January 7, 2022


Constructors: Mark Valdez & Brooke Husic

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

Theme Answers:
FLOWER CROWNS (20A: Aromatic wreaths worn on the head)
STAR OF DAVID (37A: Symbol of Judaism)
SUPER TROUPER (54A: ABBA hit with the lyric "All I do is eat and sleep and sing")

Theme synopsis: The first word of each theme answer can precede the word POWER. Our POWER SERIES includes FLOWER POWER, STAR POWER, and SUPER POWER.

And now a word from our constructors:
Mark: Brooke has taught me to make puzzles from the heart! To create a theme, Brooke asks me to think of an answer I would want to see featured in a puzzle. For this one, I am a huge ABBA fan, so it was easy to come up with 54A, and we took it from there and figured out a few angles on how to come up with this theme. Don't want to toot our own horns, but we make a POWER team :)
Brooke: 😍😍😍! Many thanks to Mark for being an absolute dream to collaborate with, and to Amanda for abiding our insistence that we include a lyric in the SUPER TROUPER clue.

Things I learned:
  • THY (34A: "Victory, ___ name is Plankton" (SpongeBob quote)) "Victory, THY name is Plankton," is a quote from a Season 3 episode of SpongeBob SquarePants titled, "Plankton's Army." In the episode, Plankton (one of the main characters on the series) attempts to steal the Krabby Patty formula by enlisting the help of his relatives. Having seen very little SpongeBob SquarePants, I needed the help of crossing answers to figure this one out.
  • TEWA (47A: Esther Martinez's language) The TEWA people live in New Mexico near the Rio Grande River. They share the Pueblo culture and speak the TEWA language. Esther Martinez was a TEWA linguist and storyteller known for her commitment to preserving the TEWA language. She died in 2006 at the age of 94. A few months after her death, the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act was signed into law. The act authorized funding to prevent the loss of heritage and culture. 
  • KNOT (58A: Fairy ___ (hair woe)) A fairy KNOT occurs when the end of a strand of hair splits and then forms a knot. This hair woe is most common in curly hair. Fairy KNOTs get their name from folklore stories that say they are the result of fairies playing in your hair while you sleep.
  • EGG (62D: Chipsi mayai ingredient) Chipsi mayai is an omelet of french fries and EGGs that originated in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. "Chipsi mayai" is Swahili for "chips and eggs." 
Random thoughts and interesting things:
  • ODD (10A: Like the number of letters in this answer) I enjoy self-referential clues. It's interesting that this clue would also work for the answer "even."
  • JUDITH (23A: "Transparent" star Light) Transparent is a TV series revolving around a family that discovers their parent is a trans woman named Maura. JUDITH Light plays the role of Shelley Pfefferman, Maura's ex-wife and the mother of their three children. 
  • LEE (26A: Director Daniels) LEE Daniels is a director, producer, and screenwriter. His directing credits include the 2009 movie, Precious, the 2013 movie LEE Daniels' The Butler, and the TV series, Empire.
  • BTS (27A: "Butter" group) I have previously written about the BTS song, "Butter," when we saw it as a theme answer July 10, 2021.
  • LUCY (29A: "I Love ___" ('50s sitcom)) I'm a bit embarrassed that I had to stare at this clue for a bit before the name of the classic sitcom came to me. I'm not quite old enough to have watched I Love LUCY when it originally aired from 1951-1957. (But I definitely know of it!) During four of the six seasons of the show, I Love LUCY was the most-watched show in the United States.
  • HOLI (36A: Festival celebrating Radha Krishna) HOLI is a Hindu festival celebrating the end of winter and the arrival of spring, as well as the divine love of Radha Krishna. In Hinduism, Radha Krishna are forms of God. This year HOLI will be celebrated on March 18.
  • STAR OF DAVID (37A: Symbol of Judaism) Composed of two overlapping equilateral triangles, the STAR OF DAVID is a symbol of Judaism.
  • SUPER TROUPER (54A: ABBA hit with the lyric "All I do is eat and sleep and sing") Well, thank you for this earworm, puzzle! "SUPER TROUPER" is the title track from ABBA's 1980 album. The title of the song refers to a brand of spotlight used in concert lighting.
  • IRIS (59A: Wildflower in a Louise Gluck title) The Wild IRIS is a 1993 collection of poetry by  Louise Gluck, who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • NINE (65A: Number of lives cats are said to have) Being an indoor cat, Willow still has most of her
    NINE lives. (There was that one time she got underfoot and I stepped on her tail. This ultimately resulted in her losing three inches of her tail, and me feeling guilty forever...)
  • BRA (1D: Garment in a Cora Harrington review) I learned about writer and lingerie expert, Cora Harrington, from the November 23, 2021 puzzle
  • KNELT (5D: Prepared to do camel pose) Camel pose is an asana in yoga as exercise. It is a backbend from a kneeling position.
  • ALI (33D: Broadway actress Stroker) I first learned about ALI Stroker from the July 1, 2020 puzzle, and have written about her several times since then. 
  • RUN-ON (49D: Sentence that's overlong) Sometimes a writer gets carried away they may write multiple thoughts in a single sentence without using a period, they may also combine multiple thoughts using commas in place of a period or semicolon, when you are in the habit of working to avoid writing RUN-ON sentences it is challenging to write one, I have discovered with this entry, I apologize for this rambling it may be the most difficult sentence I've ever constructed!
  • LEO (63D: Lion of the zodiac) Speaking of lions, if you need a chuckle, here's a video that made me laugh last night. (I especially like the concern, but unwillingness to intervene, of the second lion.)

    Geography review:

    • NEPAL (53D: Neighbor of India) NEPAL is a landlocked country in Asia. In addition to India, it is a neighbor of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. NEPAL is close to the countries of Bangladesh and Bhutan, but narrow sections of India are between the countries. The capital of NEPAL is Kathmandu.

     What a POWER full theme! (Sometimes it's just too easy...) There's plenty to enjoy in this puzzle in addition to the theme, including the answers DRY SHAMPOOS, DRAWBRIDGES, TIRADE, SELFIE, and UNISEX. This puzzle was a fabulous way to begin my Friday.