August 18, 2021


Constructor: Caitlin Reid

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
KAMALA KHAN (16A: Character also known as Ms. Marvel)
KRIS KRINGLE (34A: Santa Claus, by another name)
KRISPY KREME (40A: Doughnut chain)
KUNTA KINTE (62A: Main character in Roots)

Theme synopsis: Each word in the theme answers begins with the letter K, the symbol sometimes used to indicate a thousand dollars, or a GRAND.

Things I learned:
  • SONIA (54D: Artist Gomes) SONIA Gomes creates sculptures by combining used fabrics (discarded or gifted to her) with found objects. In 1994, when she was in her mid-40s, she gave up a career in law to attend the Guignard University of Art. In describing her art, SONIA Gomes says, "My work is Black, it is feminine, and it is marginal. I am a rebel. I never worried about masking or stifling anything that might or might not fit standards of what is called art...My work is Brazilian."
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • CAKE (6A: Birthday indulgence) If it is your birthday today, happy birthday and enjoy some CAKE! Honestly, whether or not today is your birthday, feel free to indulge in CAKE!
  • KAMALA KHAN (16A: Character also known as Ms. Marvel) In the Marvel Universe, KAMALA KHAN is a Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey with shapeshifting abilities. Her alter ego is Ms. Marvel. (She took over as Ms. Marvel when Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel.) We saw KAMALA KHAN in the February 23, 2021 puzzle in the clue for ALTER EGO [Ms. Marvel, for Kamala Khan].
  • DIWALI (24A: Festival celebrated during Kartika) DIWALI is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated during the Hindu month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).
  • KRISPY KREME (40A: Doughnut chain) The first KRISPY KREME store opened in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. KRISPY KREME doughnuts are now sold around the world, with stores in 32 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, South Africa, and Qatar.
  • PAWS (48A: Cat's feet) Here's a photo of a couple of cat PAWS,
    attached to Lily, one of my son's cats. I liked that this answer was followed by the similar-sounding PAUSED (50A: Temporarily stopped)
  • KUNTA KINTE (62A: Main character in Roots) The 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family tells the story of KUNTA KINTE, a Gambian man captured and sent to the United States where he was enslaved. In the 1977 miniseries adaptation of Roots, the role of KUNTA KINTE was played by LeVar Burton.
  • NAS (68A: "Sun Goes Down" singer Lil ___ X) Lil NAS X released the song, "Sun Goes Down," in May of this year.
  • AMANDA (4D: National Youth Poet Laureate Gorman) I occasionally revisit AMANDA Gorman's amazing poem, "The Hill We Climb," which she read at President Biden's inauguration in January of this year.
  • KGB (64D: Spy org. in "The Americans") The Americans is a TV series that originally aired from 2013 to 2018. The show was set during the Cold War, and told the story of two KGB spies posing as a married couple living in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

    Geography review:
    • ROMAN (3D: From the capital of Italy) Not only is Rome the capital of Italy, it is also the only city with a country inside its borders. The smallest country in the world, Vatican City, is surrounded by Rome.
    • MALTA (44D: Island nation in the Mediterranean) MALTA is a Southern European country south of Italy. The capital of MALTA is Valletta.
    This is a 10K puzzle! In addition to the 8 Ks found in the theme answers, the word KHAKI contributes two more Ks to make an even 10 GRAND...I mean, 10K. I began to notice all the Ks even before I figured out the theme. The fill is smooth all around, an impressive feat, as the letter K can sometimes be challenging in a grid. EXIT POLLS and TEARING UP were nice long non-theme answers. My favorite pair of clues today are the consecutive and echoed clues for IDEA (66A: "Good ___!" ("Nice thinking!")) and GRIEF (67A: "Good ___! ("Jeez!")). This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Wednesday.
    When Mollie Cowger filled in for me last Saturday, she mentioned Lollapuzzoola, the virtual crossword puzzle tournament happening this Saturday, August 21. I just wanted to lift up that information again. I participated in Lollapuzzoola last year, and it was a great deal of fun. (This year I'll be solving the puzzles after the tournament, but I'm still looking forward to that!) Lollapuzzoola is having a mini-dress rehearsal tonight with two practice puzzles. (I'm also going to miss this, darn it!)