July 30, 2021


Constructor: Stella Zawistowski

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
DENTAL INSURANCE (18A: Health coverage for teeth)
DUTCH RESISTANCE (37A: Netherlands-based movement during World War II)
DEBUT APPEARANCE (58A: First performance)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer BREAKs the word DANCE so that the D- occurs at the beginning of the theme answer and -ANCE at the end.

Things I learned:
  • GRAM (1A: Do it for the ___) The GRAM here is the social media platform, InstaGRAM. "Do it for the GRAM" is a phrase used to refer to doing something with the specific purpose of posting it on InstaGRAM. This could be posing for the perfect photo (and applying the perfect filter), trying out products to convince your followers to do the same, or performing some outlandish (and sometimes dangerous) stunt. I'm sure I've heard this saying at some time, but it did not immediately come to mind when I read this clue.
  • TOFU (30A: Douhua ingredient) Douhua is a snack originating in China, and made with tender TOFU. It is softer than silken TOFU, and is sometimes referred to as TOFU pudding, or TOFU brains.
  • HAS (55D: "Stella Diaz ___ Something to Say") Stella Díaz HAS Something to Say is a middle-grade novel by Angela Dominguez. The book is based on the author's own experiences growing up, the book tells the story of a young girl navigating new experiences. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • DUTCH RESISTANCE (37A: Netherlands-based movement during World War II) Before the Germans invaded the Netherlands in World War II, the country had a policy of neutrality. After the Netherlands was invaded and when DUTCH Jews began to be arrested, a DUTCH RESISTANCE movement grew. In 1980, a DUTCH RESISTANCE museum opened in Amsterdam. 
  • AKA (42A: Nora Lum ___ Awkwafina) Nora Lum is also known as (AKA) actress, comedian, and rapper Awkwafina. She stars as a fictionalized version of herself in the TV series Awkwafina is Nora from Queens
  • CHE (54A: Revolutionary Guevara) CHE Guevara was a major figure in the Cuban Revolution. He served as Minister of Industries of Cuba from 1961-1965, and was executed in Bolivia in 1967. As a historical figure, CHE Guevara is revered by some groups, and reviled by others. Time magazine named CHE Guevara one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century
  • EDIE (70A: "What I Am" singer Brickell) "What I Am" is a 1988 song by EDIE Brickell & New Bohemians.
  • GLADS (1D: Happy-sounding flowers, for short) Gladiolus, or GLADS for short, are flowers in the iris family. My dad used to grow GLADS, and my sister has continued that tradition. GLADS provide me with glad memories!
  • TUTU (7D: Skirt for Misty Copeland) Misty Copeland is a ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre. The 2015 documentary, A Ballerina's Tale, is narrated by Copeland, and discusses the challenges she's faced as a Black woman in the ballet world. 
  • GRIST (13D: Grain that's ground to make flour) GRIST is grain- such as wheat, oats, barley, etc. - that has been separated from its chaff, or protective coating, and is ready for grinding.
  • ARETHA (19D: "Respect" singer Franklin) "Respect" was written, and originally recorded by Otis Redding, but it was ARETHA Franklin's 1967 recording that made the song popular. 
  • STOKER (35D: "Dracula" author Bram) Bram STOKER's novel, Dracula, was originally published in 1897. It is an epistolatory book, told through letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles. The novel has, of course, been the basis for numerous movies and plays. 
  • DAME (58D: Title for Julie Andrews) Always happy to see the great DAME Julie Andrews in a puzzle. Julie Andrews was made a DAME by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, for services to the performing arts.
Geography review:
  • OCEANS (64A: Arctic and Atlantic, for two) It's been a while since we've had a geography quiz. Can you name Earth's other three OCEANS? Answer at the bottom of this blog post.
  • KSU (46D: Sch. near Topeka) Kansas State University (KSU) is located in Manhattan, Kansas, approximately 55 miles west of Topeka.
  • ARAB (62D: The A in UAE) The United ARAB Emirates, or UAE, is a country in Western Asia, located on the Arabian Peninsula.
Friday is a good day to take a DANCE BREAK and BREAK DANCE. Alternatively, if you are not too coordinated (that's me!) perhaps it's a good day to solve a puzzle that BREAKs DANCE in the theme answers. Always fun to see grid-spanning theme answers, though none of these felt particularly flashy. (Then again, it's a BREAK DANCE puzzle, not a flash DANCE puzzle...) I enjoyed seeing GLADS and SAD crossing in the grid, and the mini-conversation in the middle of the puzzle with I'D SAY and FYI. Plenty of sparkly "bonus" fill today: SECRET, DYNAMO, DOWNTOWN, UKULELES, TACO BELL to give SPECIFIC examples. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Friday.

Answer to geography quiz: In addition to the Arctic and Atlantic, Earth's OCEANS include the Indian, Pacific, and Southern (also known as the Antarctic).


  1. i am no longer able to find the daily puzzle
    can you shoot me a link that will go directly to the puzzle and not to the main puzzle page?

    1. Hey, Steve, I can't come up with a link that goes directly to the day's puzzle, but when I use this link, the day's crossword is at the top of the page: https://puzzles.usatoday.com


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