December 7, 2021


Constructors: Brooke Husic & Rebecca Goldstein

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
PERFECT DAY (19A: Ideal 24 hours)
SENIOR WEEK (29A: Celebratory period for recent grads)
PRIDE MONTH (39A: June, in the LGBTQ+ community)
BANNER YEAR (49A: Particularly successful stretch)

Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer is a unit of TIME, increasing in length moving down the puzzle from DAY to WEEK to MONTH to YEAR.

And now a word from our constructors:
Brooke: This puzzle is truly a highlight for me, one of my favorite USAT puzzles so far! We had a great time coming up with such a positively charged theme set and trying to not use the word "period" in every theme clue. I love Rebecca's whole east side of the grid with HIDDEN DOORS, and my favorite clues are the repeated @ ONE/UNO, and the people we got to highlight in BLOG, ERMA, LACY, and YVES.
Rebecca: This puzzle was born out of our last collab when BANNER YEAR was a possible long “bonus” entry that just wouldn't work. When I couldn't let it go, Brooke suggested using it as a theme entry in this set, and I, of course, jumped at another collab. The legendary BURQINI/QUINCEANERA intersection is 100% Brooke’s. I love our clue for DICE and the theme adjacent LATER ON and ERA. Happy solving!

Things I learned:
  • BLOG (56A:, e.g.) Color Me Courtney is the lifestyle and fashion BLOG of Courtney Quinn. The BLOG is a burst of color, and features plenty of affiliate links if you want to copy any of the looks you see. Courtney's words to live by: "Say Yes To Sprinkles."
  • HAIKU (2D: Poetic form with kireji) Kireji, which translates to "cutting word," is a category of words used in HAIKU and other types of traditional Japanese poetry. Kireji are considered a requirement in traditional HAIKU, but have no direct equivalent in English.
  • LACY (10D: Guitarist Steve of The Internet) The Internet is a band whose 2016 album, Ego Death, received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album. The Internet (whose name started out as a joke) is composed of Syd (vocalist), Matt Martians (keyboard), Patrick Paige II (bass), Christopher Smith (drums), and Steve LACY (guitar).
  • ERMA (30D: Half-human/half-ghost Williams of web comics) ERMA is a web comic created by Brandon J. Santiago. The title character is the eight-year-old daughter of a ghostly spirit, making her half-human/half-ghost. 
  • YVES (52D: Experimental musician Tumor) YVES Tumor's most recent studio album was released in 2020, and is titled Heaven to a Tortured Mind. They are known for including experimental elements in their music.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • BURQINI (21A: Swim garment designed by Aheda Zanetti) The word BURQINI (also spelled burkini) is a portmanteau of burqa and bikini. The swimsuit, designed by Aheda Zanetti, who founded the Australian-based company Ahiida, covers the body except for the hands, feet, and face.
  • ONE (24A: Last number in a countdown) and UNO (11D: Last number in a countdown) I enjoyed this pair of clues.
  • MOON PIE (25A: Circular marshmallow-filled treat) Take a marshmallow disc, sandwich it between round graham crackers and dip the whole thing in a flavored coating, and - tada! - you have a MOON PIE. The outer coating can be any flavor; the most common coatings are chocolate, vanilla, banana, strawberry, or salted caramel. MOON PIEs are made by the Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 
  • SER (43A: Spanish verb that becomes 13-Across when an "a" is inserted) and ESTAR (40D: Spanish verb complementary to 43-Across) In Spanish, the verb SER is "be," and ESTAR is "to be." My minimal Spanish is rusty, so I was grateful for the hint about removing an "a" from SEAR to make SER.
  • NEVER (55A: "___ have I ever...") Well, I can't decide if I'm feeling old or boring. Wikipedia informs me that "NEVER have I ever..." is a drinking game. I have played many games of "NEVER have I ever..." and none of them have involved drinking. I have usually played the game with groups of children and youth, and we played it in a circle of chairs, with one person in the middle making a "NEVER have I ever..." statement, and people that could also make that statement moving to find a new seat.
  • SARI (13D: Lehenga alternative) A lehenga is a type of ankle-length, embroidered, pleated skirt worn by women from the Indian subcontinent. 
  • QUINCEANERA (22D: Birthday celebration where a waltz might be performed) A QUINCEAÑERA, is a celebration of a girl's 15th birthday. Some QUINCEAÑERA celebrations traditionally include one or more waltzes.
  • POLENTA (39D: Italian cornmeal dish) POLENTA is boiled cornmeal that can be served as a porridge, or allowed to solidify into a loaf, which is then sliced and baked, fried, or grilled. POLENTA originated in Italy.

    Geography review:
    • IRAN (14A: Bandar Abbas' country) Bandar Abbas is a city on the Persian Gulf in southern IRAN.
    I trust you had a good TIME solving this puzzle. For your post-solve enjoyment, I have a couple of musical suggestions. Perhaps "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts (aka the theme song of Friends), featuring the lyric, "When it hasn't been your DAY, your WEEK, your MONTH / or even your YEAR..." And, of course, "TIME AFTER TIME" by Cyndi Lauper. I enjoyed everything about this puzzle: the theme, the interesting fill including HIDDEN DOORS, QUINCEAÑERA, HELIX, and BURQINI, and the cluing. This puzzle was a delightful way to begin my Tuesday.


    1. I thought combining two or more languages was a no no.

      1. Hello, Jimmy ~ I'm not sure what you mean by "combining two or more languages." Is there a specific clue you are referring to?


    Post a Comment