July 9, 2021


Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
WENT ASTRAY (17A: Became lost)
WEDNESDAY (30A: Daughter of Morticia Addams)
WATER LILY (46A: Flowering pond plant)
WATCH PARTY (61A: Gathering with a TV)

Theme synopsis: We FIND the word WAY AROUND each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • POGO (16A: Word before "stick" or "cello") I am familiar with the POGO stick, the stick with a spring at the bottom that people more coordinated than me can stand on and bounce about on. (Have you heard of extreme POGO?) POGO was my first thought for a word to precede stick, but I was not familiar with the POGO cello. A POGO cello is a homemade percussion instrument seen in some jug bands, folk bands, and bluegrass bands. A POGO cello is similar to a stumpf fiddle, and instead of explaining the instrument in detail, I'm going to refer you to the linked video for a fantastic explanation of this fun instrument.
  • CABARET (21A: Musical featured in "Love, Simon") Love, Simon is a 2018 movie telling the story of the title character, a closeted gay high school boy coming to terms with his identity. In the movie, Simon's high school is putting on a production of CABARET. In the novel the movie is based on, Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the high school musical that is featured is Oliver! However, the film makers couldn't get the rights for Oliver! and so CABARET was chosenLove, Simon is on my (rather lengthy) "to watch" list, so I didn't immediately know this answer. However, once I had a few letters filled in, I was able to figure out CABARET, which I have seen. 
  • PAINT (27A: Artistic medium for Frank Buffalo Hyde) Frank Buffalo Hyde's PAINTings combine aspects of pop culture, such as images from advertising and movies, with Native American ideas. He traces his heritage to the Nez Perce and Onondaga, and grew up in New York on the Onondaga reservation. 
  • ELIZA (39A: Dushku or Doolittle) ELIZA Dushku is an actress and producer. She played the role of Faith Lehane in the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. ELIZA Doolittle is the fictional protagonist of the 1913 George  Bernard Shaw play, Pygmalion, and its 1958 musical adaptation, My Fair Lady. This is a nice example of a clue that offers two examples, and therefore gives a solver two possible ways to arrive at the answer. I was familiar with ELIZA Doolittle, and today I learned about ELIZA Dushku.
  • GREEN TEA (38D: Kit Kat flavor) "Wait, what?!" That's a direct quote from me after figuring out this answer. I had no idea such a variety existed. Apparently Kit Kats are extremely popular in Japan, where the candy is often given as a gift of good luck. NestlĂ© has introduced over 36 different flavors of Kit Kat in Japan since 2000, including matcha. GREEN TEA Kit Kats are not produced in the United States, but are sometimes available in international food stores or specialty markets.
  • GOON (54D: Hockey enforcer) An enforcer, or GOON, is an unofficial role in ice hockey. The GOON's job is to respond to dirty or violent play by the opposing team by fighting or checking the offending player. Once again, crossword puzzles are expanding my sports knowledge.
  • AWAY (55D: "The Ones Who Walk ___ From Omelas") "The Ones Who Walk AWAY From Omelas" is a short story by Ursula K. LeGuin. The story is about a summer festival in Omelas, a utopian city where prosperity is dependent on the misery of a single child. I was not familiar with this story, but the answer was easily inferable. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • WEDNESDAY (30A: Daughter of Morticia Addams) The Addams Family, originally from a cartoon by Charles Addams and then adapted into a TV show, consists of parents Morticia and Gomez Addams, and their children WEDNESDAY and Pugsley. The extended family includes Uncle Fester, Grandmama, their butler Lurch, and Cousin Itt.
  • PONG (37A: Ping-___) Ping PONG was the name of our dog of 14 years that
    we had to say goodbye to last December. We adopted Ping PONG from a shelter who had given her the name because when she got excited she jumped up and down like a Ping PONG ball. We opted to keep the name because it fit her so well. Sometimes crossword puzzles lead you on unexpected trips down memory lane. Ping PONG was as goofy as her name, and we have fond memories of her.
  • CAT BED (56A: Where Whiskers may sleep) Willow's response to this clue was, "This entire house is my CAT BED."
  • ENYA (67A: "May It Be" singer) "May it Be" was composed by ENYA and Roma Ryan for the 2001 movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • ANYA (9D: "Split" actress Taylor-Joy) Split is a 2016 horror movie about a man with 24 personalities who kidnaps three teenage girls. ANYA Taylor-Joy played the role of Casey Cooke. ANYA Taylor-Joy also played the role of Beth Harmon in The Queen's Gambit. 
  • ZAYN (40D: "Pillowtalk" singer Malik) ZAYN Malik is a former member of the boy band One Direction. ZAYN left One Direction in 2015 to pursue a solo career. "Pillowtalk" was the lead single  from his 2016 debut album, Mind of Mine
  • CEO (63D: Rosalind Brewer's title at Walgreens) I'm always a fan of clues for CEO being used to highlight women in that position. Rosalind Brewer was appointed as CEO of Walgreens in March 2021, making her the only Black woman to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Geography review:
  • EURO (19A: Coin in Cannes) Cannes is a city in France on the French Riviera, where the currency is the EURO. Cannes is the host of the annual Cannes Film Festival. This is the fourth day in a row we've had a currency-related clue in the puzzle. We've now had two PESOs and two EUROs. 
  • OTTAWA (49D: Canadian capital) OTTAWA is located in southeastern Ontario, at the junction of three major rivers: the OTTAWA River, the Gatineau River, and the Rideau River. OTTAWA, as the clue indicates, is the capital city of Canada.
Aren't you glad you found your WAY to this delightful puzzle? I enjoyed the theme today, particularly the theme answer WENT ASTRAY, as it seems particularly appropriate for (or perhaps in need of...) a puzzle titled FIND YOUR WAY AROUND. I enjoyed the inner dialogue of the puzzle: I'M NOT READY! and IT'S A GO, along with SPEAKS TO and POURED IT ON. I learned a lot from today's puzzle, as you can see from my comments above, but the puzzle flowed smoothly and even things I wasn't familiar with were accessible. This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Friday.


  1. Despite being a Michigander, and so having seen a number of Stanley Cup playoffs in my time, I admit I only knew GOON because I just finished reading Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley, where both hockey and GOONs feature prominently. And I would totally recommend that book to you -- I think you'd very much enjoy it! https://birchbarkbooks.com/all-online-titles/firekeepers-daughter

    1. Oh, thank you for the book recommendation, Bethany! Just read the synopsis and it definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy! (In fact, I may have just ordered it...)

  2. thanks as always for the stellar write-up! I highly recommend giving the kitkats a try if you ever come across them. and thank you for sharing the sweet memories of beautiful Ping Pong <3

    1. Always my pleasure!
      I will definitely be on the lookout for GREEN TEA Kit Kats - my curiosity is piqued!

  3. Wow on both the pogo videos! When I first saw that clue, I thought of punji sticks, but didn't think that would pass the breakfast test. Perps gave POGO, which went well with sticks, but not cello. Thanks for the explanation. And those pogo sticks! I could never bounce on one, but seeing it combined with skateboarding and parkour was WOW!

  4. An interesting tidbit about Omelas:


    1. That was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing it.

    2. @Sally,

      Thank You! I can't begin to express how grateful I am for that random clue that sent me to your blog.

      To find out that I did not in fact spend my mornings alone solving this puzzle before I "attempted" to tackle my day...

      This week I was a day late even, as my IT crew can finally fly, and there the puzzle was and once again your blog.

      My deepest THANKS for providing connection when I needed it.

      T = Oregon native - Le Guin fan.

    3. I'm also thankful for that clue that led you to finding my blog!


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