Constructor: Rebecca Goldstein
Editor: Amanda Rafkin
PAPARAZZI (17A: Celebrity photographers)
PEPTIDE (25A: Chain of amino acids)
PIPSQUEAK (35A: Little twerp)
POPCORN (52A: Movie theater snack)
PUPPY LOVE (60A: Early feelings of affection)
Theme synopsis: Each theme answer begins with the letter pattern P_P, and the blank is filled, in order moving through the puzzle, with the vowels A, E, I, O, and U.
Things I learned:
- ALDO (66A: Shoe store name) ALDO Bensadoun founded his namesake shoe company in Montreal, Canada in 1972. The brand expanded to the United States in 1993, and according to the ALDO website, is now sold on every continent except Antarctica. ALDO has three signature brands of shoes: ALDO, Call It Spring, and Globo.
- MAY (55D: National Homebrew Day month) Promoted by the American Homebrewers Association, National Homebrew Day is celebrated the first Saturday of MAY. That will be MAY 7 in 2022, so mark your calendars, and make plans to brew your own beer, or find a friend that enjoys homebrewing and is willing to share their efforts with you. Sometimes it feels like there's a holiday for everything, doesn't it? And why not? I'm all about any excuse to celebrate! Today is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. It's also National Maple Syrup Day, so take your pick, or perhaps celebrate both! (Be careful not to get maple syrup on your ugly Christmas sweater, though.)
Random thoughts and interesting things:
- OTOE (21A: Chiwere-speaking people) The OTOE are indigenous people of the Midwestern United States. Their language, Chiwere, is part of the Siouan family of languages. The Missouria and Iowa peoples also originally spoke Chiwere. The language is endangered, as the last two fluent speakers died in 1996, and a limited number of semi-fluent speakers of Chiwere remain.
- CITADEL (23A: "Lost in the ___" (Lil Nas X song)) and RAP (39D: Lil Nas X genre) "Lost in the CITADEL" is a song from the 2021 Lil Nas X album, MONTERO.
- TOES (27A: "Head, shoulders, knees and ___") I have sung "Head, shoulders, knees and TOES" - doing the appropriate actions, of course - numerous times when my kids were younger and when I was working with children. However, it has now been many years since I have done so. It amusingly occurred to me as I filled in this answer, that with my body seeming to remind me on a daily basis that it isn't getting any younger, maybe I should start adding "Head, shoulder, knees, and TOES (knees and TOES)" to my daily routine to make sure I can still do those actions.
- ENERO (28A: Dia de Los Reyes Magos month) Dia de Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) is celebrated on the sexto día de de ENERO (sixth day of January).
- NIQAB (29D: Face covering) A NIQAB is a face covering worn by some Muslim women. A NIQAB covers the face while leaving the eyes uncovered.
- RPI (39A: N.Y. school hidden in "kosher pickle") I enjoy a good silly hidden word clue. Quite amusing to imagine finding Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in a kosher pickle. RPI is a private university in Troy, New York.
- NOVA (42A: Bossa ___ (Brazilian music genre)) The style of samba known as bossa NOVA was developed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s. "The Girl from Ipanema" is an example of a Bossa NOVA song. (I have previously written about the interesting history of this particular song.)
- LAST (67A: ___ but not least) I always think it's a nice touch when the LAST answer of a puzzle is an appropriate entry such as this.
- POZOLE (6D: Hominy stew) Hominy is made by soaking and cooking corn in an alkaline solution, a process called nixtamalization. (There's a word you don't use every day!) POZOLE is a stew from Mexican cuisine made from hominy and meat (pork or chicken) and seasoned with chile peppers, onion, and garlic. My son introduced me to POZOLE a few years ago; it's delicious.
- PROMPOSAL (9D: Senior's invitation that may involve a flash mob) Yes, students do sometimes organize flash mobs to ask other students to the prom. Here's one of many examples available for viewing online. Once again, I give thanks that the PROMPOSAL was not a thing when I was of prom-going age.
- PARIS (56A: Climate Accords city) The PARIS Climate Accords, also known as the PARIS Agreement, was adopted in 2015. The treaty covers climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance, with a goal of substantially reducing the effects of climate change.
- PERU (25D: Lima is its capital) PERU is a South American country with coastline on the Pacific Ocean. Its neighbors are Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile.
I'll admit I was not familiar with the term P2P, and had to look up what it is. P2P stands for peer-to-peer, and is a type of computing or networking architecture. Fortunately, I didn't need to know anything about that to enjoy today's puzzle! This is a fun letter pattern theme, and I really appreciated the elegance of the vowels appearing in order. Also, the P_P part of each word is a stand-alone word in each case: PAP, PEP, PIP, POP, PUP. There are some nice long downs in the corners of the puzzle: CHARIOT, HIPSTER, PERSONA, IMPASSE, and SPEED UP. This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Friday.