January 4, 2022


Constructor: Brooke Husic

Editor: Erik Agard

Theme Answers:
DEMISEXUAL (18A: Ace-umbrella identity)
DARK ANGEL (29A: Early-aughts Jessica Alba series)
DANCEHALL (49A: Genre for Spice)
DIABOLICAL (61A: Absolutely devilish)

Theme synopsis: The word DAL (South Asian FARE made of spiced legumes) is SPLIT by the theme answers, with some letters appearing at the beginning of the answer, and the remaining letters found at the end.

And now a word from our constructor:
Brooke: thanks to erik for his editing and help with the title! i like the little story arc contained in 63d + 10a :)

Things I learned:
  • LAV (7A: Filmmaker Diaz) The slow cinema movement - sometimes referred to as "contemplative cinema" - is a film-making genre characterized by long takes. Filipino filmmaker, LAV Diaz is considered a key member of the movement. His 2016 movie, The Woman Who Left, won the Golden Lion, the highest honor awarded at the Venice Film Festival.
  • IGA (35A: French Open champion Swiatek) IGA Świątek is currently the youngest player in the top ten of the Women's Tennis Association rankings. She is the 2020 French Open champion.
  • DANCEHALL (49A: Genre for Spice) The genre of Jamaican music known as DANCEHALL originated in the 1970s. Spice is a singer and songwriter whose nickname is "Queen of DANCEHALL."
  • ADA (28D: Menominee activist Deer) ADA Deer is a member of the Menominee Nation, and has advocated with federal authorities for the Menominee. From 1993 to 1997, she served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, the first woman to hold that position. ADA Deer is a Distinguished Lecturer at the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has taught since 1977.
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • LEAK (10A: Beach ball problem) and AIR (63D: Beach ball contents) Depending on the severity of the LEAK, the beach ball may not be filled with AIR for long.
  • DEMISEXUAL (18A: Ace-umbrella identity) A DEMISEXUAL person only feels sexual attraction towards another person after establishing an emotional bond. An asexual person (or "ace") does not feel sexual attraction.
  • DARK ANGEL (29A: Early-aughts Jessica Alba series) In the TV series DARK ANGEL, Jessica Alba played the role of Max Guevara, a genetically enhanced super-soldier created in a government lab. The year the season premiered (2000), Jessica Alba won a Saturn Award for the Best Actress on Television. (The Saturn Awards honor the best in science fiction, fantasy and horror.)
  • YOU (46A: "___ Belong With Me) "YOU Belong With Me" is a Taylor Swift song from her 2008 album, Fearless. 
  • LULU (56A: Journalist Garcia-Navarro) LULU Garcia-Navarro worked for NPR from 2004 to 2021 in a variety of roles, including hosting NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday for six years. In October of last year she left NPR and joined the New York Times Opinion Audio team.
  • DIABOLICAL (61A: Absolutely devilish) I halfway-expected the puzzle app to give a fiendish laugh after I successfully entered this answer.
  • PEAS (2D: Split ___) I liked this nod to the puzzle's theme, both in the word SPLIT echoing the title, and in the fact that SPLIT PEAS are legumes, and can be used to make DAL.
  • PAN-AFRICAN FLAG (3D: Tricolor symbol of Black liberation) The PAN-AFRICAN FLAG is a horizontal triband of red, black, and green. The flag was adopted by the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in 1920. Pan-Africanism is a movement aimed at strengthening bonds of solidarity among ethnic groups of African descent.
  • AVENGER (8D: Black Widow or Scarlet Witch) The AVENGERS are a team of Marvel Comics superheroes that made their first appearance in 1963. The makeup of the group has varied over the years. The Scarlet Witch joined the AVENGERS IN 1965, and the Black Widow joined in 1973.
  • AREPA (30D: Food hidden in "care package") I would happily welcome anyone that was bringing me a care package containing an AREPA. Made of ground maize dough, an AREPA is sometimes served with cheese and meats, and may be split to make sandwiches.
  • DELI (49D: Place to buy a bagel) and EAT (50D: Enjoy a bagel, for example) A delicious pair of consecutive clues.
  • UCLA (57D: School that's home to the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz) The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit organization that works to offer young musicians college level training. All of the Institute's programs are provided free of charge.
  • LET (64D: The "l" in "lmk") Would someone please LET me know what "lmk" stands for? (I couldn't resist!)

    Geography review:

    • USA (12A: Anastasija Zolotic's country) Anastasija Zolotic is a taekwando athlete. She was a part of Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics (held in 2021), and became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in taekwando.
    • ALA (21D: State east of Mississippi) ALAbama is east of Mississippi and west of Georgia. The capital of ALAbama is Montgomery.
    • OHIOAN (47D: Person from Akron or Lorain) Cleveland, Ohio is the largest city on Lake Erie. Akron, Ohio is located about 40 miles south of Cleveland, and Lorain, Ohio is located about 30 miles west of Cleveland (and is also on Lake Erie). Rita Dove is an OHIOAN; she was born in Akron. Toni Morrison is also an OHIOAN; she was born in Lorain. (My dad was also an OHIOAN; he was born in Cambridge.)
    • TULSA (52D: City in Oklahoma) TULSA, Oklahoma is the second largest city in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City is the largest), and is part of the Muscogee Nation.
    I liked the (not quite DIABOLICAL) trickiness of the meaning of "FARE" changing from the title (bus money) to the theme application (food). The long downs of PAN-AFRICAN FLAG and RUNNING PARTNER were an extra treat. This puzzle was a deliciously delightful way to begin my Tuesday.