October 23, 2021


Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
PRACTICE COURT (18A: Training space for a basketball team)
PSYCHIC ENERGY (36A: Force that drives mental activity)
LICORICE STICK (55A: Bendy candy)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer has the word ICE at its CENTER.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: Happy Mole Day! I hope you enjoy solving this puzzle as much as I enjoyed writing it — I think the variety in the content spanned by the theme answers is delightful. Amanda is to thank for the fabulously evocative clues for 7D and 25D, which I love.

Things I learned:
  • ARI (34A: Singer and playwright Afsar) As a singer, ARI Afsar competed on Season 8 of American Idol in 2009, placing in the top 36. She also originated the role of Eliza in the Chicago production of Hamilton, playing the role from 2016 to 2018. As a playwright, ARI Afsar wrote the music and lyrics to the musical We Won't Sleep (formerly titled Jeannette). We Won't Sleep, which will premiere next May, tells the story of Jeannette Rankin, the first U.S. congresswoman. 
  • ROSS (66A: TransTech Summit founder Angelica) Angelica ROSS played the role of Paige in the 2016 web series, Her Story, and the role of Candy Johnson-Ferocity in the TV series, Pose. She is also a self-taught computer programmer, and the founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, which holds an annual TransTech Summit.
  • ARYA (35D: "Sakhavu" artist Dhayal) In 2016, a video of singer, musician and social media content creator, ARYA Dhayal, reciting the poem, "Sakhavu," went viral. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • DAY (42A: ___ of the Dead) DAY of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2. It is a time to pray for and remember family and friends who have died.
  • ASGARD (49A: Home to the Norse gods) In Norse mythology, ASGARD is a fortified home associated with the gods.
  • OTTAWA (3D: Another name for the Odawa) The OTTAWA, or Odawa, are an Indigenous ethnic group in the United States and Canada.
  • LIN (10D: "Ghost Forest" creator Maya) Ghost Forest is a public art installation by Maya LIN. Forty-nine dead cedar trees were installed in New York City's Madison Square Park to raise awareness of the devastating effects of climate change. An audio tour accompanies the artwork, which will be on display through November. In this four-minute documentary, you can hear Maya LIN talk about Ghost Forest. Maya LIN's other works include the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.
  • MIA (16D: "Mamma ___!") I admit I'm highlighting this answer so I can link to the 1975 ABBA song, "Mamma MIA," that became the title of the musical based on ABBA songs. 
  • TMI (26D: "That, my friend, was a big overshare") This is a fabulous clue! I can just hear someone gently informing their pal, "That, my friend, was a big overshare." Such a gentle reminder. TMI = Too Much Information.
  • ARE (30D: "You ___ My Sunshine") The song "You ARE My Sunshine," is over 80 years old, has been recorded by over 350 artists, and has been heard in over 100 movies. The song featured in a 1997 episode of The Simpsons - Marge sends a recording of herself singing "You ARE My Sunshine," to her daughter. 
  • PROS (36D: Arguments in the column) I have a feeling this clue is supposed to read [Arguments in the + column]. I noticed there's an extra space in the app where the "+" might be, but that space disappeared when I printed the puzzle. Reading the clue without the "+," I originally had "op-ed." Quickly straightened out by crossing answers.

    Geography review:
    • UCLA (8A: School near Beverly Hills) The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been located just west of Beverly Hills since 1925. UCLA is the second oldest of the University of California's 10 campuses. (UC Berkeley is the oldest.)
    • MALAY (16A: One of Singapore's official languages) Singapore is an island city-state (a country that exists completely within the borders of a single city) in Southeast Asia. It lies just off the tip of the MALAY Peninsula. Singapore has four official languages: English, MALAY, Mandarin, and Tamil.
    • EURO (65A: Currency in Portugal) Portugal is located on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, and is the westernmost country in mainland Europe. The only country to share a land border with Portugal is Spain. The Atlantic Ocean borders Portugal's west and south sides. The capital of Portugal is Lisbon, and as the clue tells us, its currency is the EURO.
    • INDY (57D: Home to the WNBA's Fever, for short) WNBA's Indiana Fever is based in Indianapolis, or INDY. The team was founded in 2000, has qualified for the WNBA Finals in 13 of its seasons, and won the WNBA Championship in 2012.
    ICE takes CENTER stage in today's puzzle. A solid (pun intended) set of theme answers here, and a title that told me just what to expect. Did you notice the positive PSYCHIC ENERGY of this puzzle? With an AYE, a YES, and a few NODS, the PROS definitely have it, offset only by a single ANTI. In addition to the answers highlighted above, I also enjoyed SEA GLASS, SHOWDOWNS, and the sassy "DO YOU MIND?" This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Saturday.