August 6, 2021


Constructor: Erik Agard

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
TRIBAL CONSENT (19A: Topic in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
THE KISS QUOTIENT (36A: 2018 Helen Huang novel)
TWENTY PERCENT (51A: One-fifth)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is IN the word TENT.

Things I learned:
  • THE KISS QUOTIENT (36A: 2018 Helen Hoang novel) Helen Hoang's 2018 novel, THE KISS QUOTIENT, tells the story of Stella Lane, a woman with Asperger's. French kissing reminds Stella of "a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish." Stella hires an escort to help her practice and experience all aspects of being in a relationship. Writer Helen Hoang was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2016, and her journey inspired this romance novel.
  • SADIE (46A: The ___ Collective (group for Black women in economics) The SADIE Collective is named after Dr. SADIE Tanner Mossell Alexander, the first Black woman in the United States to earn her doctorate in economics. Dr. SADIE Alexander received her doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1921, but due to racial barriers, was unable to find work in her field. Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman and Fanta Traore co-founded The SADIE Collective in 2018 with the mission of addressing the "pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in economics and related fields. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • TRIBAL CONSENT (19A: Topic in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) The United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. The legally non-binding resolution addresses TRIBAL CONSENT, and emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain their own institutions, cultures, and traditions. Although the United States was one of four United Nations members to vote against the Declaration, in 2010 President Obama announced the United States would support it. The other three countries opposing the Declaration - Australia, Canada, and New Zealand - have also reversed their position. 
  • YES (64A: Incorrect answer to "Is today Opposite Day?") Ha! This clue made me laugh. Did you know there's a National Opposite Day? It's January 25. One conundrum if you are celebrating Opposite Day is there is not a good way to tell people it's Opposite Day. If you say, "It's Opposite Day," it means is is not, and vice versa. Such silliness...I am a fan. This clue made me wonder if anyone has constructed a puzzle titled Opposite Day where all the answers are clued using antonyms. Perhaps an idea for January 25, 2022?
  • EEK (27D: Scared sound) I don't always write about particular errors I make while solving, as trial and error is simply part of the solving process. However, sometimes errors lead to funny answers. I first entered "eep" here instead of EEK, and did not realize the error until I finished the puzzle. This led to an interesting title for Helen Hoang's novel at 36-Across...eep!
  • ANITA (34D: "You Bring Me Joy" singer Baker) "You Bring Me Joy" is a song from ANITA Baker's 1986 album, Rapture, an album that was ranked number 404 on Rolling Stone's 2020 list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
  • I'LL (39D: "___ Take You There" (Staple Singers hit)) "I'LL Take You There" was written by Al Bell, and recorded by The Staple Singers in 1972. The song reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Bebe & CeCe Winans recorded "I'LL Take You There" in 1991, with Mavis Staples as a guest artist. In 1994, the band General Public covered the song.
Geography review:
  • OMAHA (23D: Nebraska City) Well, hello OMAHA, seems like we just saw you in yesterday's puzzle. OMAHA, located on the Missouri River, is Nebraska's largest city.
  • PERU (53D: Country north of Chile) In addition to Chile, PERU's other South American neighbors include Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia. The capital of PERU is Lima.
  • NOLA (55D: Mardi Gras city, for short) New Orleans, Louisiana, or NOLA, is well-known for its Mardi Gras festival. Technically Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent in the Christian tradition. However, NOLA celebrates Mardi Gras for approximately two weeks prior to Ash Wednesday. We have some friends that have a Mardi Gras-themed dinner party every year. They used to try and have it around the time of Mardi Gras, but with the scheduling challenges involved with getting eight to ten people together, they finally decided Mardi Gras is a state of mind, and now have it whenever it happens to work out. The Mardi Gras dinner party didn't happen last year, of course, for the first time in over 25 years. However, all involved are now vaccinated, so in a couple of weeks I will be celebrating Mardi Gras in August.
The INTENT of today's puzzle is to provide theme answers that appear IN the word TENT. I enjoy when the puzzle's theme requires a different parsing of the title. I guessed from the title what was going on, but it was still fun to discover. It almost seems as if this puzzle is scaring itself, with two scared sounds - GULP and EEK - and a surprised breath - GASP. I enjoyed the paired clues for PUREE and BLEND [Liquefy in the kitchen] and the clue for TMI (1D: "Eww, don't finish that story!") Other fun answers: ALL TOO FEW, NONSTOP, and PEDESTALS. This puzzle was a great start to my Friday.


  1. oh no, i hadn't thought of EEP as a possible answer for that clue and now i feel terrible ��sorry Helen Hoang

    thank you as always for the wonderful review!

    1. As EEK appears in crosswords approximately 275 times more frequently than EEK (yes, I did look that up...), I'm likely the only one who made that error! Also, I'm buying Helen Hoang's book :-)


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