May 30, 2021


Constructor: Evan Kalish

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
I CAN RELATE (17A: Empathetic comment)
INHERITANCE (34A: What an heir receives)
IT'S NOT A RACE (40A: "Slow down!")
INNER PEACE (60A: Spiritual calm)

Theme synopsis: The letter string I-C-E is split and found at the edges of each theme answer, providing a FRAME of ICE.

Things I learned:
  • ANNA (13D: Actress ___ Maria Horsford) ANNA Maria Horsford's acting credits include the role of Thelma Frye on the 1986-1991 TV series, Amen, the role of Pray Tell's (Billy Porter's) mother on a recent episode of the TV show, Pose, and many roles in between. In 2011, ANNA Maria Horsford was the tourism ambassador for the Caribbean island, Antigua. Her parents immigrated from Antigua to the U.S. before she was born.
  • TENS (32D: Canadian bills featuring Viola Desmond) Civil rights activist and businesswoman, Viola Desmond was the first woman to appear alone on Canadian banknotes. (Canadian politician Agnes Macphail appeared with three men on a 2017 small print run commemorative note.) In 1946, Viola Desmond was arrested for sitting in the "whites only" section of a theater. The ensuing legal battle helped end segregation in Nova Scotia. The TENS featuring Viola Desmond were issued in 2018. The bills featuring Viola Desmond won the International Bank Note of the Year Award in 2018. (Did you know such an award existed?)
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • FIESTA (22A: Annual San Antonio celebration) FIESTA San Antonio, also known as the Battle of the Flowers, is held annually in San Antonio, Texas to commemorate the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. The name Battle of the Flowers dates back to the festival's beginning in 1891, when some women decorated baby buggies and bicycles with live flowers, met in front of the Alamo, and threw flowers at each other.
  • EATS (64A: Enjoys some shabu-shabu, say) I've written about shabu-shabu before, and one of those times was for another Evan Kalish construction, when the word EAT was clued [Enjoy some shabu-shabu, say]. Whether I EAT, or she EATS, if one is enjoying shabu-shabu, they are eating a Japanese hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables served with dipping sauces. Its onomatopoeic name is derived from the sound made when the ingredients are stirred in the cooking pot. 
  • DOLL (63A: Barbie Shero, e.g.) In 2018, Barbie released a line of Shero DOLLs to showcase extraordinary women. Women featured include Dame Valerie Adams (Shot-putter), Manasi Joshi (Para-Badminton World Champion), Nyimas Bunga Cinta (Skateboarder athlete), and Rasanna Marziale (Chef). We've also seen this clue in a previous Evan Kalish puzzle, though that time DOLLS was plural. (For the record, there's absolutely nothing wrong with repeating good clues - especially months apart!)
  • IMAM (3D: Eid Salat leader) An IMAM is an Islamic worship leader. Eid Salat, or Salat al-Eid, are special prayers offered during the celebration of the Islamic festivals Eid al-Fitr (after Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (during the Day of Arafah, the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage).
  • HALAL (6D: Opposite of haram) In Islamic dietary laws, HALAL designates foods that are lawful or allowed, in contrast to haram, the designation for forbidden foods.
  • STEFANI (9D: "Slow Clap" singer Gwen) Gwen STEFANI released "Slow Clap" on March 11, 2021. A version of the song with STEFANI and rapper Saweetie was released April 9, 2021. Check out their nails in the video!
  • ELLEN (18D: Astronaut Ochoa) ELLEN Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to go to space. If you haven't yet solved my May 20 contribution to the 7xwords project yet, this information will give you an advantage!
  • CARLA (26D: Chef Hall) Chef Carla Hall was a contestant on Season 5 of the reality cooking competition, Top Chef. Although finishing as a runner up, she became popular, in part for her positive attitude. She returned in Season 8 on Top Chef: All Stars. I'm a fan of CARLA Hall, and was excited to see her in the puzzle.
  • BRIS (33D: Rite overseen by a mohel) A mohel is a Jew trained in BRIS, a religious male circumcision ceremony. 
  • CROC (52D: Reptile with a V-shaped snout, for short) The shape of the snout is one of the nine characteristic differences between CROCs and gators. Alligators have a u-shaped snout.
  • MEET (58D: ___-cute (rom-com encounter)) The MEET-cute is the TV or movie scene where a future romantic couple meets for the first time. The circumstances of the meeting are often humorous or unusual.
Geography review:
  • BOISE (1A: Capital of Idaho) BOISE is also the most populous city in Idaho. Its nickname is "The City of Trees."
Whatever your morning experience has been, this puzzle has you covered. Were you tired, and did you want to stay in bed? I CAN RELATE! Or did you jump out of bed and eagerly try to do many things all at once? Hey, IT'S NOT A RACE! (Well, unless you are running a 5K or a marathon this morning...) In spite of the puzzle's title, I didn't feel as if it was putting the FREEZE on me. This was an enjoyable solve to begin my Sunday morning.