December 22, 2021


Constructors: Malaika Handa & Brooke Husic

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
MAKE A GOOD POINT (16A: Say something useful)
CROSSING THE LINE (34A: Going too far)
SNAKES ON A PLANE (55A: Samuel L. Jackson Film that was almost called "Pacific Air Flight 221")

Theme synopsis: The FINAL word of each theme answer is a GEOMETRY term. We have POINT (represented in GEOMETRY by a single dot), LINE (defined by two POINTs), and PLANE (an infinite set of POINTs forming a flat surface).

And now a word from our constructors:
Malaika: Shoutout to the Queen of Crosswords for offering to collab with me the first time we ever spoke, and then patiently waiting many months for me to finally take her up on it. I like that Brooke and I both do some amount of math for our jobs, and this is a math puzzle. I also like the title that Brooke came up with. I also also like DEEP CUTS and HOODIE as fill.
Brooke: I'm so happy this puzzle is out in the world! I'm super into Malaika's black square designs and am very grateful to her for sending me not just one but three gorgeous grid templates to choose from for this theme set. I love all three theme answers and my fave clues are for LIME and LAVA.

Things I learned:
  • LIME (5A: Hang out, in Barbados) Barbados is one of the island countries in the West Indies. The word LIME is used throughout the Caribbean to mean hanging out. It can be used as both a verb ("Are we going to LIME?") and a noun ("There's a LIME tonight.") This usage of LIME was completely new to me.
  • YVIE (13A: Drag queen ___ Oddly) YVIE Oddly won season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race. 
  • READER (22A: Sesi subscriber, for example) The tagline of Sesi magazine is "Covering The Black Girl's Mainstream." The word "sesi" means "sister" in the Bantu language, Sotho. Andréa Butler and Shannon Boone started publishing Sesi in 2009 to address the void of magazines published for Black teen girls.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • GOLD (1A: Color on the Jamaican flag) Jamaica's flag features a GOLD "X" dividing the flag into four sections. The top and bottom sections are green, and the left and right sections are black.
  • LAVA (30A: Word before "lamp" or "girl") LAVA lamps have been around since 1963. The bobbing and floating globs of wax can be mesmerizing. LAVAgirl is a super heroine with lava-based powers. She was first introduced in the 2005 movie, The Adventures of Sharkboy and LAVAgirl in 3-D, and was also featured in the 2020 movie, We Can Be Heroes.
  • IBIS (41A: Sacred bird) The African sacred IBIS played a role in Ancient Egyptian religion. Thoth, an Egyptian god, was depicted as having the head of an IBIS.
  • HER (43A: R&B singer whose name is a pronoun) H.E.R. is an acronym for "Having Everything Revealed." H.E.R.'s song, "I Can't Breathe," won a 2021 Grammy Award for Song of the Year. She also wrote a song for the movie Judas and the Black Messiah, "Fight for You." That song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
  • SNAKES ON A PLANE (55A: Samuel L. Jackson Film that was almost called "Pacific Air Flight 221") SNAKES ON A PLANE is a 2006 action movie that is part of a subgenre of horror movies known as "natural horror" or "creature features." The premise of the movie is the release of hundreds of venomous SNAKES ON A PLANE in an attempt to kill a key trial witness that is traveling on the plane. 
  • ORCA (60A: Whale that whistles and clicks) An ORCA uses clicks for echolocation to help them navigate and identify objects. Whistles are used in social communication.
  • ACTS ("62A: "Hadestown" has two) The musical Hadestown - with its two ACTS - tells a version of the Greek myth of Orpheus going to the underworld to rescue his fiancée, Eurydice. My husband and I had tickets to see Hadestown in April of this year, but that didn't happen for obvious reasons. The performance has been rescheduled for next March...fingers crossed!
  • GYMS (1D: Locations in Pokemon Go) Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game in which
    players move around real world locations. Pokémon GYMS are specially designated locations. When Pokémon Go was first released in 2016, our dog, Ping Pong, and I went for a walk with my son while he searched for Pokémon. Ping Pong helped him find one in a park near our house.
  • BRIDAL (10D: ___ mehndi) BRIDAL mehndi are intricate and decorative designs created on the hands (and sometimes legs) using henna.
  • DANIEL (23D: Kaluuya who played Fred Hampton) I have previously written about the movie, Judas and the Black Messiah, and about the subject of the movie, Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party. DANIEL Kaluuya won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Fred Hampton. Time magazine included DANIEL Kaluuya in their 2021 Time 100 list of influential people.
  • TIGER (28D: Princess Jasmine's companion is one) Princess Jasmine's pet tiger is named Rajah.
  • HARE (52D: ___ Krishna (Vaishnava mantra) Vaishnavism is a Hindu denomination. The HARE Krishna is a 16-word mantra, or sacred text, that is chanted as a petition to God.
  • SZA (55D: "Broken Clocks" singer) "Broken Clocks" is a 2017 song from SZA's debut album, Ctrl.

    Geography review:

    • LAKES (46D: Tahoe and Michigan, for two) LAKE Tahoe is on the California-Nevada border in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. LAKE Michigan is one of the Great Lakes, and borders the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

    A nice math theme today with a solid (I couldn't resist...) set of theme answers. Here's a link if you need a refresher on GEOMETRY and POINTs, LINEs, and PLANEs. I liked seeing a couple of math-related bonuses in ADDS and OVAL. EVEN SO, I also liked LYING LOW, PERISH (the thought), and the sassy ...OR NOT. This puzzle was a great way to begin my Wednesday.