November 26, 2021


Constructor: Claire Rimkus

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
MUSIC GENRE (3D: Rap or riot grrrl, for example)
NEWSLETTER (8D: Small publication)
NIGHT SHIFT (28D: After-hours work schedule)
HAND-ME-DOWN (31D: Article of clothing passed on from someone else)

Theme synopsis: The first part of each vertical (TALL) theme answer can precede the word STAND. We have a MUSIC STAND, a NEWS STAND, a NIGHT STAND, and a HANDstand.

Things I learned:
  • SOPHIA (56A: Soccer star Smith) SOPHIA Smith is a professional soccer player. She plays for Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), and for the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT). SOPHIA Smith was the first teenager to be drafted into the NWSL, and the first player born in the 2000s to play in a USWNT game.
  • ERA (5D: "Mrs. America" legislation) Mrs. America is a TV miniseries that premiered in April 2020. The show tells the story of efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the work of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly to stop the ERA from becoming law. The nine-part series was named one of the ten best TV shows of 2020 by the American Film Institute. I am familiar with the ERA, but had not heard of this TV series.
  • RICE (55D: Mujaddara ingredient) Mujaddara is a dish popular throughout the Arab world. It consists of lentils and RICE, garnished with sautéed onions.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • MAPLE (24A: Japanese ___ (brightly colored tree) Japanese MAPLE trees are native to Japan,
    Korea, China, Mongolia, and Russia, but are grown worldwide for their attractive, colorful foliage. My mom moved into a new house a little over a year ago, and there is a beautiful Japanese MAPLE tree in her front yard.
  • PANT (66A: Breathe like a hot dog) Your dog may PANT when it is hot, and that's a good thing. However, if your hot dog PANTs, don't eat it!
  • DANA (9D: "The Owl House" creator Terrace) The Owl House is an animated TV series that premiered in January 2020. Animator, writer, director, and producer DANA Terrace created the series that tells the story of a teenage girl who stumbles upon a portal to another world where she becomes friends with a witch named Eda, also known as "the Owl Lady."
  • MARIO (24D: Nintendo brother celebrated on Mar. 10) National MARIO Day became a celebration when fans noticed that Mar. 10 essentially spells MARIO. 
  • OCEAN (26D: Singer Frank) Frank OCEAN is a singer, songwriter, and rapper. His studio album, Blonde, was released in 2016. 
  • GATOR (53D: Croc's relative) This is an opportunity to once again post this link to a helpful article explaining the nine differences between a GATOR and a croc. 
  • EAR (63D: Tragus piercing place) The tragus is the small triangular piece of cartilage on the front part of the outer EAR  that projects back toward the rest of the EAR. 

    Geography review:
    • MUSCAT (22A: Oman's capital) One of the reasons I have a geography review section is that geography has always been an area that is a challenge for me. Since I started this blog in June 2020, I have mentioned that MUSCAT is the capital of Oman fifteen times. And yet, I read this clue and my mind drew a complete blank (well six blank squares...)! However, it only took one letter from a crossing answer to jog my memory, so I'm counting that as progress.
    • TERRE (70A: ___ Haute, Indiana) TERRE Haute, Indiana is located on the Wabash River near the Indiana-Illinois border. Indiana State University is located in TERRE Haute.
    It's a TALL order to produce enjoyable themed puzzles daily, but this puzzle can STAND TALL - it is up to the task. Four solid theme answers here hinting at a variety of STANDs. HAND-ME-DOWN is my favorite theme answer, and the resulting HANDstand is my favorite of the produced phrases. I also enjoyed the answers GAME WINNER, SLIMY, STEPSISTER, and WOOFS. This puzzle was a great way to begin my Friday.