December 24, 2021


Constructor: Stella Zawistowski

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
GUAYABERA (15A: Summer shirt worn in Mexico)
SYLVIA RIVERA (24A: Trans rights activist and co-founder of STAR)
BAROQUE OPERA (42A: Musical drama featuring harpsichord, maybe)
BOX CAMERA (57A: Square-shaped picture-taking device)

Theme synopsis: The word ERA is found at the END OF each theme answer.

Things I learned:
  • GUAYABERA (15A: Summer shirt worn in Mexico) The distinguishing feature of a GUAYABERA is vertical rows of alforzas, tiny pleats sewn closely together. Two rows of pleats run down the front of the shirt, and three run down the back. The pockets (usually four in number) also feature alforzas, that line up with those on the shirt front. A GUAYABERA, sometimes also referred to as a "Mexican wedding shirt," is usually made of material appropriate for hot, humid weather, such as linen, silk, or cotton. As I learned about the GUAYABERA, I realize I have seen pictures of people wearing this shirt, but I did not know what it was called.
  • EYE (41A: Body part on the Crest of the Sheikah) The Crest of the Sheikah is a recurring symbol in The Legend of Zelda video game series. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Sheik is an alter ego of Princess Zelda.  The crest features an EYE (wide open to seek the truth), with three triangular lashes above the EYE, and a single teardrop extending below the center of the EYE (representing the willingness to go to any length). The symbol first appeared in the video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • BAROQUE OPERA (42A: Musical drama featuring harpsichord, maybe) A harpsichord is an instrument that has strings played by means of a keyboard (or keyboards). BAROQUE OPERA (OPERA during the BAROQUE era - the early 1600s to the 1740s) was often accompanied simply by a harpsichord and a cello (or other string instruments). The string instruments rarely played while the performers were singing. The harpsichord player usually directed the other musicians. 
  • ELLA (60A: English singer-songwriter Mai) In 2019 ELLA Mai won the Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Artist. Her first U.S. top ten hit was "Boo'd Up," released in 2017.
  • MMA (58D: Alana McLaughlin's sport (Abbr.)) Alana McLaughlin made her pro MMA (mixed martial arts) debut in September, and won. She is the second openly-trans fighter in the MMA.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LOBO (23A: WNBA Hall-of-Famer Rebecca) Rebecca LOBO is a former WNBA player. During her career she played for the New York Liberty (1997-2003), Houston Comets (2002), and Connecticut Sun (2003). She was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Rebecca LOBO is now a sports reporter for ESPN. Are you surprised I knew this sports answer? I learned about Rebecca LOBO the two previous times she's appeared in the puzzle
  • SYLVIA RIVERA (24A: Trans rights activist and co-founder of STAR) Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) was an organization founded in 1970 by SYLVIA RIVERA and Marsha P. Johnson (who I wrote about in August). STAR was an activist organization, and also provided support to homeless LGBTQ youth and sex workers in New York City. In 2015, SYLVIA RIVERA became the first transgender American to have a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.
  • BOX CAMERA (57A: Square-shaped picture-taking device) In May 1888, Kodak introduced a BOX CAMERA with the slogan, "You press the button - we do the rest." A simple CAMERA consisting of a cardboard or plastic BOX with a lens at one end and film at the other, the BOX CAMERA came loaded with film, and after taking pictures, the customer returned the CAMERA to Kodak to develop the film and reload the CAMERA. The Kodak Brownie, a classic BOX CAMERA using roll film, was released in 1900, and originally sold for $1.
  • IMPROV (8D: Second City's comedy style) The Second City is an IMPROV group based in Chicago. Many comedians, actors, and directors are Second City alums, including Alan Alda, Gilda Radner, Nia Vardalos, Stephen Colbert, Jordan Peele, and Kate McKinnon.
  • RITA (44D: EGOT winner Moreno) EGOT is an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. For the specifics of RITA Moreno's EGOT accomplishments, see the March 31, 2021 write-up.
  • GOAT (49D: Animal that might stand on your back in a certain yoga class) I wonder who first thought up the idea of offering GOAT Yoga classes?

    Geography review:

    • ERIE (13A: Cleveland's Great Lake) and ASIA (22D: Largest continent) A special treat today to have our crossword friends ERIE and ASIA hanging out together in the same puzzle.
    • OMANI (14A: Person from Muscat) An OMANI from Muscat lives in the capital of Oman, a city located along the Gulf of Oman on the Arabian Sea.
    • ROMAN (56A: From Italy's capital) A ROMAN is from Rome, the capital city of Italy. The original city of Rome was built on seven hills along the Tiber River. The city now extends to the part of the Mediterranean Sea known as the Tyrrhenian Sea.
    Appropriate to see an END OF AN ERA puzzle as we near the END of another year. A solid and VARIED set of theme answers today. I also enjoyed the answers WHAT IF, PELICAN, SQUINT, and STIR UP. This puzzle was a great way to begin my Friday.