January 29, 2022


Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editors: Mollie Cowger & Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
SPREAD THE WORD (15A: Share a message widely)
GREEN CARD (31A: Milestone on the path to U.S. citizenship)
MOOD BOARD (48A: Evocative collage)
REACTION VIDEO (60A: YouTube post from TwinsthenewTrend, e.g.)

Theme synopsis: The last word of each theme answer can be placed AHEAD OF THE word GAME. We have a WORD GAME, a CARD GAME, a BOARD GAME, and a VIDEO GAME.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: i'm very into the grid shape i came up with for this one! my favorite theme answer is 60a, and i like the related clue pairs 14a+35a, 37a+69a, and 41a+6d. see you next week!

Things I learned:
  • ANA (13A: Ambient composer Roxanne) Ambient music is a type of instrumental music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional music structure. ANA Roxanne's first studio album, released in 2020, is titled Because of a Flower. She also has an EP, titled ~~~. I enjoyed reading this interview with ANA Roxanne by them.
  • TUCA (67A: Toucan voiced by Tiffany Haddish) TUCA the toucan is one of the title characters in the animated sitcom, TUCA & Bertie, which premiered on Netflix and now airs on the Cartoon Network as part of their Adult Swim programming. TUCA and Bertie are anthropomorphic birds, and the show centers on their relationships with each other and with their friends. Tiffany Haddish voices TUCA, a newly sober toucan working odd jobs and relying on her wealthy aunt's financial support. Bertie, voiced by Ali Wong, is a career-minded song thrush and an aspiring baker. 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • FAN (5A: Powwow dance prop) There are several powwow dances in which dancers use a feather FAN as a prop, including the Northern Traditional, the Chicken dance, and the Eastern War Dance.
  • I CAN (14A: "No, no, let me!") and SURE (35A: "Happy to!") A nice conversation here, and the first of the related clue pairs Brooke mentioned in her note.
  • LOBES (37A: Places for ear climbers) and ONS (69A: Clip-___ (earrings)) As the name implies, ear climbers are earrings that look like they are climbing up your ear LOBES. Some ear climbers might be clip-ONS. The second of the related clue pairs Brooke mentioned in her note.
  • ELF (41A: North Pole assistant) and ANTLERS (6D: Headband attachments for a Rudolph costume) And here we have the third pair of related clues Brooke mentioned. A couple of days ago, I talked about clues with echoed words, and how they help make the puzzle feel cohesive. Related clue pairs such as the ones in today's puzzle can do the same thing. These types of cluing aren't necessary, of course. There are no rules about the clues and answers needing to be connected (other than the theme, of course...) When it happens though, I think it's a nice touch. Also, this is a great clue for ANTLERS!
  • MOOD BOARD (48A: Evocative collage) A MOOD BOARD is a collage of images and/or text. They may be used by creative artists as a visual illustration of a style or decor they are pursuing.
  • SONIA (51A: "I've Been a Woman" poet Sanchez) I've Been a Woman is a 1985 collection of poems by SONIA Sanchez. On the home page of SONIA Sanchez's website, I found this delightful snippet of poetry: "Let me wear the day / Well so when it reaches you / You will enjoy it."
  • KEEP (55A: "You ___ using that word...") This clue made me so happy! In December of 2020, when we saw the word MAGNET [Fridge decoration], I made the promise, (I don't expect you to remember this!) "If a Princess Bride clue shows up in the puzzle I will definitely include a picture of our Princess Bride fridge magnet collection in that blog post." In December 2021, when we saw FRIDGE MAGNETS [They might hold up grocery lists], I reiterated that promise. And now, here we are! As you can see, we have quite the collection of magnets, including one, of course, referencing the ICONIC (9D: Legendary) line, "You KEEP using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means." (In case you don't know the reference, the magnet next to it features the referenced word.)

  • REACTION VIDEO (60A: YouTube post from TwinsthenewTrend, e.g.) TwinsthenewTrend is the YouTube channel of twin brothers, Tim and Fred Williams. The brothers have become known for their REACTION VIDEOs, which show them reacting to a song they are hearing for the first time. I particularly enjoy their REACTION VIDEO to Dolly Parton's "Jolene."
  • AVI (16D: Online profile pic, for short) AVI here is short for "avatar," a graphical representation of a person.
  • PRONOUN (44D: E or she) E is an example of a gender-neutral PRONOUN. (I have previously written about Spivak PRONOUNs.) She is a feminine PRONOUN.
  • ACES (57D: Las Vegas ball players) The Las Vegas ACES are a WNBA team.
I enjoy all of these GAME types, and I liked this theme. A nice set of theme answers, with a bonus of a grid that reminds me of football, and a basketball clue in the puzzle. So many GAMES! In addition to the entries I've highlighted, I liked COOKED UP, HARD TACO, and FEEL FOR. This puzzle was a delightful way to start my Saturday.