history. Occurring in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, at a time when drag queens and trans people were enduring police harassment, the RIOT began when a transgender woman resisted arrest after she threw coffee at a police officer. In 2006, to mark the 40th anniversary of Compton's Cafeteria RIOT, a marker was placed to commemorate the location.
  • EVIL (51D: Adjective that describes It) Tricky clue! Did you notice that the word "It" is capitalized? This tells us that It refers to the EVIL title character of Stephen King's 1986 novel, and the 2017 movie adaptation of the novel. It, also known as Pennywise, is an ancient EVIL that awakens every 27 years. I would tell you more about the novel and movie, except I would probably have nightmares about it. (When I was a child, I had nightmares about Barnaby Jones and The Rockford Files - I'm highly susceptible!) Needless to say, I haven't read the book or watched the movie. On a related, but lighter note, my husband has been told multiple times that he resembles Stephen King. I'll let you decide. 

Geography review:
  • RUPEE (14A: Coin that may be minted in Mumbai) Mumbai is the second-largest city in India, following Delhi. The Indian RUPEE is the official currency of India.
Look at this puzzle! I enjoyed focusing on this collection of EYES. In addition to the theme material, I particularly enjoyed LET LOOSE, SELF-MADE, and FLAMINGO. This puzzle was a LIVELY and lovely way to begin my Friday.


  1. There was also a bonus answer: EVIL eye, a way to cast a malevolent SPELL.

    I'll 'eye-tail it out of here now.

    1. You're absolutely right - good catch! Somehow I over-looked that one... ;-0

  2. Re your husband vs Stephen King: I see it! (pun unintended haha)


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