November 18, 2021


Constructor: Enrique Henestroza Anguiano

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
PINKY SWEAR (20A: Promise between besties)
HIPPOCRATIC OATH (40A: Promise made by a doctor)
WEDDING VOW (61A: Promise made at an altar)

Theme synopsis: Each theme answer is a PROMISE made in a specific situation.

Things I learned:
  • LANA (67A: Actress Condor) LANA Condor made her film debut portraying Jubilee in the 2016 movie, X-Men: Apocalypse. She played the role of Lara Jean Song-Covey in the 2018 movie, To All the Boys I've Loved Before and the two subsequent movies in that series. 
  • ERIC (26D: Author ___ Jerome Dickey) New York Times bestselling novelist, ERIC Jerome Dickey wrote crime novels. His works include the Finding Gideon, Milk in My Coffee, and Liar's Game. ERIC Jerome Dickey died in January of this year at the age of 59.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • NASA (14A: Org. whose HQ is named after Mary W. Jackson) Mary W. Jackson was a mathematician and aerospace engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Her story is featured in the 2016 non-fiction book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race. She was one of the three women featured in the movie based on the book. In February of this year, NASA renamed its headquarters the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters. Another fun fact: As of 2019, NASA headquarters are located on Hidden Figures Way. 
  • PINKY SWEAR (20A: Promise between besties) When I read the title of the puzzle, I immediately thought of a PINKY PROMISE. It was gratifying to see PINKY SWEAR as the first theme answer.
  • HIPPOCRATIC OATH (40A: Promise made by a doctor) The original HIPPOCRATIC OATH was written between the fifth and third centuries BCE. It is an OATH of ethics historically used by physicians. Although the HIPPOCRATIC OATH has been updated and modified many times, it is not widely used anymore, having been replaced by ethical codes issued by medical associations. 
  • GOOSE (52A: Animal in a gaggle) When you have more than one GOOSE, you have a gaggle of geese. As far as I can tell, geese are the only animal referred to collectively as a gaggle. The term "press gaggle," is used, however, to refer to informal interactions between the White House Press Secretary and reporters prior to a videotaped press briefing.
  • ANIME (64A: Studio Ghibli genre) Studio Ghibli is an animation film studio in Tokyo, Japan. Studio Ghibli was a theme answer for the July 23, 2020 puzzle
  • EGAN (66A: "Manhattan Beach" novelist Jennifer) Jennifer EGAN's novel, Manhattan Beach, was selected by Time magazine as one of its top ten novels of 2017.
  • TESSA (71A: "Sylvie's Love" actress Thompson) Sylvie's Love is a 2020 movie about a romance between a young woman and an aspiring saxophonist. TESSA Thompson plays the title role of Sylvie Parker (née Johnson).
  • SEDAN (8D: Car type hidden in "cheese danish") I have mentioned that I especially like hidden word clues in which the hidden word and the phrase are related. I also enjoy such clues when the two are amusingly not related. It made me smile to imagine finding a SEDAN in my cheese danish.
  • ALTER EGO (10D: Sasha Fierce, for Beyonce) An ALTAR EGO is a persona taken on by a performer. Sasha Fierce is Beyoncé's on-stage ALTAR EGO, created in 2008 for her third studio album, I am...Sasha Fierce.
  • SONIC (57D: Fictional hedgehog with a "spin dash" move) The "spin dash" is a special move executed by SONIC the Hedgehog in the SONIC video games. It involves SONIC curling into a ball and rolling forward. I wasn't familiar with the "spin dash," but the answer is inferable, as there are a limited number of famous fictional hedgehog. (Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle didn't fit.)

    Geography review:
    • ALOHA (16A: Greeting on Oahu) and LAVA (58A: Mauna Kea output) We have a pair of Hawaii clues today. Oahu is the third-largest of the Hawaiian islands. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the largest Hawaiian island, Hawai'i.
    • IOWA (36A: State that's home to the American Gothic House) American Gothic is a painting by
      Grant Wood. As you can see from my mug, it's the painting of a farmer and his daughter standing in front of a house. Grant Wood was inspired by the house in Eldon, IOWA, and decided to paint it along with the kind of people he imagined would live in such a house. The painting is named for the architecture style of the house. Grant Wood used his sister and their dentist as models for the people in the photo. I knew this answer immediately, of course. Always happy to see my state of residence in the puzzle!
    • OSLO (42D: Munch Museum city) The Munch Museum is located in OSLO, Norway, and is dedicated to the life and work of Edvard Munch. The Norwegian painter is perhaps best known for his painting, The Scream. The Munch Museum originally opened in 1963, and moved to a new building last month. Hopefully the new museum features a security upgrade. The Munch Museum made headlines in 2004 when masked gunman entered the museum in the middle of the day and stole The Scream and another painting, Madonna. The paintings were eventually recovered
    PROMISES, PROMISES, PROMISES...that's what we have here, presented in this promising set (I couldn't resist...) of theme answers. In addition to this great set of theme answers, the rest of the puzzle is extremely enjoyable as well. Smooth fill all around in this rotationally symmetric grid. I especially liked the answers IMAGINES, ALTER EGO, BALSAMIC, and IOWA (of course!). Shoutout as well to the PRESTO/TADA pair of exclamations. Some great cluing today, including THUD (12D: Sound of textbooks hitting a desk) and TOTE (31D: Piece of swag that might carry more swag). This puzzle was a delightful (dare I say, promising...) start to my day.
    One more thing today. If you're looking for another puzzle to solve, might I suggest the most recent crossword offering from The Juggernaut. The puzzle is free to solve after supplying your email address. This puzzle, titled "Play by Play" was constructed by Kapil Mehta and myself. We had a great time making the puzzle, and hope you enjoy solving it.