September 7, 2021


Constructor: Rafael Musa

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
BAG CHECK (17A: Airport procedure that involves a scale)
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK (40A: Good value)
BAR TRICK (66A: Turning water into whiskey, e.g.)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer cuts the word BACK, placing the BA- at beginning of the answer, and the -CK at the end.

Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • SEN (23A: Raphael Warnock, e.g. (Abbr.)) Raphael Warnock is a U.S. SENator from Georgia. He was elected in a special runoff election in January of this year. He is also the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
  • A LA (34A: Arroz ___ cubana) Arroz A LA cubana, or Cuban-style rice, is a dish consisting of rice and a fried egg, and tomato sauce. It is often accompanied with plantain or banana. 
  • RAGS (37A: Joplin pieces) Ragtime is a musical style characterized by syncopated rhythm. It was popular in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Scott Joplin was known for his RAGS. His compositions include "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer." Several of Scott Joplins RAGS, including "The Entertainer," were featured in the 1973 movie, The Sting
  • EMUS (45A: Second-largest birds by height) EMUS come second in height after their relatives, the ostriches. EMUS can reach heights of up to 75 inches (7 feet 3 inches). 
  • SINGER (54A: Lizzo, for one) In addition to being a SINGER, Lizzo is also a songwriter and flutist. Her latest song, "Rumors," was released last month. 
  • TIMON (61A: Pumbaa's pal in "The Lion King") and FRITTATA (42D: Dish similar to an omelet or quiche) It made me so happy to see these two answers intersecting! I know they seem unrelated, but in my mind they are. In Disney's movie The Lion King, TIMON (a meerkat) and Pumbaa (a warthog) sing the fabulous song, "Hakuna Matata" (written by Elton John and Tim Rice). A FRITTATA, as the clue tells us, is an egg dish. It's made in a skillet, and resembles a crustless quiche. Now, you may notice that "Matata" and "FRITTATA" rhyme. When I prepare a FRITTATA for my family, I always sing to them. (Singing is not one of my talents, mind you!) "Hakuna FRITTATA...It means no hunger for the rest of your day...It's a hunger-free philosophy...Hakuna FRITTATA!" 
  • NORMA (63A: Fashion designer Kamali) Fashion designer NORMA Kamali is known for the sleeping bag coat. I learned about NORMA Kamali from the July 13, 2021 puzzle. 
  • BAR TRICK (66A: Turning water into whiskey, e.g.) Here's an article that will tell you how to do this BAR TRICK and several others. 
  • OPI (69A: Nail polish brand with the color Two Baroque Pearls) Two Baroque Pearls is a shade of "icy blue pearl," in case you were wondering. 
  • AKBAR (1D: "Allahu ___" ("God is greater")) Allahu AKBAR is an Arabic phrase used by Muslims and Arabs around the world. 
  • ASK OF (7D: "All I ___ of you..." ("My one request...")) I'm guessing this is a typo and the "of" is not supposed to be in the clue. Edited to add: I understand it was correct in the print version of the puzzle, and this minor error was only in the online version.)
  • ONCE (32D: First word of "Into the Woods") Into the Woods is a 1986 Broadway musical on which a 2014 movie of the same name was based. The musical intertwines the plots of several fairy tales. "ONCE upon a time..." 
  • LANA (35D: Del Rey with the album "Honeymoon") LANA Del Rey released her album, Honeymoon, in 2015. The album features the singles, "High by the Beach," and "Music to Watch Boys To."
  • AIN'T (50D: "___ It Fun" (2014 Paramore hit)) "AIN'T It Fun" is a 2013 song by the rock band Paramore. The music video for the song shows the band attempting to break a number of world records, such as the number of clocks smashed by guitars. 
  • PO'BOY (53D: Louisiana sandwich) I have previously written about PO'BOYs and muffuletta. 

    Geography review:
    • OMANI (39A: Muscat native) Muscat is the capital of Oman.
    • KANSAS (71A: The "K" of "KCMO") KCMO = KANSAS City, Missouri, a city located on the border of KANSAS and Missouri.
    • LIMA (59D: Largest city in Peru) LIMA is also the capital of Peru, in addition to being its largest city.
    • NAPA (62D: California wine region) Thanks to a combination of favorable climate, geography, and geology, NAPA Valley in California is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world.
    • BOS (65D: Logan airport code) Logan International Airport is located in BOSton, Massachusetts. The airport is named after General Edward Lawrence Logan, a native Bostonian who was a lawyer, judge, military officer, and politician.
    There was so much in this crossword I wanted to highlight and talk about that I had to CUT BACK! I highlighted plenty anyway, as you can see, but I didn't even talk about BANG FOR YOUR BUCK - a nice grid-spanning theme answer. I also haven't yet mentioned how much I like the clue for SHE (5D: Nevertheless, ___ persisted"). I enjoyed all of the musical references in today's puzzle. Scott Joplin, Lizzo, Paramore, LANA Del Rey, and my addition of "Hakuna Matata" - a little something for everyone. This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Tuesday.