November 13, 2021

Title: WWW

Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
WILD WILD WEST (18A: Setting with cowboys and outlaws)
WORLD WIDE WEB (34A: Information system with many links)
WELL WELL WELL (51A: "...look what we have here!")

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is a three word phrase with the initials WWW.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: I'm happy that this puzzle is running while we still have vibrant fall colors in NEW ENGLAND and as we are entering skirt and TIGHTS weather! I had a lot of fun making this grid and was glad to write clues about Reese Eschmann and Button Poetry. My favorite answers are SHOW UP FOR, GAMIFY, and ILY (I do!).

Things I learned:
  • ETTA (17A: "___ Invincible" (upcoming Reese Eschmann book)) The middle grade novel, ETTA Invincible, is set to be published in July of next year. The title character of the book, Reese Eschmann's debut, is a girl who is experiencing hearing loss, and likes to spend her time  writing a comic book about a hero who never worries about anything. The book also features ETTA's new classmate, Eleazar, a dog named Louisa May Alcott, and a magical train. This book sounds delightful, and I'm happy to learn about it.
  • JDATE (10D: Matchmaking site where users might chat in Hebrew) JDATE is a special-interest online dating service for Jewish people. JDATE was founded in 1997, and launched an app in 2014. Although I wasn't familiar with JDATE, it was pretty easy to figure out.
  • RAE (22D: Ceramic artist Dunn) Ceramicist RAE Dunn is based in the San Francisco Bay area, but her work is sold nationwide at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls and elsewhere. Her pottery is "strongly influenced by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, the beauty of things imperfect." I was inspired to learn that RAE Dunn didn't start doing ceramics until she was in her 30s
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • TAJ (8A: The ___ Mahal) and PALACE (44D: What "mahal" means in Persian) This was a nice set of clues. The word "TAJ" means "crown" in Persian, so the TAJ Mahal translates to "Crown of the PALACE."
  • RICH (11A: Like ganache) Ganache is made from chocolate and cream. The RICH, delicious mixture is used as a glaze, icing, dipping sauce, or filling for pastries.
  • GAMIFY (7D: Create a point system for, e.g.) GAMIFY is a great word, and (from my brief search) this may be its debut in published crosswords. Gamification is often done as a way to encourage participation and engagement.
  • ILY (19D: What "<3<3<3" might mean (Abbr.)) Whether you use ILY or <3<3<3, be sure to say "I Love You." Go ahead and be SAPPY (26A: Overly sentimental).
  • USB (21D: Computer port hidden in "genius bar") I'm a fan of hidden word clues where the hidden word and the phrase it is hidden in are related. This is a nice find.
  • EDS (41D: Some Button Poetry staff (Abbr.)) Founded in 2011, Button Poetry is a Minneapolis-based company that publishes poetry media, including videos, chapbooks, and audio recordings. Many of their videos of slam poetry performances have gone viral. 
  • HOWARD (42D: University also known as The Mecca) We have previously seen a puzzle with a theme relating to HOWARD University. The HOWARD University campus in northwest Washington, D.C. is often referred to as "The Mecca."
  • ONE WAY (43D: "___ or Another (Blondie song)) "ONE WAY or Another" is a 1978 song by Blondie, from their album, Parallel Lines. The song was written by Blondie band members Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison, and was based on Debbie Harry's experience of being stalked by an ex-boyfriend. 
  • TEN (59D: Number of days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are Jewish holidays that together are referred to as the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is a Day of Atonement. The dates of the holidays are determined by the Hebrew calendar, and fall in late September and early October in the Gregorian calendar. As the clue informs us, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur fall TEN days apart. I just read about these and other Jewish holidays in a book I'm reading, Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life - in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There) by Sarah Hurwitz. Isn't that an amazingly long title?! Sarah Hurwitz is an excellent writer. (She was a speechwriter for Michelle Obama.) I highly recommend the book if you'd like to learn more about Judaism.

    Geography review:
    • COLORADO (13D: State home to 58 "fourteeners") In mountaineering, a "fourteener" is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. COLORADO has the most fourteeners of any state. As the clue tells us, Colorado has 58 mountains with elevations over 14,000 feet. According to some mountaineers, not all mountains that exceed 14,000 feet are eligible for the "fourteener" classification, as they do not meet other criteria such as being a certain number of feet higher than the nearest peak. For this reason, some sources consider that COLORADO only has 53 fourteeners. However you calculate it, the takeaway here is that COLORADO has a lot of tall mountains.
    • NEW ENGLAND (29D: Region known for its vibrant fall colors) The NEW ENGLAND region consists of six states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The "leaf peeping" season in NEW ENGLAND ranges from late September through early November, and is, of course, impacted by weather. Warm weather in September this year generally pushed the season back. Prime NEW ENGLAND fall color might be mostly over for this year, but this article gives some tips on where to spy some beautiful fall foliage, in case you want to start planning for next year.
    WELL, WELL, WELL...what have we here? A fun puzzle featuring a solid set of WWW phrases. I liked that the WORLD WIDE WEB, which is probably the first one to come to mind when people see WWW, was in the center of the puzzle. The grid is asymmetrical by just a few squares in the middle of the puzzle to accommodate that central theme answer. Smooth and delightful fill and cluing all around. In addition to those answers highlighted above, I especially liked SHOW UP FOR, SPEW, and TALENT. This puzzle was a fabulous way to begin my Saturday.