October 28, 2021


Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editor: Amanda Rafkin
(Note: Although Erik Agard is listed as the puzzle's editor online, Erik let me know that was an error, so I've given Amanda the proper credit here.)

Theme Answers:
CANDY STORE (3D: Shop with jelly bean dispensers)
OPEN HOUSE (8D: Real estate event)
SAND DOLLAR (28D: Flat sea urchin thought to resemble a coin)
STATUS QUO (33D: The way things are)

Theme synopsis: The HIGHest word of each vertical theme answer is a type of BAR. We have a CANDY BAR, an OPEN BAR, a SAND BAR, and a STATUS BAR.

Things I learned:
  • SAD (44A: "Everything ___ is Untrue") Everything SAD is Untrue (a true story) is an autobiographical novel by Daniel Nayeri. The novel is the story of an Iranian refugee - called Daniel - growing up in Oklahoma. This short video clip of Daniel Nayeri reading from his book and talking about his mother ("she's only about as tall as a houseplant and she bakes nonstop") definitely made me want to check it out.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • MARLEE (40A: Matlin of "The L Word") MARLEE Matlin appeared in Seasons 4 through 6 of the TV series, The L Word. She played the role of sculptor, Jodi Lerner, the girlfriend of main character, Bette Porter (portrayed by Jennifer Beals). 
  • PRENATAL (42A: Like some high-in-folic-acid vitamins) A diet deficient in folate before and during pregnancy increases the chances of a child being born with spina bifida, a birth defect resulting when a baby's neural tube (housing the spinal cord) does not develop or close properly. The high folic acid content of PRENATAL vitamins helps prevent spina bifida. October, as my friend Megan reminds me every year, is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. I encourage you to take some time today to learn more about spina bifida
  • SALSAS (50A: Pico de gallo and xnipec, e.g.) Pico de gallo (Spanish for "rooster's beak") is a SALSA made from fresh tomatoes, onion, peppers, salt, lime juice, and cilantro. Xnipec (meaning "dog snout") is a spicy SALSA made with habanero pepper, purple onion, bitter orange juice, and salt.
  • CANDY STORE (3D: Shop with jelly bean dispensers) You might want to visit a CANDY STORE today. You can buy jelly beans, but add in a chocolate CANDY BAR to your purchases as well, because today is National Chocolate Day. Now there's a holiday worth celebrating! 
  • TONE (6D: It might be tough to convey in a text message) and WAS (7D: "Well, that ___ awkward...") As I read these consecutive clues, it occurred to me that the inability of text messages to convey TONE has likely led to many "Well, that WAS awkward..." moments.
  • DEER (11D: Animals on some crossing signs) DEER crossing signs are the most prevalent animal crossing signs in Iowa where I live. On our recent trip to Colorado, my husband and I enjoyed seeing the variety of animal crossing signs: DEER, elk, big-horn sheep, and moose. We facetiously wondered if the animals ever crossed the road at the wrong crossing. Here's a delightful article about interesting animal crossing signs from around the world. 
  • SAND DOLLAR (28D: Flat sea urchin thought to resemble a coin) Did you know that in New Zealand a SAND DOLLAR may be called a sea cookie or snapper biscuit, and in South Africa it may be called a pansy shell? Regardless of what you call it, an adult SAND DOLLAR has radial symmetry.
  • RIDE (46D: "Sally ___" (Janelle Monae song) "Sally RIDE" is a song from Janelle Monae's 2013 album, The Electric Lady. I have previously written about the amazing Sally RIDE.
  • SPIT (50D: Act like a peeved llama) Last month I wrote about the reasons a llama may SPIT. 
  • CAGE (53D: Site of some pet hammocks) As soon as I saw this clue, I knew that googling "pet hammock" would result in a plethora of adorable images. Though some of these pet hammocks are in a CAGE, many are for cats and dogs. Please don't tell Willow that hammocks for cats exist!
    Speaking of Willow, today is her "gotcha" day. Ten years ago today, Willow the kitten joined our family. At that time, she joined our pet crew of another cat and a dog. The other cat, Holly, was not a fan of Willow, though they eventually learned to coexist. Our dog, Ping Pong, however, immediately loved her and could not believe her luck that we had gotten her a kitten.

    Geography review:
    • ST. PAUL (33A: Minnesota's capital) ST. PAUL hasn't always been the name of the city that is now Minnesota's capital. Its earlier name was Pig's Eye, after tavern owner, Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant. It was just a few days ago that we last saw ST. PAUL in the puzzle
    Claire Rimkus certainly SETs THE BAR HIGH! A delightful offering today with great theme answers and resulting phrases. STATUS QUO is my favorite theme answer. It's a phrase I said often during my high school debate years. My favorite new theme phrase is definitely (chocolate) CANDY BAR. Lovey fill all around, too: STORMS IN, QUADRUPLED, NO NONSENSE. This puzzle was an enjoyable way to begin my Thursday. 
    One more thing - going to TOOT my own horn a moment. I realized I haven't yet shared the clip of my Boswords interview from October 18. Here it is if you'd like to check out my featured solve and interview.